Quarantine Diaries XXXXXV
Friday May 22nd 2020
Texas is (sort of) open! Yes, we have had a couple of gentle forays back into the world over the last two weeks, but as of today (safely practiced) going out is coming back, and for the first time in what really feels like forever we planned a little brewery taproom tour! The weather was glorious, sunny but mercifully breezy, and we were choc-full of anticipation as we hit the road. Our first stop was the lovely Acopon taproom in the heart of historic Dripping Springs. Serving up the best English ales in Texas (I have not yet found better), including a Bitter on cask (oh yes), Acopon are a staple of our Hill Country travels and we were delighted to find that they have been busy brewing up two excellent new beers during lockdown, a firm, malty Roggenhund Rye IPA and scrumptious Christmas-puddingy Mrs Trapp BBA Imperial Stout with Cherries – what a welcome back! Although we sat alone in their small, shaded beer garden, the feeling of being back in the taproom-saddle was happily warm and fuzzy. We stopped in at Last Stand Brewing next, where distanced tables were spread across their woodchipped outdoor space. We sipped on their smooth, bready Anniversary Wit and roasty-liquorice Morning Rye’d Black IPA (a collab with Redhorn Coffee & Beer) and people-watched. I’d almost forgotten how to do that! Our final stop was at the fabulous 12 Fox Brewing who were celebrating their first birthday. With tables spaced across their huge rustic property, great local live music and food from our favourite barbecue Salt Lick, 12 Fox pulled of a brilliant distanced party. There were two tasty new brews, a warm sweet-malt Chocolate Dunkel and a lovely rounded Negro Sombrero Vienna Lager, and we had so much fun eating, drinking and swaying along to the music as we would have on any Texas night before mid-March. The Quarantine Diaries may be (nearly) over, but this is definitely more of a beginning than an end.
Acopon Mrs Trapp BBA Imperial Stout with cherries
Christmas pudding, and lots of it! This was the first beer I sipped on post-lockdown which obviously made it extra special, and no, I wasn’t going to let a little thing like its 10.2% ABV put me off diving straight in at 3.30pm – hell no! The sweet dark cherries were married with raisins, dates and brown sugar, which combined beautifully with the woody bourbon. The texture of this beer was so light it resembled an ale more than a stout, which made it even more scary-easy-drinking. We may have to go back for more.
12 Fox Bettie Belgian Dubbel
This is, deservingly, a 12 Fox flagship brew and I find it impossible to resist having one every time we visit. The full, oakey caramel flavour with just a hint of banana is so deliciously smooth and the sweetness so nicely balanced that it glides down beautifully. It takes real skill to make a Dubbel that’s super-drinkable in the Texas heat and 12 Fox have totally nailed it. Worth the long drive out every single time.