Real Ale Brewing has a new year-round beer that the brewers have named after a longstanding activity in the Texas Hill Country. The Pinsetter Amber Lager is a nod to old-fashioned 9-pin bowling, a hobby the Germans brought over to the U.S. but is now extinct everywhere but in Texas.
Only a few 9-pin bowling clubs — which rely on people, or pinsetters, to reset the pins, rather than the modern machines predominantly in use — remain in the state today, and they’re particularly vibrant in Real Ale’s Blanco home.
Nine-pin bowling in Texas goes back about 180 years, and the style of beer that Pinsetter Amber Lager is inspired by, a California Common, comes from just about the same time period: when our West Coast neighbor was newly a state but didn’t have the refrigeration capabilities to brew a lager, which ferments at colder temperatures.
“The really cool thing about this beer is that we’re using steam-style fermentation techniques,” Tim Schwartz, Real Ale’s Director of Brewing Operations, said in a press release. “We use lager yeast for fermentation, but bring it closer to 60 degrees, which is right between lager and ale fermentation temperatures. It’s kind of a hybrid, which gives us a unique twist and a lot more complexity to step this beer up a notch.”
According to the brewery, the Pinsetter Amber Lager has a medium body, a slight fruitiness and “a lager-clean malt character.”
Real Ale has named its beers after Central Texas attractions before, such as the Devil’s Backbone Belgian-style Tripel, christened after a snaking, sneaky Hill Country highway.
To celebrate the release of Pinsetter, the brewery is throwing — what else — a bowling party at the site of a local nine-pin club, the Blanco Bowling Club. Real Ale fans can try their hands at the sport from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 4 this weekend; then, they and members of the club will head back to the Blanco taproom, where they will be able to have some more bowling fun.
For more information, visit realalebrewing.com.