Nothing but steers and beers in Texas

Just back from a few days in Austin.  Great scene in Austin if you’ve never been there I highly recommend it.  Lots of breweries and lots of places to have a few good beers and chill out.  I have to admit, I’m looking forward to making Suds of Liberty traveling beer blogs a more common feature on the site…..next up, Maui!

Anyway, I didn’t really have any steaks in Austin…just a few burgers and plenty of suds.  See below for my thoughts, next time I’m going to have to set up shop in Banger’s and blog until I can’t type (or drink until I can’t see?). Whatever…on to the reviews!

ZiegenBock – Amber Ale

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Presentation: I had this at the airport on my way home.  Seeing Texas on the can made me figure it was local.  It kind of is, it’s a local release by Anheuser-Busch so it’s not really a micro brew per say but with a limited distribution it’s close.  I have to say, they can is great…feels very manly and Texan even if it’s an amber 🙂  Anyway, airport beer..it was CRAZY busy at the airport and I needed a beer.  ZiegenBock for the win.

Style: Amber Ale

Brewery: Anheuser-Busch

ABV: 4.9% (a little on the weak side for me)

Method: Poured into a pint glass.

Overall taste:  Not bad, I’m not a huge amber fan but it was pretty crisp and easy to drink.  I’d MUCH prefer to drink these than other smaller Macro Micro type beers.  One of the BA reviews calls it a perfect beer for airport nachos and considering that’s how I had it…I kind of agree.  If you’re going to have a Corona or something like that….and you’re in Texas, a ZiegenBock is an excellent option.

Recommended drinking location:  Texas, I mean, when in Rome right people?  You’d look really weird drinking these in the 603.

Ideal consumption amount:  So, they are 4.9% so you can basically go deep on these likely in the 6+ range without really falling down.  Drink until your full.

Similar Beers:  Compares well with a Yuengling or other beers like that but honestly this is a situational beer more than a flavor destination.  For example, if you are looking at a Lone Star or something else….then ZiegenBock is again a great call.  And for the record, the Lone Star is rated at “poor” on Beer Advocate and that’s bullshit.  I love Lone Star….this is the problem with most beer blogs/sites they can’t differentiate between a $15 bomber or a $10 twelve pack….Suds of Liberty to the rescue!

North by Northwest Brewing – Okanogan Black Ale

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Presentation: Drank this in the N by NW brewery right by our office…which is a really nice perk btw.  I think this was the 3rd beer I drank, so….yeah, well I apologize for that but that’s what you get.  Had this with a pile of appetizers in a loud bar which was great.

Style: Belgian Dark Ale (again, another SoL favorite style!)

Brewery: North by NorthWest Brewery

ABV: No clue, they don’t share it on the menu or website…sooooo, it tasted like it was around 7% or so

Method: Pint glass

Overall taste:  Nice flavor on this one, I really enjoyed it…this is the unaged version of Blackjack (see below) or Blackjack is the aged version of this whatever.  It’s good.  Deep rich flavor that is much more malt than hops..if fact, there is pretty much no hop which works for this style.  Some very light chocolate and I could have sworn I tasted some coffee too but um, again, 3rd beer

Recommended drinking location:  In the brewery with friends or colleagues

Ideal consumption amount:  I’d say 4-5 maybe 6 if you’re feeling it.  Without a distinct ABV…I’m guessing.

Similar Beers:  I thought it compared pretty well to Night Time which I enjoy but much less carbonation than the Night Time so frankly it was better.

 North by Northwest Brewing – Mountain-Man Brown Ale

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Presentation: 2nd beer of the night.  Again, loud hot bar scene with colleagues catching up on work and life.  Big pile of appetizers.  One nice thing about this beer was the temperature they served it, it was not quite room temp but it was a touch warmer than the other beers of the night.  It probably just sat on the bar longer than the others but humor me…

Style: American Brown Ale

Brewery: North by Northwest Brewery

ABV: 5.3% which is just about right for this style…you can go higher but this is fine.

Method: Pint glass again…

Overall taste:  Nice basic brown ale with great malt/brown combinations.  You can see the head on it in the picture, it definitely LOOKS like a brown ale.  It was a little grainy going down, not sure if it was just me or if it was super unfiltered.  Either way, good stuff….but apparently it’s only been brewed once so it’s going to be tough to find again.

Recommended drinking location:  At the brewery

Ideal consumption amount:  Just a few of these, maybe 2-3 as it was quite filling

Similar Beers:  Smuttynose Old Brown Dog compares very well to this, I usually drink more Double or Imperial Browns but a good brown ale is another one of my favorites.

North by Northwest Brewing – Blackjack Bourbon Barrel Aged

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Presentation: First, 4th, 5th 6th and I think 7th beer of the night.  What can I say, put “Bourbon Barrel” in front of a beer and I’m in…ALL in.  I wish I was smart enough to review my first one and my last one b/c that would have been fun…alas, I’m not that creative in real time.

Style: Belgian Dark Ale (Barrel aged for 6 months)

Brewery: North by Northwest Brewery

ABV: Not sure on this one either it’s the barrel aged version of Okanogan so the barrel definitely added a little kick to it…likely on the low end of the wheelhouse (For those who forget, “wheelhouse” is 8% to 11% ABV)

Method: Tulip glass….aristocrat

Overall taste: Fanfreakingtastic!  The barrel aging really helped and made this beer exceptional.  Same basic flavors as the Okanogan but definitely a bit more vanilla coming out.  Not sure if was nitro but definitely had a bit more flavor pop.  The malts here are excellent and almost have a smokey flavor that goes well with the vanilla.  Seriously, I’ll have a hard time drinking anything else at NbyNW next time I’m here…

Recommended drinking location:  Clearly, at the bar….you NEED this one via draft

Ideal consumption amount:  I had 5 and was ok (plus two other, teehee) so you can drink them over a long period of time without falling over.   Really the ideal consumption amount here is more about pace than volume.  Pound these and it’s lights out.

Similar Beers:  You know, I had a hard time comparing…..

Pale Oak Pale Ale

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Presentation: True local Austin beer here, we were at Punchbowl Social which is basically an adult playground.  Video games, pool, corn hole and bowling…in addition to a dinner.  Good times.  This was the first beer of my trip and I wanted to start with something from the 512…found it!

Style: American Pale Ale (not a huge style for SoL but damn it was hot and I needed a beer)

Brewery: Live Oak Brewery

ABV: 5%

Method: Pint glass

Overall taste: Good taste, the really light golden flavor really shows you what you’re about to taste.  Light, easy drinking with some very subtle fruit flavors (orange?) pop when you drink this one.  I was actually tempted to have a second and put a slice of orange in it but I moved onto Fireman’s #4 (picture lost, no review….).

Recommended drinking location:  Definitely the kind of beer you drink in a bar, outside ideally.  This was VERY popular at the bar and clearly is a crowd pleaser

Ideal consumption amount:  So, 5% alcohol and light golden flavor means all day baby….

Similar Beers:  Compares pretty well with Dales Pale Ale which is a huge compliment.  Good stuff

That’s it for my Austin trip…more next time for sure.  Until then, drink Texas beer!

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