As a sports fanatic I’m naturally superstitious. I wear certain hats, t-shirts, and jerseys, or certain combinations of all three, that I convince myself somehow have an impact in the game’s outcome. If my team wins one week I’ll wear the exact same combination the next week. If they lose, it must be something I did wrong. In reality, I know that this is ridiculous. I have no affect on the outcome. But as a sports fan it’s hard to sit back and let go of control and leave it simply in the hands of the players themselves.
I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that my latest superstitious method of controlling the outcome of a game is the beer I drink during the game. When the Cubs or Bears play, I must drink Chicago’s Goose Island. When Notre Dame played Stanford a couple weeks ago, I refused to drink the Sierra Nevada Tumbler Ale that was in my fridge. (It didn’t help)
A few weeks ago I got a tweet from Andrew Henderson at The Beer Sessions about his new Craft Monday Night Football blog series, encouraging readers to drink particular craft brews from the cities represented by that week’s MNF matchup. Bears vs Packers was Goose Island vs Sprecher. Dolphins vs Patriots turned into Cigar City vs Sam Adams. This inspired me to do a post about great craft beers from the regions represented in the MLB Postseason. So without further ado, your guide to the postseason brews:
Tampa Bay Rays – Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, FL)
I have not yet tried Cigar City’s beers, but have heard raving reviews from many of the folks I follow on @BeerTour . One of my favorite blogs, Mug of St Arnold, has recently reviewed two Cigar City brews. As someone who grew up in a family of cigar store owners, I wholeheartedly approve. I look forward to drinking one of these brews with a nice Macanudo.
The awesome aroma was strong and sweet, full of sweet bready malts, banana, nectar, and guava. With the first sip of this beer I was immediately impressed. The flavor was extensive and varied with each sip. I tasted banana, guava, sweet malt, even a little strawberry. There was also a cider tartness and a dry finish that added a lot to the beer.
The medium bodied beer had a wine like mouth feel. There alcohol characteristics were well hidden by the sweetness. The flavor duration was short lived.
If you consider this a fruit beer, it may be the best fruit beer I have ever had. Many times with fruit beer it tastes fake as if the brewer used syrups, but I could really taste the fresh fruit in this tropical interpretation of a fruit beer. If you come across this beer it is definitely work picking up. I would pair this beer with a light salad, fish or with Sunday brunch.
The hop roller coaster begun with the aroma, the hops were right up front and complex. The characteristic I noticed were grapefruit, pine resin and apricot. The roller coaster gets wild in the flavor. The hops dominated the flavor, each sip I get different hop flavor. First I get pine resin, the bitter grapefruit, and then some orange. As the hops took a break, hidden caramel malt popped up, but soon was re-hidden by a hoppy pine finish. This beer walks the line of being a traditional IPA and an imperial IPA. The flavors were much more intense and complex than some other IPAs I have had in the past….
Another quality beer from Cigar City, they really never disappoint. This beer had a complexity that I always appreciate in my beers. This will definitely be a frequent visitor in my fridge.
Hear that, Floridians? Light up your Cigar City before the Rays are eliminated from the postseason! I’m hoping to get my hands on one or both of these in the near future.
Texas Rangers – 512 Brewing (Austin, TX)
Ahh, Beers of Texas, where it all began. After sampling so many good Texas beers during South by Southwest this past year it was hard choosing a specific brewery to feature. I decided on 512 Brewing because they are a local Austin brewery and I enjoyed not one but two very different beers of theirs.
Since I’m an IPA girl you won’t be surprised to hear that this was one of my favorites when I visited Austin. Also not surprising is that it gets nearly all “A” reviews on beeradvocate.com. Here are a couple of the better ones:
Pours with a dark orangish color, opaque in body. A nice IPA smell, high in hops but also has some fruits in it. Taste was a nice change for an IPA, it was definitely hoppy but the fruits really did it for me. It has a good strong bite with a crisp finish. It’s not too powerful but there is a definite zing to it. - fjordhook
Beautiful IPA, this. Tangerine copper hue seems a bit dark for the style, but the creamy taupe head is gorgeous and goes nowhere. Best lacing I’ve seen in a while, coating the inside of the pint with a continuous, thick layer of foam. Aroma is equally as impressive, with sweet tropical fruits that suggest mango, pineapple, and orange peel. The hops add notes of pine and resin, while the maltiness is biscuity and caramel-rich… Had this beer a few times, and I might start reaching for this brew with an increasing frequency, as I’d argue it’s one of the best locally-brewed IPA’s around. Yum. - wagenvolks
I was never really a fan of dark beers until I tasted 512′s Pecan Porter at The Cedar Door in Austin. Bold, rich, smooth and chocolatey, I now know what I’ve been missing all these years.
Nearly black in color, (512) Pecan Porter is made with Organic US 2-row and Crystal malts along with Baird’s Chocolate and Black malts. Its full body and malty sweetness are balanced with subtle pecan aroma and flavor from locally grown pecans. Yet another true Austin original! – 512brewing.com
I must have been on a pecan kick in Austin because I was also quite obsessed with the pecan pancakes at my favorite brunch spot, The Old Pecan Street Cafe. You can see a glimpse in this photo I took of our breakfast that I uploaded to Yelp. Hmm, maybe I should have had the pancakes and porter together.
Speaking of food and beer pairings, I’ve been talking excitedly recently about different beer-and-dessert combos, thanks also to a feature from The Beer Sessions. So rather than a review, here’s a look how Austin homebrewer Jason Buhro brought together Texas’s famous Amy’s Ice Cream and 512 to create a pecan porter flavor:
My motivation for thinking of the (512) Pecan Porter goes back to a conversation that I had with fellow Zealots…we discussed reducing down the Pecan Porter beer and using it as a sauce over ice cream. I thought that if people liked the Guinness ice cream, then the Pecan Porter was a suitable if not better alternative. (512) Pecan Porter flavor profile has the familiar roasty background that all porters possess combined with subtle pecan flavor. Guinness shares some of the same roasty notes which makes a big impact on the ice cream made from it not only would Pecan Porter have that element, but also add the pecan flavor.
Mission next year at SXSW: GET ME SOME OF THIS.
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