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Jul 11 2013
Fireman’s #4 – Real Ale Brewing in Blanco, TX

A staple here in Austin is Fireman’s #4 Blonde Ale by Real Ale Brewing. This beer is great for quite a few reasons. First, Fireman’s 4 is that beer that bridges the gap between the swill you drank in high school and today’s quality craft beer. Obviously, you have come a long way since high school; hell if you’re reading this on a computer connected to the internet, then welcome to the top 1% of intelligent mankind. Isn’t it about time you graduated to a beer you can taste?

Low on the IBUs (21) Fireman’s 4 boasts a smooth 2-row barley malt flavor with a hint of citrus on the front of the tongue complimented with a crystal hop nip on the back. Even the mouth feel of the beer helps with its drinkability, perfectly carbonated for a balanced gulp.

Since this beer is everywhere in Austin, it comes on draft, in bottles, and cans. I picked up a sixer for this assignment and have been drinking them two at a time from a frozen mug. Ice cold, from the bottle, I noticed the citrus right away.

However when drinking from the mug, the flavor is more consistent all the way through. Was the citrus kick due to it being the last gulp out of the bottle or because the aroma from the mug overran the senses? I can’t be sure. What I can be sure of is the 5.1% ABV is playing tricks on me.

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I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that these champion chemists won the silver at the Great American Beer Festival in Colorado last year with Fireman’s #4 in the “Golden of Blond Ale” category.

If you don’t know, the GABF is the super bowl of the brewing world and every man must make the pilgrimage to Denver at least once in his lifetime for this meeting of gods and mortals.

Finally, I must mention that the guys at Real Ale dry hopped their Fireman’s #4 and canned it as their summer seasonal. They call it Fireman’s #4 Squared – and it is a hoppier Blonde with a flavor closer to a pale ale.

Check out more pellets o’ social media on Twitter, Facebook, and their website.

Jun 27 2013
Bacon Restaurant – Austin, TX

When you think of Texas; salty, delicious bacon isn’t the first meat candy to come to mind. No, sir! Americans know Texas for slow-cooked beef brisket pulled out of a smoker so big you need a trailer to move it. In Austin, TX – where “weird” is a way of life – sits a small hole in the wall on west 10th street where patrons can dine on succulent sow and wash it down with canned craft beer.

As a native of Richmond I want nothing more than to wrap my arms around a Smithfield ham but pig farming just doesn’t do as well in Texas as it does in Virginia and the Carolinas. Now, I love a good piece of brisket smothered in Texas BBQ sauce but there’s been a hole in my heart for swine and I plugged it with Bacon!

On a brisk 97 degree night in late June, the Castle Hill neighborhood in downtown Austin, TX was busy with evening exodus traffic. Bacon doesn’t see much dinner clientele as the seven car parking lot was empty (lunch, however, is packed!) but as you approach the bright yellow house you can’t help but get excited for supper.

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