San Antonio’s Alamo Golden Ale was given a World Beer Championship silver medal and a rating of 88 (highly recommended) by the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago.
Most San Antonians have had Alamo, especially for summer drinking, but here’s how the trained taste buds at the BTI described it: “Golden yellow color. Toasted nut bread, starfruit, and crusty corn pudding aromas with a silky, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a crisp, buttered lemon scone and light earthy, grassy hop finish. Very refreshing and balanced.”
Another Texas brewery, Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth, recently submitted several of their beers for BTI evaluation and tastings in February and March to good result.
Rahr’s Winter Warmer got a 94 (exceptional) with judges noting “aromas of toasty strawberry Pop-Tart and cherry liqueur-filled chocolate bonbon with smooth, satiny, fruity-yet-dry medium-full body and a tangy, orange marmalade, peppercorn, and root vegetable puree-accented finish.”
Rahr’s Stormcloud Pale Ale scored a 92 thanks to what BTI called “excellent balance and richness in a savory British style with a distinctive American accent.” Their Iron Thistle Scottish-style ale landed a 91 and the Ugly Pug black lager that is part of the brewery’s regular lineup got an 88.
By the time you read this, brewpub bill HB 660 and microbrewery bill HB 602 will have had their first hearing before the Texas Legislature’s enticingly-named Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee.
This is the first hurdle either bill will have to clear in order to have a chance to make it to a vote in the Texas House.
But a new bill has emerged to plug an unintended gap left by compromises made to garner support for the brewpub bill. HB 2436 from Austin Representative Eddie Rodriguez would allow microbreweries to sell up to 5,000 barrels of beer onsite.
Brewpubs can already sell beer on premise, but can’t sell beyond that. Rep. Mike Villarreal’s HB 660 would make brewpub operations more lucrative by allowing them to also sell to bars and retailers. But Villarreal agreed to amend the bill to take out any allowance for self-distribution to satisfy middleman wholesalers.
That means microbreweries, which can only sell off-premise, would no longer be able to just convert to a brewpub license if they self-distribute. HB 2436 would fix that for established micros like Live Oak Brewing Co. and newcomers such as Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling and a half dozen new breweries in the Austin area.
Although it is a very consumer-friendly bill, expect distributors to put up more of a fight on this one because they will be doubly cut out of the equation for every barrel sold.
Travis E. Poling writes about beer weekly for the Current and is author of Beer Across Texas: A Guide to Brews and Brewmasters of the Lone Star State. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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