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, but we will occasionally include outside of Houston. Follow us on our beer drinking adventure!
Copperhead Brewery – Barrel Aged Black Venom (Jack Daniels)
Man, there were some really strong contenders for my favorite beer in May. The thing that probably put this beer over the top is the fact it is not an IPA. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely a hop-head and Hazy IPAs are kinda my jam right now. But in the midst of drinking some pretty damn good IPAs, I was lucky enough to get some Barrel Aged Black Venom by Copperhead Brewery. Black Venom is a very well done stout and I feel like Copperhead nailed the amount of time in the barrel (8 months).
Now the beer is sweet. But, the flavor of oak and the char from the barrel, in combination with the strong flavor of Jack Daniels, really tones down the sweetness. This is similar to the way that Jack Daniel tones down the sweetness of Coke in a Jack and Coke. In terms of notes of vanilla and chocolate, which are very common in barrel aged stouts, the vanilla is the standout here. the beer is ever so slightly on the light bodied side.
In summary, this is a very delicious barrel aged stout. If you missed out on it this time… I don’t really know what to say… Next time this beer comes around it will be, at least slightly, different. This is always the case with barrel aged beers, even if they use the same barrel.
Lesson Moving forward: Don’t miss out. Cheers, folks!
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. – Krieky Bones batch 4
So… I should start this by informing you that I have a huge soft spot for French oak foeders and Krieky Bones is no different. Firestone Walker says that Krieky Bones is a “Flanders Red inspired beer aged in French oak foeders”. I am not sure why they say “inspired”. To me, the beer has everything I look for in a Flanders Red. The taste has the nice breadiness you expect from malt, but all the tart red fruit flavors, mostly cherry, you’d hope for. Also, you get a lot of the woody oak flavors that provide a slight vanilla sweetness. The medium carbonation and light body provide the ideal mouth feel.
Flanders Red is one of my favorite styles and Krieky Bones represents it very well. It beat out some pretty stiff competition for my favorite non-Houston beer. To give you an idea, some of those bears were: Canadian Breakfast Stout (Founders Brewing), Murkaveli (Weathered Souls and Pure Project), Barrel Aged Reserve French Quarter Temptress 2017 (Lakewood Brewing), Sucaba 2018 (Firestone Walker) etc.
Failed to take a picture…
Spindletap Brewery – Hopkeem
On May 19th, Spindletap released their first batches of Hopkeem, as well as High Knees, which join Juiceton to create the Legends Series. Like many of Spindletap’s popular releases, Hopkeem is a hazy brew, this one a Double IPA. The chosen hops are from the Southern Hemisphere: Motueka (New Zealand) and Vic Secret (Australia). As expected, the aroma is juicy citrus. The flavor expands on the juicy citrus flavor by adding tropical fruit notes. While this isn’t too dissimilar to many of the hazy brews that seem to be released almost daily in the Houston area, the quality of flavor from the hops stand out above other recent offerings, and makes this my current favorite of the hazy brews released this month. Cans were initially available at the brewery, but have since sold out.
903 Brewers – Sasquatch Superieur Aged in Bordeaux Barrels
My non-local pick of the month comes from 903 Brewers, located in Sherman, TX, about an hour north of Dallas. Their brews are infrequently available on taps around town, so heading to a well-stocked liquor or grocery store is the best way to try 903; I found this bottle at a local Spec’s. The base beer is Sasquatch, an Imperial Milk Stout brewed with cocoa nibs that are part of 903’s year round line-up. Sasquatch Superieur pours beautiful, deep black with a solid tan head. The aroma is equally as impressive, featuring a mixture of sweet malt, lactose, chocolate and dark grape notes from the Bordeaux barrels. The flavor follows the aroma and is very rich and complex. The red wine notes, especially, come out in the finish and linger on the tongue. This is one of the better barrel-aged dessert beers in recent memory and unique for using Bordeaux barrels, Sasquatch Superieur is definitely worth seeking out if this sounds like something that interests you.
11 Below Brewing Co. – Big Mistake (2018)
11 Below’s anniversary beer, Big Mistake (2018), is a great mistake if I’ve ever taster one. I was lucky enough to grab a glass at the brewery and was not s Russian Imperial Stout instantly reminded me of the Ballast Point’s barrel-aged Victory at Sea. While side by side there are major differences, the booziness of the whiskey shines through in both beers.
Big Mistake (2018) is a hefty 12.5% abv yet not a beer that will burn going down. Chocolate notes are very evident as you sip, and a slight spice enters the picture as well. I do not get as much vanilla notes as I might usually expect, but that only allows the chocolate, bourbon, and rye to shine through more. According to 11 Below, rye and bourbon barrels from Kooper Family Rye and Yellow Rose were used. Great choices in my opinion. This may be my favorite stout from a Houston-area brewery in recent memory.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to hit us up with any questions or comments.