Monday, September 3, 2012

Lakewood Brewing Tour

I really want to call Lakewood Brewing the best brewery in DFW, but I can't.  This is only because I've only toured 3 of the DFW breweries.  Of those, Lakewood is definitely my favorite.

Three of their 4 beers were available at the time my friend Daniel and I went to the tour: Rock Ryder (Wheat/Rye), Hop Trapp (Belgian-Style IPA), and The Temptress (Milk Stout).  All three were versions of the style that I think the average person (read: non-craft beer drinker) could enjoy.

I started out with The Temptress, since we were there for its release day.  Most places that have it on tap already are serving it on Nitro.  At the brewery, it was served on a standard tap.  Either they didn't have their Nitro set up yet, or the bars serving it decided to serve it that way on their own.  I don't know.  It was a great stout, with a very clean, unbitter, roast character even when it warmed in the 90° weather.  To me: perfect.  However, I wouldn't call it a Milk Stout.  It lacked the creamyness and sweetness I expect from a Milk Stout.  Maybe this is where the Nitro comes in, I don't know.  And at 9.1%, I would call it an Imperial Stout. (Although maybe not by the craft-beer-extreme definition.)

Next, I had the Hop Trapp.  Lakewood's slogan is Belgian Roots-Texas Brewed.  Only after looking at their website did I realize this was a "Belgian" IPA.  I have a new theory that the wheat malt is what helps Belgian yeast produce their special characteristics.  This is based on two data points: my homebrewed Belgian Pale Ale which I just swapped yeasts on, and the lack of Belgian character in this IPA.  It had an amazing flavor and aroma that reminded me of sticking my head in a bag of Cascades. Not much bitterness though.  This one definitely skirts the line between Pale Ale and IPA, and hopheads may be disappointed.  Personally, I love aromatic IPAs, so I thought it was perfect.

Finally, we closed out the day with the Rock Ryder.  It's probably the most true to name.  A very clean, easy drinking wheat beer, perfect for the hot weather.  It isn't a stand out among the Stout and IPA, but it drinks so effortlessly that it will be a huge seller.

Although they aren't technically in Lakewood (they are in Garland), they do make great beer.  They seem to have positioned themselves outside of the "extreme" craft brewing that has been taking over.  They make decidedly drinkable beers, and that's a good thing.  They have only been producing for 3 weeks.  With bottles expected to hit market in October, I will be a loyal customer.

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