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Brew Blog: Uncle Billy's Brew & Que

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In Austin last weekend for the Renegade Craft Festival, we checked in with Uncle Billy's Brew & Que to see what was on the brewpub's seasonal taps.

While we sat outside and listened to Mike & The Moonpies sing about faded jeans, faded dreams and related topics, we sampled the brewery's Third Anniversary Ale, a Belgian imitation named "Dave Tripel" (pronounced like "Chapelle" this time), and a Red IPA. Billy's served the Belgian in a half-pint glass, given the 8.5 percent alcohol content. Though the glassware didn't give us much of a chance to catch any aroma, further investigation didn't find much anyway (though full disclosure, our allergies were acting up a bit that afternoon).

They certainly got the bitter and sour flavors right, and plenty of those accompanied each sip on all corners of the palate. There was a bit of alcohol burn, and occasionally a hint of that fruity complexity that makes Belgians fun. But overall, it was underdeveloped, and left us wanting more. To be fair, a boozy, malty Belgian would fail in the summer heat. No one in their right mind would order two. But this one was pretty sour. We're not sure we'd be in the mood for it again.

On the brewery's rotating hop tap we found a much more welcome offering. Billy's Red IPA (we didn't see a nickname for the beer, if there was one) had an awesome color and an obvious hop flavor that changed as it went down, a slight shift that was more than enough to keep it interesting.

The malt also wasn't completely absent, in the nose or the mouth, which was nice. The mellow, roasted, smoky flavor we assume came from its red base provided good balance, though this got hoppier as it warmed and pretty much wiped out that balance. Don't linger too long.

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