Judging From Sunset Boulevard, Audacity Brew House Isn't Quite Ready For Its Close-Up.
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 Sunset Boulevard.
Fast Facts on Audacity's Sunset Boulevard.
Style: Vienna Lager.
ABV: 4.5 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): None.
Color: Light gold.
Every eclectic city deserves at least one great craft brewery — a place to seek refuge, make friends and find commonality in a shared pastime. What could possibly replace the beloved Saturday morning brewery tour, you might wonder? Well, feel free to ask Denton residents that question. They haven't had much luck in this regard, historically. But with Audacity Brewing opening this past year and Armadillo Ale Works moving its operations back to Denton, residents now have two local breweries in which they can take pride.
Plus, for lack of a better descriptor, Audacity Brew House is very Denton. Though I've never visited the brewery itself, I can still see that this young brewery is bustling and very clearly cultivating a community of fun-loving, beer-drinking Dentonites. There's some consistency in their model., too: Audacity offers the scope of year-round classic styles, plus a few specialty brews. And, in addition to its taproom, which is open six days a week, Audacity books local musicians, food trucks and even offers onsite yoga for the growing niche subculture of beer-yogis.
This week, though, we're taking a hard look at the beer itself by sampling Audacity Brew House's new Vienna Lager brew, which they call Sunset Boulevard. It's so new, it hasn't even been added to the brewery's website last we checked. So this should be an exciting experiment.
As for my own method here, I'm taking a few pints to-go in a Lakewood Growler swing top. All that's missing is the California sunset, really.
Background on Vienna Lager.
The Association of Brewers describes the beer class Vienna-style lager as typically ranging anywhere from copper to reddish brown in color. The style of beer is characterized by malty aroma and slight malt sweetness. The malt aroma and flavor should have a notable degree of toasted and/or slightly roasted malt character. Hop bitterness is low to medium-low.
Audacity's Sunset Boulevard pours a brilliant, light gold, with a near-nonexistent head that's only there for an instant before quickly diminishing.
There's not much aroma at all with this beer. Not at first blush, at least. If you really stretch, you might notice some very subtle caramel malts, some weak citrusy hops and a few acidic notes. In other words: There's nothing that necessarily makes it obvious the beer was brewed with Vienna malt.
The beer's slight aroma notes are definitely heightened on the taste side of things. There's subtle graininess, faint notes of bready malt, hints of caramel and even some mild spice hops in the distance. Still, you really do need to search to taste these element. Frankly, Sunset Boulevard is quite bland for a Vienna-style lager. Due to being kilned at higher temperatures, the marriage of malts typically found in this style provides greater depth of flavor and complexity than other base malts. I'm not sure I'm getting that with this beer. Still, the beer finishes clean with a subtle sweetness.
Sunset Boulevard is light-bodied and thin for the style, with very little carbonation throughout.
Overall, Audacity's Sunset Boulevard simply does not hit the mark for a Vienna Lager — especially when you put it up against the other European-style favorites on taps across the Dallas-Fort Worth region. In a head-to-head competition, this one would fall third to Community and Lakewood's offerings every time. And I'm not sure it would even be that close.
That said, I'll add that it's really hard not to love what Audacity is trying to do up in Denton. Culture and community is every bit as important to the experience as the beer itself, and it wouldn't be fair to use Sunset Boulevard to define Audacity Brew House. Moving forward, I'll chalk up my experience here as a one-time whiff, while continuing my search for the beer that will stand out as this brewery's flagship. Maybe it's the Black Widow Imperial Stout? I bet that'd pair nicely with some morning yoga.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give Audacity Sunset Boulevard a 4.
What's happening in the area brew scene? (Powered by Dallas Brew Scene.)
• Saturday, February 28. On Rotation's grand opening.
• Saturday, February 28. Chili Cook-Off at Martin House Brewing.
• March 1-6. Anniversary Week at Lakewood Growler.
• Monday, March 9. Alpine beer dinner at Meddlesome Moth.
• Tuesday, March 10. Three-Year Anniversary at Oak Street Draft House.
• Friday, March 20. Bluebonnet Brew-Off at Irving Convention Center.
• Saturday, March 28. Dallas Brew Bus' March tour.
• 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.
• 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 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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 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.