Gameday Beers of the Week: Texas A&M
We’re now in the annual stretch of the UA season where every team the Tide plays is coming off of a bye-week. The Aggies have had nearly two weeks to get into drinking shape for this game. You’ve got some catching up to do.
Six-pack beer of the week: Live Oak Hefeweizen
Alright, so it’s true that you can’t get this in bottles at all: Live Oak only makes enough beer to send to draft accounts in Texas. But if you swung through Austin you could pick up multiple growlers of this. And if you are in Austin then, frankly, you have an obligation to drill an entire growler while waiting in line at LA Barbecue/Franklin Barbecue/another of Austin’s fables BBQ joints. Live Oak Hefeweizen is the premier hefeweizen brewed in the United States, and is one of the singular most drinkable beers I’ve ever had. 64 ounces is not enough for you, not for a football game and not even for a post-shower drink. The immaculately balanced bready, croissant-like body & superlight lemon acidity & yeasty esters make for a true guzzler. Have somebody overnight you a few growlers, trust me.
Celebration beer of the week: Jester King Das Wunderkind!
Jester King, located out in the Hill Country, is Texas’ premier brewery, and one of the finest in all of America. They specialize in the intersection of brewing and terroir: they make amazing farmhouse ales and beers using local produce and/or native yeast strains. Many of their finest beers are produced in sub-1,000 bottle counts, with people standing in lines for hours at the brewery in order to obtain a bottle. This beer I’ve chosen, Das Wunderkind!, is actually sent out to distribution. It’s a low-alcohol Saison with plenty of lactic acid: tart, quenching, appropriate for drinking after a day of laboring in the fields. In other words, it’s pretty traditional to the original intent of the style back in pre-industrial Wallonia. I can think of few beers better to celebrate a workmanline Alabama victory over the Fightin’ Military Collies.
Grandpa beer of the week: Pearl Lager
Pearl is to Texas what Stag is to Missouri: gold can, old recipe, and it’s overshadowed by another lager in the state. I mean, the obvious move here would be highlight Lone Star. It, like Pearl, is an industrial lager that was brewed exclusively in Texas for many years before Pabst acquired the brand. But while Lone Star has been seen in movies & TV shows, most memorably as the brand of lager that Rust Cohle crushes twelve-packs of during police questioning in the one and only season of True Detective that exists, Pearl doesn’t have such notoriety. Like all my favorite grandparents, Pearl keeps to itself. It’s unassuming, unpretentious, and dependably a fixture of local dive bars.
Texas beer you can buy in Alabama: Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower
Saint Arnold, the oldest craft brewery in Texas, has earned multiple medals at the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup for this rendition of the traditional Kolsch style. Kolsch is a very approachable beer style that’s sort of a hybrid of lager and ale. It uses an ale yeast strain, but it’s conditioned cold like a lager. The result is a beer of notable smoothness. Saint Arnold names their Kolsch “Fancy Lawnmower” because it comes across as a slightly elevated, slightly more refined version of an industrial lager that you might crack open after doing some yard work.
Texas beer to avoid at all costs: Shiner Bock
This, like Guinness, is the kind of beer that self-important, mansplaining, Bukowski-reading, refuses-to-smoke-anything-other-than-American-Spirits college types love drink and think they are snobs for drinking. It’s also popular with that other archetype, Your Uncle Who Doesn’t Know Anything. Shiner Bock does not taste like a traditional bockbier. And while it also doesn’t quiiiiite taste like a Coors or something, I’d rather have the Coors Banquet. Shiner Bock tastes like a Smithwick’s that was left out in the parking lot of a Kenny Chesney concert for too long. It tastes like you made a cup of pourover coffee, but instead of putting any coffee in the Chemex you put shreds of cardboard in there. It’s amber color is way off for the style, suggesting a Marzen more than even a Helles Bock. But it lacks the brown malt refinement of a Marzen and the hop presence of a Maibock and the general malty heft of a traditional bock. I don’t know what this beer is other than bad.