Monday, December 31, 2007

Sisyphus 2007

Real Ale, a brewery in Blanco, Texas (about 50 miles west of Austin) has risen in my estimation over the past couple of years, especially with the success of their Fireman's 4 blond ale. That rise continued at the Bobnoxious Christmas Beer tasting this year when I tried the 2007 version of Sisyphus, their seasonal barleywine. This stuff is just great, and I got a full bottle of my own today from Central Market.

I've really gotten to be a fan of barleywines in the past year. There's something about that strong alcohol taste that I just love, epecially if it's done well. And this is. There are some wonderful, complex flavors going on here. A good dose of malt, of course, but also rich, ripe fruit — especially bananas, with a touch of dark plums.

If you want some, they have a whole bunch of it at Central Market. (And, I noticed, a case or two of Anchor Old Foghorn, the first barleywine I ever tried many, many moons ago.) This isn't nearly on the level of North Coast Old Stock, and is perhaps even half a step behind Criminally Bad Elf, but it's still well worth your time and money and a beer of which Texas can be proud.

10 comments:

Ana said...

i'm a huge fan of fireman's!

Anonymous said...

The sisyphus is true beer bliss and I'm thrilled to find that I can find some at central market. A 30 mile drive for me but worth it!

Lee said...

Oooh, yikes -- I hope it's still there if you drive that far!

Evan said...

Old Foghorn is dangerous.

Lee said...

Damn straight Old Foghorn is dangerous. That one and only time I tried was years ago at the Dog & Duck. My friends insisted I should try it, so I got one. Only after I had downed an entire glass (at normal beer-drinking speed) and ordered a second did they tell me the alcohol content. (Anchor Steam's website says the bottled version is 8-10%, but I remember my friends at the time telling me it was 11%). I was actually too drunk to pedal my bicycle home.

Mike T said...

I have no idea if you'll see this or not, but we toured the real ale brewery a couple weeks ago and they were just boxing up some sisyphus... We had some 2007 on tap there and it was awesome - haven't seen 2008 on the shelf - any idea when it might grace us with it's presence and where?

Lee said...

Mike: I can find out. I'm hoping to make a trip out to Blanco soon to sample the Scotch ale they're about to release, I can ask them. Best thing to do, though, is just e-mail them at the brewery: http://realalebrewing.com

Mike T said...

So I emailed the guys at Real Ale and they said: "The Sisyphus should be available at all the places you mentioned (HEB, Specs, Whole Foods and Central Market)and we will be releasing the last of what we put into bottles in the next week or so. Be sure to ask for it - sometimes it's in a different section because the bottles are sold individually.

Jackson Glass said...

I just picked one of these up the other day (2007 vintage!) and it was absolutely phenomenal.

I hope they still have some... gotta go stock up and age these suckers (even more!)

Lee said...

Jackson: I don't know about 2007, but I seem to remember seeing 2008 at Central Market recently.