This weekend, one of Houston's finest breweries celebrates a birthday. Also, we review some of the Buffalo Bayou catalog in honor of its brand-spankin'-new facility.

News & Events

Saturday is Great Heights Brewing Company's two-year anniversary party. The fun starts at 11 a.m., and will include special releases (a bourbon-barrel-aged imperial stout, a double NEIPA called Space Stuff), live music, and glassware for sale. 

8th Wonder is hosting its Gr8 Taco Challenge from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at the brewery. Tickets (if still available) are $40 and include a souvenir glass, three beer tokens, and a taco from each of the 27 (!) competitors. Live music from Henry and the Invisibles.

Beer Releases

A small batch of Smarty Pioneer Punch (Berliner weiss conditioned on elderberries, red apples, cinnamon) was released this week at Ingenious. Not much available—only until the kegs kick.

B-52 is having a big release event Friday. New beers include After The Internet: For the Mentions, a hazy triple IPA with tons of hops; Before The Internet: Fortune Teller - Triple Berry Yuzu Lemon Tea Party, a hazy milkshake IPA conditioned on berries, calamansi, yuzu, and tea; Gold Bricks: 5, a stout aged in a curacao barrel and conditioned on cold-pressed orange juice and coffee; Oak Lagered Vienna Lager, a Vienna lager cold-fermented in pinot noir barrels; Oak Lagered Pils, pilsner cold-fermented in pinot noir barrels; and Breakfast Stout, an oatmeal stout with coffee. 

Sigma has a new canning machine, so it canned a bunch of Loggerbier and gave it a truly gorgeous label. Loggerbier is a 4.9 percent ABV German pilsner. 

Platypus teamed up with Reformation Brewery in Georgia and Boomtown Brewery in California on a hazy IPA called Drink Well With Others. The beer was brewed to raise awareness of National Adoption Month.

Look for 11 Below's Negative Space in stores—wherever you buy canned beer.

At True Anomaly, look for The Galaxy Black, a double Cascadian dark ale coming in at 8.6 percent ABV.

Creamsicle ... not just a treat from the freezer.

Beer Reviews

Buffalo Bayou Smoke on the Bayou: This may be my favorite Buffalo Bayou beer. Charged up with a beautifully smoky scent—and taste—this scotch ale pours nearly pitch black, tastes robust, and has a subtle boozy kick, especially for a beer with an ABV at about 9 percent. What I love most about Smoke on the Bayou is that it doesn't force the issue—this isn't a sweet beer with high caramel content. It doesn't burn you up with alcohol. And most of all, it has a hearty backbone that makes you want another. Smoke on the Bayou is perfect for cold weather, and I'm already dreaming of my next. A favorite. Rating: 9.0

Buffalo Bayou Dreamsicle: As always, Buffalo Bayou isn't afraid to take risks (OK, no milkshake beers or anything here, but still). Dreamsicle promises a creamy orange flavor laced in an easy-drinking blonde ale. What's true: Dreamsicle is easy drinking, and the flavors are about right here, but the malts here (Pilsner, Light Munich) seem to stick out too much and clash with what should be a cleaner beer. Maybe I would've liked to see Valencia oranges used in a beer with some vanilla. Maybe a low-alcohol porter? Creamsicle is fine, but it's down a few tiers in my easy-drinking ranks. Rating: 6.1

Eureka Heights Embiggens: Here's a beer that Eureka Heights created in honor of its Halloween transformation into the Duff Brewery. Certainly I've had some nice hazy offerings from Eureka Heights as of late, and this fits cleanly into the "if I find it in the wild, sure, I'll have one" camp. Cooked with Galaxy and Idaho 7 hops (and I imagine there's some dry-hopping going on here), Embiggens has a big, resinous first taste, like a punch to the face. But I'd love more tropical nuance. As it stands, this results in more of a hop bomb than it does a juice bomb. Good, but not essential. Rating: 6.8

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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