Houston Beer Week is now in full swing and there are plenty of events to attend; I attended both Monsters of Beer and Night After Monsters, check out my recap here. I was invited to be a guest at Rockwell Tavern & Grill‘s Texas Beer Brunch on behalf of Open The Taps; Tiffany Richie, Owner of Rockwell donated part of the ticket proceeds to our organization. Rockwell has events every night for Houston Beer Week, and their fabulous food and great tap list goes to show how much the Houston beer scene is growing, even out in the suburbs! With this brunch, Rockwell is re-starting their Sunday brunch menu from 10-2.
For this event, a beer brunch (who doesn’t love starting the day drinking beer?) Tiffany paired 6 Texas craft beers with 6 breakfast/brunch courses. The brunch featured beers from Karbach Brewing Co., No Label Brewing Co., Ranger Creek, Real Ale, Southern Star and Independence Brewing.
Weisse Versa Pancakes topped with Orange Syrup and Whipped Cream | Karbach Weisse Versa
Eric Warner, brewmaster at Karbach, describes Weisee Versa as truly a breakfast beer, and there couldn’t have been a better start to the brunch. Weisse Versa is light and refreshing with a nice citrus flavor, medium carbonation and of course bananas. The Weisse Versa was cooked into the pancakes and they were drizzled with an orange syrup and topped with whip cream. Pancakes are usually rich and heavy, slathered with butter and maple syrup, but this version was very light, the citrus brightened up the usually dense pancakes and the beer was a perfect match to help cut the richness.
ESB Biscuits and Sausage Gravy | Independence ESB
One of the locals at Rockwell donated the Wild Hog sausage for the gravy, and it was fantastic. The gravy had some heat to it, but was balanced by the big, fluffy cat head biscuits made with the Independence ESB. I am not the biggest fan of this style (B is for Bitter!) but Independence’s version has a bit more caramel and malt profile to balance out the hops. The ESB a great complement to the spicy gravy.
Southwest Eggs Benedict | Southern Star Pine Belt Pale Ale
This course was Rockwell’s take on Eggs Benedict. They used a chipotle hollandaise sauce and Jalapeño bacon to spice it up, and placed it on top of a sope. The spice was quelled by the Pine Belt Pale Ale, Southern Star’s flagship beer. The sope and the bacon were perfect, and overall it was a great spin on this traditional egg dish. My only complaint was the poached egg was a bit overdone, I love my eggs runny, though. This is the one dish on the whole menu that didn’t use beer in the actual food preparation.
Hill Country Fruit Compote with Toasted Granola | Ranger Creek La Bestia Aimable
This was the lightest dish of the menu, by far. La Bestia Aimable was added to the mixture of cranberries and apples to make the compote and it was topped with toasted granola. The fruit was sweet and a little tart, a good match for the bubbly La Bestia. The dark fruit and cinnamon notes in the beer complemented the compote very well.
Stout Monte Cristo with Cranberry Chipotle Sauce | No Label Panamanian Coffee Milk Stout (first released at the Texas Beer Fest earlier this year in May)
This was definitely the most anticipated beer, No Label’s first ever one-off, the Panamanian Coffee Milk Stout. It has been cold aging for 5+ months in their cooler since the Texas Beer Fest in May. When I tried it at the festival I thought the coffee gave it too much bitterness, but when I tried it again at the brewery during American Craft Beer Week, after it had a few weeks to mellow out, it was fantastic. So, after 5 more months, it was quite exceptional. The coffee flavors were very subdued and played very well with the cocoa nibs they also used to brew the stout. The malt bill included numerous types of chocolate and roasted malts. It definitely has a rich malt profile while still being light, at only about 7%. A traditional Monte Cristo is a fried ham and cheese sandwich, and Rockwell took another traditional dish and put their spin on it. The bread used is their cheddar Jalapeño slider buns that were deep fried. The Cranberry Chipotle sauce was awesome, tart, smoky and a little sweet. It was a great sauce to help cut the richness of the fried sandwich. They even sell the sauce by the pint! The stout held up very well against the huge fried sandwich and also helped tame the heat.
Jalapeno Bacon Infused Cinnamon Roll | Real Ale Full Moon Rye
A Jalapeño bacon cinnamon roll? Yes, please. I was definitely looking forward to this dish the most. Bacon makes everything better and I was excited to see how the Jalapeño bacon would play with the sweetness of homemade cinnamon rolls. There is a delicate balance between sweet and savory and how well they mix together, but the cinnamon roll was excellent. The sweetness of the icing and the bread matched the spice of the Jalapeño bacon very well. It also added a great salty and smoky element to the cinnamon roll. Since I am not a big fan of nuts, especially on sweets, I think the bacon added that crunchy texture that most people look for in their cinnamon roll. It was nice to have that contrast in texture and flavors. Real Ale’s Full Moon Rye Ale is an interesting beer, it is 5.6% ABV, has a nice caramel malt profile from the rye that is almost overpowered by the hops and spice characteristics it has. It was neither here nor there for me at this point; I really didn’t need the beer to balance any spice from the bacon, as the icing and bread did that for me.
I was impressed with Rockwell’s tap list, their bottle selection and definitely the brunch dishes. Cypress has a little craft beer gem that shouldn’t be overlooked as a great addition to the scene in Houston. Tiffany has owned Rockwell now for about a year and you can tell that she works very hard to keep it stocked with great beer. They also incorporate craft beer into dishes where they can, like Wings of Sympathy- chicken wings marinated in Sympathy for the Lager, another Karbach beer. I’ve also heard fantastic things about their burgers, so now I have a good excuse to drive out to Cypress!