For Starters, Texas Ale Project's Somethin' Shady Isn't Half Bad.
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 Somethin' Shady.
Fast Facts on Texas Ale Project's Somethin' Shady.
Style: American Porter.
ABV: 5.5 precent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 28.
Color: Dark brown to black.
There's a chance you might remember the Dallas-based Texas Ale Project by its previous name, Reunion Brewing Company, which for a number of reasons was changed before the brewery opened its doors in the fall of 2014. On account of some setbacks, the brewery initially got off to something of a rough start. But its brews are now finally starting to make their way onto taps across the Metroplex.
In addition to Somethin' Shady, Texas Ale Project's repertoire also boasts Fire Ant Funeral (American Amber) and the Naked Truth (American Wheat) with an IPA in the works. According to the brewery's Facebook page, you can find their brews in over 30 establishments, including Bryan Street Tavern, Lakewood Growler and LUCK.
Background on American Porters.
A gateway beer for many budding craft beer enthusiasts, the American Porter is a staple in American brewing ingenuity and creativity. Stemming from the early English Porters, this versatile style has been known to push the boundaries in the States. While many are easy drinking, session porters, it is common to see American brewers using extra hops, smoked malts, chocolate and barrel-aging with this particular style.
Texas Ale Project's Somethin' Shady pours a clean, medium to dark brown, with very subtle ruby highlights. She's a pretty beer with great clarity. The tan head is thin and doesn't linger for long.
Somethin' Shady boasts delicious flavors of roasted malt, chocolate, toffee and mild coffee.
Right away, big roasted malt flavors are immediate on the front, with pleasant, sweet notes of chocolate, caramel and toffee that follow. Hints of burnt coffee and bittering hops add a nearly unnoticeable bitter taste on the backend to complete a nice dry finish. A second sip is easy. Drinking this beer, you're reminded of the brews that initially opened our eyes to what a beer can and should be.
Somethin' Shady is medium-bodied. The head dissipates quickly, but there's decent carbonation throughout. The light-to-mid ABV and low IBU makes this an easy recommendation for beginners.
Texas Ale Project's Somethin' Shady is what it is, and that's an easy-drinking, sessionable Porter, a beer you could enjoy back to back and recommend to a novice. Hell, your mom might even like it.
And yet, at the same time, there's realy nothing special about this beer other than the fact that it hits the mark for an American Porter.
So here's the big question then: Does this put Texas Ale Project on the radar for me? Not yet, no. But I enjoyed my first experience with it and I'll happily check out the brewery's offerings again sometime soon. Maybe while stopping by brewery's just-opened tap room, even.
On a scale of 1-10, I'll give Texas Ale Project's Somethin' Shady a 7.
What's happening in the area brew scene?
• Saturday, February 7. Beer and Chocolate Tasting at Ginger Man.
• Saturday, February 7. Stop Light Social Run at Rahr & Sons Brewing.
• Saturday, February 14. Chocolate & Beer Pairing with Dude, Sweet Chocolate at Dallas Beer Kitchen.
• Friday, February 20. Taproom Grand Opening at Nine Band Brewing.
• Friday, March 20. Bluebonnet Brew-Off at Irving Convention Center.
• Saturday, April 11. Big Texas Beer Fest at Fair Park.
Previous On Tap Reviews:
• Peticolas' Royal Scandal: 10.
• Community's Mosaic IPA: 10.
• Peticolas' Velvet Hammer: 10.
• Community's Legion: 10.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Peticolas' The Duke: 6.5.
• Deep Ellum's Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
• 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 La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
• Deep Ellum's Numb Comfort: 5.
• Shannon Brewing Company's IPA: 4.
• Grapevine's Monarch: 4.
• Franconia Wheat: 3.
• Miller Lite: 1.