cally for the season, though he does rotate taps regularly because, as he admitted, “I get bored.” But there’s more than enough in the 12-beer lineup to fit falling temperatures, and apparently patrons agree: the promising Ja-Lop-Ah-No jalapeño milk stout was sold out the early November evening I appeared. Nothing to do but start with the Smucker’s Night Out Raspberry Saison. And, in the Belgian tradition of brewing strongly fruit-flavored beers in early fall, it’s a mouthful. Fans of smothering toast (or biscuits — this is the south) in jam will appreciate the full-bore fruit flavor; maybe think of it as, not with, dessert. Blackberry is up next. Roadmap’s Wake Up Call coffee milk stout is equally uncompromising. Baker says he’d serve it with Sunday brunch if that were legal. There’s a little toasty malt in this one, but coffee otherwise dominates. The Craven Cottage English Pub ale gets its coffee and chocolate notes more naturally from the malts, I’d venture. It’s a pretty toffee color suggestive of fall foliage — if we had that sort of thing hereabouts, and it finishes with just the merest touch of bitterness to send you out into the nippiness of November. 723 N. Alamo St., (210) 254-9962, roadmapbrewing.com.
Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery’s brewing apparatus is the most atmospheric of Suds City’s setups — arguably steampunk in style, but certainly high design no matter what you call it. Brewmaster Les Locke presides over an impressive battery of taps with evocative names and equally expressive profiles. The bar’s brewtender picked four for me to sample on another of those nippy nights. First up was the lament for a lost cause, the Beeto 4 TX. Yes, there were beets — actual purée, I was told. And, perhaps like Texas, the color was faintly purple. There was a touch of understandable bitterness at the finish. But in between, it was a bright, bracing, upbeat brew — moderately hopped up and with a touch of minerality. Locke’s Fresh to Death Marzen was enveloping in the manner of a fur throw (faux fur, of course): warming, malt-forward without being chocolatey, and exhibiting a hint of wildflower honey with time. Et Tu Brut, in contrast, was almost Champagne-like in style as the brut, in this case, refers to the beer’s “complete attenuation,” or brewing until all sugars have been converted to alcohol for a creamy dry finish. A whisper of grapefruit peel sealed the deal. Oso Bay Oyster Stout, I was surprised to learn, does contain actual oysters — or at least the shells. This makes total sense at Southerleigh, especially with the opening of the new oyster bar. And it works in the beer — not that any oyster brininess actually makes its way into the final product. As a parting shot, let me mention this mantra one more time: let your dark beers warm a little to get the full picture. In Oso’s case, chocolate and coffee get more cortado-like with time, without losing that essential cacao-nib bite. The beer is now warming you, a great case of give a little, get a lot. 136 E. Grayson St., (210) 455-5701, southerleigh.com. Weathered Souls Fans of wild card brews should pay attention to Marcus Baskerville's creations at WS. A recent visit welcomed a variety of limited releases including the I'm In Love with the Coco, a barrel-aged imperial stout that packed a punch of flavors and the season appropriate Sweet Ginger Brown, an imperial oatmeal stout laden with allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, molasses, and vanilla beans. Make it your beer of choice when building that gingerbread house this season. 606 Embassy Oaks, Suite 500, (210) 313-8796, weatheredsouls.beer.
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