By Dan O'Leary
The Gentleman spent some time with the Texas Carboys, a homebrew club in Austin. Check out what happens when you put a bunch of beer connoisseurs together.
If there is anything else that I love more than good spirits, it's good food. Recently, I was at a crab boil when these two worlds collided. While there I met another pair of fine gentleman that were part of a homebrew club called Texas Carboys. They invited me to come to their monthly meet and taste. How could I say no to such an offer?
I Can Dig It
The meeting was held at a Cedar Park pub named The Dig Pub. Even before tasting the beers offered by The Texas Carboys, the Dig Pub alone has a fantastic selection of brews and food. They offer a wide selection from your usual domestics to something a little more complex like my pre-tasting drink: South Austin Saison D'Austin - a nice complex Belgian ale.
Be warned, this place has rapidly rotating draughts. So much so that on the menu is a QR code that you can scan with your phone to be directed to a website to view all the current on tap beers-- as printing new menus on a daily basis would get a little costly.
Beer is Serious Business
Before the Carboys got to drinking, there were a few matters to discuss. As I had only joined that night, I abstained from voting, but these issues included such things as whether there was interest in renting a Pub Crawler for a night. For those who don't know, the Pub Crawler is a bicycle-powered mobile pub that you and several friends peddle around and drink at the same time.
Renting a Pub Crawler is only one of the events that the Texas Carboys put on. They also hold a fall and spring picnic, though the latter is actually during the summer. In preparation for these picnics, they hold brew-ins where the beer for the picnic is prepared months in advanced. On other occasions they will travel to a local brewery like Jester Kings and Twisted X.
Less Talk, More Bock
And now for the moment you have been waiting for, the drinking. The way the tasting is set up, every person has to bring their own small tasting glass and at least 24 oz. of homebrew or a commercially brew that they find interesting. I personally brought Ranger Creek Mesquite Smoked Porter and Unibroue Trois Pistoles. The beers are passed around in order of the complexity of the taste, thus beers like pilsners are first and beers like porters are near the end.
Much like the demographics of The Carboys, the varieties in types of beers were vast. I was able to sample brews such as a Swedish pilsner to an American Dark Ale. Out of the commercially available brews that were passed around I greatly enjoyed a Belgian India Pale Ale by Clown Shoes called Tramp Stamp. It had the crisp, complex, slightly orange flavor of Belgian ales with a balanced hoppy bitterness of an IPA. One member brought a homebrew of American Dark Ale called Midnight Rambler that knocked my socks off. The strong ale flavor was perfectly accentuated by nice caramel toasted overtones that made it strong in flavor but smooth and slightly sweet on the palette, with a subtle bitter bite on the finish. Another member brought homebrewed strawberry wheat beer that, despite being delicious, delightfully confused my taste buds. At the forefront of the taste you get a sweet strawberry flavor that tasted a felt more indicative of a limbic, then as it settles in a crisp wheat beer flavor takes over and mellows out. I would say it is kind of like having a taste be a bottle rocket. It takes off, pops beautifully, and rains down little lights that slowly fade away…yeah it’s kind of like that.
So whether you are a homebrewer looking for other like-minded folks, or just an appreciator of fine brews, The Texas Carboys have a seat at their table for you. Joining is cheap—only $10 for an individual. You can find more information about The Texas Carboys including their schedule of events on their website