Chimera Brewing Company’s Dirty Dog Has Enough Bite To Turn Any Drinker Into An Irish Red Ale Fan.

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 Chimera Brewing Company’s Dirty Dog.Fast Facts on Chimera Brewing Company’s Dirty Dog.

Style: Irish Red Ale.
ABV: 6 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): Not available.
Color: Amber.
Availability: Brewpub (draft).

Chimera Brewing Company is a small brewpub — with a seven-barrel brewhouse — located in Forth Worth’s hospital district. When I was a Horned Frog at the turn of the century, this area was just popping up on my radar screen. Now, each time I visit Fort Worth, there is more and more new sorts of stuff going on in this once-quiet neighborhood.

Granted, this brewpub isn’t exactly a new kid on the block if you’re measuring in DFW beer time-scale, though. Chimera was launched as a re-brand of Zio Carlo Magnolia Brewpub in 2015. And from what I can find, it appears that some of the original folks stayed on and made some changes while some of the outgoing folks, well, went bye-bye.

I’m, of course, paraphrasing here.The brewpub has a homespun, gritty, neighborhood vibe. The building Chimera occupies has undergone a few small visible improvements, but it has mostly kept what feels like the original bones of the space. According to an interview on Come and Brew It Radio, Chimera says that this building used to be occupied by several dry cleaning businesses, which made the brewpub build-out process particularly painful.

When I stopped in, I tried out a couple other beers thanks to handyman, sometimes-brewer and doer-of-things Gerald. Shout out to Gerald!

First, I tried We Are Hellfire, a delicious and also slow-burner-serrano-pepper pale ale. This beer is brewed for the supporter group for Fort Worth Vaqueros FC — good to know! I also tried a sample of Rums the Jewels, a rum barrel-aged brown ale that clocks in at 10% ABV. It was no ordinary brown ale; it had a big helmet-beer wallop of sugar and smooth, warming alcohol notes, along with haunts of rum and wood. Very nice. So far, Chimera is two for two! On the beer menu, I see a whole bunch of in-house brews with interesting ingredients like myrtle. My guess is that the brew staff is embracing the use of alternative ingredients, riding the wave of customer curiosity that — for the moment — seems insatiable. In addition to its house beers, Chimera serves a few guest taps, along with a few more packaged options.

But today we’re focusing on Dirty Dog.Background on Irish Red Ale.
The Irish Red Ale style is easy-drinking, although typically a bit malty in balance. The beer is supposed to be bright and crisp, with low to medium hop bitterness of the earthy or floral variety. Typical IBU rates range from 18-28, and ABV is normally between 3.8 and 5 percent.

Dirty Dog pours reddish amber in to my pint glass. The beer shows a moderate amount of haze at first, but then begins to clear to a light haze in the first five minutes. As I approach the end of my first pint, the beer clears nicely. Foam is as expected, and it lingers around for a few minutes.Aroma.
I get some toffee on the nose right away. There is also a malty, sweet aroma that this beers shows front-and-center. This smells like a malt-forward sort of beer. I also pick up some grainy, pilsner-y sort of situation on this beer when I stick my nose down in the top of my growler and have a hard sniff. The hop aroma is quiet and subdued on this beer.

I get more caramel than toffee when I take a sip. This is a beer for malt lovers, but not in an over-the-top way. The hop situation is here in the flavor, whereas it seems more muted in the aroma. There is a small amount of noticeable esters in the aftertaste too, which adds to the layering and complexity of Dirty Dog.Mouthfeel.
The mouthfeel on Dirty Dog is very enjoyable. At first sip, I feel like this is going to be more about malt and sweetness. However, this beer finishes dryer than expected. The medium body on Dirty Dog tows the line on what I expect from an Irish Red ale style beer, albeit a tad on the sweet side. Carbonation is on point also, even after several days in the growler.

Overall Impression.
I like Chimera’s Dirty Dog. I cannot say that the Irish Red Ale is a style that I seek out regularly, though. Shame on me! Dirty Dog has reminded me that there are some semi-underrepresented styles available from DFW breweries that I should spend more time with. The malt profile is enjoyable on this beer, and the low amount of esters in the beer add a nice touch. The IBU is slightly out of range for the Irish Red Ale style, but we’ll give it a pass. Furthermore, the listed ABV for this beer is 5 percent on most review sites, but it’s listed at 6 percent at the brewery. So there’s a chance that the brewer eeked out a bit more efficiency or missed a temp or other such number by a little bit. Or hey, maybe the recipe changed! Either way, the beer is a success. The hop bitterness plays in line the with the malt profile to provide a nice balance on this beer.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Chimera Dirty Dog a 7.5.

What’s happening in the area brew scene?
• Saturday, March 18. Bacon and Beer Classic at The Foundry.
• Saturday, March 18. Local Brews, Local Grooves at House of Blues.
• Saturday, March 25. Four-Year Anniversary at Martin House Brewing Co.
• Friday, March 31-April 2: Big Texas Beer Fest 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.
• 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.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
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.
Community’s Texas Helles: 8.
On Rotation’s Moar Blackberry: 8.
Lakewood’s Thread Spinner: 8.
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.
TUPPS Full Grown Man: 7.75.
3 Nations American Wit: 7.75.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Dapper Apple: 7.75.
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.
Cedar Creek Brewery Clover Kicker: 7.25.
Noble Rey Sex In A Canoe: 7.25.
Oak Highlands Brewery’s Oktoberfest.: 7.25.
3 Nations Mango SMASH IPA: 7.
Legal Draft Chief Justice Stout: 7.
Manhattan Project’s Plutonium-239: 7.
Backcountry’s Texas IPA: 7.
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.
Three Nations Texas Xmas Hazelnut Ale: 6.5.
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.
Four Corners’ Celebración: 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.
Woodcreek’s Lakeside Cerveza: 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.
TUPPS’ Day Off: 4.75.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Audacity’s Checkered Past: 4.
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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