When Beer And Politics Collide

This post wasn’t really meant to be about politics and beer. Living in Texas does bring forth its own political problems relating to beer though. Seriously, the first candidate to come out and say they will dismantle the TABC would get my vote in heart beat. We need a taxing and regulatory organization, but what the TABC does just doesn’t always make much sense. It can’t be that difficult divide beer into different taxing brackets can it?!? Arbitrary, and oft wrong labeling requirements, based on alcohol content, doesn’t seem to make taxing easier to me. Anything with an ABV of 5% or less has to be labeled beer. If its ABV is 5.1% or higher it has to be labeled malt liquor or ale. If it falls into said higher ABV category, the label cannot refer to the contents inside said bottle as beer. This creates confusion in and out of our state. So many people are left wondering why their favorite German Doppelbock is labeled as an ale. Its annoying enough sometimes just getting people on the same page regarding beer styles…..Read and absorb this list dear reader – http://beeradvocate.com/beer/style………Having a state agency add to the confusion doesn’t help matters. Also I take issue with their obscenity clauses. What the powers that be define as obscene boggles the mind. Flying Dog mix packs have had to be changed because of label rejections. The words ‘Good beer, No shit’ got their Road Dog Porter replaced in a mix pack. Of course we have Stone Brewing Company. The word ‘Bastard’, which adorns three of their tasty offerings, isn’t obscene. The word ‘masturbatory’, which appears in smallish print on the Double Bastard label, though is considered obscene. Alas no bottles of Double Bastard are available in our state. It’s not a total loss as draft is an option. Still irritating though. Also direct brewery sales needs to happen in some form or fashion. You can walk into any winery in the state and buy their wines from them. Of course if you are walking into a Texas winery, you might as well add traveling to Taipei for Mexican food to your to do list. The chances of getting something of even minimal quality are about the same for the wine or the food. That said, I would love to see beer and wine treated equally in this regard. Whomever we elect can only really achieve that by going head to head against the distro. lobbyists in Austin. Regardless of who we elect, we as lovers of beer need to let them what we want. Maybe in the near future Texas can rise up higher in the ranks of good beer karma.

Now with the political ranting over, we can focus on the real reason Nov 2 is important; Divine Reserve 10 will be released by Saint Arnold. Since moving to their larger brewing facility, they have upped the capacity for this Divine Reserve release. Twice as much of the 10 has been brewed compared to the 9. This stuff will still sell out quickly, but will be a little easier to acquire. The brew itself is an English style barley wine. The brew was the result of the 2010 Big Batch Brew Bash, an annual home brewing contest held by the local club KGB. While we all wipe the drool from our collective faces, I guess we can reflect on past DR releases:

Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Divine Reserve 5
10% ABV
Imperial Stout
Rating out of 5: 4.7

Appearance: Opaque black with a brown head. The head is short lived and quickly falls to a thin ring that leaves lacing all the way down.

Smell: roasted/burnt coffee. Sweet chocolate. There’s also a slight floral hop note in the background.

Taste: Incredible from the first sip to the last. There is a roast/burnt dark chocolate flavor. The floral hop notes in the aroma again make an appearance in the finish. The hop presence is just enough to balance out the roasty dark malts.

Mouthfeel: Thick and velvety smooth

Drinkability: Where is the 10%ABV…No seriously where is it? This beer is highly drinkable. The alcohol is well masked.

Overall this is one hell of an imperial stout. Hands down the best Divine Reserve and the best Saint Arnold brew to date. I’m sure this beer will age nicely over the next couple of years or so. I say why bother aging it, when its drinking so wonderfully right now.

Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Divine Reserve 8
9.3% ABV
Scotch Ale
Rating out of 5: 4.15

The newest Divine Reserve pours a murky brown. Things are topped off by a short khaki head. The head quickly dissipates to a ring. Plenty of lacing is left down the glass.

The aroma does not disappoint. The nose packs plenty of sweet caramel and toffee. There are some light fruity esters. A bit of smoky peat and earthiness round things out.

The taste packs a wallop. Tons of caramel malt upfront. Caramel blends in with some sticky toffee notes. Raisins show up mid palate. That’s followed by some light chocolate notes notes. Plenty of sweet brown sugar shows up near the end. The finish is sweet with a lingering earthy/peat quality.

This beer is full bodied and velvety on the tongue. The carbonation is more than adequate.

This is another topnotch addition to the Divine Reserve series. It is one of the best scotch ales i have had the pleasure of drinking. It goes down smooth. Quite the easy drinker, especially given its strength.

Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Divine Reserve 9
11% ABV
Pumpkin Imperial Stout
Rating out of 5: 4.15

DR9 pours a deep dark near black. Things are topped off by a short khaki head. Some lacing is left down the glass.

The aroma doesn’t disappoint. A perfect holiday spice blend shines. Notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and a hint of ginger dominate upfront. Behind the spice is some dark roasted malt. A touch of coffee and chocolate round things out.

Despite the strong showing in the nose, the spice doesn’t overwhelm the palate. Plenty of spice come through though. Like the nose nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and a more pronounced ginger shine. Behind the spice is a definite alcohol bite. The coffee notes are much more pronounced. The finish is chocolaty with a lingering spice quality. The mouthfeel is full bodied and velvety smooth.

This is one top notch brew. It tastes wonderfully of the holidays, without overdoing the spices. Unlike other spiced brews, the spices here do not lower drinkability. The brew seems to be drinking a bit young. The alcohol bite is a slight distraction. With some age on it, 6 months to a year, this beer will be insanely good.


~ by thebrewgeek on Wednesday, October 20, 2010.

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