A new year means plenty of new beer to try. This week, a few old favorites come back, while Spindletap's newest IPA pays homage to the squared circle. Here's the brew news:

News & Events

You can get tickets now for Copperhead Brewery's Single Barrel Stout release, scheduled for 6 p.m. March 13. This is the culmination of a project that started last April, in which Copperhead filled a Buffalo Trace barrel with imperial stout. A ticket is $49 and gets you a bottle of the stout, a special glass, and a "gift." [Link]

Get ready for Platypus's third Australia Day celebration, set for noon-11 p.m. Jan. 25 at the brewery. Play popular Australian games, drink specialty beers, and enjoy food specials. [Link]

Beer Releases

It's Art Car, but as a double IPA. Double Art Car will be available starting ... oh, today. [Link]

Let me tell you something, brother: Spindletap's newest is an ode to Saturday mornings watching the Hulkster end a fool with his finisher. Atomic Leg Drop, a double IPA (first of a series about wrestling), comes out at 11 a.m. Saturday. The brewery will reserve a bunch for those walking in, but get there early. [Link]

11 Below has brought back Irish red ale Dublin Me Luck, and it's available through St. Patrick's Day. [Link]

Another oldie but goodie, Brash's Smoglifter imperial chocolate milk stout, is coming in bottles and on draft soon. [Link]

You may still be able to get Cozy, a nitro stout at 5 percent ABV from Bakfish. The Pearland brewery tapped it last weekend. [Link]

Don't let the lighting (later at night before Christmas) confuse you: Not Your Grandma's Amber is more dark brown than pitch black.

Beer Reviews

Holler Not Your Grandma's Amber: My father-in-law loves amber beers. Maybe it's the sixth-generation (or so) Texan in him, but something cold and crisp just hits the spot. Holler, I imagine, is nodding to that mentality, then completely skewering it, with this super-hopped-up yet malty version of a red or amber ale. It's not recognizable from an amber, and instead more of a little-of-everything beer. It's sweet, then bitter, then boozy, then dank. Plenty going on here. I like the risk, especially as a taproom-only offering, and the name is correct. Is it something I'd get a lot? Nah. One time, maybe two, is enough. Rating: 6.9

Brazos Valley Slippin' Into Darkness: A maple pecan imperial stout at 10.5 percent ABV? Brazos Valley is going for it here. I love the thin black pour with tan lacing. I love the strong coffee and pecan scent. I love how you taste maple right up front, but immediately get a lot of nutty and spicy taste in the back. It's far too easy to drink for a double-digit ABV beer, and it's perfect for cold weather season. This is right up there with Saloon Door's Ridiculous AF in the "crazy imperial stout" category. Look for it. Rating: 9.1

Texas Leaguer Knuckle Bock: Back to Texas Leaguer for the brewery's German bock offering. German bocks are basically hoppy dark lagers—a nice alternative to standard IPAs—but this one lacks the bitter boost and, instead, leans heavier on its malts with a toasted molasses flavor. I enjoyed the first couple sips, but the deeper I went into Knuckle Bock the sweeter it seemed to get. That doesn't mean it's a bad beer—more that it's not my preference for a German bock. 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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