This is the weekend to procure some tasty suds for your Thanksgiving dinner. Remember my advice from last year: go light with appetizers and dinner so as to not fill up and get tipsy; wait until dessert to break out the big bottles.
News & Events
One of Houston's best breweries is celebrating its birthday. Head to Spindletap on Saturday to wish it a happy four years of delivering fun beers—including arguably the best hazy offerings—to denizens of our fair municipality. The party begins at noon and features music from Bitterwolf and Photon Mechanics, and a dance party led by DJ Muskratch. It's free to attend and includes the release of double IPA Cosmic Clouds.
You could pay for special party packages, like a $1,000 VIP package that will give you some specialty beers, three pours of any beer on tap while at the party, a beer on the house every time you visit Spindletap, and a party for up to 20 people for three hours during a weekend in 2020.
Ingenious is throwing a Pastry by the Glass party Saturday with a limited amount of specialty pastry-flavored beers. One is called Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Go Nutz, a Russian imperial at 13 percent ABV that's conditioned on maple pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, and almonds. There's also a rum-aged bananas foster beer, a raspberry truffle beer, and an ice cream sundae beer, plus treats from SweetCup Gelato made with Ingenious beer. You need a ticket to come in and get beer (VIP in at 11 a.m., general in at 1 p.m., and no children or pets allowed), and tickets start at $30.
Eureka Heights is showing love to teachers by offering them $2 off all pints from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays. Just show your teacher ID to get the deal.
Head to Back Pew Brewing this weekend with non-expired cans of food, because the brewery will donate those cans to the Houston Food Bank, which recently lost about 1.8 million pounds of food. For every 10 cans you donate, you get a beer. Up to five beers/50 cans per person.
Also, Urban South Brewery popped up to introduce itself before it opens in January. Over on its Instagram, find some photos of the lead crew, a trio of former B-52 folks. Urban South HTX's head brewer and general manager is Dave Ohmer, who previously brewed at Whole Foods Market and B-52. Former B-52 brewer Justin Slanina will be heading up research and development, and Marin Slanina, who was operations manager at B-52, moves to Urban South to run marketing, promotions, and the taproom.
The Houston outpost of the popular New Orleans brewery will have 11,000 square-feet of space with a 10-barrel brewhouse, canning line, barrel and blending room, and taproom with a patio and beer garden. It'll open at Sawyer Yards, joining nearby Holler, Buffalo Bayou, and Platypus in what'll be arguably Houston's most sophisticated beer hub.
Coming Dec. 2 is the bourbon-barrel version of Saint Arnold's French Press, made with coffee from Java Pura Coffee Roasters. Considering how good French Press is to begin with, this is a highly anticipated release.
It's Christmas beer time at Eureka Heights. The newest is Holly Jolly Jorts, a 7.3 percent ABV golden ale with the flavor of snickerdoodle.
Holler is channeling its inner Gladiator with Are You Not Entertained?, a 6.6 percent ABV West Coast IPA to keep the plebs happy (their words ... paraphrased).
11 Below is throwing a party Nov. 30 to celebrate the release of this year's Java Space, using coffee beans from Java Pura. A donut cask version will also be available at that party.
Just two reviews this week, as I'm going through backlog because of an illness. Next week I'll be away, so no beer talk, but I'll review a couple non-Texas beers I come across when I return.
Southern Star Conspiracy Theory: The Conroe brewery's attempt at a straightforward, West-Coast-leaning IPA pushes Washington-based Amarillo and Simcoe hops, and both are very evident here. The former can be pretty acidic, while the latter is one of the stronger bittering hops that brings out a piney flavor; together, they overwhelm a diverse mix of malts. The good news is it's not too dank or hot; in fact, for a major hop-head this could be a pleasant afternoon beer. I want a little more nuance, however, so I'd ultimately drop this into a latter tier of West Coast IPAs. Your grade may vary. Rating: 6.2
Southern Star Subatomico: This is advertised as a juicy IPA (read: not a hazy or a New England IPA), but I'll be honest, I'm not getting IPA. I'm not really getting juice, either, unless that slight bit of citrus I grab at the top counts. Southern Star should call this a session pale ale, because the moment you call a beer a style, you expect that style. Very little hoppiness, plus sweet smell and light, grassy taste with a dry finish. A backyard beer and not at all a juicy IPA. Rating: 5.6
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.