Blackstar Co-op Moontower

Las Vegas day #5 (last day, BOOO!). Guest Review #6. Today Sarah joins the LIBA team. She did an excellent job writing an intro, so I’ll let it speak for itself:

“Let me start by stating that I have found it hard to be taken seriously as a beer enthusiast and cigar aficionado, mainly because I’m a woman and not really part of the industry. In fact, often in the past when I requested a beer from a date, I’d get a funny look and presented with a light mainstream beer. One time, I let an ex-boyfriend order some cigars for me. He bought the sweet flavored ones. He was quite shocked when I asked to trade with his, which were uniquely spicy and full bodied. What can I say? I like my beer and cigars to match my personality!

Recently, as in early February, I decided to take matters into my own hands, I started a literary blog that will focus on local Texas beer and frugal food pairing with the occasional cigar and travelers tale. will be launched in March just in time to celebrate Women’s month and hopefully unite some cool beer-drinking chics every month at a local indie spot!”

Thanks for the review Sarah!!

Blackstar Moontower

I like my beer and food filled with personality! Blackstar Co-op in Austin, Texas offers it all (with the exception of cigars) to choose from, along with “the special focus on local produce and the community action of responsible enjoyment of great food and beer!”

My all time favorite is “Recalcitrant Dockhand,” which I was very fortunate to taste for the first time at their grand opening and first tap in December 2010. Just this past week, I attended the first tap of one of their “Irrational Beers,” “Moontower” was released on February 8th.

Since the temperature was below 40 degrees that evening and I usually cycle Austin (many others usually do pedal to Blackstar as well), I traded a beer for the carpool and found myself ordering two Moontowers about 8pm that evening.

As the young co-op member poured our beers, I asked about the turnout for the first tap, he stated business was as usual when it came to the numbers of guests but the beer being ordered was definitely the Moontower.

Blackstar Moontower

It poured slow and reminded me of rich molasses. The descriptor read, “rich & roasty malts,” there was no lying about that. It was a nice dark color with the aroma that led me to believe I was about to sip a very strong iced coffee. The actual foam was a bare minimum but it was definitely a creamy caramel tint. Upon taking the first sip, I was reminded of chocolate covered cacao beans with a slight taste of licorice. One thing that stood out soon after was that it definitely needed to be enjoyed in its entirety, which meant it needed to be warmed up.

As my carpool buddy and I cupped our beers as if they were keeping our hands warm from the crisp weather, we chatted of the after taste. Definitely reminded us of a stout, dark and heavy, very likely better than the one you see in commercials but we couldn’t be sure until we took a second taste.

We eventually started sipping, forgetting to comment on the taste since we got sidetracked about traveling and coffee drinking in foreign places. About half way into the beer, I realized I was getting a bit buzzed. Ok, I’m only 5’2 and some beers hit me harder than others but seriously I was really buzzed. I re-focused. Moontower was definitely better with some warmth and did what its notes stated (Great for sippin’ on frosty days! Will warm ya up with almost 10% ABV!).

By now, the anise lingered at the back of my throat and I craved a caramel cheesecake topped with some caramelized pecans or walnuts. Luckily, I was able to pair the Moontower with some of Blackstar’s bacon toffee. It was a nice touch! It softened the slight bitter taste at the end and definitely helped me enjoy the subtle oaky and nutty notes it offered. Personally, I think it could be aged a bit longer to really bring out its best features, but I’m not sure I could hold on to it that long myself.

Upon interviewing a member of their kitchen team, he suggested to pair Moontower with their pork roast or bar steak to bring together the anise flavor in both the food and beer. Additionally, it can also go well with the pulled pork sandwich and be creatively used for a beer float!

Blackstar Moontower

In the end, we did sip the beer for nearly an hour and faced the cold air with grins on our faces, the special 10% ABV of that batch made a heavy impact on us! The daily Moontower will be 9% abv. And just so you know, I went back the next day to flirt with the Moontower once again. I really enjoyed as an after dinner beer and it has definitely joined the Dockhand as an all time favorite!

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Author: Joshua Dion

I write about beer in an un-intimidating way, welcoming beer lovers of all experience levels.