Beer&Wine

HPTX Tap Talk – Twisted Acre

Twisted Acre logo

This is the first of a series highlighting local brewers, distillers, and other craft spirit/beer-related people. The first interviewee is Robert Brogden from the new Twisted Acre Brewery. He is a hobbyist who is living the dream of so many by making the transition to pro brewer. Without further ado, here is the story behind the newest brewery in the Houston area.

Twisted Acre Brewery is a true home-built family operation, although one of the two owners may regret that currently. Twisted Acre is owned by the husband and wife team of Robert and Nicole Broaden. The whole operation is due to a gift from Nicole. She purchased Robert his first brewing kit. The beer that came from the first kit, to quote Robert, was “undrinkable.” Rather than quit as most people do, he spent hours on the internet and YouTube learning the details of the art of brewing. I can personally attest his version of brew school 101 was a roaring success.

Robert built his own new setup from the ground up. As a self-diagnosed OCD sufferer, he made sure the new equipment was laid out perfectly. His first beer was a red IPA. He was so proud of the results that he had a party the first night the beer was ready to drink. The rave reviews led him to wonder if he was gifted enough to brew professionally. After years of creating and tweaking recipes in his brew garage, Robert got the blessing from Nicole to make his passion an occupation.

Robert’s brewing style is a modern one. His brews come in a variety of flavors, from easy drinking to the fullest of flavor. He has no fear of non-traditional ingredients or flavors. His base beer is a Mexican lager, a style that a lot of craft brewers look at with scorn. “Green Card,” as it is called, is crisp and refreshing. You can get it dressed with salt and lime as well. This puts Twisted Acre in a prime position to target those new to the craft beer world who want to dip their toes in to the water.

Make no mistake though, Robert also has beers for even the most experienced craft beer drinkers. His honey IPA “Bumbletree” is an intriguing combination, with the sweetness being a great break-up for the high amount of IBUs in it. The mixture makes for an extremely drinkable beer, all things considered. My personal favorite is his coffee stout “21-Gun Salute.” In a collaboration with Counter Strike Coffee and their “Napalm” beans, this flavor-forward beer lets you know it is all about the coffee, but without burning out your taste buds. The creaminess of the stout supports the varying flavors very well, showing that Robert has a vast base of brewing tastes. He came to brewing as an IPA-crazed hophead, but has learned to spread his flavors to be more inviting of other preferences.

Robert and Nicole have given their all to get Twisted Acre open to the public. Their hard work is finally paying off, as their Grand Opening is this weekend. (Tickets are being presold through their website.) Go check them out and you will see a couple’s hard work in totality. Everything in the brewery was built or designed by them. Nicole even hand-drew the logo on her tablet, pixel by pixel. Here’s hoping they get as much out of the brewery as they put into it!

Robert and Nicole

Six Pack to Go

The next section will appear in every Tap Talk from now on: I am calling it the “Six Pack to Go.” It consists of six fun questions I ask the brewer. Robert was gracious enough to serve as my guinea pig (sorry, PETA). Here we go:

What’s your favorite beer/food pairing?
Steak with a nice hearty stout

What’s your favorite brewery in the Houston area (not your own)?
B-52 Brewing Company

What’s your favorite brewery outside of Houston?
Odell Brewing

What’s your favorite beer from a Houston-area brewery (not your own)?
Houston Haze by Spindletap Brewery

What’s your favorite beer from outside of Houston?
Any variety of Sculpin IPA by Ballast Point

If you had to pick your last beer ever, what would it be? (You can choose your own.)
21 Gun Salute Coffee Stout

Details

Twisted Acre Brewery
16103 Grant Rd Space J
Cypress, TX 77429

Official website

Twitter (@twistedacre)

Tis the Season to Drink Beer

Last week, Saint Arnold’s Christmas Ale made its way back into stores. You’ve probably seen it, and maybe you’ve passed it by. It’s time for you to stop doing that and make it a yearly purchase instead. The beer debuted in 1995. That’s right: craft beer in 1995. It’s a different beer for sure, and I know a few tricks for it that I will explain in a bit. First, here are some details about the beer from Saint Arnold himself:

Christmas Ale

Available October - December

A rich, copper colored, hearty ale perfect for the holiday season with a malty sweetness and spicy hop character. The generous use of five different malts is responsible for the full flavor and high alcohol level of this beer.

Saint Arnold Christmas Ale is best consumed at 45° Fahrenheit.

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(Source: Saint Arnold website)

Your first taste of Christmas Ale will be wicked. It pops and hits you with hard spice notes like you ate a pine tree hanging in the car window. It hits you with only 24 IBUs – less than you might expect. The ABV is 7.5%. Moreover, here is where it gets fun: the Christmas Ale has two underground recipes attached to it.

There are two ways in our house to drink it: my way, and Monica’s (the wife’s) way. Both are equally great; mine just gets you sideways faster.

Sailing Santa (a.k.a. The Monica Way)

Long ago, Saint Arnold’s sold a special holiday beer called Sailing Santa. It has since been discontinued, but here is the formula:

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Start with your cold mug of choice. Monica likes to pour the Christmas Ale into the glass first, filling it about halfway, then top the rest of the glass off with Elissa IPA. The result is incredible. The Elissa is a classic by Saint Arnold and is available all year. It has an IBU of 52, and an ABV of 7.1%. The hops from the IPA break up the pine taste of the Christmas Ale, and together they form a terrific partnership. It’s sad that the actual Sailing Ale is long gone, but it’s good to have this in its place.

We first discovered this at the brewery itself, from a good friend who was tired of hearing bitching about the absence of Sailing Santa. When he revealed the formula to make it, I felt like a complete moron, yet [RFO1] I couldn’t wait to get home and try it out.

Rocket Santa (a.k.a. The Eric Way)

Soon we discovered another recipe. Rocket Santa starts the same way, with half a glass of Christmas Ale, but we are kicking it up a notch with a harder beer. Enter the Endeavour.

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Endeavour was one of my first true craft beer loves. I was looking for a way out of the “shit beer” scene when I came across Divine Reserve, a series of single batch beers by Saint Arnold. Endeavour was the 11th Divine Reserve. It’s a double IPA that punches you in the balls when you first try it, coming at you with 68 IBUs and a hefty 9.0% ABV. Adding this to the Christmas Ale, like the Elissa, breaks up some of the pine taste, and drops in more ABV, which is perfect for the holiday season. After a few Rocket Santas, everyone looks forward to me making an ass out of myself or saying something inappropriate (but to be fair, this could happen sober as well). The Rocket Santa was also discovered at the brewery, and I was able to enjoy a few of them before we walked downtown for the Astros’ victory parade.

Conclusion

The Christmas Ale is ok by itself, and nothing for me to write home about. But when I combine this beauty with two year-round favorites, the results are magic. Cheers, and let’s get the holiday season started early!