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At this very moment, what is the best brewery in Texas?

Discussion in 'Southwest' started by MexiMart, Sep 26, 2013.

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  1. jamescain

    jamescain Meyvn (1,002) Jul 14, 2009 Texas
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Technically sour beers would be real beers since you can't brew most German styles without the advent of modern technology. I also think that the limitations of the Reinheitsgebot have severely limited the German brewing scene, which is why it is sadly slowly dying. I'm personally all for experimentation, sure some things don't work out and not every beer is everyone's cup of tea, but experimentation is what drives craft beer.
    Ranger Creek is pretty much universally hated around here. All of their small batch beers are infected and they continue to deny it and tell us we don't know what we're talking about. I've stopped buying their beers because of their inconsistency and public relations.

    I've honestly never had an infected bottle of JK, but due to the nature of their brewing practices it would not be surprising if it happened. Personally I say stick to their sours and you'll be fine. If you don't like sours then they probably are not the brewery for you. They at least have been good at dealing with their bottling issues.
    dumptruck81 likes this.
  2. blastoderm55

    blastoderm55 Disciple (381) Jun 7, 2013 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I had #6 from Ranger Creek. It was a drain pour for me.
    HopAG likes this.
  3. HopAG

    HopAG Initiate (0) Sep 22, 2012 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I had small batch 4 at a beer festival and it was clearly infected. A porter should not taste like vinegar ever...
  4. JezyGray

    JezyGray Initiate (0) Oct 21, 2013 Texas

    Interesting! This hasn't been my (relatively limited) experience with Ranger Creek. The two small batch bottles I had were lovely. (Can't remember the numbers. Seems like an ineffective marketing strategy.) That was a little over a year ago, but I've had their oatmeal pale ale 2 or 3 times on tap at a local bar -- from the same keg -- and really enjoyed it. There seems to be a consensus here, though, so I'll trust that they have serious consistency issues.
  5. Danielbt

    Danielbt Initiate (0) May 4, 2012 Texas

    I wouldn't tell you to trust "consensus" here, but I can tell you from personal experience that every small batch beer that I've had (and I quit after 5) was infected, except for 2, which I did not like anyhow.

    I used to buy several bottles of every new batch of La Bestia. No more. Their response to criticism of their obviously-infected small batch products was absurd, and I won't support them in any way again.
    jeebeel likes this.
  6. Lutter

    Lutter Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2010 Texas

    I thought it was hilarious when #6 came out (Flemish Sour Red) and there were reports that a few bottles weren't sour. Not sure if that was in jest.

    I was so embarassed about #4 though... since I bought a few more bottles after loving the first one I had as gifts... it was smoked porter in whiskey barrels and they all turned out to be infected. Relatives were telling me "thanks, but I don't like sour beer". That was the moment I stopped buying any of their product.
  7. DrunkJoeNamath

    DrunkJoeNamath Initiate (0) Oct 19, 2013 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Real Ale - Srsly? I must be on the jayvee board.

  8. Theortiz01

    Theortiz01 Initiate (0) Jun 7, 2013 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Jester King
    Hops & Grain

    Saying which brewery is the best to me is like saying which of your kids or pets you love the most. I don't love one of these more than the other, but differently. All three of these breweries do great things in their own way, and have a place in my fridge.
  9. shnsajax

    shnsajax Disciple (360) Jul 2, 2013 Idaho
    Beer Trader

    Now that Community is bottling I wonder what kind of waves they will make.
  10. TxUltraRunner

    TxUltraRunner Disciple (357) Aug 16, 2012 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Best Texas brewery? Whatever I'm drinkin' at the moment. I do love me some H&G, ABW, Lone Pint, Jester King, Karbach...and each one has their own special beers. Glad I have so many to pick from.
    LarryK likes this.
  11. djd07

    djd07 Aspirant (203) Oct 3, 2012 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Whats your knock on Real Ale?
  12. blatherbeard

    blatherbeard Initiate (0) Sep 30, 2007 Texas

    was my thought too since they are THE most consistent of the bunch imo.
  13. Danielbt

    Danielbt Initiate (0) May 4, 2012 Texas

    Totally. Or, you're a moronic clown.

    Yes, liking the most consistent, second longest running brewery in the state makes you JV.

    Unless you actually like dozens of unique, high quality firkins and very consistent canned and bottled beer making it across the state. Yeah, that fucking sucks.

    Mysterium Verum is bullshit; those assholes don't know what they're doing, producing awesome barrel-aged beers of all sorts of styles. Or anniversary beers that age incredibly well. Newbs.
  14. Lutter

    Lutter Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2010 Texas

    Jayvee board? Seriously, are you a high school junior? Because that's the last time I heard that terminology
    Beernerds likes this.
  15. starkmarvelo

    starkmarvelo Disciple (370) Jan 20, 2010 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Can they just bottle this stuff already?!
    Lutter and Texas_Speed like this.
  16. videofrog

    videofrog Defender (654) Nov 13, 2010 Texas

    The only knock on Real Ale, for me, is the fact that they bottle-date all styles with a Best By of 6 months out. I haven't had Lost Gold that far out, but I would imagine it's not up to par. I have had Fireman's #4 and Phoenixx past date: Fireman's was fine, Phoenixx was a mess.

