While you try to get past the sad end of Astros season, we do have a nice weekend of Halloweeny and fall-like events, plus plenty of beer releases. Come drink your sorrows away!

News & Events

Maybe the best thing to happen this Halloween: Eureka Heights Brewing Co. has become the Duff Brewery, paying homage to Homer Simpson's favorite brand of beverage. The brewery hosted a trivia night focusing on "Treehouse of Horror" episodes of The Simpsons, and this Saturday it's hosting a Krusty Burger pop-up. Plus, look for new beers, including Embiggens, a hazy IPA brewed with Idaho 7 hops that's named after a popular Jebediah Springfield (or is it Hans Sprungfeld?) quote.

Karbach is hosting its third annual Foamhenge on Nov. 10, a music festival with rock and metal acts, including KISS's Ace Frehley, Accept, High on Fire, Power Trip, the Pat Travers Band, and Narcotic Wasteland. Eddie Trunk hosts. Fun starts at 12:30 p.m. and tickets are available (starting at $28).

On Nov. 9, Holler is hosting Hollerpalooza III, which celebrates three years of Holler and features performances by Quinn the Brain, Blood Red Sky, and Second Lovers. You'll also get a whole bunch of fresh beer. Starts at 11 a.m. 

In case you hadn't noticed, Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. has permanently closed its Nolda Street taproom. That means we're very close to the opening of its new taproom and restaurant at Sawyer Heights.

Beer Releases

Spindletap is releasing a boosted version of its Houston Haze called Houston Hazier, a 9 percent ABV double IPA. That, with a fresh batch of Heavy Hands IPA, will be available starting at 10 a.m. Saturday. First come, first serve.

New releases this week at Ingenious include a Berliner weiss conditioned on strawberries, bananas, and peaches called Smarty Vampire Punch, and a Berliner weiss conditioned on black currants and black raspberries called Smarty Berry of the Beast.

And over at B-52, releases on Friday include Figgie, a blend of barrel-fermented sours that rested on figs and was conditioned with Pinot Noir juice and Mexican vanilla beans, and a fresh batch of Crucial IPA. Release starts at 3 p.m. Friday.

At No Label, the milk stout Elda M. is back. Get it starting today.

True Anomaly has released Amelia, a foeder sour saison brewed with Crystal hops.

Astral has out Space City IPA, a West Coast IPA at 6.8 percent ABV.

According to a source with knowledge of goings on at Saint Arnold, a new bourbon barrel-aged treat is coming for the holidays. Also, you may have seen that Christmas Ale is already out in stores.

And a newbie at 11 Below: Flex Appeal, an American strong ale in time for the holidays.

Reviews

Cask Pumpkinator, like most cask beers, is a little darker. But the big spice flavor prevails.

Saint Arnold Pumpkinator 2019: If you want to try Saint Arnold's Pumpkinator on cask, that's available at Cottonwood. And while I haven't had 2019 Pumpkinator yet in bottle, I can't imagine it being any more spice-laden than with this profile. As I've noted before, most of the pumpkin stuff you like is really all about the spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, etc.). Pumpkinator is warming and tingly with a sweet maltiness. Like in 2018, it would really benefit from some aging, but nonetheless, it's a good beer for when the weather is cold. Like right now. Rating: 7.7

No Label Ridgeback Amber: I'll be honest, I don't drink many amber ales. If I want a solid, up-the-middle, "tastes-like-beer" beer, I'm probably drinking a bock or a brown ale. But No Label's Ridgeback is very pleasant, even if it's on the slightly sweeter side (by a hair) thanks to its caramel malt quality. If I need a fall or winter cooler beer, this might be my choice. Rating: 7.0

11 Below Oso Bueno: And speaking of amber ales, this is one of the other big ones in the city. I really enjoy Oso Bueno, which captures that perfect balance of malt and hop. Oso Bueno has Warrior hops, which are known for just the right hit of piney and resinous flavors, giving a little kick to an otherwise sweet and smooth malty beer. If Ridgeback is my fall or winter cooler beer—the one I take with me to the tailgate—then Oso Bueno is my everyday fall or winter beer. Rating: 8.7

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.

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