The Best Beer You Never Buy

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Published on: June 5, 2013

The Best Beer You Never Buy Cause New Beer Is New

Hey. You there. Yeah, you with the beer. Yes, you, with the snifter and the Untappd account filled up from all those bottle share check-ins. The person who just drove all over town for six hours tracking down the last bottle of that new saison brewed with fermented lima beans, organic sorghum, Salvadoran dandelion seeds, and bubblegum chewed by the brew master. And you paid extra because that beer came in a burled walnut box, didn’t it.  Let me ask you a question.

Was it worth it? All the frustration, the expense? You know, you could have something so much better. So much easier. You could have driven to your local bottle shop, grabbed one off the shelf for half the price you just spent, and you could have taken home the best beer you keep forgetting to buy.

You know the beer I mean. There’s a happy looking monk in tan and maroon vestments with cream sleeves. There’s a blue and yellow background. He’s holding a frothing chalice filled with pure liquid fantastic.

Yeah, you know exactly what I’m talking about. In fact you’re kicking yourself right now while you sip that $25 beer and try to tell yourself it’s not infected. No way did you just waste an entire day on that stuff. But you did. Your spent your one day off tracking down the last bottle of an overpriced beer soon to be derided all across the beer nerd community for being too reliant on gimmicky ingredients, and too prone to infection. You know, because of all that brew master spit.

Why? …Because new beer is new.

And don’t look now, but it only rates an 87 on your favorite uptight beer website that won’t let you post what you really think. Now you really feel like a failure. You won’t dare tell you friends you spent so much money on something so low-rated.

…Someone should slap that beer right out of your mouth, and knock out that attitude along with it.

That’s alright, though. We’ve all been there before. We’ve all been consumed with the desire to track down the latest hand-numbered rarity, the craziest new barrel-aged behemoth and the beer made from some brewer’s yeasty beard. ( Wash that thing, man. ) Why? Because it’s new. Its in our DNA as craft beer fans. We want to try the newest thing. We long for what we cannot have. The harder it is to find, the harder we struggle to find it anyway.

Granted, sometimes it’s worth it. We all crapped our collective pants when Firestone Walker and Founders finally showed up in DFW. And rightfully so, their beers are brain-numbingly delicious. And when KBS snuck into the area, I actually started to wonder if the infamous intertubes really could get clogged up by all the damn “I can’t find it!” posts, tweets, blogs, and whine-a-thons that littered the online landscape like annoying hipster skeletons scattered across the internet wasteland.

Yes, we get it.

New beer is new.

But you know what?

Old beer is better.

Not to deride the amazing new offerings we’re getting from some of the nation’s best breweries. Nor by any means to discount some of the equally fantastic stuff our own local breweries are kegging up these days. I’m as ecstatic about the exploding Mount Krakatau that is the local craft brewing scene as anyone else is.

Yet our increasing obsession as a craft beer culture with all things new and local means some of our old standbys are now getting criminally overlooked. I’m talking about the beers we used to buy on a weekly or monthly basis, long before DFW ever became a burgeoning craft beer Utopia. The beers we used to buy over and over without ever getting tired of them simply because they’re that damn good. We raved about these beers to our friends, brought them to parties to show the poor, misguided BMC-swilling masses what beer could really taste like…and now?

Now we just pass them by to grab that brand new wine-barrel aged Imperial Black Saison that boldly shatters the stylistic guidelines so few of us really care about anyway. And all the while, we cross our fingers as we walk to the counter, hoping it’s not as infected as we’ve heard.

But it is, isn’t it. The brewery just put out a press release. It’s okay, they’ll tell you. It adds “unexpected complexity.”

Just think. You could have bought a St Bernardus Abt 12. Ah, yes, that’s where this long and winding road has been leading. Still with me? You must be drinking. Good, so am I.

You knew the beer as soon as I described the label. Now let me ask you this. When was the last time you actually bought an Abt 12?

You rotten liar. St Bernardus has always had your back, why haven’t you got theirs?

A suggestion. Buy yourself an Abt 12 the next time you go for a beer. Skip the latest, greatest, barrel-agiest, and buy yourself a true classic. That smiling monk has been overlooked long enough.

He’s been watching you, you know. He saw you when you walked right past Abt 12 to buy that new craft brewery’s first shot at a Belgian Quad. He heard you mutter to your friends the next day that it was “too boozy” and “All sugar.” A single tear ran down his cheek because he knows Abt 12 is none of those things. He kept smiling though, because he’s got a chalice filled with Abt 12 that never goes empty.

How I envy that bald, ruddy-cheeked bastard right now. My own glass is emptying far too swiftly.

