A collaboration between Martin House Brewing Co. and rock band the Toadies returns with the release of two limited-edition beers, cleverly named after the band's second album, Hell Below/Stars Above.
Band and brewery will debut the beers at a concert at Martin House on June 26. The beers will be released to the public the next day.
Hell Below is a strong black ale created by Martin House brewer Cody Martin and contains a relatively high percentage of alcohol at 8.7 ABV, as dark ales often do. It's brewed with black barley malts and Columbus hops. The malts give it a pitch-black appearance and a dark, ominous flavor.
Stars Above is a sour raspberry ale that's tart and fresh. It has a less punishing dose of alcohol at 5.2 percent ABV, and it's brewed with raspberries. According to Martin House, it pours a hazy yellow with a slight purple hue, with the raspberry flavor present on the first sip. That sweetness is balanced by a tartness that kicks in on the back end. Martin House describes it as a perfect summertime beer.
The two ales are also envisioned to be drunk together. Martin House suggests combining equal parts Stars Above and Hell Below for a creation they dub Purgatory. The roasted malts in Hell Below are designed to contrast favorably with the fresh raspberry notes of Stars Above.
Martin House is one of the more creative breweries in North Texas, with a micro-seasonal program where they release at least one new limited-edition beer every month, and always beyond the usual blond and IPA. In March, they put out Counter Clockwise Swirl, a strong blond with cacao nibs and vanilla bean, and the June beer is "Juice," a grapefruit-flavored IPA that cannily emphasizes the bitterness of grapefruit for a distinctive twist on the usual IPA.
They began collaborating with the Toadies on beers in 2014, with the release of Rubberneck Red, then reprised that partnership in 2015 with a bock beer. But these two new brews are a little more edgy, particularly the sour, which brings to mind the epic raspberry sour releases from Austin's Jester King Brewery.
"The last two were more mass market, but we wanted to do something a little more fun," says Asa Yoakam of Martin House. "We have our sour beer, Salty Lady, and it's one of our No. 1 sellers. So we decided to try another sour."
The beers will be available on tap at area bars and in cans. Stars Above will be sold in six-packs, while Hell Below will be available in four-packs, since the ABV is higher. Yoakam predicts they'll be around for two to three months.
As for the beers' names — the brewery wanted to call attention to a favorite album. "That was one the Toadies' great albums that people don't know as well," Yoakam says.
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