Beer styles play an important role in beer culture. They set baselines for what certain kinds of beer should look, smell and taste like — giving consumers a sense of what they might be getting into when they try a beer for the first time.
The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) is the generally accepted guide for beer styles — ranging over 28 styles and almost 100 subcategories. It offers specifics on alcohol content, color, flavor and other indicators that are used to define different styles of beer.
Ultimately for brewers, the barometer for success is their customers’ tastebuds. But if they want their creations to be judged among beer peers, they generally have to brew and enter beers by style.
One of the most prestigious competitions in the world is the Great American Beer Festival in Denver in October.
At last year’s GABF, Texas winners included mainstays like Saint Arnold and Real Ale, as well as Community Beer Co. in Dallas. But it was East Texas brewery Cedar Creek that drew a double-take from the beer community when it won gold for Belgian - Style Abbey Ale. Most people didn’t even know they made a dubbel, much less one that was medal-worthy.
Riding the success of that medal win, Cedar Creek decided to package it in four-packs of 16-ounce cans. Initially, it came in a blank, silver can with a sticker applied to it (it looked a little bootleg), but recently they switched to fully printed, if still somewhat generic “Special Release” cans that will presumably work for other future special releases.
Belgian Style Dubbel is most certainly made to style, and exhibits the “complex, rich malty sweetness” that BJCP guidelines state it should have. It’s reddish brown and exhibits dark fruit flavors like raisin, plum and dried cherries. It’s obvious Cedar Creek nailed the style; the hardware on the wall proves it.
Irving festival enters its fourth year: The fourth annual North Texas Beer & Wine Festival returns to the Irving Convention Center on Saturday. Originally founded to be mostly beer-focused, it expanded to include wine and a variety of food vendors last year. Tickets are $20-$60.
American Craft Beer Week: Speaking of great American beers, American Craft Beer Week starts Monday and will feature events throughout the area. Grapevine is getting in the spirit with restaurants around the city featuring beer events and capping the week with the Craft Brew Tasting Experience as part of Main Street Days, May 16-18.