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Perfect For Summer Vacation, The Fort Worth Brewery’s Beaver Nuggets-Infused Take On An English Brown Ale Is A Sweet Addition To Most Any Grilling Action.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers available in the 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?” Let’s find out! Cheers!

This week, I sipped on Road Trip Snacks from Panther Island Brewing.

Fast Facts about Road Trip Snacks

Style: English Brown Ale
ABV: 5 percent
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): unlisted
Color: brown
Proper glassware: nonic pint
Availability: draught and cans

Overview

Summer is here — and, with it, road trips! Especially after last summer, am I right?

For me, this means two things: playlists and snacks.

The playlist thing? That’s easy enough. In my experience, All great road trips start with ZZ Top, and then anything goes after that.

But snacks are personal. While opinions vary widely here, nearly everyone I know can agree with beaver nuggets from Buc-ee’s. The caramel-coated corn puff snacks are so addictive, I usually have to have someone else in the family police my intake or I’ll kill a bag between towns all by myself.

Well, a little over a year ago, the good folks at Fort Worth’s Panther Island Brewing were munching on a bag of these delicious bites and decided they’d make a great addition to a beer. Thus, their Road Trip Snacks brew was born. The first batch of this an English Brown Ale was whipped up on a pilot system that was used to create small batch beers for the Panther Island taproom — and, when it sold out in two hours, the brewery knew it was on to something.

I’ve been wanting to review this beer since last year. But then the whole pandemic thing kinda got in the way and then the lockdown closed the taproom before I could get there to see what the fuss was about.

Fast forward a year and I tripped over this fascinating beer on the shelf of my local package store. I just had to try it out.

Will the beer be as addictive as the snack itself? Let’s see!

Background on English Brown Ale

While Brown Ales have a long and varied history in England, the modern version is malt-centric and largely dominated by caramel flavors. The beer may also contain notes of toast, toffee, nuttiness and light chocolate. Medium to low bitterness balances the sweet characteristics of the malt. Light earthy or floral hop flavors are possible along with yeast-driven fruitiness, but should be subtle at best. Great examples of English Brown Ales should be medium-light to medium-bodied, and have medium to medium-high carbonation levels.

Appearance

Road Trip Snacks pours a rich brown with mahogany highlights and a gorgeous, firm light tan foam stand. In the right light, it is possible to tell that this beer is quite clear — but, most of the time, the color is too dark to appreciate that clarity. The head, consisting of various-sized bubbles, is uneven and craggy, like the beginnings of a rough sculpture. It also has excellent persistence with enough foam left to cover the surface of the beer 10 minutes or more after pouring. I had better luck getting a proper pour by pulling the can from the fridge and letting it warm up on the counter for 15 minutes. If poured right from the fridge, it tended to be overly foamy and required a rest before finishing, even in an English imperial pint glass.

Aroma

This beer is all malt on the nose with caramel the primary player. Toasty bits and toffee pieces can be found as well, but it really is a caramel showcase, which is somewhat to be expected considering that it’s brewed with a hundred pounds of caramel-covered corn puffs.

Flavor

Road Trip Snacks again leads with the caramel when you get it in your mouth, although it’s no longer as dominant as it was in the nose. Now, the toasted flavors vie with the caramel for the spotlight, like maybe the dissolving corn puffs sunk to the bottom of the boil and got a toasting from the hot kettle bottom. While there is bitterness here, its earthy flavors blend seamlessly with the dark candy essence that is the center of the beer — so you really have to be looking for it.

Mouthfeel

Belying its dark color, Road Trip Snacks is a medium-bodied beer, full and round but lacking the kind of thickness that one might be forgiven for expecting in a beer of this color. It has above-average carbonation, which contributes to a certain brightness and mild bite on the tongue. The finish is medium-dry and leaves a bit more sweetness behind than is typical in the style — but, again, it’s brewed with beaver nuggets, so this really shouldn’t be a surprise, should it?

Pairing

Brown Ales are, by and large, great food beers — and Road Trip Snacks is no exception. This beer will play well with the caramelized exterior of nearly any red meat off the grill. Smoked meats will benefit from being served with this ale too, as the sweet from the beer should complement the smoke in the meats. I might even try using this beer in making a sauce for brisket or pulled pork, and then serving the beer with the sauce and meat combination. For dessert, try it with an apple pie to get something of a classic caramel apple blend.

Overall Impression

While I had my doubts about this idea when I first heard about it, Road Trip Snacks turned out to be a wonderful surprise.

I like it. A lot.

As a rule, I’m not a fan of gimmicky combinations that appear aimed at making a splash off sensationalism over substance, but this beer works in spite of the gimmicky nature of including a near-universal favorite car ride munchy.

