Welcome to the South Texas Beer Blog. Please enjoy responsibly!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dansk Mjod - Viking Blod

Hej! Nyd din mjød!

Tonight a couple friends of mine and I drank a bottle of Danish Mead that we found in a hole in the wall beer store in Orlando, FL. It was very intriguing in a 750ml black stone/ceramic bottle with Danish writing all over the label. This mead is made with hibiscus and hops and is based on a recipe from about the year 1700. It's also 19% ABV so you certainly need to share with a friend!

The website is all in Danish so good luck reading about their product... ok fine... use Google's Translate Feature to read about the Viking Blod!

It pours a nice deep golden honey color which is completely still. The nose has a bit of alcohol and spice but dominates with a nice honey aroma. The taste has a bit of a burn from the 19% ABV but has some pretty nice sweetness, a bit of flowery spice (i.e. hibuscus and hops) and warms the belly quite nicely! It sticks to the glass like a nice thick wine and the honey flavor lingers for quite a long time in your mouth.

This is a quick short post and I really don't know much about the brewer (mostly because the website is in Danish and I didn't feel like translating it all) but also because I still have a glass to finish...

The Bottom Line:
If you haven't tried mead, buy some and try it. Most commercial mead is relatively sweet and Viking Blod is not an exception. The thing that makes this mead interesting is the addition of hibiscus and hops which give a nice spice to the honey wine. For $13/bottle this was a pretty good deal and equivalent to a basic bottle of wine you might buy. As a matter of fact, I found the same bottle online for $30 so we might have gotten a deal. Mead is also relatively easy to brew compared to beer so if you're already a homebrewer mead is another great beverage to create.

ABV 19%
I wish I knew more, however, the website says "see bottle hang for more uses" and our bottle was missing a hang. If anyone else knows anything more share in the comments!

Monday, September 27, 2010


Hello STBB followers! Today I wanted to share with you an application for iPhone and Android that I found recently. It's called Beerby (pronounced like "nearby") and it's a fun little way to track different beers you try.

I downloaded it for iPhone so my experience is based on that platform. It was free for the full version on the iTunes App store so there's no reason not to download it. It allows you to track beers that you try on a daily basis, add beers (for example, I added one of my homebrews to the list), and track according to Foursquare venues.

I enjoy the "achievements" you can earn. For example - High Tech Redneck for drinking 100 Budweisers, Elitist for drinking 15 different Belgian beers, Billy Dee Williams for drinking a Colt 45 Malt Liquor, Dogfisherman for drinking 12 different Dogfish Head beers, and a lot more!

It's not perfect, one of the features I would like would be the ability to change the date. Right now it looks like I drank 7 beers in one day when really I just tracked the beers for the weekend on that day. There are also a couple typos and tracking errors (for example, it doesn't track Dogfish Head Punkin Ale as a pumpkin beer toward an achievement). Nothing terrible, but certainly some room for updates in the future!

Hope you enjoy your new free app!

Beerby webpage

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Congratulations Mark!

I have to apologize to my blog followers that I have not been able to post much lately. I have been preparing for my brother's wedding which happened today, September 18, 2010.

I appreciate being invited to be the best man and I really enjoyed having all our families meet each other. My son got to play with his son (and lots of other babies) and I couldn't trade anything for that experience.

Congratulations to my brother Mark and his new wife Jenna! If you show your support on here I will share the page and your best wishes with the newlyweds.

PS - Yes, we did drink beer. So this post is relevant to South Texas Beer Blog. I did share a bottle of Sierra Nevada Jack and Ken's Barleywine with my friends and family the night before the wedding. I also scored a couple cool bottles in Virginia that I'll drink at a later date!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sam Adams Harvest Collection

Seen above is the newly released Samuel Adams Harvest Collection chilling with a couple Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPAs. Today's post is about the Sam Adams, not the 120 Minute IPA. Sorry 120, you'll have to wait!

I couldn't believe that this pack was available at my local HEB for $11.71. Needless to say I grabbed one right away. That's less than a buck per beer!

This pack has 2 each of great Sam Adams brews: Boston Lager, Black Lager, Irish Red, Dunkelweizen, Octoberfest, and Harvest Pumpkin Ale. My stand out favorite was the Harvest Pumpkin Ale.

I have tried the Boston Lager, Irish Red, and Black Lager in the past. The Dunkelweizen was released last year and is only available in this 12 pack. The Octoberfest is a fall seasonal available as a stand-alone 6 pack.

But I would buy this collection again just for the Harvest Pumpkin Ale! Not only do they brew it using real pumpkin (11 pounds per barrel) but they also spice it with traditional pumpkin pie spices. I enjoyed this subtle spice and it would be perfect with a slice of apple or pumpkin pie.

As a matter of fact, if my lovely wife is reading this I hope she buys me another one of these from the store!

So anyway, try to find this pack. Great beers and a great price from America's largest craft brewery. I hope you all enjoy! Below you'll find a few photos of some of these beers in the glass. Prosit!

Friday, September 3, 2010

St. Arnold's Oktoberfest

St. Arnold Brewing Company is Texas' oldest microbrewery. Their first beer was shipped on June 9, 1994 and their small crew of 17 continue to brew, filter, keg, bottle, and ship to cities in Texas. They offer 10 beers, 5 of which are seasonal, and I picked up a six-pack of their fall seasonal last week.

First, a brief history of St. Arnold- obtained from the previous link from the brewery website.

