Back by popular demand, Houstonia has released a winter edition of its seasonal six-pack. Available only at Whole Foods Markets around the city, this curated collection represents the best of Houston's cold-weather craft beers (well, at least the ones that are available in bottles and cans).
Although we initially released our first seasonal six-pack this past summer as a companion to the August 2014 issue featuring the Houston Craft Beer Guide, that six-pack flew off the shelves as fast as Whole Foods could stock it, prompting fans to request another seasonal six-pack for the winter. As always, we live to serve.
Our winter six-pack will be in stores starting this Friday for $10.99. We suggest picking one up to enjoy along with a copy of our new December issue featuring our guide to the Best Bars in Houston, or as a gift for the beer-lover on your Christmas list. Here's what you'll find inside:
Saint Arnold Christmas Ale
The first winter beer of the season to be released by Saint Arnold Brewery (and its first-ever seasonal brew, for that matter) is its Christmas Ale, a big, beautiful, boozy ale that clocks in at 7 percent ABV, so be careful with these pints at your holiday parties. Despite its high ABV, this beer is a total charmer for newbies and beer nerds alike thanks to its malty sweetness that's balanced out not by "winter spices" but by nicely floral, slightly spicy hops. Mid-way through December, look for Saint Arnold's Winter Ale to hit shelves as well.
Saint Arnold Elissa IPA
The holidays are a great time to give back, and that's exactly what Saint Arnold does with its Elissa IPA. Now in its 10th year, this super-hoppy IPA is named in honor of the Elissa, the 19th-century tall ship moored in Galveston that's similar to the types of ships once used to transport IPAs from Britain to India. With each bottle sold, Saint Arnold donates a portion of the proceeds to the maintenance and upkeep of Elissa—last year alone, that amounted to $14,000.
Buffalo Bayou More Cowbell
We couldn't be happier now that Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. is finally selling its beers in cans—especially since that's the reason we couldn't include them in our last six-pack round-up. This time around, we're throwing in Buff Brew's sturdy American Double IPA. As with the Elissa IPA, this is a hop-bomb (though the More Cowbell is made with Noble hops, as opposed to Elissa's Cascade hops). And as with the Christmas Ale, this one will sneak up on you at over 9 percent ABV, so drink accordingly.
Karbach Mother in Lager
Aside from being a great conversation piece to take to the in-laws house for the holidays, Karbach Brewing Co.'s seasonal Mother in Lager is also one of its best brews. A so-called Munich dunkel lager, you'll find this roasty, toasty dark beer has notes of cocoa, biscuits, caramel, and other treats that Santa leaves in your stocking if you've been good this year. Bonus: this is one of those rare beers that tastes better when poured from a can rather than on draft. Go figure.
No Label Elda M Milk Stout
Beer nerds wait all year for No Label to release this coveted Milk Stout, which is easily its best brew (okay, perhaps it's tied with Perpetual Peace—but that's also a limited-run beer). The Elda M is brewed with 10 different malts, making this, like the Mother in Lager, a rich, dark beer that's best enjoyed on a cool day. True to its name, this Milk Stout is also decadently creamy but with a surprisingly clean finish that won't weigh down your palate.
Southern Star Le Mort Vivant
This winter seasonal from Southern Star in Conroe is a bière de garde, which roughly translates into "beer for keeping." Traditionally, these French beers were brewed in the winter and early spring and cellared for later drinking. Though you can certainly cellar this beer if you want to, but it's just as good fresh, lightly chilled so that all the yeasty, fruity esters and warm, biscuit-y notes come through when drinking.