Each month, we 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 will occasionally include beers from outside of Houston.
Follow us on our beer drinking adventure!
Sigma Brewing Co – Murry Chrimmus
Over the last few years, Christmas in July has really caught on in the craft beer scene. Over the last three years, I have made it a point to have a Christmas beer sometime around July 25th. This year Sigma Brewing’s Murry Chrimmus was my beer and it really hit the spot. Believe it or not, I actually liked this better than Murry Fuggin Chrimmus, the barrel aged version.
Murry Chrimmus is an Imperial Porter with Cacao Nibs and Vietnamese Cinnamon. Murry Chrimmus clocks in at 12% ABV. Had I not known this before tasting the beer, I wouldn’t have guessed it was over 10% ABV. I expected the beer to be more boozy, especially after having Murry Fuggin Chrimmus. It was very smooth and well balanced. After doing some reading on different types of cinnamon, and finding out that Vietnamese cinnamon is the strongest type of cinnamon, I thought it might be too strong. It was not. Like I said, very well balanced. My bottle was about 9 months old.
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. – Sucaba 2018
For my favorite non-Houston beer, I’m going with one of my favorite English style barley wines, Sucaba. If you think name is odd, there is a story behind that. Sucaba used to be called Abacus until they received a cease and desist from a winery.
Sucaba has a strong, intense flavor, full of dark caramel, bready, and toffee notes, as well as a decent amount of oak and bourbon. The flavors hit the spot but I do have to admit that the body of the beer was almost a little thin compared to years past. Personally, I love the smell of this beer. The nose is intense dark fruit, toffee, and vanilla. Combined with the bourbon, the beer has a very port-like aroma.
Saint Arnold Brewing Company – Bishop’s Barrel 21
Bishop’s Barrel is probably my favorite series in all of craft beer. Even my least favorite Bishop’s Barrel brews are solid, and quite a few of them are amazing. This is one that I would put in the amazing category. The base recipe is Divine Reserve 13, an 11% Quadruple that I remember to be excellent on it’s own. For this release the Quadruple was aged in Woodford Reserve Barrels for 15 months. Cherries are were also added to the barrel. The final result is a 12.5% brew that’s complex and full of flavor. BB 21 pours a dark copper and leaves a fairly short, tan head. The flavor is a wonderful combination of dark fruity malt, cherries and bourbon. Every element gets a chance to shine and everything comes together nicely. The alcoholic heat is surprisingly almost non-existent, so you’re left with all malt body and a “velvet hammer“ type beer. If any of this sounds interesting to you, this is well worth seeking out. Bishop’s Barrel 21 is only available in 12 ounce bottles, usually at beer bars. It was released a little over a month ago, so it might be a bit hard to find, but many bars will still have a few available. If not, just wait until the next Bishop’s Barrel release when past releases usually become available again.
Lakewood Brewing Company – Tennessee Temptress
While on the subject of beer series I enjoy, Lakewood’s Temptress series is another one of the best series in Texas. The Temptress is an Imperial Milk Stout that’s available year-round, but throughout the year Lakewood releases different variants of the beer. Past entries include raspberry, coconut and mole versions. A peanut version is the latest of the variants. They’ve also released a bourbon barrel version of The Temptress. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every Tempress I’ve tried, and always look forward to the next release. Tennessee Temptress is the newest entry in this series and is a collaboration with Jack Daniels. The brewery reports the beer to be inspired by a Jack and Coke. Tennessee Tempress is aged six months in barrels and then refermented on 500 pounds of cherry puree. This is a beautiful beer pouring almost pitch black with a creamy, tan head with great retention. I’m not sure if this really reminded me of a Jack and Coke, but I’m really happy with the results. The flavor is a combination of sweet, dark malt, booze, vanilla and cherry. Its complex, rich, and luscious feel makes it almost too easy to drink. This appears to be a draft-only release, so you might have to head to DFW to try it.
Buffalo Bayou Brewery – Figaro, Figaro Figaro, Fiiigaaaro (2018)
Figaro, Figaro Figaro, Fiiigaaaro (2018) by Buffalo Bayou is the local Houston beer that stood out to me this month. Despite the intense heat, after a heavy dose of hazy IPAs over the last couple of months my palate was looking for a flavorful dark beer. My local H-E-B had a well-stocked selection of bottles and the colorful wax toppers on the Buffalo Bayou selections stood out. After much pondering between Lenin’s Revenge RIS (2018), X-Mas in July Gingerbread Stout, and the Red Velvet Stout, I settled on the 2018 version of this Belgian quad with figs.
I admit that I was not confident in my choice when I walked out of the store. I had concerns about what the figs would do as different figs variations can bring a wide range of tastes, and the bottle did not really articulate what to expect. However, the product inside articulated very well the incredible flavors I had hoped to taste.
The sweetness of a quad was very apparent, but that was well balanced with fruit, spice, and a booziness that made every sip more enjoyable.
Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. is a brewery that I admittedly had slept on while getting my Houston beer compass calibrated after moving here in April. I am no longer sleeping on their specialty line called the Secessionists Series, and I look forward to becoming more acquainted with all of their offerings.
Firestone Walker Brewing Co – Stickee Monkee (2018)
Avid beer drinkers are sure to know of this beer, but if you have never tried Stickee Monkee then you need to hunt some down. I was overjoyed to find this as a draft offering at one of my favorite pubs in north Houston: Thistle Draftshop in Spring, TX.
The 2018 Stickee Monkee is oaky with some spice and sweetness to the taste. This year’s offering seemed a little boozier and malty than what I remember in the past, however that is not a detriment to the beer. As mentioned before, I am an avid bourbon drinker and this beer absolutely satisfies that craving.
Do yourself a beer tasting favor and find yourself a Stickee Monkee!
Saint Arnold Brewing Co – Palmer
This is Houston Beer Scene; let’s remove Beer in our name for just one second and cover the Houston Scene.
It’s 104 degrees outside – that’s been a regular “SCENE” in Houston for the past month…
…So when we made our way to Saint Arnold’s new Beer Garden Grand Opening, I needed to toast something refreshing to both the Patron Saint of Brewers, Saint Arnold – AND the Patron Saint of Bad Weather – Saint Medard of Noyon…
That’s why my choice for Beer of the Month goes to Saint Arnold’s beer garden exclusive, Palmer.
Palmer is a Berliner Weisse brewed with Lactose, Lemon Peel, and Old Barrel Tea Co.’s black tea. How would I describe the tasting notes of the beer? Um, have you ever had an Arnold Palmer? Yeah, it’s like that. Spot on. Lemon, black tea and the sweetness from the lactose had me thinking I was actually drinking a sweet tea with lemonade.
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