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Bottle & Tap

Shopping list: Beer

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There are several notable recent beer releases to add to the try-this list.

Saint Arnold Endeavour, which began life as Divine Reserve No. 11 when it was released last year, has returned for year-round distribution. The double IPA, like the pumpkin imperial stout seasonal released last fall, comes in a 22-ounce bottle.

West Coast brewers developed the double IPA style, sometimes referred to as imperial IPA, as the demand for bigger and bolder hop flavors grew. Saint Arnold brewers use Pacific Northwest hops Simcoe, Columbus, and Centennial distinct citrus flavors.

"It is amazing to me that 15 years ago, we would have struggled to sell three cases of this beer, but the public is clamoring for it today," said Brock Wagner, founder of the 18-year-old Houston brewery.

Samuel Adams is preparing new releases in its Single Batch series of beers. The smoky and slightly sweet Cinder Bock and the style-bending Dark Depths Baltic IPA are on shelves now.

Next up in the series are Verloren Gose and Norse Legend. Verloren, German for "lost," is an unmalted wheat-based gose style beer with a touch of salt and coriander.

The Norse Legend is fashioned after the Finnish sahti style and has rye malt for spicy notes and earthiness from several aromatic specialty malts. It was then aged on juniper berries for the flavor of evergreens. Jennifer Glanville, a brewer at Boston Beer Co., says she experimented with this style for nine years before finding just the right juniper berries and combinations to make it work.

Stone Brewing Co.'s Old Guardian Barley Wine, a beer I have sought out every time I left the state, has just hit shelves in Texas. If you've ever had Stone's Arrogant Bastard Ale, you can imagine what a barley wine ale from this brewery would be like. Enjoy it while there is still a little evening chill in the South Texas air.

Indy gets Friendly

The beers of Austin's Independence Brewing Co. will be featured at the second monthly Beerducation series at The Friendly Spot in Southtown (7pm Thu, Mar 8). Come learn about the brewery, the beer styles, and the inspiration behind Independence's take on them.

Yours truly is hosting, but we'll also get to hear from brewers Michael Waters and Adam Gonzales. For this fuzzy pair, the series' name may be temporarily changed to Beard-ucation (think ZZ Top but with brewers paddles instead of fuzzy guitars).

Freetail gets funky

Freetail Brewing Co. has tapped the Saison d'Schoppe, the winning beer for Funkiest of Show at the 2010 Alamo City Cerveza Fest homebrewing competition. Award-laden Austin homebrewer Mark Schoppe created this Belgian style beer with tons of great spice character including coriander and peppercorns.

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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