Head to Platypus Brewing this week for its annual party of everything Aussie; needless to say, this year it means just a little more. Meanwhile, 8th Wonder has a new beer coming your way, and I checked out some Baileson brews in our weekly reviews.

News & Events

Saturday is Platypus Brewing's annual Australia Day celebration. The fun starts at noon and will include Aussie games, grub, live music, and a beer release. Also, Platypus has been raising money to send to help support firefighters trying to contain the Australian Bush Fire. Buy a ticket for a raffle Saturday's raffle as part of the Australia Day celebration, with money going to the effort. Prizes include merchandise and experiences from Platypus, Eureka Heights, and Tough Mudder Bootcamp Sawyer Heights. 

Two big events on the horizon at Saint Arnold. First, this Sunday is the annual One Pot Showdown, in which many, many vendors will try to cook up the best food in one pot and using Saint Arnold beer. Lots of eating and drinking here. Starts at 1 p.m. at the brewery. 

Then, on Jan 31 at the brewery, Saint Arnold will throw a big bash called A Barrel-Aged Evening. They'll offer a whole bunch of barrel-aged beers including the new Perry Me (Pub Crawl aged in cognac barrels with Texas pears), host tours of the barrel room, and give you a tasting glass to go home with. Tickets are $65. 

An amped-up, whiskey barrel version of Rocket Fuel is coming to 8th Wonder.

Beer Releases

The big release this week is 8th Wonder's first-ever bottle. Viet-Irish Coffee is coming Saturday. It's an imperial version of Rocket Fuel aged in Jameson whiskey barrels. It clocks in at 10.2 percent ABV. Come to the brewery starting at 11 a.m. Saturday to get yours—a limited number of 22-ounce bottles will be available. It's also on tap.

At Eureka Heights today, get Buenos Amigos, a tequila barrel-aged strong ale at 12 percent ABV. Whoa, boy. 

If it's still available, there's a beer at Ingenious now called Fruit Madness: Strawberry Margarita. Talk about a Houston beer. It's at 9 percent, a sour conditioned with strawberry, agave, sea salt, and lime juice, naturally.

The second beer in Spindletap's Wrasslin' Moves series, Sleeper Hold DIPA (8 percent ABV), is coming out at 11 a.m. Saturday. Get there early if you want some.

Two new cans at Holler: Malt Life (kveik dunkel) and Major Hazer (double IPA). 

B-52 has a can release at noon Saturday. Get Pistachio Pose, an imperial stout with pistachio and dried peach at 10.5 percent ABV, and Hoppy Tart, a sour IPA with Belma hops at 6 percent ABV.

At Bakfish, check out Sirius, a black lager. No word on if Alan Parsons is behind the beer. [Link]

The juice is loose at Baileson Brewing Co.

Beer Reviews

Baileson Juice Box Hero: It's been a while between Baileson visits, but during a recent trip I grew really impressed with the beer coming out of the tap. Juice Box Hero is an unapologetic New England IPA at 8.3 percent ABV with hazy and booming tropical flavors, moreso than most NEIPAs I've had in town. That's thanks to an addition of mangoes and peaches during secondary fermentation, as yeast continues to eat the sugars. Atypical hops from Oceania (Ella, Rakau) plus Amarillo gives this a rounded fruity taste. I'll come back for this one anytime. Rating: 8.8

Baileson Stone Temple Porter: On the other end is this porter named after the most underrated band of the 90s post-grunge movement. It uses cacao nibs from Tejas Chocolate & BBQ, so right off the bat you're getting a nice aroma and deep taste of smoke, though I wish there was more sweet chocolate up front. Nonetheless, this is a very drinkable porter with a solid malty backbone. Rating: 7.1

Platypus Woolly Jumper: I adore a good winter warmer, a cozy dark beer with a nice malt character and boozy finish. While not the best winter warmer I've had, it definitely hits the notes with a bit of molasses on the tongue, plus a boozy tweak at the end. Plenty of carbonation with it, which made this a little tougher to drink. Seeking smooth. Rating: 5.5

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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