Upon entering the T & P building in Ft. Worth, there was little doubt what people were here to do. It was time to taste beer. If you didn’t know, there were small tables that had signs with memorable names like Spaten, Brooklyn, and Deschutes to stand and socialize while tasting great beers. There were some tried and true breweries like Sierra Nevada and Stone and some new faces like Maui Brewery and Ace that surprised. Let me lead you on an exploration of some of the great artisan beers that could and probably should replace your Miller Lite
The first spot I showed up to is one of my favorites from San Francisco, Anchor Brewery. They were pouring three different beers, their Liberty Ale, their Steam, and their Porter. While the Liberty was a bit sweet for my taste and I like my Porter to have a bit more body, the Steam definitely hit the spot and is available year-round. It has great balance on the palate and a rich amber color.
Next to Anchor Brewery is my go-to beer, Sierra Nevada. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a staple beer for me but at this table, they had three other labels for me to try, their Summerfest, Kellerweis and Torpedo IPA. All three were great representations of their styles (a pilsner, hefeweizen, and Indian pale ale) but it was the Kellerweis that got my attention. I loved the weight and great citrus notes flowing across the palate. This might become my summertime beer.
If I had to have a favorite lineup at the event, it had to be Stone Brewery. These are not your light beers by any stretch of the imagination. With names like Arrogant Bastard and Sublimely Self Righteous for their beers, you know that you are getting yourself into something big, bad and bold and each beer lived up to its name. The Smoked Porter had wonderful flavors of wood smoke, vanilla and chocolate. This could be dessert. The Arrogant Bastard acted like its name, kicking your teeth in with hops and flavors that make your tongue sing. Even the Sublimely Self Righteous, an American Black IPA, was awesome with rich flavors, hops that are definitely present but not overwhelming and hints of tangerine on the back palate.
There were several other beers that caught my attention as well. Maui Brewing Company makes a Coconut Porter in a can (perfect for the beach) that had good chocolate, coffee and coconut flavors and aromas. Maui actually puts shredded coconut into the mash to give that flavor. Brooklyn Brewery had a good lineup led by the Brooklyn Local 1, a beer that uses bottle re-fermentation to give it great flavor and depth. This was my single favorite beer of the day.
The last couple of beers that were fun and different were the Lindeman’s Peach Lambic and Ace Hard Ciders Joker. Neither of these are your traditional beers but the flavors were fantastic. I loved the strong peach flavor from the lambic. If you like peach, this is for you. The Joker from Ace is made from Champagne yeast that had the light lemon, custard and yeasty notes you expect from from Champagne.
This is only a small tasting of what was being sampled, along with delicious salami and cheese from Central Market and pizza from Cane Rosso’s mobile oven. There are some terrific artisan beers out there to try so the next time you feel like getting your standard beer, try branching out and tasting something new. You might be surprised by what you get.