A couple of our writers spent the afternoon this past Saturday at the legendarily boozy Untapped music and beer festival. This year was no exception to the drunken rule of thumb with a staggering 250 beers available to sample from more than 75 breweries traveling from down the street in Deep Ellum and Lakewood to all the way from Belgium, Brazil, and Japan. While there were plenty of drinkable wheats and blondes to be found, there were also a large proportion of heavy-hitting, high ABV brews (We are looking at you, Avery) as well as a ton of new and special releases from some of our favorites. Here are a few of our top beers of the multiple samples we tried:
(903) Brewers from Sherman Texas – The Chosen One toasted coconut ale (6% abv) base of Blonde ale with toasted coconut – very buttery and rich finish. The toasted sweetness tasted like buttered popcorn in the best way possible with a subtle sweetness from the coconut.
Avery Brewing Company – Tweak Imperial Stout (15.5% abv) For such a high ABV, the principle player in flavor here was super roasty espresso. Don’t get us wrong, there was a hard boozy hit at the very end, but it snuck up on you.
Avery Brewing Company – Uncle Jacob’s Stout Imperial Stout (17.5%) Tastes like dark chocolate and is very smooth overall but has a wayyyy boozy kick at the finish (which takes a good thirty seconds to finish – insert your mouthfeel joke of choice here). Aged in bourbon barrel and coming in at 17.5% AB-effing V, this bad boy made a 2oz pour feel like a pint.
Ballast Point – Indra Kunindra Spiced Export Stout (7%) Although the ladies stationed in Austin have been blowing through their Indra reserves at an alarming rate, this was Wendy’s first opportunity to try the spicy brew since it’s not yet readily available in good ol’ D-town. (Note from Wendy: I’ve never tried so hard to make 2 ounces of beer last. I’ll be stockpiling this for those long fall and winter months.)
Ballast Point – Tongue Buckler Imperial Red (10%) Chris Marin, the Ballast Point rep for our area, shared with us that the Buckler started out as a challenge to get a beer as hop-infused as possible and that despite that somewhat polarizing characteristic in a beer, people drink this shit up like water.
Deep Ellum Brewing – 2012 Wealth & Taste Barrel Aged Belgian Ale (9.5%) A little bit funky with lots of tasty lingering flavors from the Belgian strains of yeast which aging reinforced. And, its deceivingly drinkable despite is larger alcohol content.
Deep Ellum Brewing – Dallas Blonde Cask – A super fruity blonde ale, we tried this about mid-way through the day when the heat hit about 100 degrees. The cask ale was a welcome light and refreshing alternative to the dozens of darker brews.
Franconia Brewing out of McKinney, TX – 5th Anniversary Belgian Strong (10.5%) The Belgian Strong Franconia was pouring had used Champagne yeast in the fermentation process and was fucking delicious.
Franconia Brewing – Oktoberfest (7%) A bit on the chalky side for an Oktoberfest, but we’re open to further research and trying a full pint.
Hitachino Nest – Ginger Spiced Ale (7%) The sake yeast Hitachino Nest uses in their beers brought the ginger out to an almost ginger ale level. Definitely one of the tastiest Hitachino brews we’ve tried out recently!
Lakewood Brewing – Punkel Surprise Cask (5.8%) A pumpkin dunkel with a lot of spice and a taste as round as the aforementioned vegetable.
Left Hand Brewing – Oktoberfest (6.5%) Maybe our favorite Oktoberfest offering at the festival, we cannot wait to drink much more of this beer this season.
Revolver Brewing – Grid Iron (5.7%) Perhaps the smokiest beer ever brewed, the Grid Iron is like drinking Texas BBQ, in the best way possible. The Grid Iron is a Rauchbeir, or smoked beer, that would pair perfectly an evening of grilling or smoking some meats, depending on if you’re a BBQ purist.
Saint Arnold Brewing – Bishop’s Barrel 4 barrel aged Weizenbock (9.9%) – A creamy, dark brew with hints of banana and chocolate. Saint Arnold’s uses retired Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels, which adds a noticeable richness that will be greatly appreciated in the winter months.
Southern Tier Brewing – Pumpking Pumpkin Ale (8.6%) It may have been hot outside, but for a brief moment while sipping our Pumpking sample, we could have sworn it was Thanksgiving. The pumpkin ale has a good amount of sweetness to it, reminiscent of pumpkin pie. Excuse us while we live in denial for a few more weeks.
Stone Brewing – w00t Stout Barrel Aged Imperial Stout (13%) Woot, indeed. This imperial is partially barrel aged with notes of pecans and wheat. According to Stone, bottles of w00t can be cellared for an even richer taste over time. Fun fact: The King of the Nerds, Wil Wheaton collaborated with Stone for this unique stout.
All in all, we had a fabulous time drinking extraordinary beer and listening to great music. We hope to see you guys out there for Canned Festival in Denton October 5th for a similarly delightful day!
– Wendy and Sarah