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Texas Brew Review: Adelbert’s Philosophizer

Posted 1:20pm on Tuesday, Mar. 18, 2014

Austin gets a lot of credit for its brewing scene.

Nationally, if you ask craft beer lovers where the biggest things are happening in Texas, chances are they’ll say Austin -- although we North Texans would argue we’re quickly closing that gap.

Austin breweries like Jester King, Austin Beerworks, Hops & Grain and Live Oak get much of the publicity, but relatively new Adelbert’s Brewery in North Austin should not be overlooked.

Started in memory of founder Scott Hovey’s brother, Adelbert exclusively features Belgian-style beers in mostly 750 ml bottles. Couple that with their unassuming (but well-designed) tan labels and it’s easy to see how they might get passed over.

But what they may lack in flash, they make up for in substance. Producing Belgian beers made to style is no easy task, but Adelbert’s has done an admirable job thus far. After some early consistency issues of overcarbonation and contamination, they’ve cleaned up their act and have been producing some impressive beers.

All of Adelbert’s beers are bottle conditioned, which means the brewers don’t force carbonation into the beer, but rather allow it to continue to ferment once it’s bottled to impart carbonation. This process is tricky and is a big reason why consistency in carbonation is tough to nail, especially when you're getting your operation started.

One of their better year-round offerings is Philosophizer ($9 for a 750 ml bottle), a Belgian-style saison that is a great example of how bottle conditioning can do wonderful things to a beer. Philosophizer is a hazy amber-yellow color with a dense off-white head, with aromas and flavors of bright fruits like lemon, peaches and pears. Its refreshing qualities are accentuated by the bubbly, effervescent characteristics that proper bottle conditioning can impart.

Philosophizer, which is available in stores and bars here, is a bit sweeter and less dry than many other classic saisons, but it isn’t overtly sweet. Coriander and bitter orange peel added during brewing add welcome complexity and give Philosophizer plenty of depth. At 7.8% ABV, it packs a bit of a punch, but the large bottle begs to be shared with friends who might also be looking to get a little philosophical.

Quick sips

Brewfest on Crockett: Saturday will feature the annual street festival in the West 7th development that features a handful of craft beers and musical acts. Don’t expect a full-blown beer festival but this event will feature beers from select craft breweries (Real Ale, Saint Arnold, Oskar Blues, Franconia and a few more) for individual sale at dedicated tents. The festival, 5-10 p.m. Saturday, is free and includes live music.

Bluebonnet blooming again: The 28th Annual Bluebonnet Brew Off will be held this weekend at the Westin Hotel near DFW Airport and will host homebrewers from around the region in the largest homebrew competition in the country. It features guest speakers, a commercial beer tasting, homebrew tasting as well as an award ceremony. There is an abundance of great beer available, so if you go, plan on staying at the hotel. Safety first!

All for the Public: Community Public Ale is now bottled and has quietly crept its way onto shelves. We can’t stress this enough: This beer, which won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver and won the Easy Drinking category in DFW.com’s Beer Bracket last winter, is great and deserves more credence than it gets. Snag a six pack and see for yourself.

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