There's a new brewery in town, and it opened quietly in the Shady Acres area. Also, it's the perfect time of year for dark and robust porters, so I review a few this week. Let's get going with this week's brew news.

News & Events

Welcome to the scene New Magnolia Brewery. Located at 1616 Bevis St. in Shady Acres, the brewery opened just before Thanksgiving and offers around 10 beers right now. Early boards show a kolsch, a heffeweissen, a series of Berliner weisses, a pilsner, a cream stout, a porter, and one (just one!) IPA, and it's hazy. It's open 4–10 p.m. Thursday, 3–10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Saturday, and noon–8 p.m. Sunday.

Holler has a lot of problems with you people. It's hosting its fourth annual Festivus celebration from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 23. There'll be an airing of grievances, feats of strength, a pole (of course), and Festivus MiracAle on tap. Yamahama, it's fright night. [Link]

Beer Releases

Saint Arnold has a new winter release in 100% Chance of Hops Texas Winter IPA. It's brewed with local grapefruit and coming in at 7.1 percent ABV. [Link]

The Hellfighter series, a collaboration between Karbach and Katz Coffee, is now available in stores. A four pack includes a bourbon-barrel aged version with Costa Rican coffee, an eggnog version, a version with Ethiopian coffee, and a Café de Olla version. [Link]

Time for another beer release at Spindletap. The newbie is Spruced Up DIPA, brewed with spruce tips, juniper, tangerine, and peaches and coming in at 9 percent ABV. It's paired with Hops Drop IPA and will be available starting at 8 a.m. Saturday. First come, first served. [Link]

Here's a new one at True Anomaly: The Hazy Center, a New England-style double IPA at 8.4 percent ABV. It's the brewery's Haze Dust with Cashmere hops added in dry. [Link]

Get your Under the Radar bombers today. Beers available include Mid-Frequency IPA, What the Gekkie Kottbusser, Trophy Wine DDH Blonde, and Griswold Family Porter. That last one sounds like a good old-fashioned family Christmas beer. [Link]

Saloon Door is coming out with its next beer in the So 5 series. Get the newest, an IPA, at 2 p.m. next Friday the 20th. [Link]

Pictured: Negative Space, Negative Space, and negative space.

Beer Reviews

11 Below Negative Space: I can't believe this special-release imperial milk stout is a 9.5 percent ABV beer. I also can't believe it's a milk stout. This is a malt-forward, slightly bitter chocolate stout with a hint of cinnamon and even lighter hint of heat on the back end (it's aged on cacao nibs, cinnamon, and ancho chiles). It's layered, balanced, and easy to drink. Part of me wishes it had more power, but I can't fault a beer that you want to go back to over and over again, simply because it's a good beer. Rating: 8.4

Galveston Island Brewing Co. Pit Pat Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter: Oh, the chocolate peanut butter beer. We went there with Saloon Door, and its Ridiculous AF is a winner thanks to its complex, balanced flavor that accentuates but never overpowers. This attempt from Galveston Island is a funny alternative to that one. The smell is big peanut butter and coffee, but going down, it thins out with the bitter tang of a baking chocolate and just a streak of nutty flavor. Not sweet or dessert-like at all. It's as if Galveston Island is drawing you in with buzzwords and turning heel as soon as you have a taste. Is that what I want out of a chocolate peanut butter beer? Not necessarily, but I dig the execution in creating a drinkable beer that gives you the impression of what's on the label. If you're scared of sweet but want the flavor hit on the nose, get this, but if you want a sweet-as-heck chocolate PB beer, get Ridiculous AF. Rating: 6.6

Texas Leaguer 2 Hopper Pale Ale: I reviewed 2 Hopper before, but I'm calling a revision because you can now find beer from this Missouri City baseball-loving brewery in the supermarket, thanks to a recent canning initiative (thanks, craft brewers!). Reading back my old review, either my first taste of 2 Hopper was misleading, or I wasn't grading it right, because this beer is really good. For those who aren't aware, in baseball, a two-hopper is a ground ball that takes a second (usually nefarious) bounce before getting to an infielder. Sometimes the two-hopper baffles the fielder into making an error. Thus, a two-hopper is a unique, strange little occurrence. This beer is also a unique, strange little occurrence. It's called an Indian (sic) pale ale, and while there's a grapefruit, hoppy scent up front, the taste is very balanced, even malty. It's a nice version of a straight-up IPA, but the flavors on my second round are more pronounced. Maybe it's not the most bitter, dank thing I've had, but for an anytime IPA, it really hits (like a crisp double in the gap). Rating: 7.7

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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