Take Great Paynes To Track Down Texas Ale Project’s New Zwickelbier.

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 Texas Ale Project‘s Payne Pils.

 

Fast Facts on Texas Ale Project Payne Pils.
Style: Zwickelbier.
ABV: 5.5 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 31.
Color: Pale gold.
Availability: Seasonal.

Overview.
Texas Ale Project had its first year anniversary party back in April. And while I totally spaced on its one-year anniversary, I haven’t spaced on its beer. In fact, I had a couple TAP beers over the weekend, and now, I bring you a review of Payne Pils, a newly-launched and summer-to-fall zwickle seasonal. Payne Pils is named after the side street on the intersection where the brewery is, just so you know. Here’s a couple other important items of note:

First, TAP prides itself on being the first brewery built from the ground up since the late 1800s. If you want to visit a brewery that occupies a space that’s actually built to a space intended for a brewery from the start, then this place is for you. From its out-of-the way storage of cans to its complex, above-the-brewhouse, advanced grain mill, to its super badass pour-from-the-top installation of its tap room draft system, TAP is clean and beautiful.

Second, this is one of few breweries in DFW that prides itself on using multi-step mashing. Say what? Well, let’s put it this way: most brewers use malts that have already sat through the prelude and announcements portions of the come-to-sugar service. TAP, on the other hand, does a lot of this conversion process itself. I don’t think it saves a considerable amount of money by doing this step on premise, but it’s certainly interesting. TAP claims that maintaining control over high quality malt from start to finish gives it more control over a balanced beer in the end. Well OK then!

 

Background on Zwickelbier.
Kellerbier (Zwickelbier’s over-arching style) is an amber European lager style that has its roots in Bavaria. The term kellerbier translates to cellar beer and, well, you guessed it, it has something to do with its cellar conditioning time in casks. Kellerbier is the over-arching subcategory that Zwickelbier fits in. Zwickelbier is a more effervescent version of kellerbier, and sometimes can be lighter or darker in color than its parent style. In the case of Payne Pils, the style is more of a pale kellerbier with a big pilsner malt base, so it’s more on the lighter side. And so you know, the term zwickel is a German word for a type of sampling device that can be found on the side of casks. So many fun facts!

Zwickelbier is a beer brewed in the summer months, and it’s designed to be lower on the ABV range so it can be consumed by the liter in German biergartens. It is sort of a cousin to the helles style, except a little bit younger in character. It often has some pronounced bitterness like its parent style, and the hop notes may be a little bit heavier once Americans have their way with it. Zwickelbier is meant to be consumed soon after fermentation is complete in order to preserve its character.

 

Appearance.
Payne Pils is another beer canned in the style that TAP does its cans. I like the design on TAP’s beers because the beer is easy to find. It’s simple — not in a bad way, just more of a no-bullshit sort of way. The beer pours a pale gold color in to the glass with maximum clarity. A layer of velvety white foam clings to my glass and blankets the top of the pour with an eventual thin layer of bubbly white.

Aroma.
On the nose, this beer smells like a young helles. There’s a fair amount of roundness on the nose, just behind that clean signature European lager aroma that I love. Behind that lager yeast goodness is just the slightest hint of green apple. As the beer warms, the bitter aromas spring to life.

Flavor.
This beer has a super clean taste. It’s a bit hoppier than I expected, but not like your floral IPA hoppy situation. It’s bitter on the front end, and appropriate for the style. There is a healthy amount of Pilsner malt base on this beer. I would go so far as to say that this beer is mostly a pilsner malt base, just like the helles style.

 

Mouthfeel.
Payne Pils is nice and bright. It’s super refreshing, like a helles or a kolsch. The body on this beer is clean. The beer finishes clean and smooth, with a small amount of bitterness hanging around from sip to sip. The carbonation on Payne Pils is spot on from the first sip to the last sip.

Overall Impression.
I’m a fan of Payne Pils. It’s refreshing to see a bright pilsner-based European lager like a pale kellerbier from a DFW brewery. I’m no expert on this style, and it’s sort of hard for me to jump across the pond and try out a few liters of pale kellerbier at a Bavarian beer garden. Where a typical helles style lager might taste a bit rounder or a hint sweeter on the tongue, Payne Pils cranks up the volume on the bitterness. I don’t mean to put its other beers down, but I think if it came down to it, TAP should consider putting this beer on regular rotation at the expense of one of its less-popular beers. If you do not enjoy bitter beer or the bitter European lager style of beer, maybe this beer isn’t for you. But, hey, at least try it once.

Score.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Texas Ale Project Payne Pils an 8.

 

What’s happening in the area brew scene?
• Saturday, July 23. Grand Opening at Legal Draft Beer Co.
• Saturday, July 30. Fourth Anniversary Getdown at Lakewood Brewing.
• Saturday, August 6. Local Brews, Local Grooves at House of Blues.
• Saturday, August 6. Community Craft Beer Barge at Eagle Point Marina.
• Saturday, September 10. Brewfest at Dallas Farmers Market.
• Saturday, October 1. Texas Beer Camp at Long Road Farm.
• Saturday, November 12. Untapped: Dallas at Fair Park.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community’s Legion: 10.
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.
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.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
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.
Noble Rey’s Bridesmaid’s Tears: 8.
Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
Lakewood’s On Call: 8.
Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver’s Bock: 8.
903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
Martin House’s Stars Above: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Prickly Pear Wheat Ale: 7.5.
Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
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.
Backcountry’s Double IPA: 7.
Rahr’s Visionary: 7.
Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
Martin House’s River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Martin House’s The Juice: 6.5.
Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Nine Bands’ Cactus Cat: 6.
Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Martin House’s Hell Below: 5.5.
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

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