South Lamar: New beers on the the menu
Six or seven times a year we get an opportunity to shake things up a little as the front page of the menu is reprinted to reflect the current films or the changing seasons, and for me, seasonals are one of the most fun things about the business of beer. To be fair, south central Texas hardly gets the mists and mellow fruitfulness enjoyed by most other parts of the northern hemisphere at this time of the year, encouraging us away from the hefeweizens, witbiers, lagers, kölsches etc, and towards the darker, heavier beers, but we can still pretend.
As mentioned previously, both Live Oak Oaktoberfest and Sam Adams Octoberfest are already on tap, and Real Ale's fall seasonal will be added to the lineup as soon we drain the current keg of Lost Gold IPA. We'll have at least three Oktoberfest Badass drafts: Bear Republic Late Harvest Lager is already flowing, and it'll be followed by The Kaiser - an imperial Oktoberfest from Avery's 'Dictator' series which also includes The Czar (Russian Imperial Stout) and Maharaja - a huge, hoppy double IPA which we had on tap earlier this year. When the Kaiser is dead and buried we'll tap a small keg of one of the finest bona fide German Oktoberfests - Ayinger.
On the regular menu you'll find five new bottled beers and three new drafts. The bottles first:
- Avery New World Porter: A superb example of an American Porter. In other words, take an English Porter and bitter it up a bit with American hops - no bad thing as far as this hophead is concerned. The malts are still evident however, making this a fantastically well balanced brew.
- Hopus Belgian Pale Ale: At $7.50 for an 11.2oz bottle this one doesn't come cheap, but quality beats out quantity here. Although listed as a Belgian IPA in some places, it is, strictly speaking, a rather hoppy Belgian Pale Ale.
- Warsteiner Dunkel Lager: Germany makes some of the best beers in the world... which have been largely ignored on the menu here at Lamar so I thought it's time we did something about that. There'll be more imported lagers, dunkels, doppelbocks etc from now on (see above - Ayinger O-fest).
- Belhaven Scottish Ale: Although I'm a confirmed hophead I still have a taste for the maltier side of the beer spectrum, particularly Scottish Ales with the toffee-like sweetness that comes from a prolonged boil in the brewing kettle, caramelising the sugars.
- Redbridge gluten-free lager: We've had a number of requests for gluten free beer in recent months, and after some research and several tastings we've decided to go with Redbridge Lager.
Our current Badass Bottles, by the way, are North Coast Le Merle Saison and Delirium Nocturnum Belgian Strong Dark Ale, to be followed by Unibroue Fin du Monde Tripel and Urthel Vlaemse Bock.
The three new drafts are Wells Bombardier English Bitter (replacing Bass), Buckethead IPA from Austin's newest (for the time being) brewery, Thirsty Planet, which replaces Boulevard Single Wide, and New Belgium Hoptober replacing 1554.
It wasn't easy to take Bass off the menu. An English bitter/pale ale is something every beer bar should have at least one of, not just because it's one of the fundamental beer styles but because it's the only way to make a proper Black and Tan. Bass also has a lot of history behind it: founded in 1777 and one of the first breweries to make use of the famously beer-friendly water at Burton upon Trent, the familiar red triangle is Britain's very first registered trade mark (registered on January 1st, 1876) and has featured in many works of art including Manet's Bar at the Folies-Bergère
and several painting by Picasso. But, sadly, Bass isn't the beer it once was. Wells Bombardier, however, is.
Thirsty Planet is the first of the clutch of new Austin breweries to start shipping its beers (I hear Jester King might soon be ready to roll too). They currently brew three beers - Yellow Armadillo American Pale Wheat Ale, Thirsty Goat Amber, and Buckethead IPA. Buckethead is a fantastically hoppy American IPA. Thirsty Planet use two-row and crystal malt, and hop the beer with Magnum, Columbus, Simcoe, Amarillo and Cascade for a superb, citrusy, flowery hop profile and and a respectable 70-ish IBUs.
New Belgium Hoptober is a departure from the usual autumn seasonals which tend to lean in a maltwards direction. It's described as a golden ale brewed with five hops (Centennial, Cascade, Sterling, Willamette, and Glacier) and four malts, both barley and wheat, plus rye and oats for a creamy mouthfeel.
While strictly speaking not exactly a new draft, because it's listed on the menu as Sierra Nevada Seasonal, we've had Tumbler Brown Ale on tap for a few weeks now. When I heard that Sierra were axing their Anniversary autumn seasonal in favour of a brown ale, I was not best pleased. They'd already ditched ESB and replaced it with Glissade Golden Bock for the spring seasonal and now one of my other favourite Sierra Nevada beers was gone. But the beer it's been replaced by is just damn delicious. Tumbler is my current after-shift beer of choice and I'm going to miss it when it's gone, even though it'll be followed by the even more delicious Celebration Double IPA.
And that, dear reader, means just one thing - Christmas seasonals are only a month or two away!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