New Beer Round-Up
This month I have been focusing on the Daisy Chain beers, but there have been plenty of other excellent local releases as well. Here are brief notes on five stand-outs I tried this month, as well as a list of five more picks:
Note: All beers are draft only unless otherwise noted.
Holler Brewing Company – Euro-Treasure
Seems like I can’t go for too long without sampling another Holler brew that impresses me. Holler is calling Euro-Treasure an “amber Biere De Garde” which is totally appropriate as this beer pours a gorgeous amber. The complex malt flavor really shines here and has a distinct English character with biscuit and caramel notes. The Belgian yeast also provides plenty of flavor and helps to tie this one together. Another spot-on brew from Holler.
Saint Arnold Brewing Company – Bishop’s Barrel 20
It’s no surprise that the latest Bishop’s Barrel is another winner for Saint Arnold. BB20 is Icon Red Sorachi Ace Dubbel aged in red wine barrels with brettanomyces and raspberries. If this sounds a bit familiar, that’s because BB16 had a similar recipe minus the raspberries. This is a beautiful beer with a vibrant ruby color with a nice, creamy head. The flavor is complex, with all of the different elements getting their chance to shine. Red wine is the dominate flavor, but dark fruity malt, brett funk, raspberry and a touch of oak come together wonderfully here. A slight tartness also adds to the complexity. Available in 12-ounce bottles, usually most easily found at beer bars and restaurants.
Sigma Brewing Company – Maximum Deluxury 01
Maximum Deluxury is Sigma’s Porter aged in Bulleit bourbon barrels with XELA Columbia Bella Vista coffee, cacao nibs, and Calimyrna figs. This is an amazingly rich brew with plenty of chocolate and especially coffee flavor. The bourbon flavor is moderate and this doesn’t feel boozy at 10.4%. The only element I don’t really catch are the figs. Complex and rich, this is an excellent dessert beer. This was available in bottles at the brewery, but I’m not sure any is left; however, this appears to be still available on-tap at the brewery and is well worth a trip to Sigma.
Southern Star Brewing Company – 10th Anniversary Imperial IPA
With so many of the IPAs coming out lately being in the New England style, it’s nice that Southern Star went with a bit more of traditional route for their 10th anniversary. 10th Anniversary has a nice bitterness but still has a fairly bright fruity and piney hop flavor. This is a bit on the malt heavy side for the style, but everything comes together nicely. Fairly straightforward, everything just clicks for me. Available in cans.
Whole Foods Brewing Company – Shake IPAs
So I’m cheating a bit here; I had two great “shake IPAs” from Whole Foods this month. “Shake IPAs” are a relatively new creation which combines the elements of hazy IPAs with lactose and usually some sort of fruit. Whole Foods usually releases a new one every Wednesday, as well as the hazy IPA base beer, and these tend to sell out quickly. These are two of the best of this style I’ve ever tried. The first one is called Vanilla With A Chance of Apricot Showers which is a “shake“ version of Scattered Storms. It’s actually a “shake DIPA” weighing in at 8.2%. It’s bursting with juicy, tropical hop flavors. The accompanying sweet vanilla works well here as well. The second, called Pollen Shake, a twist on their Pollen Clouds, is brewed with Mosaic, Ekuanot, and Amarillo hops and vanilla, mango and passion fruit. Pollen Shake is also very juicy and the mango and passion fruit notes are evident. Again, the sweet vanilla is a nice touch.
Five More Winners
B-52 Brewing Company – Stargazer – Imperial stout conditioned on peanut butter, cacao nibs, cacao powder, Madagascar vanilla beans and lactose.
Baa Baa Brewhouse – Bop It – New England style IPA brewed with Citra and Galaxy hops.
Brash Brewing Company – Jerkstore – A “Texas style” IPA.
Spindletap Brewery – Heavy Hands – Hazy IPA brewed solely with Citra.
Spindletap Brewery – Houston Hazier – A bigger version of Houston Haze brewed with Citra and Galaxy hops.