Looking for darker and sweeter beers in Texas

Discussion in 'Southwest' started by Austin_powers, Nov 30, 2019.

  1. Austin_powers

    Austin_powers Initiate (11) Nov 30, 2019

    Hello everyone. To make a long story short, I started drinking a few beers again after nearly 20 years without a drop. Before I quit I had a McEwans scotch ale in Canada and remember liking it a lot so I started looking for Scotch Ales. I like the darker sweeter beers. Last night I picked up a sixer of Dirty Bastard based on the stellar ratings but I didn't really love the bitter after taste (although I liked it otherwise). Is there something similar that is less bitter on the back end? Am I on the right track or should I look at something else like a bock or lager? Back in the day I liked Dos Equis, Sam Adams, Fosters, and hated Heineken and stouts. I'm trying to find something that won't be too hard to get in Texas as well. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
  2. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,913) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Old Chub from Oskar Blues, Backwoods Bastard from Founders are excellent malty Scotch Ales.
  3. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,993) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    I’d imagine Wee Heavies would work well, Backwoods Bastard from Founders is a year around beer. Old Chub is pretty good too, and Barleywines would also work. Bigfoot is probably available most everywhere, depends on your distro area to what’s around. I don’t see where your from, but I’d find the best beer store in your area and tell him what your looking for. This time of year you shouldn’t have much trouble finding beers in those kinda styles.
  4. Austin_powers

    Austin_powers Initiate (11) Nov 30, 2019

    Thanks Bitterbill. I started to try Backwoods but it was 3x the price of Dirty Bastard. Are Old Chub and Backwoods less bitter than Dirty Bastard?
    Bitterbill likes this.
  5. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (994) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I've always thought that Founders Brown Ale fits that niche in a well done American way.
    cavedave, nc41, Bitterbill and 2 others like this.
  6. Austin_powers

    Austin_powers Initiate (11) Nov 30, 2019

    Thanks nc41. More Backwoods fans...…… I'm going to have to break my piggybank!

    Thanks rgordon. I'll check into that one too.
  7. guinness77

    guinness77 Meyvn (1,232) Jan 6, 2014 New York

    One thing that’s definitely changed in 20 years is price. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, the better the beer, the higher the price. Also, abv has definitely ticked up some too, which...I’m not inclined to complain about. :slight_smile:
    It’s hard to recommend anything without having an idea of what part of the country you live in.
    archiebunkerjr and Shanex like this.
  8. Austin_powers

    Austin_powers Initiate (11) Nov 30, 2019

    Very True guinness77. The good stuff seems to be pretty expensive. I'm down here in Texas.
    Shanex likes this.
  9. miwestcoaster

    miwestcoaster Meyvn (1,010) Jan 19, 2013 Michigan

    OP, seems like you are after malty and less expensive beer. My suggestions.
    Shiner Bock
    Bell’s Best Brown Ale
    Broegel Original Bock sold at Aldi.
  10. Austin_powers

    Austin_powers Initiate (11) Nov 30, 2019

    Thanks miwestcoaster. I like Shiner Bock but was looking for something a little darker and sweeter. I'm not opposed to spending more but I thought that I would try the $10 a six pack beers first to see if I find what I am looking for. I may try the Backwoods Bastard but if it has the same aftertaste and Dirty Bastard then I would rather not. I can't get McEwans here so that's a bummer.
  11. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,356) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Try looking for some McEwans again.
    Think of Backwwoods Bastard as a bourbon barrel aged version of Dirty Bastard. You might hate or love a beer like that. One difference between today and twenty years ago is that today American brewers are very fond of aging beers like this in bourbon barrels. It changes the beer a lot.
  12. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,913) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Yeah, Bell's Best Brown is a favourite of mine.
    Austin_powers and miwestcoaster like this.
  13. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,993) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    And your not going to fine these kind of beers at prices you remember 20 years ago too. Beers like Backwoods Bastard carry a premium because as Zid mentioned they’re aged in Bourbon barrels which always jacks up the cost. All of these beers mentioned are really good representatives of their styles, but they’re not cheap. You could look for some Porters too, they’re rich and roasty, you might find a local brewer that puts out something you like at a better pricing point.
    Bitterbill and Austin_powers like this.
  14. PatKorn

