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Beers of the Week: Pedernales Brewing Co.


These days, the town of Fredericksburg and the surrounding Hill County area are known for producing some of Texas’ finest wines. The folks at Pedernales Brewing Co. are hoping to broaden that picture.

The brewery, which opened in March, has introduced four beers to the market so far, two in two different lines,  and a little something to please all tastes.

The Lobo line, with the wolf on its labels, includes:

  • Lobo Texas Lager is billed as a 1910 Pre-Prohibition Lager and is made from a recipe that dates actually to 1907.
  • Lobo Negro is a dark lager, or “dunkel,” which comes from a recipe that dates back to Germany in the 1950s.

The Classic line currently features:

  • The India Pale Ale, which is made in the American style.
  • The Hefe-Weizen, which is said to be unfiltered in the traditional German style (and is the only one of the four I haven’t tried).

All are made in keeping with traditional recipes, because one of the brewery’s founders, Lee Hereford, was looking for an old-fashioned beer that, when you finished your first, all you wanted was another.

So, he and his crew “are taking great recipes and we’re bringing them back,” says Hereford, who once owned a Hill Country winery called Wimberely Valley Wines. “We’re not trying to get out on the cutting edge with the weirdest beers of the decade.”

So, don’t expect a choc-van-straw porter or a brussels sprouts stout any time soon.

Yet making a century-old beer recipe work today is not as easy as it may seem. Brewmaster Peter McFarlane admits on the company’s website that he’s tinkered with the recipe for the Hefe-Weizen for several years.

There’s also a question of getting just the right Hill Country well water for the Texas Lager, the appropriate “dry malting” for the IPA and cold enough temperatures in the Texas heat for the dark lager.

The efforts have been worth it, based on a recent sampling. The Texas Lager was a pleasant, refreshing drink, smooth, but not so polished that it’s lost a cleansing bitter finish. The Lobo Negro managed to hit the right notes of cocoa and malt and was sweet enough to go nicely as a topping for Blue Bell’s vanilla ice cream.

My favorite, though, was the IPA with its hoppy bitterness mixed with a pleasant toffee-like sweetness and an herbal touch. It’s perfect for spicy foods or just something¬† bold to stand up to its layers of flavors. I had it with ribs at Tycoon Flats.

You can find Pedernales’ offerings at a variety of places around town, including the Alon H-E-B and Green Fields Market as well as Barriba Cantina, Chama Gaucha, the Friendly Spot and Myron’s Prime Steakhouse. You’ll also find it throughout the Hill Country; I saw it at the Silver K Cafe in Johnson City this past weekend. Click on the website above to find a full list of people selling this solid new addition to the burgeoning Texas beer scene.

 

 

 

 

 

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Beer of the Week: Stella Artois


 

Beer of the Week is sponsored by the Lion & Rose. Each week, we introduce you to a wonderful brew that’s a little bit different and well worth seeking out.

 

 

 

 

Stella Artois

This lager is probably Belgium’s most famous beer. Not necessarily the best, mind you, but certainly the most popular.

Popularity is, after all, determined by those qualities that are most desired and yet can also appeal to the public at large. So, don’t expect Stella Artois (pronounced R-twah) to provide the same complexity you’ll find in the Chimay brews or an Orval. But do expect a finely crafted beer that’s great for quaffing on a hot day.

In other words, grab a six-pack of this if you’ve got to mow the lawn and put in any spring flowers this weekend. You’ll be able to reward yourself for a job well done. And if it rains, you can still reward yourself for your good intentions.

What you’ll notice first when you start pouring the beer is a gorgeous golden color that shows off the wheat to good effect. The head builds nicely but soon dissipates to little lacing around the edge.

The brewery suggests you pour it into a chalice, and it even offers deals on its website where you can get your own engraved chalice to drink it from. Click here to learn more.

The nose is filled with wheat and a slight skunky quality that’s not off-putting, just somewhat odd.

The taste is what makes the beer so popular. It’s pleasant, with a refreshing lightness and clean feeling that has a touch of wheat and an even lighter note of hoppiness. The finish is dry and a touch bitter, in the best way possible.

This is lager at its most essential. It tastes like beer, like what you think of when you think of beer, like beer on a Platonic level.

So, don’t think. Drink.

That’s what people love about Stella Artois and it’s what will have you wanting more.

It’s perfect with a great deal of flavors, so you can have with whatever you have a hankering for. At the Lion and Rose, you could start with spicy Hackney Hot Wings or go with something as comforting and earthy as Holloway Road Hummus. Then move on to a Lion and Rose Garden Salad with cheddar, bacon and egg or Fin, Feather and Shell, a fried plate of fish, chicken and shrimp.

You might want to finish the Artois before dessert, because its bitterness will fight sweets. Or you could have another instead of dessert.

 

 

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