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Buffalo Bayou Brewery: A Preview

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If you haven't heard about the Buffalo Bayou Brewery, one of the new local craft beer makers in Houston, it's probably because they haven't officially opened yet. But to get the buzz going and to let people know what's coming down the line, they held a media preview event last week, where we had the chance to try the beer while noshing on beer-themed light bites.

Located near the Washington corridor, Buffalo Bayou Brew Company (Twitter: @buffbrew) is the brainchild of probably the nicest, most enthusiastic beer lover I've ever met, CEO/Founder Rassul Zarinfar, a Harvard MBA grad who, at 29, has spent many years working with and around beer.

Scheduled to open in late December to early January 2012, the 10-barrel brewery will be housed in a cool space where they'll be able to give tours and let people try some of their craft beer. They are already experimenting with different batches of beers and have perfected what they hope to be their signature, drink-all-year-round beer, the 1836.

Named after the year that Houston was founded, the beer is medium-bodied, with some hops flavors and a slightly bitter finish. Easily drinkable, the copper ale-type has an "assertive hoppiness" and a "biscuity malt profile." They had beef, pork and jalapeno sausages served in 1836 beer bread with sauerkraut and caramelized onions to pair with the beer, created by Matt Schlabach.

I'm more of a wine drinker, so I can't call myself a craft beer sophisticate in any way. But I have to say, the second beer we tasted, a hibiscus-infused beer that had a slightly pink color to it, was so good it tasted like a beer cocktail. Light on the hops flavor, but big on the hibiscus fragrance, with good carbonation, the beer was refreshing and smooth, and easily drinkable.

Paired with a crostini of autumn squash, Texas goat cheese, and Revival Market lardo with a hibiscus beer gastrique, by Ryan Pera of Revival Market, the hibiscus-infused beer, quite frankly, rocked.

We were also given the chance to try a Belgian Dubbel, as well as a Belgian Dubbel with brettanomyces, to taste the difference in how the added yeast can change the flavor of the beer. These were paired with a smooth and creamy Chocolate XXX-Mas Stout syllabub by Pastry Chef Rebecca Masson.

Keep a look-out for Buffalo Bayou Brewery at the end of this month, and get a glass when you see it. Buffbrew plans to start out by producing small, 40-keg batches, and I'm sure there will be demand.

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