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!
Secret Beach Brewing (Houston, TX) – Swooner
If you read our posts regularly, this may seem familiar, because I reviewed this beer a few weeks ago. As I went back through the Houston beers I had last month, this beer stuck out.
Secret Beach Brewing is a homebrew project located in Houston. They are no ordinary home brewery either — see the label on the can, and you will understand what I mean. The label was inspired by the brewer’s Hurricane soaked Honeymoon.
But let’s talk beer. If you love juicy and hazy IPAs, you would LOVE Swooner — maybe the most juice I’ve ever had in a NEIPA. It was definitely on par with some of the best NEIPAs around Houston.
Swooner pours a dull, pale, gold. The mouthfeel of the beer is exactly what you would expect from the style: soft and smooth. Medium-light bodied moderate carbonation. I might have expected a little more creaminess, but I was more than pleased with the mouthfeel.
As I drank the beer and thought about the flavor, what I kept coming back to was definitely the flavor of orange, followed by mango or papaya. The bitterness was pretty low. I personally prefer a little more bitterness, but overall, the flavor was great — like I said, super juicy! If I am being supercritical, it was a tad sweet for the style, but the depth of flavor made everything okay. I know a few people mentioned a slight hop burn, but I found no trace of hop burn.
Overall, I am very thrilled with the beer.
Goose Island Beer Company (Chicago, IL) – Bourbon County Brand Stout (BCBS)
So, I fully expect to have at least a few people scoff this off, since Goose Island sold out. Normally, that would prevent me from choosing them here, especially since I had some killer beers this month. I am choosing this over those other beers (Spon by Jester King, CFP Cherry by Casey Brewing and Blending, Nightmare on Brett by Crooked Stave, Wisconsin Belgian Red by New Glarus) because, even though I have had this beer many times, this was the best version I have ever had… because I had it at a bottle share, and it was put in a french press, with awesomeness. If you want to try this at home, grab your favorite Imperial Stout and something to put in your french press. Some flavoring options/recommendations are: coffee beans (crushed), peanut butter powder, your favorite cereal or candy (chocolate works best), cookies, chicory, shaved coconut, etc.
Pour 1 bottle or can into the french press and add whatever you want. Wait for about 20 minutes and push the french press down and wait another 10 minutes or so. Feel free to play around with the timing. About 10 minutes before you serve the beer, add another bottle or can to replace the carbonation you lost from the beer sitting out for 30-40 minutes.
We took two swings at BCBS in the french press and both were awesome. Version 1 was BCBS with Coffee grounds (coarsely ground for a french press is key) and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Version two was BCBS with crushed Oreos and Peanut Butter Powder. Both versions were delicious and a lot of fun.
Sigma Brewing Company’s (Houston, TX) – Anniversary Brews
I’m bending the rules again this month (catching a pattern?) and making my “pick” a handful of killer Sigma beers that were released for their anniversary. The event featured classic video games, music and many quality beer options including Brother Shamus, a NEIPA collaboration with B-52 Brewing Company, and it’s counterpart Brother Seamus (note the difference in spelling), a shake IPA version, a return of Burial in Space, plus the newly bottled coffee version and Exhume, a Brandy barrel aged Old Ale.
Brother Shamus features popular hazy brew hops Citra, Ekuanot, Mosaic, and Galaxy and is juicy enough to recommend. Shake IPAs are very hit or miss with me, but Brother Seamus is a rare example of a time that I enjoyed the shake version more than the base beer. In addition to the lactose, it’s brewed with pineapple, passion fruit, and guava. The level of lactose is lower than expected, but the fruit flavor really pops. The low bitterness paired with the fruit and a light, creamy sweetness work and help make it almost too easy to drink.
The IPAs are both solid enough, but the big malty brews are really where it’s at for Sigma. I loved Burial in Space last year and can highly recommend it again this year. The base version is a 14% Imperial Stout aged in Yellow Rose Outlaw Bourbon and Bulleit Rye barrels and is as amazingly thick, rich, and boozy as it sounds. The coffee version is heavy on coffee flavor, courtesy of Xela Coffee Roaster’s Yemen Matari cold brew, and is a worthy variant of the original. Exhume, a Brandy barrel aged Old Ale with cherries, is an impressive addition to Sigma’s catalog of big malty brews.
Thick, rich, and boozy easily describes Exhume too, but it‘s a little less dangerous at 9.7%. The cherry flavor is light, but the malt and Brandy flavors impress. Along with Burial in Space, it’s another excellent nightcap option. I recently had Exhume on cask at Hay Merchant and felt it was very worthwhile in that format as well. These brews aren’t going to be easy to find, all of Sigma’s anniversary brews had limited to-go sales at the brewery starting at their anniversary party. I’d call first. Hopefully, you have a friend with one in the fridge that they’re willing to share. If you see any of these on-tap, catch them before they’re gone.
8th Wonder (Houston) – Rocket Fuel
Turning Point Beer (Bedford, TX) – Snooze Control
If you’re reading this, that means it’s November.
While most people think of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the arrival of the Christmas Season… I think of…
THE SEASONAL RETURN OF 8th WONDER’S ROCKET FUEL!
Those who know me know this is my favorite dark, and possibly my favorite beer of all time (shout out to B-52s Bishops Gone Wild for claiming my co-champion spot).
However, with all the accolade I give Rocket Fuel… this is not my pick for October’s Beer of the Month; for there was a beer that almost dethroned Rocket Fuel as the Captain of all Coffee Porters…
During a trip to Turning Point Brewery in Dallas, TX this past month, I tried a coffee porter appropriately called Snooze Control… because man, were my eyes opened! Snooze Control pours almost pitch black and has a nice tan head. The aroma of the beer a beautiful chocolatey coffee and the taste is very similar, chocolate, followed by coffee, followed by more coffee and chocolatey goodness.
With so many options these days, I decided I HAD to take a 4-pack home and put it to an old-fashioned taste test.
I had my wife pour Rocket Fuel and Snooze Control into two separate glasses. What amazed me is how the foam characteristics of each beer differed (although they didn’t give away which was which). After the taste test, it was reaffirmed, that Rocket Fuel would stay king of the mountain.
I have rated no other Coffee Porter a 5.0 on untapped, so for Turning Point’s Snooze Control to throw down the gauntlet and challenge my co-favorite all time beer, it more than deserves a shout out for my beer of the month.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to hit us up with any questions or comments.