Beer Glorious Beer! A Return to Our Series on Buying Beer in Time for Oktoberfest.

Sean Jensen and Justin Vann of Public Services Wine & Whisky demonstrate the "What the hell is in my glass?" look. So you don't have to.
Sean Jensen and Justin Vann of Public Services Wine & Whisky demonstrate the "What the hell is in my glass?" look. So you don't have to.
Photo by Phaedra Cook

As the weather turns cooler and Oktoberfest gears up, we thought it was time to return to the serious business of drinking beer. And because we don't want you to spend too much time getting lost along the way, we're going to set you up with our series on beer in which we consulted local experts. 

Lone Pint Yellow Rose, Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout and Brooklyn Sorachi Ace — some pretty good starting points.
Lone Pint Yellow Rose, Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout and Brooklyn Sorachi Ace — some pretty good starting points.
Photo by Chuck Cook Photography

Buying Beer, Part 1: Beers for Everyday Drinking [UPDATED]

This marks the beginning of a series on beer designed by multiple Houston beer experts to help anyone interested in craft beer. Whether you’re just now delving into this big, wonderful world or have been a collector for a long time, there’s going to be something in the series that applies to you.

The porniest beer you'll ever see.
The porniest beer you'll ever see.
Photo by Chuck Cook Photography

Buying Beer, Part 2: Readily Available Beers That Can Be Aged

There is always a degree of risk involved when aging beer. Some beers age beautifully. In some stouts, for example, excessive characteristics can become more nuanced and overall flavor profiles grow in subtle complexity as with fine wine. Other beers, like IPAs, should never be aged because hop aroma and bitterness can degrade quickly.

Karbach's Bourbon Barrel-Aged Hellfighter from Houston and Brooklyn Black Ops from New York
Karbach's Bourbon Barrel-Aged Hellfighter from Houston and Brooklyn Black Ops from New York
Photo by Chuck Cook Photography

Buying Beer, Part 3: Seasonal and Limited Beers [UPDATED]

Now we’re going to start getting into beers that aren’t quite as easy to find. That said, the seasonal beers in this list tend to be overlooked because beer drinkers aren’t as familiar with them as they perhaps should be.

You can stand up and stand in line for these.
You can stand up and stand in line for these.
Photo by Chuck Cook Photography

Buying Beer, Part 4: Beers Worth Standing in Line For

Many craft beer drinkers are done with waiting in long lines in the heat or cold for a particular style. It’s just not as necessary now as it used to be. First of all, over the past few years, several brands that were formerly not available at all in Texas can now be bought in Houston. Even The Bruery in Anaheim has started shipping its sought-after, funky creations to Austin.

 

Leave some room in your suitcase.
Leave some room in your suitcase.
Photo by Phaedra Cook

 Buying Beer, Part 5: Breweries to Visit When Traveling

It is illegal to ship alcohol across state lines via the United States Postal Service. Additionally, while it's not illegal to try to ship alcohol by private carriers such as FedEx and UPS, their stated policy is that they will ship alcohol only under contract for licensed wholesalers, dealers, distributors, manufacturers and importers. If an individual ships alcoholic beverages and gets caught, the bottles will be confiscated. So, there’s a risk of both wasted time and lost dollars if that happens. That's better than facing criminal charges, but it's still upsetting.

It doesn't have to be fancy, just dark.
It doesn't have to be fancy, just dark.
Photo by Phaedra Cook

 Buying Beer, Part 6: How to Set Up a Beer Cellar

Here’s a dirty little secret: Many beer collectors, even beer professionals, end up settling for a cool, dark cabinet or even a box for their beer collection. (By the way, if you're aging beer, don't forget to label it with the date it should be consumed. Electronic label makers, such as the Brother P-Touch series, are perfect for this.)

Chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly knows kitchen beer.
Chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly knows kitchen beer.
Photo by Lindsey Brown

Buying Beer, Part 7: What the Chefs Drink

Hardcore beer collectors often go for those with big flavor, like barrel-aged stouts and IPAs. These, however, are not the beers of the working class. When people are hot, sweaty, tired and busy, the last thing desired is a strong, thick, high-alcohol beer.

The "beer angel" at Spec's downtown location, Lisa Villarreal.
The "beer angel" at Spec's downtown location, Lisa Villarreal.
Photo by Phaedra Cook

Buying Beer, Part 8: Best Bang-for-the-Buck Beers

If you still don’t have at least a small collection of beers that you love by now — well, the only possible explanation is that you're not old enough to drink. Please accept our congratulations on your upcoming 21st birthday and go read something else now.


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