    PatKorn Initiate (141) Aug 30, 2007 Texas

    Real Ale Real Heavy. You can probably get at HEB or Twin.
    Txex06 and Austin_powers like this.
  15. ypsifly

    ypsifly Meyvn (1,067) Sep 22, 2004 Michigan

    Great Divide's Claymore, while it doesn't pack the same punch as McEwan's, has a similar finish.
    Bitterbill and Austin_powers like this.
  16. guinness77

    guinness77 Meyvn (1,232) Jan 6, 2014 New York

    I don’t really know the distribution in Texas but I would definitely recommend Skull Splitter (if you can find it), Scotty Karate by Dark Horse (again, have to find it, but it’s not pricy) and I echo the Bell’s Best Brown sentiments. Sam Smith’s Holiday ale or Brown ale is great and Cigar City Maduro could be up your alley, and relatively cheap and a pretty non-threatening ipa that’s affordable is Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin. Lagunitas Brown Shugga is out right now and that’s awesome and relatively cheap for what it is.

    I was gonna recommend some stuff by Barrier (which is local to me) but I doubt they distro anywhere around you.
    #16 guinness77, Nov 30, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
    BruChef, Bitterbill and Austin_powers like this.
  17. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,532) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    It's difficult to know your perception level for hops (especially when you said you've liked some hoppy beers in the past), and to know what beers are avaiulable to you where you live in Texas, so my recommendation is to review this style list https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/styles/ and click on those that are of interest and you'll get another list of the most popular beers in that style along with that beer's BA rating. Buy singles if you can of the specific beers that are available to you until you find the one(s) that you like.

    P.S. Welcome to the BA site, Austin.
    Austin_powers and Bitterbill like this.
  18. Austin_powers

    Austin_powers Initiate (11) Nov 30, 2019

    Thanks everyone. I can get Real Ale Heavy Ale at HEB grocery and Skull Splitter and Backwoods Bastard at https://specsonline.com/ but I don't seem to be able to get anything else mentioned local.
  19. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,993) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    If you like bigger beers that are malty, a bit hoppy, I’d recommend going to your nearest Total Wine and look at your options in aged Double IPAs. There’s a slew here on the shelf a good many at 8 months old or so. I say this half in jest because Total Wine frustrates me to no end, but if you like malt forward beers, a tad sweet, a bit hoppy, probably lower on the bitter scale a DIPA with some age on it might be something you’d like too, you might even negotiate a discount. Lots of guys like big hoppy beers with some age on them, everyone’s different. I wouldn’t discount looking at a DIPA with some age on it as it meets most of your likes without using roasted or darker malts, you might find a grateful store manager to give you a good price too to move product.
    Txex06 and Austin_powers like this.
  20. Austin_powers

    Austin_powers Initiate (11) Nov 30, 2019

    Just checked and the closest Total Wine is about and hour and a half away from me. It may be worth a look next time I am towards Houston though.
    nc41 likes this.
  21. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,993) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    That’s a haul, but depending on what he has you might negotiate a discount on say a case to make the drive worthwhile. I know a guy who ages these big DIPAs a year or so and he loves them, this beer in particular was Hopslam, and fresh it’s always pricy. I’d imagine Double Two Hearted with some age on it would give you close to the same kind of beer though. If you can negotiate a nice discount you’ll have another possible direction to look st.
    Austin_powers likes this.
  22. keithmurray

    keithmurray Meyvn (1,343) Oct 7, 2009 Connecticut

    Try Einstok wee heavy
    Austin_powers and TongoRad like this.
  23. benzodrums

    benzodrums Initiate (135) Feb 19, 2015 Texas

    Cigar City Maduro fits the bill. $7.99/6pk at Total Wine, too.
    Austin_powers likes this.
  24. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,660) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I would think that most of the major German doppelbocks would get you the vast majority of what you're looking for, especially price. Spaten Optimator, Paulaner Salvator in particular.
    Austin_powers likes this.
  25. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,532) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    Maybe there is a good store closer to you. One of the great things on this site (among many) is the Places feature. You can search the BA database for Breweries, good beer Bars, Eateries with a good tap list, Stores, and Homebrew supply stores. Here's a link to a search that I did of all beer stores in Texas that are in the database. https://www.beeradvocate.com/place/...me=&city=&s_id=TX&c_id=&submit=Search&store=Y Browse the list for stores that are close to you and check their ratings/reviews (and the age of them too) to see if maybe a good store is closer than you think.
    nc41, Austin_powers and nruhlig like this.
  26. Austin_powers

