Soul Doubt IPA
6.4 percent ABV
The bittering units on this canned beaut (the second for Freetail after the inaugural Oktoberfiesta) aren't for the faint of palate. Don't be fooled by its signature pilsner-like hue, Freetail's flagship IPA is for the hop-lovers as it delivers hop-forward notes and a fruity tail end with every sip. Stock up now—the canning program at Freetail Brewing's 30,000-square-foot facility changes seasonally. Pair it with mini asada tacos at the house.
7.5 percent ABV
We're always up for anything pumpkin.Pick up this gem if you happen upon it this winter. Branchline Brewing Co.'s head brewer Paul Ford called this his "new first wort pumpkin-ing technique" experiment. The end results have paid off—as the process added bitters and exalting pumpkin aroma. Taste the brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, and try not to picture Grammy's pumpkin pie while you're at it. Pair it with a hearty stew or chili.
10.2 percent ABV
We're all about a good double entendre and Naughty Brewing's latest release nails that tongue-in-cheek feel. The beer is the brainchild of James Vaello, who decided to take an already heady Imperial Vanilla Porter and age it in bourbon barrels for just under a year. Don't drink it straight out of the fridge—you've gotta let this lady warm up and let the layers of vanilla and roasted malts tickle your palate. Pair it with a nice vanilla scoop.
6.4 percent ABV
Cibolo's 5 Stones Artisan Brewery found itself a winner in the signature and mostly seasonal Aloha Piña, which brought home a silver medal in the Herb and Spice Beer category from this year's Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. It's easy to see why—the American Golden Ale has soft touches of fresh pineapple and the slightest hint of roasted jalapeño. Sessionable and a staff favorite, pair this with a spicy dip or blackened redfish.
6.8 percent ABV
Southtown's newest brewery gets two nods on the list. We're going to sit back and drink up Freetail's throwback beer that hearkens to the original ale of yesteryear once served at the 1604 location. Available in most markets in a 22-ounce bottle, this American amber ale's copper hue points to a sweet maltiness and a plethora of hops. Pair it with just about anything, including burgers and barbecue for those upcoming playoff game days.
Ranger Creek Small Batch Series No. 9: Blackberry Sour
9.7 percent ABV
Although technically released as part of the September 2014 seasonal, we're still finding bottles of this playful, experimental brew at local stores. Sours might not be for everyone at first taste, but we beg you to give this and other sours like it a chance. It's crisp, a good replacement for bubbly in a mimosa and expertly brewed by the Ranger Creek staff using fresh blackberries out of Oak Hill Farms in Poteet.
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