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New Beer Report: Ranger Creek Small Batch No. 6

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling in San Antonio released the latest beer in their small batch series last week — an 8% ABV Flanders Red.

Small Batch Series No. 6 is a blend of 18 and 24 month barrels, resulting in what the brewery calls a “balanced, mature sour beer.” In the press release, we’re told it was “re-fermented with strains of Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus and Pediococcus, giving it a well developed and complex aroma of tart cherries with underling rich earthy tones. These notes are complemented by the addition of local Texas figs and black cherries. This sherry-like sour is deep red in color with hints of dark stone fruits and red apple and a slight tartness.”

Mark McDavid sent me a few bottles to taste. I’ve been very much into the sour category this summer, so I was excited to see what take on the style Ranger Creek would present.

I tasted a healthy dose of dark cherry and fig like the press release advised, but found the sour personality to be relatively subdued, making it potentially good for people new to the style. It’s definitely a sour beer, but it’s not a one trick pony; what struck me the most was the complexity in body and flavor. I got a good dose of round substantial malts throughout the flavor, which reminded me of roasted pecans or walnuts. From start to finish, it’s an interesting, complicated beer that evolves. It has moments of vivid sourness but ends on a lingering dry note. Flanders Reds are said to be very “wine-like” in style, and I can see that comparison here, the long aging has mellowed out what might otherwise have been a perky carbonation.

The beer hit Austin shelves on August 21, and the brewery released only a little over 400 cases (or about 5,000 bottles), so one might have to call around to find a bottle or two. Ranger Creek suggests asking for inventory at:

Banger’s Sausage House

Barton Hills Food Mart

Black Star Co-op

Central Market N. Lamar

Chicago House

Craft Pride

East First Grocery

Flying Saucer

Gabriel’s San Marcos

Hi Hat Public House

Quickie Pickie

Spec’s Airport

Spec’s Arbor Walk

Spec’s Brodie Ln

Sunrise Minimart

Whip In