Bankhead Brewing Co’s Giggle Water Is A Hilariously Named, Malt-Rich Vienna Lager With A Profile That’s Hearty Enough To Justify A Drive To Rowlett.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Bankhead Brewing Co.’s Giggle Water.

Fast Facts on Bankhead Brewing Co.’s Giggle Water.
Style: Vienna Lager
ABV: 4.4 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 20.
Color: Amber.
Availability: Brewpub only (for now).

Overview.
Bankhead Brewing has occupied a “Hey, I should go there sometime!” spot on my radar since it opened in Rowlett in the spring of 2016. And this past weekend, I finally made that happen. And, turns out, it’s not as far away as it sounds! At just a 17-minute door-to-door distance from my house to the brewery, I feel like I might’ve found a new go-to brewpub.

On my visit, the staff was super friendly, fast and helpful. I even got the manager, John, to take me on a quick tour of the the spotless, wood-paneled brewhouse that’s visible from the main dining and bar area through a large group of windows. Seriously, of all brewing operations I have visited, this was by far the cleanest one I have seen. Just from seeing the brewhouse, pre-beers, it tells me that these folks really have their shit together. I mean, I would eat off the floor in this brewhouse – it’s that clean.

After a peek at the brewhouse, I also got a peek at the unique cold storage situation. And, get this, Bankhead has repurposed a shipping container as its cold storage. Wait, what? That’s right: Bankhead runs a huge glycol-cooled pipe out of its building and into a shipping container. I’m used to seeing cold rooms tucked in a brewery or bar, so it was super interesting to see this shipping container parked outside of Bankhead’s building.

Here are some pictures to help you better visualize the situation I’m describing:

That’s a good-looking — and clean-looking — brewery, right? To you. But, OK, enough on the building. Let’s talk about Bankhead’s beer.

Background on Vienna Lager.
The Vienna Lager style is known for its healthy, borderline intense malty backbone. Here, both aromatics and flavor should be geared toward the malt. This lager should have a clean fermentation profile, and the beer shouldn’t wander over into the dirty adjunct-town of skunkville. Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines make it a point to state that this beer is not supposed to wander over into caramel territory. So while this beer looks like it might take on a caramel situation by its looks, it’s not supposed to go there. The star of a Vienna lager is Vienna malt. Vienna malt is a 2-row malt that lives between the lighter pilsner malt and the somewhat darker Munich malt. That sweet spot, along with its clean lager fermentation profile, makes Vienna Lager a go-to style for everyday drinking. You’re likely to see most current-day Vienna Lagers hailing from Mexico — and sure, Negra Modelo is a fine beer to drink for a macro, adjunct malt-brewed, convenience store brew. But, hey, let’s aim for better than Negra Modelo, yeah?

Appearance.
Giggle Water pours a brilliant amber color into the glass. I see a good layer of head that dissipates after a few minutes. But I must confess that I shot photos while on the patio at Bankead, sitting outside is 90-something degree heat, all the while being gently misted by a cadre of fans. While at home, it’s a slightly different situation: The foam stands up in the glass and remains for quite some time. Also, this beer has crazy clarity.

Aroma.
I get tons of rich, malty notes in the aroma here. Giggle Water is all about the malt, and the aroma starts me off on the right path. I sense a clean lager fermentation, and the lager yeast, while evident on the aroma, gets the hell out of the way. There’s something about a Vienna lager that is unmistakable — that essence where you know what you’re about to drink. And it’s not hard to put a name to it– it’s the Vienna malt.

Flavor.
Giggle Water is clean yet hearty. It drinks with a shitload of malt flavor for its 4.4 percent ABV. Even after I swallow, the malt situation remains and teases me to take the next sip. Where I don’t sense much hop in the aroma, I do sense a small amount of bitterness in the flavor. And this provides balance for the hearty malt showcase going on here.

Mouthfeel.
Even though Giggle Water is malt-focused, it drinks clean and crisp. Don’t let the amber color fool you if you’re new to Vienna lagers; this is a crisp, clean lager that you can enjoy in multiples. Carbonation is moderate and remains consistent through the pour.

Overall Impression.
While the Vienna Lager style is very popular on the whole, it’s not a style that you’ll find at every brewing operation in DFW. So Bankhead gets some extra respect right off the bat for broadening our options. So who else brews a Vienna lager in DFW, or where can you buy something like Giggle Water so you can know what a Vienna Lager might be like? First, you can score some Lakewood Lager – this is one of LBC’s flagship beers. And it’s A-OK. Or maybe score a sad, old 12-pack of Negra Modelo at your local convenience store. Sure, also OK. But if you live anywhere near Bankhead, you owe it to yourself to come have a very good, dialed-in representation of the style. I brought home a large growler of this beer and it’s going fast. I look forward to my next visits to Bankhead: my new go-to brewpub.

Score. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Bankhead Brewing Co.’s Giggle Water a 9.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
• Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
• Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
• Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
• Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
• Collective Brewing Project’s Boysenbarrel: 10.
• Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
• Community’s Legion: 10.
• Martin House River Horse: 9.75.
• BrainDead’s Fill in the Blancs: 9.5.
• Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
• Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
• Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
• Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
• Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
• Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
• Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
• Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
• Collective Brewing Project’s SMaSHY: 9.2
• On Rotation’s Lingonberry Sahti: 9.25.
• On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
• Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
• Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
• Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
• Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
• Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
• Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
• Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
• Bankhead Brewing Co.’s Giggle Water: 9.
• Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
• Cedar Creek’s Poblano Paradise: 8.75.
• Small Brewpub’s Black Pepper Pils: 8.5.
• Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
• Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
• Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
• Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
• Peticolas’ Prime Minister: 8.25.
• Lakewood’s Peach Artsy Tarsty: 8.25.
• Lakewood Brewing Grand Allowance: 8.
• Armadillo Ale Works’ Greenbelt Farmhouse Ale: 8.
• Community’s Texas Helles: 8.
• On Rotation’s Moar Blackberry: 8.
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Texas Ale Project’s Good To Go: 7.5.
• Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
• Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
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• Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
• Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
• Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
• Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
• Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
• Cedar Creek Brewery Clover Kicker: 7.25.
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• Legal Draft Chief Justice Stout: 7.
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• Backcountry’s Texas IPA: 7.
• Backcountry’s Double IPA: 7.
• Wild Acre Brewing Company’s Billy Jenkins: 7.
• Rahr’s Visionary: 7.
• Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
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• TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
• Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
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• Four Corners’ Celebración: 6.5.
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• Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
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• Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
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• 903 Brewers’ Mythical Creatures: 2.5.
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