Tuesday, June 23, 2009


The last time I was in Dallas for work (2005) I made my holy grail a “Texas-sized” steak, rather than the indigenous beers of the Dallas metropolitan area. I failed that time, procuring only a meager slab of meat at a downtown restaurant that I was the only patron of the whole time I ate. Nor did I get to the Texas School Book Depository, nor to the grassy knoll. This time I vowed to not only make said morbid pilgrimage, but also to THE GINGER MAN, the original recipe beer hall that’s been turning Texans on to amazing beer since 1992. I’ve been to their New York City location about a half-dozen times. I knew it would have a quality tap list. It did.

With my trusted beer-drinking enthusiast EW by my side – she was drinking Deschutes beers in Bend, OR years before we’d ever even heard of the brewery – I headed to THE GINGER MAN on a late afternoon in roasting 97-degree Dallas heat. The place is a total oasis, with shaded outdoor patios, and two levels of air-conditioned indoor bliss. I can see this being a fantastic, liver-destroying hangout for less restrained men & women. Dozens upon dozens of beers are on tap, broken down by style category on the paper menu they hand you at the bar (just as they do in NYC). Even more are in bottles. There was once again a mini-“crisis of abundance”, but here’s what I went with to slake my massive thirst:

REAL ALE DEVIL’S BACKBONE – A “dangerously drinkable” tripel from this Blanco, TX brewer whom we’d previously come to love for their pale ales. This yellow/reddish-colored ale is thin-bodied yet packed with taste – floral, assertive hops and light, yeast-laden spicing. They mistakenly told me at the bar that this was a quadrupel and I believed them, even after drinking it. A great unsung brewer, at least outside of Texas. 7.5/10.

ST. ARNOLD ELISSA IPA (CASK) – I think after this beer I’m going to make it official: I don’t like drinking American IPAs on cask. Maybe they can get away with this malarkey over yonder, where the sun don’t shine & they talk funny, but something about removing the carbonation just makes this style fall totally flat for me. A tingling, understated, citrus-forward IPA – from what I can tell – definitely not a “hop monster”. Still, putting it on cask leeches out about 50% of the assumed pleasure for me. Even HOPSICKLE was mediocre on cask. It may not be Houstons ST. ARNOLD BREWING’s fault here. It’s not you, fellas – it’s me. 6/10.

Not to go “off topic” too much, but man, when I was a youngster I was weirdly fascinated with the JFK assassination, and I read multiple books & articles about it even before I was ten years old. Finally getting to the site last week was a stone trip for me. Everything was way “smaller” than I imagined – the 7-floor building Oswald shot from, the grassy knoll (which is a gently sloping “ridge”, I guess), and the expressway that the motorcade was on. There are X’s on the street matter-of-factly marking the 2 places where bullets hit Kennedy. I bought a conspiracy-theory magazine from some kook out front, who pointed out for us the exact spot in the nearby fence where “the other gunman” was shooting from. Good times in Big D all around.


tedo said...

If you are still up in Dallas try Rahr and Sons (they are in Ft. Worth) Wee Heavy Ale Iron Thistle. There is supposed to still be some kegs of this around.

assurbanipaul said...

The beer you want to catch on cask here is Saint Arnold's Christmas Ale. Bliss!

tedo said...