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Victoria talks beer culture

By Bianca Montes
July 24, 2013 at 2:24 a.m.

Beerology 101

When you think about the formation of beer, picture food. You take a good protein, and you layer it with carbs and condiments to develop flavor. The same can be said for beer.

To develop its flavor, beer is built upon layers of malt grains and little female flower clusters called hops. The temperature treatment of the grain is what garners the beer its shade.

Highly caramelized kernels will produce deep-red colors and a burnt pellet will give the beer a thick brown or black coloring.

The malt grain also has influence on the taste of the beer. The caramelized malt found in amber beers give it a sweeter flavor. The burned malts give beer its toasted chocolate-like flavor.

Pale Lager

Color: Light yellow, straw

Taste: Flavors are subtle and light

Distinct Ingredients: Pilsner malt, noble hops

Beers: Bud Light, Miller Light


Color: Pale Gold

Taste: Fruity, low bitterness and low hops flavor

Distinct Ingredients: Wheat malt, barley malt

Beers: Shock Top, Blue Moon Honey


Color: Gold to red brown

Taste: Slightly bitter

Distinct Ingredients: Crystal malt, light dry malt

Beers: Shiner Kosmos Reserve Lager

Extra Special/Strong Bitter (ESB)

Color: Dark amber

Taste: Aggressive, toasty, fruity

Distinct Ingredients: English pale ale malt, crystal/caramel malt

Beers: Redhook ESB


Color: Gold

Taste: Strong hop, medium bitterness

Distinct Ingredients: Pilsner malt with hints of candy sugar or honey

Beers: Rahr & Sons La Grange Farmhouse Ale


Color: Copper

Taste: Sweet, strong and slightly hoppy

Distinct Ingredients: Noble German hops, Munich Malt

Beers: Shiner Bock, Pabst Bock

Amber Indian Pale Lager (IPA)

Color: Light copper

Taste: Highly bitter with malt undertones

Distinct Ingredients: American hops

Beers: Rahr & Sons Stormcloud IPA, Fuzzy Baby Ducks IPA


Color: Medium to dark brown

Taste: Mild, nutty with light hops

Distinct Ingredients:

Beers: Samuel Adams Brown, Palo Santo Marron


Color: Dark brown to black

Taste: Bitter coffee or chocolate

Distinct Ingredients: Extremely roasted or burnt malts or barley

Beers: Guinness Stout


Color: Black

Taste: Full-bodied, smokey

Distinct Ingredients: Chocolate malt, black malt, roasted barley

Beers: Barley Johns The Dark Knight (Returns)

What's Victoria drinking?

  1. Bud Light

  2. Dos Equis Lager

  3. Shiner Bock

  4. Angry Orchard: Crisp Apple Cider

  5. Miller Genuine Draft

  6. Lone Star Light

  7. Corona Extra

  8. Michelob Ultra

  9. Coors Light

  10. Paulaner Oktoberfest

Note: Rank is based on sales at Spec's in Victoria

Source: Oscar Sicola, Spec's senior beer buyer

Don't drink and drive

A nearly 29 percent increase in driving while intoxicated arrests were reported in the 2012 Victoria Police Department crime report.

If you're going to drink, be responsible.

Whether you're calling it beer or cerveza, we're drinking it, especially in Texas.

The Beer Institute released a 2012 state-by-state analysis about America's drinking habits - and Good ol' Texas ranked ninth in consumption.

According to the data, more than 19.8 million 31-gallon barrels of beer were shipped to Texas, making the per capita consumption a little more than 34.4 gallons per person.

The data was broken down by looking at the total population of people 21 years old and older - of course.

Some drink a little more, some drink a little less and some don't drink at all. You do the math.

That's right, Victoria; we're talking about beer.

There's no doubt about it. When it comes to beer distribution in Victoria, light beers - such as Miller, Coors and Bud Light - are the top sellers, said Barry Hartman with Hartman Distributing Company in Victoria.

"Texans love their beer from the standpoint that they don't just want to sip it," he said.

Light beers tend to have fewer calories and a lower alcohol content than the craft and dark beers, so "you don't have to worry about getting drunk fast," Hartman said.

Eric Macek said he tends to switch which light beer he drinks, but he does not experiment with other types.

He said there are few people in Victoria who drink the other types of beer, but it's a hype thing.

"People like dark lager for the image," he said. "It's not about the taste."

Although the light beers are the most popular in the area, Oscar Sicola, senior buyer for Spec's Wine, Spirits and Finer Foods, said he's beginning to see a trend with craft beers in Victoria.

"Texans are very loyal to home brews," he said.

Shiner is a good example of that. According to Spec's sales, the Shiner brand is the No. 1 selling craft beer in Texas.

A new trend in drinking is also becoming obvious based off younger drinkers in Victoria.

Sterling Lynch is a huge fan of dark beers and refers to the lights as "piss beer."

Lynch said he never really liked beer until he began to experiment with bocks.

"I say, if you can't drink a beer warm," he said, "It's not worth drinking."

Brandon Bancuch is a fan of IPAs but finds it hard to go out in Victoria and get a good beer.

"Victoria (bars) don't have a good selection," he said.

Bancuch said he enjoys the beers with a hoppier flavor.

As for his mother, she likes her Michelob Ultra.

"It tastes really good, and it's low in calories," Kathy Bancuch said.

But, when she likes to party, Dos Equis is her brand.

For a long time Corona was the No. 1 Mexican import in Victoria, but Sicola said Dos Equis has taken over.

Dos Equis is the second most sold beer at Spec's.

Hartman said while it might not look like it based off of sales, Victorians like to try new flavors when it comes to drinking.

In 2012, wine sales beat out liquor sales with 35 percent of people saying wine is their alcoholic beverage of choice.

Cider ales have become a good alternative for beer sellers, Sicola said.

"No one would have thought the cider category would have gotten as big as it has," he said.

Angry Orchard is the No. 4 seller at Spec's in Victoria.

Lynch said he is not impressed with the trends and does not think it will last - at least not in Victoria.

"Give them five years, and they'll all be drinking Miller, Budweiser and Coors," he said.



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