    Austin_powers Initiate (11) Nov 30, 2019

    Thanks PapaGoose03. Looks like there is another good or better option within 20 miles!
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  27. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Savant (936) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    20 years might as well be 100. Try something that did not even exist 20 years ago A New England IPA or a Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout would fit the bill.
    Austin_powers likes this.
  28. nruhlig

    nruhlig Disciple (306) Jan 4, 2019 Minnesota

    Check your region forums too.

    nc41, Austin_powers and PapaGoose03 like this.
  29. archiebunkerjr

    archiebunkerjr Aspirant (212) Oct 25, 2010 Michigan

    Darker, sweeter beer light on the wallet? Bell's alone can help you with the following.

    Bell's Amber - this beer started it all for Bell's.

    Bell's Christmas Ale is a solid scotch ale that is seasonal and perfectly timed for right now.

    Bell's Consecrator Dopplebock - smooth and malty, right in the op's wheelhouse. Look for this seasonal beer in February and March.

    Bell's Third Coast Ale - not to be confused with Bell's Third Coast Beer (a pale ale). Third Coast Ale is an old ale that's hoppy when fresh. But after a year or two of aging, the bitterness fades and the caramel jumps out more.

    op, you may want to try a good red as well. Maybe stay away from the red IPAs. But find a red with a maltier taste to it. Maybe someone else can recommend something like this?

    One last note to the op. If you still have those Dirty Bastards and you don't like the hoppy bitterness on that beer, store your remaining bottles in a cool place for six months and then revisit at that time and once every three months after that. I think you will like the results.
    nc41, PapaGoose03 and Austin_powers like this.
  30. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (4,552) Sep 3, 2007 Texas

    For Wee Heavy's/Scotch Ales:

    Orkney Skull Splitter
    Traquar House Ale and Jacobite. I'm going to have a House Ale later tonight myself.
    Austin_powers likes this.
  31. Bigrock

    Bigrock Initiate (73) Feb 4, 2013 Texas

    Sitting here reading through this thread while sipping on a Short Order Porter from Martin House Brewing. Picked it up this afternoon at HEB. This might be the one you're looking for. Imperial Breakfast Porter with Hazelnut, Cacao Nibs, Maple Syrup and Coffee. 10 bucks a 4pak.
    Austin_powers likes this.
  32. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (218) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    I'm not sure where you live in Texas but that of course will determine which local breweries you have access to.

    I think in North Texas there should be some options year round.

    There are a lot of Bocks that are bigger and sweeter than Shiner Bock.
    Also strong Scotch ales and other strong dark beers are not all that hard to find I feel.

    It looks like you're closest to the Houston area which I don't know as well.
    Maybe the Back Pew brewing's Bock would be a start. It doesn't appear to be really dark but at over 7% abv I think it would have a bit of sweetness and shouldn't be hoppy.
    Stesti makes a dark lager that was more full bodied and sweeter than most lower abv dark beers.

    I find most stouts I try from craft breweries these days are much too sweet. Few really focus on the roasted malts and their ever increasing ABVs make for sweeter beers which then they add flavorings such as fruits or vanilla.
    Austin_powers likes this.
  33. Txex06

    Txex06 Initiate (192) Dec 28, 2016 Texas

    Guadalupe Brewing Scotch Ale is great if available in your area of Texas.
  34. Austin_powers

    Austin_powers Initiate (11) Nov 30, 2019

    Thanks again everyone. I tried Skull Splitter and liked it pretty well. I tried Real Ale Real Heavy too and it may be my favorite so far. It's a tough call because I like Dirty Bastard the best until you get to the after taste. I still can try Backwoods Bastard but that's pretty much the only ones that I have found local to me. I drank a Modello Especial and it tasted like water after getting used to these Scottish Ales!
    champ103 likes this.
  35. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (218) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    Rahr's Iron Thistle is coming out soon. It was one of my favorite Scotch ales.
    Bigrock likes this.