    But that's a really nitpicky knock for an outstanding brewery. Like others have said: consistent/high quality regulars, solid seasonals, and awesome limiteds. Speaking of which, I need to find out if any Kraken is showing up during Austin Beer Week.
  17. jamescain

    jamescain Meyvn (1,002) Jul 14, 2009 Texas
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I'm not sure why everyone is jumping on DrunkJoeNamath for having a different opinion, but I'm not the biggest Real Ale fan either. I appreciate what they do and what they have done but until they can start to increase their production of their barrel aged products they'll be lower on my list. They don't brew any styles that I can't find a better version of from a different TX brewery. Sure they're consistent, but the question was what is the best brewery, not who is the most consistent. Consistent does not always equal best. If I want an IPA there are probably at least 3 TX breweries I'm going to choose over them. I personally don't really care for brown ales or ESBs or kolsches so that eliminates some of their other products.
    starkmarvelo and Theortiz01 like this.
  18. kmello69

    kmello69 Defender (618) Nov 27, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    You come off as so mean and angry when you post, yet are so sweet and cuddly in real life. Exciting!

    blatherbeard and Danielbt like this.
  19. Beernerds

    Beernerds Initiate (161) Dec 7, 2011 Texas

    Thing is, DrunkJoeNamath's post would have been perfectly OK if his difference of opinion didn't come with a heaping dose of "LOL you idiots" thanks to the "jayvee" comment.
  20. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2012 Texas

    I was about to say the same thing... lol

    It's all about presentation.

    The even funnier part is his comment about liking Karbach, who I feel is very similar to Real Ale just with less selection due to the fact they are a newer brewery.
  21. nathanmiller

    nathanmiller Meyvn (1,256) Oct 7, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    And less consistency. And less quality.

    But WAY more fanboys. So they've got that going for them, which is nice.
    Beernerds likes this.
  22. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2012 Texas

    I don't feel RA's Barrel Aged beers aren't always consistent. Well, some are consistently bad. Morgul, I'm looking at you.

    Karbach's canned beers are consistent and quite tasty IMHO.

    I will agree that Roll in the Hay was a failure and was quite unsavory.
  23. JezyGray

    JezyGray Initiate (0) Oct 21, 2013 Texas

    Just picked up a four-pack of Rodeo Clown. Was honestly a little underwhelmed by Hopadillo (not bad by any means, I just probably won't throw down cash for a sixer in the future. Might order one at a bar, though.) Sampled Rodeo Clown at the Canned festival in Denton, and it seemed more my speed. Looking forward to getting into one properly.

    What is everyone's opinion on Buffalo Bayou? Their bottles just recently showed up in my NTX market, but I haven't tried one. Nicely packaged, but are they a good buy? (Looking at their website, I have to admit I'm a little turned off by words like "heritage" and "secessionist," but whatever. I can overlook that if it's tasty.)
  24. Danielbt

    Danielbt Initiate (0) May 4, 2012 Texas

    Well, you aren't a condescending twat, so that might be the difference. :wink:
  25. Danielbt

    Danielbt Initiate (0) May 4, 2012 Texas

    I like the Gingerbread Stout quite a bit. Figaro was a little sweet, but not bad.

    I do like the statement on the front of their site: Drown Ideology in Beer.
    JezyGray likes this.
  26. kmello69

    kmello69 Defender (618) Nov 27, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

  27. Houston_E89

    Houston_E89 Aspirant (263) Sep 10, 2012 Texas

    Wealth and Taste, The Kraken, Numb Comfort, Hellfighter 003, OG Hellfighter, DR12 (Fresh, cold, on tap), BB1/3 & 4, OG Black Metal - All of these are stand out brews in my book.

    Anybody know where I can still find Kraken on tap?!? (In Houston)
  28. JezyGray

    JezyGray Initiate (0) Oct 21, 2013 Texas

    How about Meer Koebel?
  29. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2012 Texas

    I've never had it, but it's a Belgian IPA that is rather old by now.

    Belgian Barleywine now?
  30. nathanmiller

    nathanmiller Meyvn (1,256) Oct 7, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    When I first cracked Meer Koebel, I thought "well here's an IPA that will actually improve over time." I had some two weeks ago and sure enough it got better. The flavors have matured enough to make it pretty tasty. I'd say go for it.
  31. DanzBorin

    DanzBorin Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2012 Texas

    good to know... this is a good post and passes muster!
  32. Lutter

    Lutter Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2010 Texas

    I've liked Meer Koebel, Figaro, and Gingerbread Stout from BB.

