As mentioned in the last Badass Beer post, we have indeed gone to two Badass Bottles, but we lost one Badass Draft in the process. However, there's a light on the horizon, a silver lining around the cloud, one door closes etc.
The reason for losing the draft is that summer is drawing to a conclusion. Now, all things are relative, and although we're still experiencing near-100° temperatures and Austin's hottest recorded temperature (112F/44.44C) happened in September, the fact is that we're only three weeks away from the autumnal equinox, and to friends of John Barleycorn that means one thing - autumn seasonals! Yesterday (Monday), Live Oak rolled out the first kegs this year's Oaktoberfest and it is delicious. I had me a few pints while watching Get Low, a film I highly recommend. We also tapped a keg of Sam Adams' autumn seasonal, and there'll be more Oktoberfests to follow in the coming weeks, including a Badass Oktoberfest draft or two. Stay tuned for details.
If sweet, malty German brews aren't to your taste, we also have New Belgium Hoptober on tap. As the name suggests, it's a hop-forward beer - a golden ale, moderately - but noticeably - hopped, possessing a decent malt balance and without too many IBUs (40, to be exact).
This weekend we tapped (and it's our current Badass Draft) the first of two kegs of (512)'s descriptively-named TWO. The name is appropriate not just because this is their second anniversary brew, but also because it's a double IPA, and a damn fine one. It is, and I quote, "...heavily hopped with over 4 lbs/bbl of Simcoe, Magnum, Nugget and Ahtanum. This is a big, malty ale with delicate hop aroma, complex hop flavor and sustained smooth hop bitterness. Hops are added from beginning to end during the brewing process and, like most (512) ales, this one is made using over 80% USDA certified organic ingredients." Kevin and Nate have knocked out another good one, I reckon. If TWO is a double IPA, dare we hope that THREE will be a tripel?
So, what about that new Badass Bottle to partner the North Coast Le Merle Saison? This is an interesting one - Dogfish Head Squall IPA. It's described as a bottle-conditioned and dry-hopped 90 Minute and, to be sure, you'll find that characteristic 90 Minute sweetness, but with far more hop flavour and bitterness. There's been some talk among the beer geeks regarding the carbonation of DFH Squall. Some have said their bottle was flat as a pancake while others have had a gusher! I've only had one experience of it so far - a bottle I bought a few weeks ago from Central Market - and I guess I got lucky because mine had that very soft carbonation you find in cask-conditioned beers. Perfect for my palate.
Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione describes it as "the most hoppy beer we make at Dogfish Head", and who am I to disagree with him? By DFH standards it is indeed a serious hop bomb, and well worth investigating. Being bottle conditioned, you will find some sediment at the bottom. It's entirely drinkable and it's up to you whether you go for a regular pour or decant the beer into your glass.
You do always drink your beer from a glass, right?
Jim Hughes, Head Beer Nerd, Alamo South Lamar
“If I had all the money I’ve spent on drink… I’d spend it on drink.” ~ Sir Henry Rawlinson