Beer Talk: Houston Food, Drink Royalty Brew Up Chocolate Milk Stout

Plus, reviews of a couple Sigma beers and 8th Wonder's first bottle.

By Timothy Malcolm February 7, 2020

Two titans of the Houston culinary world hooked up this week for a big beer release. Meanwhile, there's a local pickle beer in town. Oh boy.

News & Events

Eureka Heights this week announced its fourth Hootenanny, set for Mar. 7, will have plenty of "carnie" beers like Fried Oreo Cookie Stout and Cotton Candy Buckle Bunny. Fun starts at noon, and it's free to hang.

FYI: Holler Brewing Co. has moved its steak night to Thursdays.

Beer Releases

Houston food and drink royalty collaborated on a special beer that was unveiled this week at Saint Arnold Brewing Co. Brock Wagner and his brewery welcomed chef Hugo Ortega and restaurateur Tracy Vaught Wednesday for the release of Chocolate Milk Stout, which is available now on draft and in six packs at the facility. Chocolate Milk Stout uses chocolate tablets from Hugo's.

11 Below is offering a hazy double IPA called Robocall. It's an 8.7 percent ABV beer with Azacca, El Dorado, and Simcoe hops only at the brewery.

Looking for pickle beer? Bakfish has What's the Dilly-O? Pickle Kettle Sour, along with Fish Face Strawberry Rhubarb, on tap. 

Ingenious put out a small batch this week of Salted Caramel, an 8-percent ABV milk stout conditioned on sea salt and caramel.

Last week, True Anomaly introduced Qualms, a fruited wheat ale with blackberries and chamomile coming in at 5.8-percent ABV.

B-52 has two new beers out today: Black Eyed Susan, an 8.2-percent ABV New England IPA with Eukanot and Mosaic hops, and Coconut Pose, an imperial stout conditioned on flaked coconut, Madagascar vanilla beans, and cocoa nibs, at 10.5-percent ABV.

No Label is bringing back its Texas Strawberry Blonde Ale on Saturday with a release event starting at noon.

It's not orange juice ... it's I Would Drink Me by Sigma.

Beer Reviews

Sigma's I Would Drink Me: Some local breweries haven't attempted the New England IPA and hazy beer trend, but some—like Sigma—have given it a real college try. The 2019 release Nude Tayne was a rousing success, then there's I Work For Dick Jones, and Tron Gun, all winners.

I Would Drink Me seems to be a success, but with some hops you haven't quite had around these parts: Sabro (a 2018 release from Hop Breeding Company) and HBC 472 (an experimental hop from the same company). Coconut and other island-style flavors were promised, and if I squinted I could get a little bit of that sweetness. More, though, the funky power of these wild and young hops seemed to blast right through. The super dank beer isn't for the faint of heart, and while I've been enjoying my cans of it, I probably won't turn back to it, as I'm not sure the nuances are fine enough. Still, I love that Sigma isn't afraid to push themselves and not simply rely on well-worn hop styles. Rating: 7.0

Sigma's Murry Chrimmus 2019: It's fast becoming a tradition for me to have at least one good serving of Murry Chrimmus, the brewery's imperial porter aged on cacao nibs and Vietnamese cinnamon. Intended to be a 12-percent ABV mix of chocolate, spice, and heavy malt, it delivers. With all the variables swirling in the mix, this beer is able to balance everything out quite well. Great warm, wintry hit with a beautiful backbone that leaves you wanting more. One of the better imperial darks in Houston. Buy a couple and store 'em for future celebrations. Rating: 8.9

8th Wonder's Viet-Irish Coffee: Take Rocket Fuel, arguably 8th Wonder's best beer, turn it into an imperial, then put it in Jameson whiskey casks. The result: a killer beer. Part of the Jameson Caskmates series, Viet-Irish Coffee was released in bottles—the first ever 8th Wonder bottling—on Jan. 25. You'll want to buy two and store one. Like Rocket Fuel, the Cafe Sua Sa taste is strong, but goodness this beer is smooth. Thank the lactose addition for that. A hint of oak rounds it out, completing one of the best sips you'll have this winter. It's a treat to drink. Rating: 9.1

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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