We’re Not Sure If Audacity’s Checkered Past Will Lead The Pack With Macro Drinkers This Race Weekend.

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 Audacity Brew House’s Checkered Past.img_0127Fast Facts on Audacity Brew House’s Checkered Past.
Style: California Common.
ABV: 6.2 percent (unconfirmed).
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 15 (unconfirmed).
Color: Deep Gold / Pale Amber.
Availability: Limited release.

Overview.
A while back, our previous authors for On Tap reviewed two beers from Audacity — namely Boss Raptor IPA and Sunset Boulevard. And now it’s high time to put in another lap around the track with Checkered Past. This time, I’m reviewing the official race weekend ale of the Texas Motor Speedway (their words). Cool? I mean, I guess? I’m not exactly sure who pays who in this licensing agreement, but based on what I read on a TMS press announcement, it appears that TMS is taking care of all of the brand-side stuff, and Audacity is the brewer of said beer. One thing that I notice right off the starting line is that the packaging seems to emphasize more that this is a racetrack craft beer, and the can spends approximately zero energy telling me about what is actually inside. In fact, the word ale appears twice on the can. But this is actually a lager style. Another item to note is that I am having a damn hard time getting vital statistics on this beer, so the unconfirmed information above is what I could pull from RateBeer and BeerAdvocate.

I just want to pause here for a second and opine on this arrangement. So a craft brewery in Denton has partnered up with TMS for an official racetrack type of beer? If I had to guess, I’d say that the normal fan at the racetrack would lean rather hard toward macro bro-sipper light lagers. But hey, maybe times have changed! It just seems like a super weird partnership! Maybe TMS is kicking the tires on this thing to see what sort of traction it will get with a custom, racetrack-owned brew.

Background on California Common.
For a primer on the California Common style, check out our review on Noble Rey’s Steampunk. The California Common style is a light amber- to amber-colored lager that’s fermented at ale temperatures. Bitterness should be pronounced on this beer, and the ABV normally ranges between 4.5 and 5.5 percent. The term steam is most often associated with this beer style, except brewers tend to stay away from this term because of the brewery Anchor Brewing’s tight grasp and ownership of it.img_0123Appearance.
Checkered Past pours a palest amber color in to the glass — a bit lighter than what I would imagine a Cali Common should look like. There is a generous amount of foam on the initial pour, and it sticks around for about 20 minutes. After it subsides and as the beer warms a bit, there is a small amount of lacing the tries to stick around. On first pour, there is a noticeable amount of haze present, but it clears up as the beer warms.

Aroma.
My first impression is that Checkered Past has a pleasant orange sort of aroma. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s not exactly in style for a California Common. I was expecting more of a malt-first aroma, with the hops taking on a more subtle wood or rustic sort of situation. But it’s just not there. This beer goes in a different direction. On the tail end of the aroma I sense the lager yeast – and it’s pleasant but masked by the fruit.

Flavor.
The orange continues in the flavor. If this is a flavor race, the orange aroma and flavor are neck and neck. Behind the orange notes, I get a healthy amount of bitterness. And I’m happy about the bitterness because it diverts my attention to the back of the flavor pack. Somewhere in the background, I get that classic lager yeast flavor. It’s just trailing on the back-end of the taste, reminding me that this is a lager style after all. I wonder if this beer had any fermentation issues that caused this orange flavor, or if this was intentional from the starting line.img_0138Mouthfeel.
According to BJCP styles, the Cali Common is carbonated a bit more highly compared to your average American Ale. I sense a basic amount of carbonation on Checkered Past; it’s not blowing my doors off with its effervescence. The finish is surprisingly clean for the amount of orange-y citrus I get on the palate. Overall, the mouthfeel is nice, and I appreciate it.

Overall Impression.
While Checkered Past is a nice-drinking beer, I feel sort of confused on what this beer is supposed to be. The can is missing any tasting notes for potential customers, and Audacity’s website is strangely devoid of any information on it. With fierce competition in the craft beer scene, it seems like the can design sort of misses the boat on educating its potential retail customers. The orange aroma and flavor is distracting and it sort of takes over my palate and it’s hard to get around it. The things that I do like about this beer are its clean finish and its drinkability.

When I think of what a California Common is supposed to taste like, this isn’t exactly it. Style alignment aside, though, what matters more is about how this beer is received at Texas Motor Speedway and at retail stores. Will a macro drinker try this beer at a race? Will the macro drinker see this racing-themed can among the countless other craft cans and make a purchase? Was the beer even designed with the macro drinker in mind?

Score.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Audacity Brew House Checkered Past a 4.img_0142What’s happening in the area brew scene?
 Friday, October 21Brew-Haha Comedy Series at Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery.
 Saturday, October 22Two-Year Anniversary at Audacity Brew House.
 Saturday, October 22Cheesecake & Beer Pairing w/ Val’s Cheesecakes at Oak Highlands Brewery.
• Sunday, October 23. Three-Year Anniversary at L.U.C.K.
• Wednesday, October 26. Zombie Dinner at BrainDead Brewing.
• Saturday, October 29. Halloween Candy and Beer Pairing Flight at LUCK.
• 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.
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.
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.
• Peticolas’ Prime Minister: 8.25.
Texas Ale Project 50 Ft. Jackrabbit: 8.
Texas Ale Project’s Payne Pils: 8.
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.
Legal Draft’s Accused Amber Lager: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Reserve Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse: 7.5.
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.
Oak Highlands Brewery’s Oktoberfest.: 7.25.
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 Queen of the Mist (Prickly Pear): 6.75.
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.
Wild Acre’s Tarantula Hawk: 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
Lakewood’s Troll Toll: 5.5.
Martin House’s Hell Below: 5.5.
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Martin House Cuvee Pumpkin Latte: 5.
Intrinsic’s Crunktoberfest: 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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