But let me get tangential for just a moment. During our previous evening walk, we were waved over by some of our down-the-street neighbors to help them finish off some keg beer that was left over from a SXSW event she had hosted the night before. These selections were Live Oak Big Bark and Independence Pale Ale. Apparently, a random block party with great beers and happy midwest hipsters can break out at any time in this hood. Also, just two blocks away from where I type, sit two craft beer bars that pull pints with the best of the city's ale houses: Drink.Well and The Workhorse.
To end that little anecdote with a point -- its pretty obvious that the neighborhood knows and cares a thing or two about craft beer -- and the two corner stores in the North Loop district appear to be privy to this information as well. And so, this is the part where I just buy the fucking six-pack.
I just positively LERVE amber ales. Its one of my favorite styles -- however, a lot of breweries totally miss the mark -- and typically, I'm left disappointed. Live Oak does it right, Independence does not. Alaskan does it right, New Belgium, Brooklyn and Bell's -- but this one ... oh man.
I really did have to look up what Sierra Blanca Brewing says about this beer in order to detect what was so off about it. They claim, "We have blended eight different types of barley to create this amber ale. It appeals to the largest segment of craft beer drinkers who enjoy a smooth, malty ale with no hop bitterness."
Well, no kidding. This thing was basically the universal opposite of a hop-bomb. It tasted like a bread sandwich -- as in, four slices, hold the mustard, cheese and ham. Sure, It was amber in color, but not in style. There were very few caramel notes and tasted very astringent, like generic over-the-counter medicine. There is some decent stuff happening in New Mexico, but it ain't this.
Acquired: Snappy Mart