Fall isn’t just the season for pumpkin beers, though there are certainly plenty of those right now. This time of year is when brewers find the middle ground between the light session beers of summer and the dark, malty stouts of winter, producing styles somewhere in between. These are the Texas beers (and a cider, too) we’re excited to have come out this month.
St. Elmo Brewing’s Chef Soursop Sour: The on-site food truck at South Austin’s St. Elmo is named for a spiny tropical fruit with medicinal properties, and St. Elmo co-founder Bryan Winslow knew he wanted to feature the soursop fruit in one of his beers as a tribute to Soursop chef and owner Teddy Bricker.
"The problem was that Soursop fruit is very hard to find, very expensive when you do, and even harder to work with at that point," he said. "It is full of seeds that take a ridiculous amount of labor to get out of the way. I looked around for quality juice or puree (with) no luck."
He convinced Oregon Fruit Products, the leading producer of fruit used for brewing, to give soursop a shot. (It didn’t take much persuasion for the intrigued company.) The resulting Chef beer, a kettle sour, features a first-of-its-kind soursop puree, and Chef "is tart, refreshing, and full of seriously complex and new, intriguing fruit flavors," Winslow said.
Chef goes on tap tomorrow at the brewery at 440 E. St. Elmo Rd. Bricker will have a special dish to pair with it featuring the same Soursop puree.
Community Beer Co.’s Funnel Cake Ale: The Dallas brewery made this beer for the 2014 State Fair of Texas, where it won the Big Tex Choice Award for creativity. (This year’s Big Tex beverage competitor, Oreo Beer, didn’t fare as well.) Needless to say, the Funnel Cake Ale, which features Madagascar vanilla beans, has been so well-reiceved that Community now cans it and, fortunately, sends some to Austin.
Camp Cider: The Infinite Monkey Theorem winery and Buzz Mill Coffee — a coffee shop that had once intended to open a location across from the South Austin urban winery — teamed up to make this limited seasonal cider featuring apples, pears, maple and cinnamon.
The two collaborators say it’s suited for the fall weather, and they aren’t kidding: Camp Cider tastes like liquid apple pie. Not everyone is going to like it, but it’s perfect for people with a sweet tooth. Pick up cans of the cider at both the Infinite Monkey Theorem, at 121 Pickle Rd., and the Buzz Mill at 1505 Town Creek Dr.
Zilker Brewing Festbier: Zilker is making an Oktoberfest beer for the brewery’s Operation Steingrabber celebration on Oct. 14, so that means the beer is a marzen, right, the style typically made for Oktoberfest? Actually, no.
"Our Festbier is not to be confused with its maltier sibling, the Marzen lager; this golden modern-day Oktoberfest-style lager is the preferred style for the Oktoberfest celebration in Munich, Germany. Its crisp yet malt forward mouthfeel is achieved using a 2-step mash process and a thorough fermentation and lagering schedule," according to Zilker.
Taste the beer in a liter stein at the East Austin brewery’s weekend celebration, which will also have sausages, pretzels and a polka band.
Jester King Brewery’s Kvass: Although the fruited sours at Jester King tend to get the most amount of attention and the longest lines upon their release, the Hill Country brewery’s farmhouse ales like Kvass are just as good. Returning this weekend, Kvass is brewed with rye bread from Austin’s Miche Bread — twice the amount of rye as last year’s batch.
Martin House Brewing’s Turtle Power: Mid-October means the return of this canned blackberry altbier from Martin House, a Fort Worth brewery. Arguably the best thing about it, in the opinion of this avid turtle lover? Martin House makes it to shine the spotlight on a a very special reptile.
"We’re brewing this beer to bring awareness to the plight of land based turtles and tortoises and the wonderful organization that leads this good fight — the Turtle Survival Alliance. Martin House will be making a donation to these fine folks, and we hope to recruit you, our faithful beer drinking customers, to become involved as well," according to the brewery.
That’s not hard to do. The lightly fruity German-style brown ale is as tasty as it is philanthropic. Fun fact: Turtles love blackberries as much as we do, which is why Martin House chose the berries to feature in it.
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