It is a bit too sweet to be a solid session beer for me, though. After two of them, I’m ready for something else. Personally, I think Panther Island could ease up some on the beaver nuggets a bit, and get a bit dryer finish that is easier to chain drink without adversely impacting the final product. But this is a small thing, really. I were looking to pair the beer with something savory off my grill, all that sweetness is totally fine.

The recommendation here is to grab a couple six-packs to enjoy at the end of your next great road trip to somewhere fun. Because, if your experiences are anything like mine, the beaver nuggets in your bag won’t make it anywhere near that far.

Score

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give Panther Island’s Road Trip Snacks an 8.

Previous On Tap Reviews:

• Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
• Lakewood Brewing’s Salted Caramel Temptress: 10.
• Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
• Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
• Deep Ellum Brewing Company’s Freak Flag: 10.
• Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
• Collective Brewing Project’s Boysenbarrel: 10.
• Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
• Community’s Legion: 10.
• Martin House River Horse: 9.75.
• BrainDead’s Fill in the Blancs: 9.5.
• Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
• 903 Brewers’ Birthday Sasquatch: 9.5.
• TUPPS Brewery’s Full Grown Scallywag: 9.5.
• On Rotation’s Flocculation of Seagulls: 9.5.
• Braindead Brewing’s P-Wing: 9.5.
• Lakewood Brewing Company’s Coconut Temptress: 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: 9.25
• BrainDead Brewing’s Galactic Federation of Might: 9.25
• On Rotation’s Lingonberry Sahti: 9.25.
• Martin House Brewing Company’s The Morrigan: 9.25.
• On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
• Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
Lakewood’s Double Chocolate Temptress: 9.
• Braindead Brewing Company’s Dr. Dreipricot: 9.
• Manhattan Project’s Black Matter: 9.
• Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
• Manhattan Project Beer Company’s Necessary Evil: 9.
• Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
• Funky Picnic’s Funny Accent: 9.
• Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
• Division Brewing’s Smokin’ Jack-o’s: 9.
• Wild Acre’s Mondlift: 9.
• Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
• Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
• Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
• Bankhead Brewing Co.’s Giggle Water: 9.
• Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
• Manhattan Project’s Wise Monkeys: 9.
• Cedar Creek’s Poblano Paradise: 8.75.
• Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest: 8.75.
• Lakewood Brewing Company IPA: 8.75.
• Small Brewpub’s Black Pepper Pils: 8.5.
• Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
• Community Beer Company’s Passiflora: 8.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
• Community Beer Company’s Wit ‘N Wild: 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.
• Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s Winter Warmer: 8.25.
• Noble Rey Brewing’s Barampus: 8.25.
• Martin House’s Possum Kingdom Pilsner: 8.25.
• Community Beer Company’s Brett’s Get It On: 8.25.
• Bankhead Brewing Company’s Aoogah!: 8.25.
• Lakewood’s Peach Artsy Tarsty: 8.25.
• Peticolas Brewing Company’s Clandestine: 8.
• Lakewood Brewing Grand Allowance: 8.
• HopFusion Ale Works’ Hairpin: 8
• Peticolas’ Golden Opportunity: 8
• Three Nations’ Devout (Mexican Chocolate): 8
• Collective Brewing Project’s Cup O’ Sumpin Raspberry Lemonade: 8.
• Texas Ale Project’s Smash Experiment: 8.
• Armadillo Ale Works’ Greenbelt Farmhouse Ale: 8.
• Hop & Sting Brewing Company’s Dixon’s Dunkelweizen: 8.
• Cedar Creek Brewery’s Gone A-Rye: 8.
• Community’s Texas Helles: 8.
• On Rotation’s Moar Blackberry: 8.
• Franconia’s Silver Star Bock: 8
• Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s Paleta de Mango: 8.
• Peticolas Brewing Company’s Doctor’s Orders: 8.
• Hop & Sting Brewing Company’s Galactic Haze: 8.
• Lakewood’s Thread Spinner: 8.
• Bishop Cider Co.’s Sour Cherry: 8.
• Texas Ale Project 50 Ft. Jackrabbit: 8.
• Cedar Creek Brewery’s Gone A-Rye: 8.
• Pegasus City Brewing’ Nine Volt: 8.
• Texas Ale Project’s Payne Pils: 8.
• Noble Rey’s Bridesmaid’s Tears: 8.
• Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
• Pegasus City Brewery’s Cannoneer: 8.
• Pegasus City Brewery’s Sixth Floor: 8.
• Lakewood’s All 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.
• TUPPS’ DDH IPA Series 16: 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.
• New Main Brewing’s Thundersnow: 8.
• Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
• Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
• Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
• Deep Ellum’s Neato Bandito: 8.
• Steam Theory’s Hops Against Humanity: 8
• Revolver’s Bock: 8.
• 903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
• Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
• Division Brewing’s Distant Cousin: 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.
• Pegasus City Brewery’s The Woofus: 7.75
• Four Corners Brewing Company Homie Brew: 7.75.
• Community Beer Company’s Snickerdoodle: 7.75.
• Pegasus City Brewery’s High Point: 7.75.
• Cedar Creek’s Grapefruit Haze: 7.75.
• Martin House Brewing’s Big Hoppa: 7.75.
• TUPPS Full Grown Man: 7.75.
• 3 Nations American Wit: 7.75.
• Armadillo Ale Works’ Dapper Apple: 7.75.
• 903 Brewers’ Kilt Switch: 7.5.
• Chimera Dirty Dog: 7.5.
• 3 Nations Brewing Company’s Imperial Milk Stout: 7.5.
• Legal Draft’s Accused Amber Lager: 7.5.
• Grapevine’s Reserve Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse: 7.5.
• Martin House’s Stars Above: 7.5.
• Noble Rey Brewing Company’s Frooty Tang: 7.5.
• Martin House Brewing’s Pretzel Stout: 7.5.
• Grapevine’s Prickly Pear Wheat Ale: 7.5.
• Texas Ale Project’s Good To Go: 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.
• Legal Draft Beer Company Free & Clear: 7.25.
• Oak Highlands Brewery’s Oktoberfest.: 7.25.
• Noble Rey’s European Vacation: 7
• Unlawful Assembly’s Public Dissent: 7.
• Deep Ellum Rye Pils: 7.
• Union Bear’s Amber Red Ale: 7.
• Turning Point Beer’s Silent Treatment: 7.
• Wild Acre Brewing Company’s Ranch Style: 7.
• 3 Nations Mango SMASH IPA: 7.
• Legal Draft Chief Justice Stout: 7.
• Texas Ale Project’s Pantera Golden Ale: 7.
• Legal Draft’s Black Letter Law: 7.
• Noble Rey Brewing Company’s Mother Night: 7.
• TUPPS Brewery’s Imperial Saison: 7.
• Manhattan Project’s Plutonium-239: 7.
• Panther Island Brewing’s Sweet Fang: 7.
• Backcountry’s Texas IPA: 7.
• Backcountry’s Double IPA: 7.
• Wild Acre Brewing Company’s Billy Jenkins: 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.
• Three Nations Brewing Co.’s Texas Gold Chili Lime: 7.
• Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
• Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
• Trinity Forest Brewing Company’s Blonde Ale: 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.
• Armadillo Ale Works’ Town Squared: 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.
• Shanning Brewing Co.’s Mór IPA: 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.
• Texas Ale Project’s Hawaiian Roadrunner: 6.75.
• Whistle Post’s Shoofly Coconut Lime Ale: 6.75.
• Community Brewing Company’s Silly Gose: 6.75
• HopFusion Ale Works’ Feisty Blonde: 6.75
• Martin House’s Queen of the Mist (Prickly Pear): 6.75.
• Armadillo Ale Works Land Yacht IPA: 6.5
• 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.
• Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s Pumpkin Ale: 6.5.
• Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
• Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
• Cedar Creek’s Maui Wowie: 6.25.
• On Rotation’s Mexican Barleywine: 6.25.
• Thirsty Bro Brewing Co.’s Sweet Cherry Blonde: 6
• On Rotation’s Darjeeling Tea Session Ale: 6.
• Wild Acre’s Tarantula Hawk: 6.
• Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
• TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
• Brutal Beerworks’ Mother Heffer: 6.
• Four Bullets’ All In IPA: 6.
• Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
• Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
• Rahr & Sons’ Angry Santa: 6.
• Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
• Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
• Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
• Cobra Brewing Company’s Dawn of the Dank: 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’s Best Maid Sour Pickle Beer: 5.
• Woodcreek’s Lakeside Cerveza: 5.
• Legal Draft Beer Company’s Smash & Grab IPA: 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.
• 3 Nations’ Lady Luck Horchata Ale: 4.5.
• Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
• Audacity’s Checkered Past: 4.
• Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
• Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
• Bitter Sisters’ Hot Temper: 4.
• Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
• Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
• TUPPS’ Cotton Candy Shandy: 4.
• Good Neighbor Brews’ Slim Sweetness: 3.
• Good Neighbor Brews’ O’Carrol’s Irish Red: 3.
• Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
• Franconia Wheat: 3.
• 903 Brewers’ Mythical Creatures: 2.5.
• Miller Lite: 1.

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