Tuesday, February 21, 2012

[A Beer a Day] Golden Ale | South Austin Brewing | Austin, TX

Broadly speaking, Austin is right at the vernal equinox of a beer Renaissance.

If I were to count how many start-up breweries that have manifested in the past two-to-three years in the closely surrounding area (and by extension, Texas in general) i would have to take off my shoes to count, then use my chin -- like the kids do these days -- to count the hanging remainders that stretch into the dozens.

This is certainly an exciting time to be a local beer nerd, and I've found that so many brewers around town are completely competent in their craft, as well as extremely approachable.  So much so, that I've had the opportunity to spend a good amount of time drinking with several local brewers --  both in their work environs, as well as outside in real life.  Funny guys, tons of knowledge about fucking everything, and they like to drink beer -- the kind of punters who you need on your pub quiz team, if only you could have a half-dozen ringers.

South Austin Brewing is now the prized puppy on the Austin beer scene -- though I'd been following their progress for at least two years or so while they jumped through the requisite hoops of the Texas ABC and culling their funds.  A couple of weeks ago they invited the public for their first-batch tasting, and after braving an unseasonably cold Austin day where I had to actually wear something made of wool, I entered their dojo with an approving bow.

Main ingredients: waffles, chocolate, extra beer, and JC Van Damme.
South Austin is gonna go ahead and follow through on a recent trend with local brewers: the Belgian Beer spectrum.  Daunting as it is, there are some really fantastic brews fermenting around town in the form of Abbeys, Dubbels, Tripels, and Saisons.  Adelbert's Brewing is a place doing something very similar -- and quite honestly, doing it very well.  Hops & Grain just released another in their Greenhouse Series (the 11th since their debut just a couple of months ago!) that is a Belgian Red.  And still another, swiftly approaching brew from unnamed sources that will trip the scales of Belgian awesomeness -- though I am not at liberty to even whisper about it at this point in time.

Anyway, the point is that there is so much Trappist-devotion going on, I'd be surprised if we don't get our very first true monastery in Austin, whose monks will brew and cultivate moules from Town Lake.

South Austin currently has two sample beers: Saison d'Austin and their Golden Ale.  Having really favored the latter, I opted for two samples of the Golden Ale and only one of their Saison.  The Saison was fine -- and I'm delighted that we'll soon have a local Austin Saison to call our very own (pricing rumors, notwithstanding) -- but I really loved the Golden Ale.

The Golden Ale was true to form in the Wallonian style -- making it a well-balanced, deeply flavored, and refreshing beer -- not unlike a Duvel.  Not bad at all for a first-batch, but then again, with the competition brewing around town (pun!), local beer makers are essentially knocking their respective first pitches out of the damn park.  Some of them are tomahawking their first-runs out of the stadium entirely. 

Oh, also, SABC have a pretty kick-ass logo as well; an essential in this town for the purposes of recognition and merch.  Choices, man, they are aplenty.

ABV: 8.o% (or thereabouts -- still getting TABC approval)
Acquired: Brewery release (though they will be bottling in 22 oz. soon)

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