One Austin beer has been included in a list of the top 15 beers of 2018 — but is it an IPA? Or one of the pilsners our breweries have become known for? Not even close. In fact, you may not have heard of this style before.
Live Oak Brewing's Grodziskie is likely not the only beer of an unusual style you'll spot on the best of list, compiled by beer writer Aaron Goldfarb for Punch, a popular online drinks publication. In fact, for him, only one IPA he tasted this year was memorable enough to crack the storied ranking, and it's from an Atlanta brewery, Monday Night Brewing, whose products aren't available in Texas.
Maybe IPAs aren't all they're cracked up to be anymore, or maybe that's just the perception of one beer writer among many. It's definitely a perspective for another day. The important thing is that we have breweries like Live Oak, one of Austin's oldest, to remind us that there are far more beers than hoppy IPAs on tap walls, and thank goodness there are when they're made well.
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For Goldfarb, the Grodziskie impressed because of its overall refreshing nature punctuated by mild smoky notes.
"While other pioneering breweries have started to betray their ethos, chasing trends and the almighty dollar, this Austin brewery has begun doubling down on what gave them their name in the first place," he writes. "With Grodziskie, they’ve unearthed an arcane Polish beer style that went extinct in 1991. They’ve made it in small scale since 2014, but this spring they began canning Grodziskie and added it to their year-round portfolio (replacing an IPA, no less)."
The oak-smoked wheat found in its mash bill is the grodziskie's defining characteristic. But you can also expect Live Oak's version to feature, in its authentic recreation, a yeast strain from Poland, a low alcohol by volume at 3.2 percent and a hop profile that mimics a pilsner.
"The crystal-clear beer is thirst-quenching with a mild campfire note — perfect for hot nights in the Hill Country," Goldfarb writes.