My first taste of a Bakfish beer was of I Tell You Wit, the brewery's Belgian-style ale with flavors of orange and coriander. I'll drink anything, but my witbier intake has dropped over the past decade or so. That said, I Tell You Wit instantly became one of my favorite witbiers, a spiced, refreshing summer beer without the cloyingness or carbonated struggle that can come with that style.
(By the way, if you're a witbier fan, head to Celis Brewery in Austin, which is co-owned by the daughter of witbier pioneer Pierre Celis. He's the guy who invented Hoegaarden, and Celis's White is a wonderful nod to that old classic.)
I Tell You Wit put Bakfish atop my list of breweries whose offerings I needed to try more of, so I recently grabbed another of its core beers, All Y'all. This beer is labeled a "Texas golden ale," which needs some defining. All Y'all is based primarily on the Belgian strong golden ale style, known for tricking drinkers into thinking they're about to dive into a straight-up crisp, clean beer. These beers are typically colored like an Edison bulb hanging in a new American bistro, and when poured show tiny bubbles that rise to a creamy white head, but they're sweeter, fruitier, and higher in alcoholic content than easy-drinking lagers.
All Y'all isn't gold, instead somewhere between gold and amber. It comes in at 6.5 percent ABV, which isn't as high as typical Belgian strong golden ales, but isn't low enough to be a summer session beer. I suppose these reasons are why it's called a "Texas golden ale," but there's a definite Belgian profile to it. Bakfish claims aromas of banana and pear with a honeyed malt base and a fruity Belgian yeast strain. I get a touch of the pear on the nose, and I really get the honey, with that yeasty sweetness, with little to no bitterness in the mouth. It's a little too sugary, to be honest.
In short, it's an acceptably drinkable variation of a style that doesn't get a whole lot of play around these parts. It may not have the pop of I Tell You Wit, and it skews just a bit too sweet for my tastes, but for that beer drinker who's a little too afraid of hops and likes some sugar, it's a suitable choice.
Explanation of ratings: 9.5-10: as good as the best beer in America; 9-9.4: the best beer in Houston; 8-8.9: among the better beers in Houston; 7-7.9: really good beer; 6-6.9: try this beer at least once; 5-5.9: if you’re stuck, this won’t hurt; 3-4.9: among the lowest-quality beers in Houston; 0-2.9: as bad as the worst beer in America.