    E1G in ATX also has some Smoke on the Bayou now as well.
  33. blatherbeard

    blatherbeard Initiate (0) Sep 30, 2007 Texas

    I had a smoke on the Bayou, i liked it. Not sure what i paid but i dont think it was more than 10 bucks.
  34. BrutalSusan

    BrutalSusan Initiate (109) Dec 13, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    jester king (i love boxers. loved atrial. loved thrash metal; i just like like the rest)
    hops and grain (zoe is so fucking good. loved the pale mosaic too)
    lone pint (pioneer yellow rose!!)
    live oak (pilz and hef are perfect)
    abw (einhorn and sputnik)
    Saint Arnold Bishops Barrel stuff
    i can really find something to like about most of the texas breweries except south austin. For fucks sake even Shiner puts out a good beer on occassion. OH and im a sucker for buried hatchet/black crack.
    blatherbeard likes this.
  35. fivehoursfree

    fivehoursfree Initiate (0) Jul 18, 2010 Texas

    At this very exact moment, Real Ale is the best because that is what I'm drinking right now, and that is what I have in my fridge. However this opinion is fluid and can change based upon the whim of my fridge contents.
    blatherbeard likes this.
  36. LarryK

    LarryK Disciple (333) Jul 13, 2012 Texas
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    This x1,000

    "Best" is so, so subjective, and will change on a dime the next time a local brewery puts out an amazing or shitty beer. Of course, we wouldn't be human if we didn't love organizing, categorizing and making lists of things, and I am as guilty as the next when it comes to enjoying subjective rankings. But it's important to keep in mind that, like anything else, tastes continually evolve, and the brewing process itself -- particularly among newer breweries, which TX is replete with -- can be highly volatile. I have the utmost respect for the brewers that have the temerity to dump an obvious bad batch, tweak a recipe (for the better), or consistently turn out a world-class example of a style.

    The ranking of "best" is also tricky because your own personal preferences are going to come into play. While I'm sure everyone enjoys a wide variety of styles, I'm almost always going to view what I consider the best breweries through the lens of their hoppy beer portfolio. So while I have a ton of respect for a brewery like Jester King -- who is almost certainly the most innovative in the state -- they don't make a single beer that I absolutely love (though I have not had AR yet, and that could very well change things). But, I'm glad as hell they exist, and you couldn't have a conversation about best in the state without including them.

    Quality control -- both on the part of brewers as well as bars/retail establishments -- freshness, and time spent on shelf aren't issues unique to Texas, but certainly play a role in my assessment of certain beers as well, and something that I think occasionally gets lost when reviewing beers. If your first experience with a given IPA is a six-month-old version of it, then of course you are going to think it sucks (see pretty much everyone not located in Santa Rosa who tries Pliny for the first time).

    Since moving down here I've seen a lot of the local breweries take some huge steps forward, though ultimately I find a lot of the core beers somewhat lacking. As a hop head, there's almost no reason for me to ever buy Hopadillo when fresh Sculpin is sitting on the shelf (unless I'm not in the mood to get gouged that day :slight_smile:). I also find Hopadillo to be a very different experience on tap. I was excited for Weekend Warrior to get canned and hit year-round, but the sixer I grabbed tastes muted compared to the batch I tried last winter, and I'd imagine Karbach probably had to adjust the recipe to scale up, perhaps sacrificing some of the flavor notes I recall really enjoying when it was draft-only.

    Yellow Rose seems universally agreed upon as the best IPA brewed in the state, and I was going to end this post with a statement to the effect of "once Lone Pint starts bottling/canning this thing, Texas will finally have a must-have packaged IPA," although in noting some of the struggles I've experienced elsewhere -- not to mention needing to monopolize entire Mosaic crops to satisfy demand -- I'm not sure packaging Yellow Rose would actually be in Lone Pint's best interest, at least from a QC perspective (financially, of course it would).
  37. txjustin

    txjustin Initiate (136) May 29, 2013 Texas

    Great write-up and agree on a lot of points.

    I never had weekend warrior on tap versus what I had in a can over the weekend. I thought it was truly exceptional and will be keeping it in my fridge as a staple.
    LarryK likes this.
  38. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (3,814) Sep 3, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    LarryK, I wanted to quote you but that is hard to do on an iPod. Anyway, of course best is subjective. That is why I like these threads. I love reading and discussing opinions.

    Generally and Personally I think some Texas breweries are as good as any in the country. My thoughts on the subject are pretty well documented here and elsewhere. Coming from someone that has traveled and lived extensively around the country I don't think I am being a homer. I also think that just about every brewery has their duds. That does not mean they are inconsistent. Just the way things are. Hell Miles Davis recorded over 50 albums and there are some duds there :wink: Not all this is in response to Larry but just generally to the way the thread has gone the last few days. There really are no wrong opinions here. Just interesting and different discussion from the bitch fests that have become part of this forum.
    Beernerds and LarryK like this.
  39. LarryK

    LarryK Disciple (333) Jul 13, 2012 Texas
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Completely derailing this conversation is most definitely not what the core group intended.
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