Opening in 2011, Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. was founded by Rassul Zarinfar, a then 29-year-old businessman with a love for bartending and brewing.
Along with brewer Ryan Robertson, they have made a name for themselves in the Houston, Texas craft beer community. Buffalo Bayou’s flagship beer, 1836—named for the year that the great city of Houston was founded—dares to blend three favorite brewing traditions: the British bitters, the Belgian trappist ales and the American hop movement. Other beers offered are Sam’s Daily Cream Ale, More Cowbell IPA, Black Raz imperial stout and many more.
Today, I will taste and explore its third collaboration with Amaya Roasting Co. located in Houston. This is the Vanilla Mocha Sunset, an American black ale.
As I release the beer into my glass, I can immediately see that this one is going to be dark, as the only color besides black I can see is a deep reddish-hued brown along the outer edges where the light clamors to find its way through. After the pour, I peer into the one and a half fingers of tan, fizzy and spidery lacing that holds onto the glass like velcro and anticipate a deep, bold flavor that awaits.
Aromas of semi-sweet chocolate, lightly roasted coffee and nose-piercing vanilla hit me right out of the gate with a very light sweet smell in the background.
When I take the first sip, the chocolate turns to bittersweet, the vanilla calms a bit, I receive some earthiness and then the flavors slowly mellow. Immediately after, I feel that the once bold flavors have taken a back seat to a slightly underwhelming watered down feeling. The mouth feel is slightly bitter and the lack of carbonation brings forth a flat feeling, something that I was not expecting.
As the beer warms, the flavors continue to take a backseat, with none of them really making another attempt at wowing me. The balance is good, but hard to judge because of the weak finish, which is slightly bitter and lacking the oomph that I wanted to continue until the end.