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Beer enthusiasts offer taste of craft beer at free event

By Bianca Montes
Sept. 19, 2013 at 4:19 a.m.

Javie Salinas, Del Papa Distribution salesman, pours  a sample of Woodchuck Hard Cider's special reserve pumpkin for his wife, Laurie Salinas,  at the Pint Jockeys' sampling event Thursday evening.

IF you go

The Pint Jockeys meet the third Thursday of each month to taste new selections of seasonal craft beers at the three Del Papa Distribution Centers. The event is free and open to the public ages 21 and older with identification. For more information, visit the group's Facebook page at


• Goose Island Harvest Ale - This traditional American Extra Special Bitter or "ESB," incorporates fresh-picked cascade hops from Washington with rich, Midwestern malts. The ale pours a dark amber hue with caramel flavors, a toasty malt character and fruity, citrusy aromas.

• Karbach Karbachtoberfest - An authentic, Bavarian-style Marzen, this brew is created with mashed Vienna and Munich malts, then cold fermented and aged for six weeks to create its impressive rounded malt character. With a clear, amber pour and foamy, off-white head, this brew gives off an aroma full of toffee and caramel notes. You'll also note hints of earth and grass entwined with its extremely malty smell.

• Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat - This traditional Belgian-style wheat ale fully captures all the flavors of fall. The ale is brewed with ripe pumpkins and a variety of autumnal spices, including nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves to create a refreshingly smooth mouth feel.

• Cornel's Pecan Pie - Reminisce about your grandmother's famous pecan pie with this fantastic ale from Cornel's Brewing Company. The brew is made using a Scottish 80 shillings-style recipe and brewed with pecans and Karo syrup to achieve its unique flavor profile.

• Sierra Nevada Flipside - This Red IPA is the perfect beer for the final flash of summer. Featuring a ruby-red hue and loads of tropical fruit and citrus hop flavors, this brew takes you from summer to fall almost seamlessly with just the right balance of sweet, earthy flavors.

• Woodchuck Special Reserve Pumpkin - The world's first-ever pumpkin hard cider, this one is a real treat. The cider is handcrafted using centuries-old cider-making techniques with fresh and crisp pumpkin at the finish. It is naturally gluten-free and pairs nicely with many distinguished holiday dishes, including roasted duck, turkey, creme brulee and squash ravioli.

SOURCE: Pint Jockeys

There's a culture of quantity over quality when it comes to beer drinking in Texas, and Joby Stortz considers himself a Natural Light man. It tastes great, and it's cheap.

However, that doesn't mean craft beers are off the radar for the 30-year-old from Victoria. Once a month, he and his friends join the Pint Jockeys, a group of craft brew enthusiasts, for a free tasting event at the Del Papa Distribution Center on East Rio Grande Road.

"It gives you the opportunity to experiment," Stortz said as he sipped a Goose Island Harvest Ale, calling the fruity American hop beer both nutty and light.

"It's really well-rounded," he said. "Anyone who is new to craft beers should try this one."

Cornel's Brewing Company Pecan Pie was another story - the Beaumont-brewed ale came in a dark brown, tall bottle, and Stortz said he would have purchased it on looks alone.

"I would have spent $10," he said, barely finishing the 3-ounce tester and describing its flavor as artificial.

Rodney Norrell, brand manager for craft and specialty beers at Del Papa Distribution, said there's not a lot of science that goes into the beers they choose. "We chose what's new and seasonal," he said.

September is the time of year beers' flavors change, he said.

A special reserve pumpkin by Woodchuck Hard Cider was a big hit for both women and men at Thursday's tasting. Laurie Salinas, 48, of Victoria, said she knew she liked it as soon as she smelled it.

At a 6.9 percent alcohol by volume, the cider was the strongest drink of the night, but Salinas said its sweet and crisp flavor was welcoming at the end of the evening.

Even Stortz - a man who said if he indulges in a craft beer it's usually a dark, bitter stout - said he's beginning to enjoy the ciders.

"I didn't like them at all when they first came out," he said. "But now that they're infusing different flavors like ginger, I'm starting to like them."

The event, which occurs at all three Del Papa Distribution centers from 5 to 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month, simply put, is designed to raise awareness for craft beer in Southeast Texas, Norrell said.

"We wanted to give people a chance to try new and interesting beers," he said. "It just kind of felt like a logical thing to do."



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