Summers in west Texas are not one of my favorite things in life and this particular summer has been particularly brutal. With day time temperatures reaching well over one hundred degree I find that late nights are the only time I can enjoy a pipe in an outdoor setting and even then the temps are staying in the upper nineties. To better combat the heat I have been taking this precious couple of bearable hours each evening to delve into the world of craft beers while partaking of the pipe. For quite some time now I have been exploring the world of wine and my tastes have developed a firm sense of understanding to what is suitable to my taste, usually a big full bodied red with sharp tannins and bite. My first batch of home wine came out much better than expected and my cab vines are looking great thus far this year. I should be harvesting them around mid September and will get then next fermentation started. But with all of this I must admit that I have only the slightest knowledge of the craft beer world. The reviews by Pope Crisco (http://www.intoxico.net), Joffre (http://joffrethegiant.blogspot.com) and others have done much to fuel my curiosity and send me searching to further my knowledge and taste into the finer points of life. So I will lend to you my thoughts on the last three nights of grueling investigation. Now take note that I lack the vocabulary and skill to properly address the issue at hand so my simple thumbs up or down must suffice for the time being. The tobacco of choice these last two nights has been a local blend called Dark Knight which I have spoken of before consisting of toasted black Cavendish and burley. Dark Knight was settled upon after the first night’s pairing was all but disastrous which I will mention in a moment. Now living on the desert island of west Texas the selection is probably not the greatest so I must make do with what I can find.
Monday night featured Rogue's Dead Guy Ale and some Nightcap. First off I will say that I love Nightcap and fortunately I never had the opportunity to smoke any of the original so I don’t know what I have missed but I do find the current blend to be excellent. I have tried not to read too much in the way of reviews so as to not taint my honest opinion by what others have said and take an honest approach to the task at hand. The Dead Guy Ale I found to be superb and very well to my liking. Now remember I don’t have a lot of craft beer knowledge to base my assessments on but I do know what I do and do not like in a beer. The problem I eluded to earlier, is that both the Rogue and Nightcap are stellar choices on their own, paired together it is a different matter entirely. I could not begin to explain this phenomenon but take my world they are a mix simply not meant to be. But for the Rogue Dead Guy Ale it is two thumbs up for sure.
Having learned from the previous night’s ill conceived union I settled on my go-to tobacco, Dark Knight that seems to accompany all things quite well. This night’s beer by would be Saint Arnolds Amber Ale hailing from Houston Texas. Well there isn’t much I can say about this beer for it did little to peak my interest and seemed to even to be a tad bit on the boring side to say the least. Unfortunately this has given me little desire to try the other offerings from Saint Arnolds Brewery.
And this brings us to tonight. This night chosen brew was Agave Wheat by Breckenridge Brewery in Denver Colorado (http://www.breckbrew.com/beer/agavewheat.html). It is American wheat ale brewed with a touch of agave nectar. I found it to be a touch light and a bit sweet but over all enjoyable and it went beautifully with the smoke. For a moment I was able to forget that it was ninety six degrees at midnight and I simply became lost in the moment sitting on the front porch with the pint, the pipe and stars above.