New Beer Round-up 12/25/2017

New Beer Round-up
Happy Holidays from Houston Beer Scene! I hope everyone is kicking back with some awesome local beer today.  As usual, plenty of new beer is available and I’ll provide some brief notes on the ones I’ve been able to sample, as well as picks for the ones that I felt stood out as being exceptional.   For more information on new and upcoming Texas beer, please check out our label approval entries.
Eureka Heights Brewing Company – Space Train Aged in Bourbon Barrels – This is a collaboration with The Hay Merchant and only available at their location. Witherspoon Bourbon barrels were used for this project. Normally, I’m not too enthusiastic about a barrel-aged IPA, but this work well.  The bourbon flavor is assertive, without totally overloading the base beer – definitely worth a try for the barrelheads out there.
Houston Beer Scene Pick – Eureka Heights Brewing Company – World’s Best Cup of Coffee – This 6.0% stout is very coffee forward leaving the base beer pleasantly overwhelmed.  The flavor is actually very reminiscent of a solid cup of coffee with plenty of roasty flavors.
Holler Brewing Company – MiracAle – Holler celebrated their Festivus event with the release of this 8.2% Tripel brewed with mysterious holiday spices.  The spice elements are outside of what you might expect from Trappist yeast (a little mild) and I’m not sure if I identify anything specific. The fruity, dry characteristics of a Tripel are present and do play well with the spicy notes.  The overall impression is that of a quality Tripel vs. a spiced up Christmas beer.
Houston Beer Scene Pick – Karbach Brewing Company – FUN Series 017: Brandy, You’re A Fine Girl – The latest in this long-running series is a Doppelbock aged in Armagnac barrels. This is a rich brew with brandy flavor dominating over the dark malts of the base beer. This is complex and almost too smooth, putting it into Velvet Hammer territory. Available in bombers.
No Label Brewing Company – Hop Solo with Ekuanot – The Ekuanot provides a pleasant combination of herbal, tropical and citrus flavors that meet a moderate bitterness.  This is an overall solid showcase for the featured hop.
Houston Beer Scene Pick – Sigma Brewing Company – Murry Fuggin Chrimmus – This is Sigma’s Murry Chrimmus (an Imperial Porter brewed cacao nibs and Vietnamese cinnamon) that has been aged in rye whiskey and rum barrels. Fuggin is a big brew at 12% and very rich and complex. The use of cacao and especially cinnamon is excellent and meld well with the relatively light barrel flavors.  Bottles were available at the brewery.
Town in City Brewing Company – City Porter Aged in Jamaican Gold Rum Barrels – All of the Town in City beers listed in this Round-up were first available at their Cold Dark Day event on December 9th. I sampled these at the taproom after the event and have also seen some of them around town. This has a strong rum presence, which is a bit hot and overwhelming. If you really dig rum in your beer, you’ll like this one. Town in City also brewed a version aged in Jamaican Black Pot Still Rum barrels.
Town in City Brewing Company – Clamjam Stout – This 6.8% stout features clams and raspberry jam.  There are nice dry stout flavors which are enhanced with the mineral component from the clam. The raspberry flavor floats in and out.  This is interesting, but the different flavors don’t quite come together into a fully cohesive brew.
Houston Beer Scene Pick – Town in City Brewing Company – Seaside Stout – This variant on their 6.8% stout features candied orange, roasted macadamia nuts, and Tahitian vanilla.  This is a full-flavored, complex and roasty stout.  The vanilla and orange are mild, but there is a pleasant nuttiness I attribute to the macadamia.
Town in City Brewing Company – Threat Level Midnight – This 8.0% Baltic Porter features a combination of chocolate roast and dark fruit flavors. Smooth and easier drinking than expected.
Houston Beer Scene Pick – Whole Foods Brewing Company – Everyday Value – WFBC is back with another excellent hazy session IPA, this one a very manageable 4.2%.  This has enough body and hop heft to really beat out most brews calling themselves a session IPA.  Brewed with Amarillo, Citra, and El Dorado.
Houston Beer Scene Pick – Whole Foods Brewing Company – Peppermint Chocolate Porter – This is a rich, decadent brew featuring an excellent combo of chocolate and peppermint flavors.  The final product is a great liquid concoction that’s reminiscent of an Andes Mint or York patty. WFBC also had a similar beer available called You Sexy Thang, a chocolate vanilla Porter.
