I'm a day late getting this up--when already the world is buzzing about the GABF winners. But we are a more refined group; we care about the journey, not the destination. To that point, I have a couple of Texas breweries that knocked my socks off. The first is a brewpub in San Antonio called Freetail that makes accomplished, experimental beers. There's no better example than Spirulina Wit, made with spirulina, a free-floating filamentous cyanobacteria (aka "algae") known mainly as a dietary supplement. The key prefix in that description is "cyan," because this is one funky looking beer.
It could have totally been a gimmick, but it's a fantastic wit (a muse for Jason Davis, the brewer, who makes several). It's tangy, light, and has the most subtle vegetative note--and my mind tried to tell me it was minty, too, but I knew it was just fooled by the color. An equally impressive beer was Broken Honeymoon, a delightful bitter made with Golden Promise malt and guajillo honey. Davis likes to use offbeat ingredients, but he works solidly within the idioms of standard style. Impressive stuff.
Next we go to Austin and Uncle Billy's, which has three locations. One seems to focus on lagers, one on NW-style ales. Since I live in a city lousy with NW-style ales, I gravitated toward the excellent lagers. But I couldn't help notice this:
(Hey Abe, it's working.)