It’s as if the beer gods were looking down upon us this Saturday before Super Bowl XLV as the skies and roadways cleared just in time for the Taste of Texas at The Holy Grail Pub in Plano. Headlining the event were special releases from four Texas-based breweries, with three coming from the Austin area and one from right here at home.
First up was a cask conditioned, unfiltered IPA brought in by McKinney’s Franconia Brewing Company. Specially made for this event, this beer was dry hopped in the cask and brewed with a combination of Saaz, Cascade, and Hallertauer hop varieties. Not your everyday IPA, the result was hoppy without being over the top, with a pleasant mix of hop flavors and a moderately bitter finish.
Next on the menu was Volume XIV from Real Ale’s Mysterium Verum Series. A take on their 14th Anniversary Ale, this version was released after spending 4 months in red wine barrels. A bit like an American Strong Ale, the influence of the wine barrels was clearly evident, as this brew had a distinctive woody character throughout, along with a noticeable vinous quality and a dry, tannic finish.
Turning to the darker brews, Austin’s (512) delivered a keg of their Cascabel Cream Stout. Somewhat lighter, and much more subtle than you might expect, this beer held tight to its underlying stout foundation clear through to the finish, where a touch of lactic sweetness paved the way for a smooth, but modest chile pepper burn towards the tail end of the aftertaste.
Finally, Jester King tapped a new batch of their Black Metal Imperial Stout. After a number of samples of this brew, the rich, intensely roasty character coupled with its seemingly lighter body makes this feel more like an extremely well done robust porter. Reported to have an ABV upwards of 10%, you would never know it, as this beer goes down easy with no noticeable alcohol bite.
Black Metal and the Cascabel Cream Stout are both winter seasonals and should be more readily available in the short-term, as the offerings from Real Ale and Franconia represent special brews that are available only for a limited time. In fact, the Franconia IPA was a one-time only batch consisting of just the single cask sampled (and pictured) at the event.
Many thanks to the Holy Grail Pub for putting together this enjoyable celebration of brews from the Lone Star State, and to the breweries as well for crafting a great selection of beers with which to spend a Saturday afternoon.