LOCAL BREWERIES HEADED NORTHWEST to the 2019 Great American Beer Festival in Denver last week, and a few came back home with medals.
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Congratulations to Saint Arnold, who took home a bronze medal in the pumpkin/squash beer category at the Great American Beer Festival for its Pumpkinator, which is out on Monday, October 14. It's the 27th win at the GABF for Saint Arnold. "As the competition gets bigger and the number of entries keeps growing, it’s even more rewarding for our team to consistently be on the stage bringing home a medal," says Brock Wagner, founder and brewer of Saint Arnold Brewing Co. "Quality is a core value for us, and our performance at the Great American Beer Festival is a reflection of this.”
Meanwhile, it's a silver medal win for Spindletap, as Honey Hole gets second place in the Honey Beer category.
And finally, a bronze went to Great Heights for its Bourbon Legend in the wood- and barrel-aged strong beer category.
A new cidery is scheduled to open this fall. City Orchard is planned for 1201 Oliver St. in the Washington Avenue Corridor area. The cidery, started by Patrick Kwiatkowski and Mat Smith, will use apples from the Great Lakes region of the country for its products. City Orchard will have a taproom that'll also serve its own beer and sell food from its own food truck.
Karbach decided to reprise its Viva La Cultura Festival (the first happened in September), and it's set for noon-8 p.m. Sunday. There'll be a DJ, a market, street tacos, and more.
Spindletap is releasing cans of Juiceton and the new Brewtality double IPA, made with raspberries and black currants. It's at 9 percent ABV. Some will be available starting at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Just in time to get you pumped for Halloween, Ingenious on Saturday is releasing four beers inspired by those cereal-box marshmallow monsters. They are Stout Chocula (imperial milk stout with chocolate and cereal marshmallows), FrankenFroYo (milkshake double New England IPA with strawberries and cereal marshmallows), Boo Berry Fluff (Berliner weiss conditioned on blueberries and cereal marshmallows), and Yummy Mummy (Russian imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels, conditioned on oranges, vanilla beans, and cereal marshmallows). Expect a line.
Over at B-52, they're releasing a new batch of Szechuan Sauce, a double NEIPA conditioned on butterfly pea flower (it's green), as well as Before the Internet: Spiked Punch, a double NEIPA brewed with Kool-Aid.
The newest Hoarders Endowment beer, titled 002, is on tap now at Sigma. It's at 7.5 percent ABV IPA, dry hopped with Amarillo, Ekuanot, and Simcoe.
I've been drinking some darker beers lately, partly to get ahead of the "cooler" months, and partly because I'm a bit exhausted by IPAs right now.
First up is Lone Pint's Gentleman's Relish, a brown that I had on nitro (meaning nitrogen was added during carbonation, a la Guinness), so it was a bit darker and creamier. Since it was on nitro, it's hard to judge the beer as it was originally intended, but I liked the beer's roasted chocolate and coffee tones. Its body (taking out the nitrogen effect as much as possible) certainly reminded me more of a stout than a brown ale, which to me is more nutty and caramel forward; however, the maltiness died off quickly. Whether or not it's on nitro, Gentleman's Relish makes for a nice cold-weather sipper, but not a beer I'd immediately seek out. Rating: 6.0
Next is one of the most recognizable dark beers in Houston, 8th Wonder's Rocket Fuel, a porter made with cafe sua da courtesy Greenway Coffee. First off, it's an ingenious beer concept, pulling in Houston's strong Vietnamese culture. Second, it's nice to have a relatively iconic porter in town. That said, it isn't for everyone. If you're not a fan of coffee, and especially strong and sweet (thanks to condensed milk) Vietnamese coffee, you'll have a hard time with Rocket Fuel, as it really amplifies the defining characteristics of the beverage. But that's the point: This is exactly what I'd want if I'm combining cafe sua da and beer. It's well executed and a perfect dessert (or kegs-and-eggs) beer, but I'll be honest, I can't have more than maybe one-and-a-half at a time. Rating: 8.1
Explanation of ratings: 9.5-10: as good as the best beer in America; 9-9.4: the best beer in Houston; 8-8.9: among the better beers in Houston; 7-7.9: really good beer; 6-6.9: try this beer at least once; 5-5.9: if you’re stuck, this won’t hurt; 3-4.9: among the lowest-quality beers in Houston; 0-2.9: as bad as the worst beer in America.