My Dad became a beer snob about the same time I did. I'm visiting him this weekend (the picture shows Me and M'Lady on my parents' back porch), and we're enjoying being beer snobs together.
I went into Beer Basket yesterday and intentionally went seeking something I've never had before. (Okay, the name of our corner store is actually Bread Basket, but they in fact do not carry any variety of bread, and have a shocking variety of beer and wine for a tiny neighborhood Stop 'n' Rob, hence the nickname.) I grabbed a Texas beer -- Rahr & Sons Ugly Pug Black Lager -- and brought it up to Salado. (Rahr & Sons brews in Fort Worth.) Not bad, but my main problem is that I've had New Belgium's 1554 Black Ale, which does this style a bit better. The "black" style is not stout, not porter; it is a slightly coffeeish beer with notes of burnt toast. I've really fallen in love with New Belgium's version; this isn't bad, but if the choice is available, I think I'll grab the 1554 instead. Of course, I've noticed that the farther I get into a glass of most decent beers, the better they start tasting by the end. I'm liking this more as I go along. At the least, I applaud this obscure brewery for taking on an equally obscure style -- it's a bold effort.
The real highlight of my day has been my dad's offer of Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale. Now this is a real world-class beer. I'll rave about it more when I have more time to type, but see some of my earlier posts about how Samuel Smith's just never does anything less than sublime. Dad says he is not familiar with Young's Brewery yet, which I hold in equal regard to Sam Smith's, so I'll have to come back with an armload of their selections.
I started the day with Hidden River Pale Ale, another completely new beer to me. Not bad, but just a run-of-the mill pale ale, really. My dad said he bought it north of Dallas when he was desperate for some good beer, and thought he'd try it. And that makes a good description of this beer -- not spectacular, but serviceable if it's all you can find.