Saturday, January 8, 2011

015. Comfort that is Southern

"Clarity is overrated."

I was at Spec's Liquor Store in NW Houston tonight,  and   came across another local hometown brew that has a chance of working its  way into my heart. The brewery is Southern Star (from Conroe, Texas, which is just north of Houston) and the beer is Pine Belt Pale Ale.

To be honest, I'm not 100% sure about the difference between an India Pale Ale and an American Pale Ale (which is what they call this on the back of   its tall can), but I like it.  It's not as hoppy and tends to be smoother. Or at least it is in this case.

First things first? The quote on the can is  dead-on  accurate? This is one cloudy beer. Even after giving it plenty of time to settle, it stays cloudy. Not that's necessarily a bad thing.

The ale has a cloudy browinsh/gold color.

The aroma is faintly sweet with a  hint of fruit (probably citrus). Very pleasant.

Although I taste the hops, they are not overpowering.
I definately taste the malt (and really enjoy it).
The head and lace are both highly impressive.
Temperature  Notes --  I really enjoyed this ice cold, but when I let it warm (to chilled) the citrus notes became more pronounced.

I give this an 8 out of 10.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

014. Ayinger Ur-Weisse

"Of all the souls I've encountered in my travels, his was the most... human."

Yeah, it's a quote from Star Trek, but I'm actually quoting it from the parody from the Family Guy episode, "The Road to Rupert." Definitely my favorite episode (yup, I've got it on my Droid). It's what I'm watching while tasting this German import. Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer KG / Brauerei Aying.

The show, by the way, has nothing to do with the beer (if you're holding your breath, waiting for me to pull it all together... sorry, not gonna happen). I also had a rather spicy meal of sausage and eggs, and I must admit that it was not the best choice of food/beer that I've made this year. It wasn't horrible, but the pairing didn't suit the beer.

I think this beer would pair better with sausage and sour kraut, which is what I plan to have the next time I drink this. I think its malt under tones will serve that well. I think this is a good, lighter beer that has a lot going for it. However, it's not that memorable, and although I wouldn't turn it down in the future, I can't picture myself going out of my way to have it again. All in all, it's a serviceable beer, but not a great beer.

Ayinger Ur-Weisse
From Germany

Our Ayinger Ur-Weisse is an old-fashioned wheat with some fine roasted malt to give it more color and flavor than golden hefe- weisse. It has an immense crown of lovely foam held proudly above a robe of translucent amber. On the palate, malt and yeast predominate, with a delicious balance of fruit and bread-like yeast. The taste is complex, with suggestions of soft fruit, apple, and, in the finish, perhaps, even cloves.

Alcohol content: 5%

Let's hit the usual points:

Color: Golden, but a bit cloudy
Aroma: A nice smell of wheat and citrus (and maybe apple)
Head: Light, dissipates quickly
Lace: Almost none
Carbonation: Light

Very good stuff. 

I give this 6.5 out of 10.

And, from near the end of the Family Guy episode:
"Oh, thank you Crone, you're so pleasant."

You gotta read this review for some info, including serving suggestions: