A while back I wrote about Buckle Bunny, Eureka Heights's workhorse cream ale, and mentioned I'd get back to the city's other well-known representative of the style, 8th Wonder's Dome Faux'm. Here we are.
What I love about the cream ale is that since it's an old-school style that your grandfather may have enjoyed, breweries use it as a driver of nostalgia. Perhaps no brewery in Houston understands how to brand nostalgia (and Houston-ness) quite like 8th Wonder, and they hit it perfectly out of the park by creating a cream ale that conjures up recollections of summer nights in the Astrodome.
I don't have memories of summer nights in the Astrodome, but I do have memories of summer nights in the even-worse Veterans Stadium of Philadelphia, where beleaguered Phillies teams annually limped to September, tethered to the National League basement. Sipping a Dome Faux'm doesn't exactly transport me to the days of Von Hayes, Jeff Parrett, and Don Carman, but it does make me feel relaxed enough when the weather is searing hot.
Dome Faux'm emphasizes its hops more than Buckle Bunny, resulting in a slightly more bitter beer, but it's still relatively light with the right malty characteristics that make it a well-rounded drink. I probably prefer Buckle to this by a hair, but you honestly can't go wrong with either.
Independence Day is upon us, which means hanging out with friends and likely drinking copious beer. Opt for lighter, everyday fare like Dome Faux'm or Buckle Bunny. A few others I dig right now:
- Holler Czech My Phone: A little higher in ABV at 5.7 percent, so don't crush a bunch over an afternoon. Still, you can have two of this nicely breaded and crisp Czech pilsner while hanging out at the grill.
- Under the Radar Radar Love: I enjoy Under the Radar's beer garden, which was seemingly made for the easy-drinking suds the brewery creates. Radar Love is a mix of a crisp pilsner and a sweet hefeweizen, expressing banana and cloves. A good beer for those who want a little spunk with their lager-ish beverage.
- Astral Pub Hop: Good on this newer GOOF brewery to go with a British golden style for its lightest beer. Malty but with a spicy aroma thanks to the East Kent Goldings and Sterling hops added during fermentation, it's a complex beer that lacks hop burn and deep bitterness.
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.