Nov 9, 201212:51 PMThe Telegraph

The Premier Blog of the West

Tasting Panel: Real Ale Sisyphus and Brewers' Cut No. 002 Black Quadrupel

Nov 9, 2012 - 12:51 PM
Tasting Panel: Real Ale Sisyphus and Brewers' Cut No. 002 Black Quadrupel

Texas performed well at this year’s Great American Beer Festival, the Olympics of the beer world, earning some of the spotlight usually reserved for breweries in other parts of the West. Six-month-old, Dallas-based Peticolas won gold, and several other concerns took home medals, including the tried-and-true Real Ale Brewing Company. The operation in Blanco, Texas, won silver for its top-selling Fireman #4, a sweet blond that slakes summer thirst, and for Han’s Pils, a seasonal hoppy pilsner.

Aside from the flagship Firemans #4, there is the popular Lost Gold IPA and the Devil’s Backbone, a knockout Belgian-style trippel, named after a road between Blanco and Wimberley.

But top-notch standards aren’t enough for the Real Ale crew. Limited releases such the Mysterium Verum aged series have slowly, like a tube ride down the Blanco (no beer bottles or cans, please), raised the brewery’s profile. (In Brewed Awakening: Behind the Beers and Brewers Leading the World's Craft Brewing Revolution, nationally recognized beer writer Joshua M. Bernstein says, Real Ale successfully set out “do something different and prove a point.”) The most recent tinkering has resulted in the research and development Brewers’ Cut line that includes No. 002 Black Quadrupel with a wallop of roasty Belgian black malt.

Lovers of suds and spirits that we are, Cowboys & Indians’ editorial staff gathered for a sampling conclave that included four-packs of Black Quad and Sisyphus, a barleywine-style ale. Each syrupy selection offered sweet, citrus notes and gave the team what-for in the alcohol by volume department (Black Quad reaches for 11 percent, while Sisyphus stops rolling at an even 10). Website Content Manager Steven Phelps and I, dedicated craft-beer drinkers, were happy with the two styles ideally paired with plummeting temperatures. Not everyone enjoyed the Hill Country picks, though. What follows is a collection of the panel’s thoughts.

BLACK QUADDRUPEL

Holly Henderson (Fashion Editor): It’s too sweet, the equivalent of Brandywine.

José R. Ralat (Associate Editor): Good beer. It would get even better as it came to room temperature.

Lauren Crispin (Art Director): This is caramel popcorn.

Steven Phelps (Website Content Manager): I’m surprised by the beer’s aftertaste. I didn’t expect it to be light.

Kathy Wise (Executive Editor): It’s a cozy, fireplace-perfect dessert beer.

Kathryn Buniak (Copy Chief): Yeah. This is tree-trimming beer.

Hunter Hauk (Website Editor): I’d like it on a holiday. But not Valentine’s Day. On Valentine’s Day, I drink Everclear.

SISYPHUS

KB: Bleh. I need a palate-cleanser.

Holly: Did someone put ground orange rind in my beer?

LC: It’s an intense Blue Moon.

KW: It’s a cough drop.

Hunter: Aptly named but I couldn’t drink it all night.

SP: It taste like futility.

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