Wicked Boxer Brewing – Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins – Wicked Boxer debuted this beer, along with the three other Wicked Boxer beers listed in this week’s Round-up, during their soft opening last week. Ninny Muggins is a 4.7% Porter brewed with peppermint.  The flavor is fairly dominated by peppermint with roasted malts and a somewhat creamy body taking the backseat. This works well for a sessionable Christmas-style beer.  Fans of peppermint should not be disappointed.
Wicked Boxer Brewing – Downtown Shiloh Brown – This 5.0% Brown Ale brewed with vanilla features a pleasant nutty, caramel malt flavor bolstered by just more than a hint of vanilla. This is definitely more of an English style brown than an American style brown ale. Somewhat creamy and easy-to-drink, this is another solid malty sessionable beer from Wicked Boxer.
Wicked Boxer Brewing – Stealth Licker – Every new brewery has to have an IPA, so of course Wicked Boxer has one.  Their take is a 6.0% American IPA that plays a bit to the malty side with a balanced, moderately bitter profile.
Not Sampled
B-52 Brewing Company – Our House Saison – a 5.7% brew using a blend of farmhouse and wild yeast strains. B-52 plans to use this as a base for future projects.  B-52 has announced bottles will be available in early 2018.
Baa Baa Brewhouse – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – This is actually three different NEIPAs that were released at their Christmas party.
Back Pew Brewing Company – Muddy Thames – 5.3% English Mild Ale available at the brewery.
Bakfish Brewing Company – Squid Pro Quo – 6.5% Oatmeal Stout. Bakfish promises dark chocolate and roast flavors with smooth, creamy finish.
Baileson Brewing Company – Oatmeal Stout – A 6.0% brew described by Baileson as loaded with roasted malt flavors and oaty creaminess.
Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company – Sweater Weather – A 9.0% Quadruple brewed with Medjool dates and Telicherry black peppercorns.
Galveston Island Brewing Company – Beatnik Blend – A blend of barrel aged stouts with additional ingredients.
Great Heights Brewing Company – Porter – A 5.5% American Porter.
Platypus Brewing – Orange Poblano IPA – A taproom only release.
Platypus Brewing – Pucker Up Santa – A 4.1% Sour Brown Ale brewed with cherries.
Running Walker Beer – 12 Beers of Christmas – Running Walker finished off this series Sunday. Recent releases in the series include Belgian Tripel, Blueberry Sour, Blood Orange Wheat, Black IPA, Black Cherry Sour and Pickle Rick – a pickle Pale Ale.
Saloon Door Brewing – Hella Hyphy – 6.3% IPA brewed in collaboration with Nobi Public House.  Hella Hyphy is double dry hopped with Motueka, Mosaic, and Amarillo hops and is described as having flavors of mango, guava and lime.
Texas Beer Refinery – Hazuice 3.0 – Triple dry-hopped New England style IPA.  Described by TBR as having grapefruit and orange juice flavors.
Texas Leaguer Brewing Company – Farm System #3 – This taproom only release is 5.8% Rye Pale Ale.
Vallensons’ Brewing Company – Experimental IPA #3 – A 7.3% brewed Vallensons’ describes as having tropical fruit flavors and a sharp, bitter finish.
Vallensons’ Brewing Company – Our Christmas Ale – A 6.8% English Old Ale/Winter Warmer brewed with fresh spruce tips.
Whole Foods Brewing Company – G-Money – A 6.1% NEIPA brewed with Idaho 7, El Dorado and Citra hops.
Whole Foods Brewing Company – Hazy Nights – A 7.6% hazy IPA.
Whole Foods Brewing Company – Santa Wants – Another hazy IPA from WFBC. Hopped with Amarillo, Simcoe and Idaho 7.
Wicked Boxer Brewing – Wiggle Butt – A 4.5% Blonde Ale that looks to be one of their mainstay beers.
B-52 Brewing Company – Raspberry Muse – A blend of aged sour beers conditioned on raspberry, cherry, lime juice, vanilla beans and milk sugar.  A release date has not been announced, but Raspberry Muse should be coming out within the next couple of weeks.  Check out B-52’s Facebook for updates. Available in a corked and caged bottle.

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