By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Minh T Truong
By Molly Dunn
By Brooke Viggiano
By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Molly Dunn
By Molly Dunn
By Eating Our Words
In talking beer with Welch, one of the more interesting discussions revolved around where brewing trends are heading. Lager styles have not been fleshed out, Welch posited — an ironic fact given lager styles' overall dominance worldwide. He hopes that Sixpoint's recent expansion efforts will help address this.
"I feel lager is incredibly underdeveloped," Welch said. "With ales, innovation comes through formulation. But with lager, innovation comes through technique and different brewing methods."
We talked with Shane well into closing time at Rockwell, continuing to broach a wide array of topics, including Live Oak Brewing, barbacoa at Tacos Tierra Caliente and his discovery of the six-pointed brewer's star that now stands as his company's logo.
Clad in an Open the Taps T-shirt, Rockwell Tavern owner Tiffanie Richie joined the table as we wrapped up the night. Ever the gracious host, Richie was quick to thank Shane, challenge me to shotgun a pint with her and remind me exactly why one of the hottest breweries in the country chose her little out-of-the-way bar to visit when entering such an important market.
Here's a quick look at the first five beers from Sixpoint Brewery:
An American IPA with Belgian ester notes and mouth feel. Also packing a strong, concise floral hop character, Bengali was my favorite all-around beer of the night. This may be the best East Coast IPA in Texas right now.
Along with beers like Russian River Pliny the Elder and The Alchemist Heady Topper, Resin Double IPA is a nationwide buzz name among craft beer lovers. I can tell you firsthand, the buzz here is deserved. This is a top-notch Double IPA. Look for this to be one of the best-selling beers in Sixpoint's lineup.
Sweet Action Cream Ale
The surprise of the night went to Sweet Action, which combined a light, easy-drinking character with sweet malt and sucrose notes on its finish. Watch for Sweet Action to become a cult favorite among lighter-beer drinkers, much like Live Oak Hef and 512 Wit have been at Hay Merchant.
The Crisp Pilsner
The Crisp was again a surprising favorite. Light and succinctly sweet, this lager has a crisp hop bite finish that makes it approachable yet complex. In keeping with Welch's previous comments regarding lager-style beers, I look forward to more lagers from Sixpoint going forward.
Righteous Rye IPA
Despite enjoying the booming rye style quite a bit, I find many fall short of the bar set by everyday favorites like Ruthless Rye from Sierra Nevada. Sixpoint's rye IPA is no exception. Lacking the distinct hop character present in the other four Sixpoint beers, Righteous is left relying on its rye malt backbone, which — despite being plenty sweet — comes off like day-old burnt bread, ashy and harshly acidic.
All five styles are now available in four-packs of 16-ounce cans and on draft at local craft beer spots throughout the city.
Personal tip from the author: If you do find yourself at Rockwell Tavern and Richie challenges you to chug a pint of beer, feel free, but do not expect to win. If you foolishly engage in this challenge after polishing off one of the joint's awesome half-pound burgers and a plate of wings like I did, expect to be thoroughly embarrassed. Joshua Justice
Openings & Closings
Lucille's lands in the Museum District, and Dunkin Donuts hits Houston hard.
Lucille's (5512 La Branch) had its soft opening last week, and plans to host its grand opening on Monday, September 10. The restaurant is the latest addition to the food-starved Museum District, which recently saw the well-received Jade Stone Café open inside the Asia Society. Unlike the pan-Asian menu at Jade Stone, however, Lucille's is all Southern, all the time. Chef Chris Williams opened therestaurant as a tribute to his great-grandmother, Lucille Bishop Smith, who was a culinary pioneer in Texas. Says Williams:
"Growing up, I heard bits and pieces about my great-grandmother. It wasn't until just a few years ago that I found out that she and her family owned U.S. Smith's Famous BBQ and Lucille's Fine Foods General Store in Fort Worth, Texas. As a home economist, she established one of the first college-level commercial foods and technology departments in the U.S., at Prairie View A&M University. She also published sets of recipes for home cooks, sold the first All Purpose Hot Roll Mix in grocery stores and served her famous chili biscuits on American Airlines, and to such notables as Martin Luther King Jr. and Eleanor Roosevelt."
In keeping with Lucille herself, the restaurant will serve items such as her "claim to fame" chili biscuits, fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, watermelon salad and braised oxtails. While in its soft opening phase, Lucille's will only be open for dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5 until 10 p.m. After September 10, Lucille's plans to be open for lunch seven days a week and dinner on Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Although it's barely been open a week, I'm already predicting Cuchara (214 Fairview) to win an award for a category I'm making up right now: Best Use of Illustration in a Restaurant. Take a look at the fanciful drawings that artist Cecilia Beaven created for the Mexican restaurant's menu over at Cuchara's Facebook page. Beaven is also responsible for the mural that's a focal point of the beautiful dining room as well as the mural above the bar.