Ranger Creek out of San Antonio is a rare hybrid of brewery and distillery, which they call a “brewstillery.” On the distillery side, it has three different whiskies making up what they call its Small Caliber Series:
- Ranger Creek .36 Bourbon – released in 2011
- Ranger Creek Rimfire Mesquite Smoked Single Malt – Released in 2012
- Ranger Creek .44 Texas Rye – Released in 2014
These three whiskies won gold, bronze and bronze respectively at the American Craft Distiller’s Association judging competition. Ranger Creek also aims to create a new small batch of whisky using only local ingredients each year and do a release with the batch number, bottle number, season and maturation time.
On the brewing side Ranger Creek has four different year-round offerings.
- Ranger Creek Lucky Ol’ Sun – Golden Belgian-style Ale Ranger Creek
- Ranger Creek OPA – Oatmeal Pale Ale Ranger Creek
- Ranger Creek MSP – Mesquite Smoked Porter – Silver medal at World Beer Championships in 2013
- Ranger Creek La Bestia Aimable – Belgian-style Dark Strong Ale – Gold medal at World Beer Championships in 2014
Ranger Creek also offers a wide variety of seasonal and specialty beers that they produce one batch at a time. Most notably is the Small Batch Series which began in May of 2012 and has released 10 titles to date.
Ranger Creek Small Batch Series No. 9, a blackberry sour, was released in Sept. 2014 and is part of their experimental batch program. According to the site, “Small Batch Series No. 9 matured in oak barrels for a year before the addition of fresh blackberries from our friends at Oak Hill Farms in Poteet, Texas. Enjoy one now and save a few to cellar for years to come as this beer will continue to mature in the bottle.”
I poured Ranger Creek No. 9 into a tulip glass and was a little surprised by the lack of carbonation. I am not sure of that is the normal, but was certainly the case on my bottle. There was a little lacing on the side of the glass due to the higher alcohol content and the color was a really beautiful hazy purple with orange hues.
The nose on this beer was really special, there were notes of Sour Patch kids, yeast, a good amount of citrus. It was almost like smelling a blackberry lemonade with the sour being present, but balanced with sweet and there was no doubt there was a good amount of blackberries on the nose.
Taking a drink of this beer was like popping a blackberry Warhead in your mouth, lots of tart sour from the lacto, but finished with a fresh fruit sweetness. It had some characteristics of a dry sweet wine, I am sure it picked up those notes from resting in the oak barrels. It had a great sourness that you feel mildly in your jaw that comes form the citrus and lemonade notes which was one of the more predominant flavors. The other predominant flavor is sweet blackberry and the two balance each other out very well.