Each month, we will list our favorite beers from the previous month. Because we focus on the Houston Beer Scene, we will always list our favorite from the Houston area market in addition to a beer from somewhere else. Follow us on our beer drinking adventure!
Todd’s Favorites: Firewalker (Brash Brewing Co) and The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (BrainDead Brewing)
Brash Brewing Company – Firewalker
This is one of my favorite beers in recent memory and an easy choice for my April Houston Beer Scene Pick. Firewalker continues Brash’s tradition of making excellent Imperial Stouts. This time Brash went with an Imperial Milk Stout brewed with cinnamon, coconut, chipotle and coffee. Sounds awesome enough (it is, the base recipe is Brash‘s amazing Milk The Venom), but they then aged it in cinnamon vanilla and maple whiskey barrels to create Firewalker. The results are a rich dessert beer that’s bursting with flavor. The sweet, chocolaty Milk Stout base is a perfect backdrop to the big cinnamon flavor. The other flavors linger in the background and add to the complexity of the brew until a prominent maple taste finishes the sip. This is available on-tap at Brash and a few spots around town – try it if you see it, because it probably won’t be around much longer.
BrainDead Brewing – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Dallas-based BrainDead Brewing has been showing up more frequently on local taps recently. They brew a fairly wide variety of styles of which I find that their strength lies in brewing big, malty beer styles. This Scotch Ale brewed with coffee from Noble Coffee Roasters may be my favorite BrainDead brew so far. This one is solely for those who love big coffee flavors in their beer. It’s somewhat one note in the respect as the underlying Scotch Ale provides solid body but the traditional malt flavors all but disappear in an onslaught of wonderful coffee flavor. This has fairly limited local tap availability, so hopefully, more is on the way. For laughs here’s BrainDead’s description of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn from their website:
Caramel, typical of the style, but with a huge coffee kick. Lots of coffee comes out in this one, probably because of the coffee we added. Did we mention the coffee? Not recommended before bed cause of, you know, the coffee.
Peter’s Favorites: Time (Ingenious Brewing Co.) and Trappist Westvleteren 12 (Brouwerij De Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
Ingenious Brewing Co – Time
If you haven’t had the chance to checkout Ingenious Brewing yet, you need to get there soon! They almost always have on a new beer on in the taproom. During one of my visits in April, I for to try Time, a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout, conditioned on vanilla beans and over 20lbs/bbl of cereal marshmallows. As you might expect from the description, the beer was very sweet. The beer brought back memories of the sweet milk you ended up with after a bowl Lucky Charms or another similar cereal although the roastiness helped with the sweetness. As with many of the other barrel aged beers from Ingenious, the bourbon and barrel notes are definitely background notes, almost as if they were aged on bourbon soaked spirals instead of actually being aged in a barrel. This actually works out well as there is already a lot going on in these ingeniously imagined Ingenious beers!
Recommended listening (while drinking Time) Time Is On My Side by The Rolling Stones. Just don’t finish the beer during the 3-minute track.
Brouwerij De Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren – Trappist Westvleteren 12
One of my buddies decided it was about time to open his bottle of Westvleteren 12 because it appeared by the date on the cap, it appeared that the bottle was from May of 2016. Welp, because I had a few bottles with future dates, I knew this was not a bottle date, but actually a suggested open date. This bottle was actually from 2013. This beer was so delicious that I think I have decided I am going to hold onto mine for a few more years. Who knows, I have two, so maybe one gets opened at a bottle share in the next year or so.
This beer is, oh so, beautifully balanced. The smell of fig, raisin, and plumb were beautiful. With the dark rich malt, it almost smells list freshly baked raisin bread. One of my favorite notes on the palate was the notes of tobacco but the notes of fruit and caramel are pretty great. We actually opened the Westvleteren 12 along with a few other Belgian Quads and Westvleteren 12 was by far the favorite.
Because the name of this beer has been COMPLETELY butchered, here is a video I found that is fairly entertaining and informative when it comes to pronouncing the Westvleteren.
Thanks for reading! Ryan and Bryce will contribute next month as well. Feel free to hit us up with any questions or comments.