Despite the blast of cold last night, spring is more or less here in Texas. Time to transition from those heavy-duty winter warmers to something a little (but not too much) lighter.
My Kansas City mother-in-law is in town, which is wonderful in and of itself, but it's enhanced by the fact that (A) she's here to watch the kids while M'Lady and I enjoy South by Southwest and (B) she always brings me Boulevard beer, which finally started distributing to Texas but we still can't get it here in Austin. (Yo, Boulevard – you really think Dallas is a better craft beer market than Austin? Seriously? Maybe I underestimate my DFW brethren, but I think your hardcore beer drinkers are down here.)
So the MIL (not to be confused with the MILF — that would be my wife) brought me Boulevard's Irish Ale, which I've never had before because I usually visit KC only in summer and winter; Irish Ale is a spring seasonal. This is wonderful stuff. As the name suggests, it's an Irish red, which if drunk at proper temperature has just the right touch of malt, not overpowering like a winter doppelbock, but more balanced. (And the right temperature, by the way, is in the 50s. I love today's weather – I can just leave the beer on my back porch instead of the beer fridge, and it's perfect.)
Speaking of bocks, I'm also leaping for joy because Saint Arnold's Spring Bock has arrived. These guys had me at the label, with those gorgeous Texas bluebonnets on it, but the beer inside is even better. I was talking yesterday with Brock Wagner, the CEO of Saint Arnold, and he said that I only have something like three more weeks of it – that makes me sad. I want them to keep pumping this stuff out at least through the end of April. (Man, the Winter Stout disappeared way too quick!) Also a nice dose of malt, a little heavier than this Irish Ale, it borders on being a winter beer. I suppose I shouldn't be so sad that I can't get Boulevard in Austin — Saint Arnold (out of Houston) is doing a fine job of filling the "regional brewery" role for Texas that Bully does up in the Midwest.
But hey, I'm greedy — I want it all.
Vignette #8, Agostino Arioli (Birrificio Italiano)
19 hours ago