The great thing about microbreweries and brewpubs is their agility. This means fresh new releases year-round, with some as rare as a South Texas rain shower.
Freetail Brewing Co.’s Jason Davis has tapped a special version of the brewpub’s standard Rye Wit with the addition of sweet orange peel and chamomile in the final stages.
Also at Freetail is a batch of Rooster Red. It isn’t terribly red in color, but if you had to pin down a style it might favor an imperial red due to the higher alcohol content, but it’s not as hoppy as the imperial moniker typically signifies in American brewing circles. Some of the Rooster Red went into barrels that began life aging port wine. There the brew will be allowed to age, and is sure to take on those interesting flavors over the next year.
Ranger Creek Brewing Co. is releasing a 5-percent ABV wheat beer dry-hopped with the delicious Citra and herbed up with lemon verbena for summer refreshment as part of its lower- alcohol series dubbed RE:Session.
Head Brewer Rob Landerman also has kegged the RE:Session IPA, which should be delivered soon along with a sour peach lager made with Fredericksburg peaches.
Special releases from out-of-state microbreweries abound these days, but every now and then I get one that isn’t just good, but also surprises me. This time it was a special release from Longmont, Colo.’s Left Hand Brewing Co.
The Left Hand TNT bills itself as a Weizen Doppelbock, so I sipped expecting certain flavors from this already-rare style. What I got was a huge roasted flavor, a little tartness, and tannic acid. On further inspection it turned out that TNT was made with a blast of Lapsang Souchong tea that really set it apart.
For more than a year, some jokester has posted on a Twitter feed as @TheRealTABC to satirize the more ridiculous of the laws governing beer and wine and how they are enforced by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
On July 8, the actual state agency joined Twitter as @TexasABC. So far, the few tweets from the agency have been on the grim side; one referenced busting a 21-year-old who gave alcohol to three minors, one of whom died later at a railroad crossing.
But they did offer the satirical tweeter an official TABC mug in exchange for not using the variation of the official agency logo, a request quickly complied with. A coffee mug beats a pair of applied handcuffs.
Travis E. Poling writes about beer weekly for the Current and is author of Beer Across Texas: A Guide to Brews and Brewmasters of the Lone Star State. You can reach him at email@example.com.