Beer Flights: Guys, I'm Sorry I Ever Doubted You
Twisted X makes jalapeño beer a reality
When Shane Bordeau and Jim Sampson told me they were entering the local microbrewing free-for-all with plans to make "Tex-Mex" beers (see "Beer in Bloom," June 18, 2010), I was skeptical whether I'd like it. Except for Dos Equis Amber or Negro Modelo, most of the Mexican beers I've had have been light, rather flavorless lagers. Not the first thing I reach for. And when they said they planned to make a jalapeño-flavored brew, I was downright incredulous. "Oh hell no," I winced.
But I'm man enough to admit when I'm wrong. The debut party for Twisted X Brewing at Cedar Park's Dig Pub was a smashing success, both in terms of attendance and my taste buds.
Twisted X unveiled its three initial brews: Twisted X (light lager), Fuego (a jalapeño pilsner), and a still-unnamed Vienna dark lager. They also have plans for an "Imperial Tequila barrel aged Tex Mex Black Lager."
The light lager was anything but flavorless. Made with two-row barley and corn from Richardson Farms in nearby Rockdale, it had a stronger hop profile than I expected, proof that smoothness doesn't preclude taste.
And the Fuego: I squinted my eyes, wrinkled my nose, and got set to choke it down ... and it was excellent. Boy, I didn't expect to like this. It's not a gimmicky beer – yes, there's some heat, but mostly the peppers just give it an interesting flavor without being obnoxious. "I tried every pepper beer I could" during research, said Sampson. "They were all too hot. We wanted the jalapeño to support the beer, a beer with jalapeño flavor, not pepper overwhelming the beer."
Twisted X is Cedar Park's first brewery. Sampson and Bordeau initially wanted to set up in Lago Vista but say they weren't well received. Cedar Park's city government, on the other hand, "was nothing but helpful. They said, 'We've never had a brewery here, this is awesome, let's figure out how to make this happen,'" and guided the duo through the regulatory hoops.
Oh, I never got a chance to try the dark lager – the party's six kegs sold out quickly. Sampson said their brewhouse hasn't arrived yet – it should come in June – so for now they're only brewing small batches, and thus their beers are currently available only at the Dig.