St. Arnold was born in 580 AD to a prominent Austrian family in France. He became bishop of Metz, France in 612 AD and spent his life warning peasants against drinking water. He encouraged all to drink beer instead, which was safer. In 627, he retired to a monastery where he died in 640. The next year, citizens of Metz exhumed the body under request to move him to the Church of the Holy Apostles. During the trip, tired porters and other followers stopped to quench their thirst but there was only a single glass of beer to share in the town of Champignuelles. Alas, the single mug never ran dry and all were able to satisfy their thirst! A miracle indeed!

St. Arnold Oktoberfest pours a deep copper color with slight head that leaves slight lacing down the glass. The aroma is full malt sweetness and slight refreshing German hops. The initial taste certainly refreshes, traces of caramel sweetness and a full body makes this an easy brew to imbibe. The hops are subdued and hard to detect and the beer is up-forward with malty sweetness, but balanced just enough for a great taste. The alcohol content is above average for this style - 6% ABV - but meets with my tastes. However, you may want to avoid drinking all 6 in a row! Also interesting, St. Arnolds originally tested this beer with both lager and ale yeasts and the ale fermented version beat the lager in taste tests. So now they brew this as an ale yearly. Scroll down on this page to read more about blind taste tests, a mislabeled batch, and slapping people!

St. Arnold brewery's year-round releases are Amber Ale, Brown Ale, Texas Wheat, Fancy Lawnmower, and Elissa IPA. I have yet to try the Elissa or the Texas Wheat. Look for their Winter release, Christmas Ale, around the end of October. Until then, drink Oktoberfest or any of their year-round brews. Or buy me a six-pack of Elissa, I won't be offended!

The Bottom Line: Texas' oldest microbrewery continues to make quality beer year-round. I like trying seasonal releases and their Oktoberfest was no exception. If you enjoy tasty, refreshing, malty brews this is one to pick up. Try it with a meal and you'll see what I mean by "refreshing." Support Texas microbrewers!

Release Date August 15th
ABV 6%
OG 1.061 (15.5° Plato)
IBU 24

From man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world - St. Arnold, Patron Saint of Brewers

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Great Divide Hercules Double IPA

Now this is my beer style!

Call me crazy, but I like a good IPA. I like it when it's so hoppy it burns bitterness into your palate and ruins any other taste for the rest of the day. I like it so hoppy that nobody else likes it except me!

Great Divide Brewing Company, out of Denver, Colorado, has hit the hoppy nail on the head with Hercules Double IPA - a beer "not for the faint of heart. It is, however, fit for the gods."

This 85 IBU ale pours a slightly hazy amber color with a sticky whitish head. I was trying to figure out what the haze was when I noticed in the light I could see a bunch of little floaties in my glass. I tried to get a picture of these whatevers but couldn't. It wasn't a big deal but I have no explanation for what they were.

The aroma was a nice hoppy blast with a slight malty musk. Definitely dominated by hops. The mouthfeel was pretty thick with a good amount of carbonation, not one to chug in other words. The taste meets my flavor for this style of beer - so hoppy that it's sweet. They, of course, boost up the malt backbone (in this case, a candy-like toffee flavor) to balance with the hop forward bitterness. The bitterness was pretty intense and sticky, coating your mouth with a dry resiny feeling. My favorite feeling!

One other note, at 10% ABV this beer is pretty intense. I had a bottle labeled "bottled 1-14-10" so it was over 7 months old. This contributed to the candy-like taste I experienced and not terribly cloying. I would also suggest sharing with a friend, I got through this 22 oz. bottle alone. If you don't have a friend, show someone that you have this bottle of beer and you want to share. You'll make friends quick!

The Bottom Line: If you enjoy huge IPAs like I do, try GD Hercules Double IPA. I enjoyed every sip, and this is a sipping beer for sure! Share with a friend if you can!

ABV 10%
IBU 85

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Real Ale Devil's Backbone

Today's update gives some love to South Texas with the Real Ale Brewing Company's Devil's Backbone Belgian-style Tripel. I drank this abbey ale recently at home after sitting on it since June of this year. I traveled to Blanco, Texas to join Real Ale in their 14th Anniversary celebration. My profile picture on Blogspot is a picture of me enjoying their 14th Anniversary Ale, very good stuff if you can get it. They only offered it on draft (don't even know if there is any left).

My dad bought a six-pack of this Belgian-style ale and I've had a couple in my fridge since then, waiting for the day when I'd crack one open to enjoy. I did just that this week.

First, a little history of Real Ale: They started their brewery in Blanco, Texas in 1996 in the basement of an antiques shop. They offered three original recipes which are still available today (Brewhouse Brown Ale, Full Moon Pale Rye Ale, and Rio Blanco Pale Ale). After changing owners in 1998, RABC continued to increase production until moving to it's current location (built from the ground up on empty land) in 2006. They are available all over the Lone Star State and all their brews are worth a try (even though I have yet to try Lost Gold IPA or Empire which are available only on draft).

Devil's Backbone pours golden and clear with a moderate bubbly head which dissapated fairly quickly. The aroma is spicy and slightly hoppy and reminded me of any number of Belgian ales I've tried, good stuff! The taste was dry with more spice (coriander?), spicy hops, and some slight citrus undertones. For those of you who haven't tried Belgian-style ales, I would compare it to drinking a dry white wine. It's a fairly high ABV, but still drinkable. I only had one, and I wouldn't drink too much of this stuff without a designated driver!

Real Ale's Beer Styles page for descriptions of Devil's Backbone and other offerings. Buy more Real Ale!

The Bottom Line: What can I say? Support Texas breweries and buy Real Ale! Devil's Backbone is their spring seasonal but it still available in San Antonio. 2010 was the first year they offered this in bottles and I will certainly continue to drink it in limited quantities while I can. I would pair it with other strong flavors, maybe fish or aromatic cheese.

ABV 8.1%
IBU 36
OG 18 Plato