Can you blame me? The beer is damn near flawless. It’s a perfect Quad. Granted, the term “Belgian Quad” might well have been invented for the American market. Even the bottle claims Abt 12 is “in the classic Dubbel style.” But whether you call it a Quad, a Dubbel or Belgian Strong Dark Ale, ( you nerd ) it exemplifies that style. It is big, strong and sweet without ever being overwhelmingly hot or boozy no matter how fresh it is. Yes, it mellows and deepens with age but what good beer doesn’t?

Even in a fresh bottle the layers of malt flavor have a chasm-like depth. Trying to analyze all the levels of flavor in this beer makes me feel a bit like some extra nerdy geologist describing the multi-hued tiers of ancient stone in some scenic canyon wall. Only instead of spotting red sandstone, gray limestone, and mica-flecked granite I’m tasting caramel, candy sugar, toffee, date, plum, raisin, hints of clove, traces of anise, and all the way back around to caramel again. It’s sweet, yes, but the added hints of spice and a faint bittering edge of lingering hops keep it from ever being cloying.

The balance is damn near perfect. So is the beer, frankly. In fact, Abt 12 is so good it owns your face. And not just part of your face, either. Abt 12 owns your whole damn face and leases it too you on a monthly basis. It’s that good.

Truth be told, Abt 12 is my single favorite Belgian beer. More than that, it is one of my favorite beers of any style, from any place in the world. Perhaps that’s partly nostalgia speaking. Long before I’d ever even heard the term craft beer, I found Abt 12. I had tried and loved several beers from Belgium before, and the smiling monk on the bottle just seemed to promise something truly delicious. Needless to say, he was right.

My first taste of Abt 12 took my expectations of what beer should be, and made them bite the curb. Never thought a monk could be so violent, but my expectations are still paying off that dental work. So maybe I still view Abt 12 through the gauzy veil of that first “Oh My God This Is Amazing” moment. I probably always will. But nostalgia or not, this is one damn fine beer.

Odds are, Abt 12 is a better beer than some of the recent Big New Things you’ve overspent on just to be able to tell your friends and your Untappd account that yes, you did try New Beer. And yes, New Beer was new.

But Old Beer was better.

Next time, just buy yourself an Abt 12. When you sit down, and sip it, you’ll want to thank me for sending you back. But don’t thank me. Thank that smiling monk.

He’s been waiting for you to come back.

The Rustic in West Village

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Published on: April 16, 2013

In the “I can’t wait” category,  The Rustic is coming to shape in West Village.  If they follow through with the “40 beers on tap, most of them being Texas beers” then they have a large following from DFWHops.

Live music, large patio (although not in a prime “walk by” area), good food, and good beer.

DFWHops will try to make it out there upon open.

 

 

Dallas Beer Week Begins!

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Published on: November 9, 2012

Dallas Beer Week is here!Saturday, November 10th opens up Dallas Beer Week once again and it starts off with two fantastic events.

Franconia Brewing has a DBW Kickoff Party starting at Noon! The cost is a mere $15 and for that price you get 4 great Franconia beers, a glass to keep, and a whopping $10 of each ticket sold goes to help the homeless! Sweet!

Meanwhile, across town, the Common Table is featuring an Avery Tap Takeover. They begin the day with a Beer Brunch, though that event is already sold out. But the rest of the taps start pouring around 12-12:30, so get there early to ensure you get some of the rare goodness.

They’ll have 20+ Avery taps, and some of these beers have never been seen outside the Avery brewery, let alone in Dallas. Don’t expect to see them around again, either. Cheif among them? The infamous Tweak, that’s Mephistopheles stout brewed with a crapton of espresso. Awesome.

So I dunno what you’re waiting for…pick an event, and go drink some!

Avery Beer Breakfast and Tap Takeover at the Common Table

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Published on: October 10, 2012

Coming this November, Saturday the 10th to be specific…Avery Brewing is conquering the Common Table. Or…at least the Common Table’s going to be filling up all their taps with Avery Beers. They last did this with Dogfish Head beers, and that turned out to be a fantastic event.

Given that they featured Bitches Brew, Olde School Barleywine, and 120 all on Tap back then…and are promising new-to-DFW rarities from Avery this time…

Well, if you think you’re gonna skip this event, I’m hereby revoking your Craft Beer Cred right now. Yes, I’m authorized to do that.

Expect 20+ Avery beers on tap…some of them are likely to be very, very rare. Even better, they’re kicking it all off with a Beer Brunch featuring even more rarities.

I’m personally hoping they have something that will…Tweak people out.

And if you get that reference, I know you’re going to be there.

