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Bottle & Tap

Bottle & Tap: Take off the chill

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Take off the chill

Outdoors the thermostat hit close to 100, but inside Freetail Brewing Co. was serving up cool weather brews with the AC cranked at its annual Christmas in July celebration.

Get there before the week is out and you'll likely still be able to taste some special brews including old standbys with a twist. Strong ale Old Bat Rastard aged in a wooden barrel with wild microscopic beasties brings the funk to Wild Barrel OBR.

Another favorite, Ananke, has poked out her head for a sneak peak. This brew is the heart of the Freetail's ambitious sour beer program, but usually serves as the base for other beers with the addition of fruit or as part of blend.

Also at last check, there was still some Porto Gallito to tempt tastebuds with Double Red Rooster aged in two freshly emptied port barrels.

The latest batch of Witicus also has just been tapped. It has the refreshment power of its little brother Rye Wit, but is amped up to 8.2 percent alcohol and even bigger flavors.

On the more summery side, Freetail has released its long-awaited Berliner Weisse beer cheekily dubbed Yo Soy Un Berliner. The style has been all but lost in Germany, but brewers have been working to perfect the lost art with scraps of old recipes and retired German professors who remember what Berliner Weisse tasted like back in the day.

Freetail's concoction is tart, but low in alcohol and very uplifting on a wilting summer day. Although I'm a purist, Germans typically drank it with the addition of sweet syrup such as the green colored woodruff or raspberry. Try it with a half dose of the raspberry syrup to enhance the flavor without making it too sweet.

Hops for Heroes

Saint Arnold Brewing Co. raised $100,000 with the sale of its Saint Arnold Homefront IPA for Operation Homefront Texas.

Another $20,000 from Silver Eagle distributors and the Bottle Shop in Houston made the check from the brewing world even bigger to support the organization that aids the families of U.S. service members and wounded warriors.

New brews to SA

On the beer manager's left were coolers, stacked cases, and long shelves containing the biggest beer selection in the city. On his right, a wall of wine he said may soon be gone to make way for the ever-increasing flood of new homegrown and out-of-state beers coming in.

Watch for the return of Chicago's Goose Island, Austin's Hops & Grain, Crazy Mountain from the Vail Valley of Colorado, Sprecher of Milwaukee, and Sixpoint beers from Brooklyn, NY.

There also is talk of California's Firestone Walker, Karbach of Houston (a tasty canned IPA), and Belgian treat Rodenbach, which so far is only promised in the Dallas market.

Travis E. Poling is beer writer for the Current and is co-author of Beer Across Texas: A Guide to Brews and Brewmasters of the Lone Star State. You can hear him March 8 at The Friendly Spot Ice House leading the monthly Beerducation series.

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