This blog documents my attempt to drink a beer from every country in the world and every state in the United States.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

State #23: Texas

Beer: Elissa IPA

Brewery: St. Arnold Brewing Company, Houston, TX

ABV: 6.6%

Not so big now, are ya Texas?
In my entry about Washington, DC, I made the case that our nation’s capital should be made a state. Admitting DC would give us 51 states, which would require a redesign of the stars in our flag’s canton. UNLESS! UNLESS we decide to get rid of some states. Texas wants out? I say let ‘em go! It already fancies itself as a country anyway—and it used to be one, for what it’s worth—so why not? (Other than the fact, in actuality, it can't secede). So, for now this entry will be titled “State #23” instead of “Country #29.” 

Eh, I guess we'll keep Texas. The map would look kinda funny without it.
Anyway, on to the beer: I recently tried a bottle of St. Arnold’s Elissa IPA, from Houston. The first thing I thought of when I cracked it open was “There was a Saint Arnold?” Seriously, when I think of Arnolds, I don’t think of the performing of miracles leading to beatification. I think of these guys:

Saints they ain't.
But it turns out that there was a Saint Arnold, and, appropriately, he is the patron saint of hop-picking and beer brewing. He lived in 11th century Belgium, made beer in his abbey, and encouraged his followers to drink beer because drinking the water in 11th century Belgium frequently resulted in one’s intestines becoming liquefied. Good job, Arnie!

There's Arnie, not to be confused with some chick named Elissa.
It was only a matter of time before some brewery honored Arnold’s exploits, and so the St. Arnold Brewing Company opened in Houston in 1994, in a building that formerly housed the Houston school district’s food services offices. Fortunately for the fine citizens of Houston, the brewery only took over the building, and didn’t take over the feeding of schoolchildren, though a nice stout would probably compliment sloppy joes and tater tots better than chocolate milk.

Any bottle cap that includes a map on it is okay in my book, and the shape of Texas is pretty iconic after all. It's not like a brewery from Wyoming would get much mileage out of putting an outline of Wyoming on a bottle cap.
The Elissa IPA (named for an old tall ship anchored in Galveston) wouldn't really do those sloppy joes justice, however. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t particularly good either: it was bitter, but lacked the citrusy or piney flavors that make most American IPAs so tasty. It was also maybe a bit too malty for an IPA. It tasted more like a bitter amber ale, and if you had told me it was an amber, my expectations might have been more in line with what was actually in the bottle. My beer loving Houstonite friends have good things to say about St. Arnold however, so if you see one of their other offerings available, don’t be afraid to give it a try. I'm sure it at least beats scummy, dark-ages water.

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