Fillmore Pub’s 5 Year Anniversary

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Published on: October 10, 2012

Too many good things happening on Saturday October 13th. As if the Flying Saucer’s Beer FeAst wasn’t enough, the Fillmore Pub in Plano is celebrating their 5th Anniversary. They’ll be tapping delicious local beers from both Lakewood, and Peticolas. And if that’s not enough, you’re a greedy bastard. …I mean…hey, guess what else they’ve got.

Dogfish 120! Yup, they’ll also be tapping a special keg of DFH’s most sought after beer to celebrate 5 years of great food and great beer in the heart of old Plano. ( Yeah, I know, it’s not so old. Just go with it. )

You’re sure to have a great time. And as the Fillmore Pub themselves say, the event is happening “All damn day and night.” So even if you hit Beer FeAst, there’s plenty of time to go home, take a nap, sober up, and then head over to the Fillmore to start all over.

Go drink some!

Fall Smoke Out at the Holy Grail Pub

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Published on: October 10, 2012

Saturday and Sunday, October 20th and 21st, the Holy Grail Pub up in Plano is having their Fall Smoke Out. This is their last BBQ event of the year, and if you’re a fan of good food and beer, you don’t want to miss this one.

Holy Grail’s Smokeouts always feature some delicious BBQ and some special tappings as well. This one will feature their increasingly famous House-made Hot Dogs and Beer Can Chicken, as well as their delicious sliced brisket. They’ll also have Beef Ribs this time.

And only on Sunday, starting at 2…their famous Smoked Prime Rib. That stuff is seriously delicious people, so go eat some. Now. Not the 21th yet? …Guess you’ll have to wait around drinking their beer instead. I doubt they’ll mind.

And if you’re the kind of person who prefers Sauce with their BBQ ( You know who you are. ) you’ll be happy to know that they’re featuring House Made sauces based on the style of famous locations such as Texas, North Carolina, Kansas City, and…er…Honey Bourbon. Wherever that is. Kentucky, from the sound of it.

Beer FeAst at the Flying Saucer Fort Worth

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Published on: October 10, 2012

This Saturday, October 13th is the Flying Saucer in Fort Worth’s annual Fall Beer Fest. Of course, to keep in line with the other saucer locations, they’ve changed the name to the Beer FeAst.

This is always a fun event, at an awesome location, and there’s always some great beers on tap.

Tickets are available online at a discounted price, or at a slightly higher price at the door. Unless, of course, they sell out. So yanno, buy early.

Or get there early if you’re buying at the door. Besides, it’s a beer fest, might as well start drinking early! …But don’t be a moron. Get a DD or get a cab.

Beyond that…go drink some!

Stone Tap Takeover at Goodfriend

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Published on: August 24, 2012

This Friday, August 24th thorugh Sunday, August 26th, Stone Brewing takes over the taps at Goodfriend Burger and Beer Garden. They’ll be featuring a tongue-searingly hoppy and delicious Double Dry Hopped version of Sublimely Self Righteous! They’ll also have the new-to-Texas Levitation, and Saison Du Buff! …Or if you’re like me, you’ll go straight for the big guns, the infamous Imperial Russian stout. That’s this Friday-Sunday, August 24-26th.

Brought to you by your Good Friends at Goodfriend.

Jim Koch Visits Dallas

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Published on: August 6, 2012

Jim Koch, founder of Sam Adams/Boston Beer Company, visits the Dallas area Monday, August 6th.

His first stop is The Common Table, where he’ll arrive around 3:30. Rumor has it he’ll be bringing some Utopias to share as well. He won’t be able to stay too long so try and arrive early.

Or, head on over to the Meddlesome Moth where it sounds like he’ll be making his second stop, probably around 5pm till about 7pm.

So head on out and say hi to one of craft beer’s most successful and influential pioneers!

Lakewood Brewing Double Launch

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Published on: August 4, 2012

Saturday, August 4th, Dallas gets yet another craft brewery as Lakewood Brewing have their long awaited launch party. The fun begins around 4-4:30 at Goodfriend Burger and Beer Garden in Dallas. Lakewood will of course be in attendance, and they’d damn well better be bringing beer, too. Gently inebriated rumor has it they’ll be pouring both their Hop Trap, a Belgian-IPA, and their Rye Wheat beer, Rock Ryder.

Then on Tuesday, the party continues over at The Common Table, where their Brewsday Tuesday will also feature Lakewood beers! It’s a two phased launch, and if I was you, I’d attend both phases. And yanno, drink beer. Lakewood beer.

Might want to get there early though. These guys have been a long time coming and anticipation has been running very high for quite some time now!

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