On Saturday, hundreds of revelers, including myself, took to Silver Street Station to sample over 200 beers at the annual Houston Press BrewFest. I have looked forward to this festival for months, as I know it is always filled with great energy, people, and plenty of local and nationwide breweries to choose from. But before I became “Lost in the Sauce” so to speak, I set out early to find the best tasting and most memorable beers I could find. So here is a list of my top brews from the day! There is a wild card included within these top ranks that was just too good not to give it the credit it deserved. Cheers!!
#1 No Label Brewery Cape Comorin Double IPA (Off Label Series)
I am by no means a “hop head” so IPA’s can turn me off if they are overly bitter or floral. However, this traditional American IPA has set a new standard. It has all the aspects of a traditional IPA, hoppy and floral with citrus notes. It starts with an intense and bold taste and then finishes with a smooth sweet flavor, taking away the bitter end you find in most IPA’s. Having been released earlier this month, the Katy brewery has something special with this one!
#2 Saint Arnold’s Brewing Bishop Barrel #17
As a lover of beer aged in Bourbon barrels and combined with St. Arnold’s expertise in executing the aging process for these types of brews, the latest in the St. Arnold’s Bishop Barrel series doesn’t disappoint. It has a dark mahogany color that can scare you, however, the initial taste is that of a subtle sweet honey that gets warmer as you swallow. There are small notes of chocolate and toffee flavor that can leave you licking your lips searching for more. The brew finishes with a whiskey flavor from the Woodford Reserve Barrels. This beer tastes like dessert but the whiskey content is prominent with a 13.2% abv. I absolutely loved this beer, although it may be better suited to enjoy over a warm fire in the winter.
#3 Goose Island Brewery Solfie
The Sofie is a bubbly, mildly tart intriguing brew. Brewed in wine barrels, it’s similar to drinking a fine chardonnay or champagne. A pretty golden color, this brew is perfect for a spring or summer day because of its crisp and refreshing taste and aroma. Although it’s light and sweet, it still has enough abv at 6.5% to have you feeling the sunshine!
#4 Sueno De Atzo Tequila – The Extra Anejo
Yes , yes, I know it’s not beer, it’s Tequila! However, it would not be right if it didn’t make the list! This Tequila is likely the best I have ever had. This oven roasted, oak aged tequila is a must try. To be honest, because it was tequila I anticipated the patented chest burn after the initial taste. However, I was surprised at how smooth and drinkable it was. Caution must be taken while consuming this intoxicating spirit. As you can get lost in it’s easy, smooth bourbon like character. Your mood will definitely change for the better after a few sips of this monster.
Maurice Laynes, aka The Urban Beer Connoisseur, developed an affinity for brew way back in 1998 while in college. Fed up with consuming the same typical domestic brews from the local store near campus, he set out to try every beer (domestic and imported) on the shelves. He then discovered that beer didn’t begin or end with Budweiser or Miller but went much deeper, coming to the realization that beer could vary in taste, color, texture and alcohol volume! Although the craft beer and micro-brewery industry had yet to explode, he realized he didn’t have to settle for bitter, watered down beer.
He then began to inform his family and friends that beer doesn’t have to taste like well….BEER. Later on, he decided to develop a brand dedicated to changing the perception of the way Beer is viewed among the Urban community, and that there is a beer out there for EVERYONE’S palate. You can follow The Urban Beer Connoisseur on Instagram here.