Texas Big Beer – Big Texas Blonde 10.5% ABV
You know how they say “Everything is bigger in Texas?” These are words I have lived by since I was a wee lad growing up in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. It’s evident in just about everything you see down there. Big cars, big trucks, big property, big guns, big hair. Texas does it like no one else can. Recently I had the privilege of speaking with an old friend of mine from my college years, Kelly, currently in the Houston/Beaumont area. Knowing of my involvement in this site and my love for good beer, she informed me of a little brewery called Texas Big Beer Brewery in Buna (pronounced Byoo-na), about 40-50 miles northeast of Beaumont. That may sound like quite a distance to some, but in Texas, it’s only a stones throw away. This little microbrewery has been selling out of their product almost everywhere they have been able to distribute it. There must be something to this! Kelly was kind enough to send me a bottle of one of their beers, at great expense to her, just so I could see for myself what all the fuss was about. When I got a package in the mail with her name and address, I opened it with anxiety and curious abandon. What I found was a true delight – A Big Texas Blonde.
I glanced at the bottle a few times, it was a bomber-sized bottle with a huge label and massive bold print that read “Texas Big Beer – Big Texas Blonde Ale” This is the name for the company – Texas Big Beer Brewery. At first I assumed it was because of the size of the bottle. But now I understand why they call it as such. These beers are all over 10% ABV, and I’ve seen that they are planning to recreate a brew they once did that was over 20%. Now that’s as big as the State of Texas. My credo has always been “go big or go home.” In Texas, they don’t come out unless they’re ready to throw down. They call this “Extreme Beer for Extreme Beer Lovers.” They also call those extreme beer lovers “Big Beer Radicals.” Gazing over this bottle of goodness, I couldn’t help but yearn for a taste and find out for myself. Time for a pour.
Getting out my trusty weissen glass, which was about the only thing that could hold all this beer, I poured a giant golden amber nectar which had a very slight haze, almost unnoticeable. It capped with a decent white foam head, but that head faded quickly into a thin ring around the edge of the glass. No matter, let’s get our nose into this. The aroma immediately hit me – pale malt breadiness, yeast, light fruit (bananas, white or green grapes), and booze. The only mystery left was the taste. Time to unlock the treasure chest.
My first sip into this Big Texas Blonde blew me away. Tons of malt, with a nice addition of candied sugar to give it that Belgian kick. There was a slight spiciness to it, probably from those candied sugars and a good yeast. It often made me think of some other good Belgian Wit varieties I’ve had before, even if this wasn’t the category this beer falls into. Surprisingly, the boozy burn produced from roughly 10.5% ABV on this bad boy didn’t roast me too much. Its strength was quite deceptive. The Sterling hops are earthy, so they don’t give you that sour bite like grapefruit, but they do make sure the beer is crisp through the finish. Nicely carbonated, the beer has a light body to it, even if it is quite strong. Drawing on this left a few small spots of lacing in the glass, so lucky for me I got most of what was poured.
Big Texas Blonde is something I’d love to try again, if not for the fact that it’s quite hard to obtain, especially up here in Jersey. Like I said at the start, these things are selling out all over Southeast Texas, there must be something to it with this brew. This is also what they consider their “light beer.” I’m going to try and get more of this and some of their other styles soon. If you can get your hands on it, enjoy it. Then you will have officially joined the Big Beer Radical movement with the rest of us.