On December 21, 2013, Cobra Brewing Company celebrated their grand opening. I was fortunate to get there early enough and was able to sample all the beers offered before the kegs ran dry. As I have alluded to in the past, the best way to experience a beer is from the brewery itself with a tour. This was definitely no exception to my belief.
The day started with a pleasant cloudy and slightly misting chilly morning. The brewery is set in Lewisville not very far from I35E or Business 121. Parking could have potential problem due to the geographical location but if you arrive early enough, it should be negligible. Prepay and cash on site were allowed and the cost of ten dollars was pretty standard. The glass is the typical pint with the brewery logo, a nice addition for you beer glass collectors out there. The brewery itself is large, impeccably clean and offers two pool tables and picnic tables.
Cobra’s Facebook page mentions some dart boards to be added soon. The back lot offered two tents and radiant heaters so the crowd was not overly powering. The serving area was very friendly and inviting. A serving area was very friendly and inviting. The band area was more than adequate for the performers of the day. Too loud with the music playing? The back lot allowed for ambient music and low enough volume so shouting was not necessary for casual talking.
The beers themselves offered a great selection for a multitude of tasting opportunities. The plan of the day for my troupe was to get the maximum amount of beer samples. We did this by splitting each sample three ways until we had tried each beer. The tour allowed for three full samples but a total of seven beers were served. The first beer sampled by the trio was the Jack Froth, a winter ale ringing in at 8.5%. This beer gave a nice dark cola-like color and a strong alcohol scent. The flavor was coffee and cola with no presence of alcohol from the scent gave. A pleasant ale with no hop bite or spiciness.
Next beer up; the Drunkin Pumkim, a pumpkin brown ale. This beer is listed as 6.8%. Color was a golden amber almost like a pumpkin itself. This beer gave a very strong pumpkin and spice scent and did not fail to be very pumpkin pie flavored. There was no alcohol or hop note to the flavor but was a great example of an autumn pumpkin beer. Third beer sampled was the Nitemare Before Xmas, a pumpkin stout. Color was dark, coffee-like. Scent gave off coffee and chocolate as well as the first taste with a slight bit of maltiness. Second sip gave a strong alcohol presence which is to be expected at a whopping 10.5%. A beer that invites you in but lets you know how serious it could be.
Fourth beer sampled was one of the three year-round beers that are offered from Cobra; the Blonde Bomber Hop Series I. This blonde ale was made with Cascade hops and rings in at 5.1%. This beer was very light in color, straw blonde and gave off no discernable scent but rather seemed in a couple of opinions; “smells like beer”. The flavor was clean and light with nothing really standing out. For most craft beer lovers, this might almost seem like a negative but I could see this beer being enjoyed on a hot day with little consequence that normally happens from some heavy craft beers.
The next sample was the Hoppy Daze IPA offering a 7.0% and 70IBU for you hop-heads out there. Color was reddish-brown or ruddy if you will. Scent was floral and fruity-citrus with a nice lingering head to it. Flavor imparted a malt sweetness and a strong hop presence of pine like a good base IPA should. This beer will definitely not disappoint IPA lovers.
The sixth beer sampled was the other Blonde Bomber Hop Series II ringing in at a slightly higher 5.6% from its sister beer. This blonde ale is made with Tettnanger hops. These hops are German in nature and impart more of a lager/pilsner flavor normally. This beer pours an amber color identical to its sister, Series I. The scent was of strong grain and malt. The flavor light in hops and slightly tart, almost like a sour beer. Even with a sour, tart taste this beer is a nice change from the expectation of the Tettnanger hops in a blonde ale. Definitely different from the Series I.
The last beer sampled was the Best Mistake Stout. This American stout is listed at 7.2%. The color was dark but not opaque like most stouts. The scent was similar to a sour ale with some tartness. The flavor was slightly tart and not very stout-like. This beer seemed closer to a winter warmer style beer rather than a stout but still a nice beer.
Overall, the facilities were definitely impressive and gave a fun atmosphere for anyone coming to try some beer and enjoy a nice day. Children were present in ugly holiday sweaters so families could make this into an outing for the afternoon on a Saturday. The food, although I did not sample any, was imparted as being very tasty, specifically the hot dog wrapped in bacon and covered in cheese. The music was nice but a bit loud indoors as conversation was at a shouting level. While I was not really able to identify or chat with any brewers present, the facility was quite busy with many people celebrating the opening.
The beers themselves were different in each offering and gave a plethora of flavors, in some instances some that were unexpected but in no way unappreciated. The only downside is that some of the beers offered were limited in batch size so you may need to wait until they are in season again.
Happy New Year and great beers to you. Slàinte.