Something Brewing in Houston…

Beer is the nectar of the gods and craft beers are the purest of all the amber liquid. Craft beer has resurged in Texas recently and there are plenty of brewers doing their best to keep this trend going.

Texas has a history of beer-making that dates back to the early 1800’s and with several breweries in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston.  With the onset of prohibition (1920-1933) and the entrance of the “big” brewers, many of the craft breweries and brewpubs declined through most of the 20th century.  However Houston is seeing steady growth in the craft beer market and much of it is coming from local Texas breweries.  As a result many pubs and restaurants offer Texas craft beers on draught along side the usual domestic suspects.

Greater Houston has a few gems when it comes to craft brewing, all with unique beer styles and brewery experiences.

Saint Arnold Brewing Co, 2000 Lyons Ave, Houston

Saint Arnold Brewery

Saint Arnold’s is the longest standing craft brewer still operating in the Greater Houston area, rolling its first barrel out in 1995.  It is now a hugely popular local producer with some great styles including the Lawnmower, Elissa IPA, and trusty Amber Ale.  It also makes the unique Saint Arnold Divine Reserve which is the most sought after beer in the Southwest, with very limited volumes produced annually (1 batch).  Interestingly, all beer brewed by Saint Arnold is currently sold in the Texas market only.  The brewery has a Bavarian style beer hall with tours and tastings 6 days a week (BYO Bratwurst and pork knuckle). www.saintarnold.com

Southern Star Brewing Co, 1207 N. FM 3083 E., Conroe

Southern Star Brewing

Southern Star in Conroe is a relatively new addition to the Houston craft beer scene (starting in 2008) but has quickly taken the spotlight with a small but very popular beer range including Bombshell Blonde, Pine Belt Pale and the highly regarded Buried Hatchet Stout. They also hold an annual “Pro-AM” competition where home brewers are invited to submit home brewed entries with the winner’s beer brewed by Southern Star for the year.  Free tours and tastings every Sat 3pm (food available 1st & 3rd Sat of the month). www.southernstarbrewing.com

No Label Brewing Co, 5373 First St, Katy

No Label Brewing

New to the craft brewing world in 2010, No Label are a family run Brewery located just off I-10 that are very serious about their trade.  Their modest approach means that beer is their top priority with a good selection of beers including Ridgeback (Dark Amber), Pale Horse (Pale Ale), El Hefe (Heffeweizen), Elda M. (Milk Stout) as well as the seasonal beer on offer. Keep an eye out for these guys as their passion is for good beer for everyone. Tastings are held 1pm-3pm outdoors at the brewery every Saturday except for the first Saturday of the month (food truck usually there). www.nolabelbrew.com 

Karbach Brewing Co, 2032 Karbach St, Houston

Karbach Brewing

Karbach is the newest arrival on the Houston craft beer scene, opening in 2011 and are expected to have a big impact.  They have an experienced ex-Saint Arnold crew and their beer range is extensive including the Hopadillo IPA, Sympathy for the Lager, Weisse Versa Wheat, Rodeo Clown Double IPA and Hellfighter Imperial Porter.  Keep an eye out for their beers at local craft beer pubs and venues as they make their mark in Texas. Brewery tours are offered Fridays @ 6pm and Saturdays @1pm & 2.15pm($7).  You can even rent the brewery for an event! www.karbachbrewing.com 

Spoetzl (Shiner) Brewery, 603 John Hybner Way, Shiner

Spoetzl Brewery - Home of Shiner

Though not in the greater Houston area, Spoetzl Brewery, known for its Shiner Beer brand is the oldest independent brewery in Texas and extremely popular in Houston.  Having brewed since 1914, Shiner has become synonymous with Texas taking on the mass producers with their “Shiner Bock”, available in almost every bar in Texas.  They have a good range of other brews including Blonde, Heffeweizen, Black Lager, and Light Blonde as well as seasonal and annual beers (most recently the anniversary 102 Double Wheat and the Shiner Wild Hare Pale Ale to come). Free brewery tours are offered weekdays only at 11am & 1.30pm (no food). The gift shop is open Saturdays 11-3. www.shiner.com

Buffalo Bayou Brewery Co, Houston

Buffalo Bayou Brewing

Set to start brewing in Jan-2012, this new comer is a two-man team that will be located inside the 610 Loop just south of I-10 on Nolda St (cross street Detering St).  Keep an eye out for their first brew! www.buffbrew.com

Craft Breweries Outside Houston

There has been huge growth in craft brewing across Texas over the past 20 years and the state is fast becoming known as one of the best craft brewing areas in the country.  Across Texas, there are over 40 brewpubs (onsite sale of brewed beer only) and over 30 craft breweries in operation, many with brewery tours and tastings.  Below is a list of currently operating craft breweries in Texas:

Adelbert’s Brewery www.adelbertsbeer.com – Austin
Austin Beerworks www.austinbeerworks.com – Austin
Independence Brewing Company www.independencebrewing.com – Austin
Jester King Craft Brewery www.jesterkingbrewery.com – Austin
Live Oak Brewing Company www.liveoakbrewing.com – Austin
(512) Brewing Company www.512brewing.com – Austin
Thirsty Planet Brewing www.thirstyplanet.net – Austin
Circle Brewing Company www.circlebrewing.com – Austin
Wicked Beaver Brewery www.wickedbeaverbrewing.com – Austin
Franconia Brewing Company www.franconiabrewing.com – McKinney
Fredericksburg Brewing Company www.yourbrewery.com – Fredericksburg
Freetail Brewing Company www.freetailbrewing.com – San Antonio
Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling www.drinkrangercreek.com – San Antonio
New Republic Brewing Company www.newrepublicbrewing.com – College Station
Rahr and Sons Brewing Company www.rahrbrewing.com – Fort Worth
Real Ale Brewing Company www.realalebrewing.com – Blanco
Twisted X Brewing Company – Tex Mex Beer www.texmexbeer.com – Cedar Park

There are new breweries opening regularly all over the state so if you hear of any please let us know by adding a comment to this blog.

Drinking Craft Beer in Houston

Houstonians have easy access to many craft beers from Texas and all over the USA with a huge number of venues offering a range craft beer on draught and by the bottle.  Some of the best are listed below (♥ = our favourites)

The Ginger Man ♥ – 5607 Morningside Dr, Rice Village
Petrol Station ♥ – 985 Wakefield Dr, Garden Oaks
The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium – 705 Main St, Downtown
Anvil Bar and Refuge ♥ – 1424 Westheimer Rd, Montrose
Taps House of Beer ♥ – 5120 Washington Av, Rice Military
The Red Lion Pub – 2316 S. Shepherd Dr, Upper Kirby
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – 1000 W Oaks Mall, West Oaks & Katy
Brewery Tap – 717 Franklin St, Downtown
Onion Creek ♥ – 3106 White Oak Dr, The Heights
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery – 7637 FM 1960 West, Willowbrook
The Richmond Arms – 5920 Richmond Av,  Galleria
JP Hops House – 2317 South Highway 6, Westside
The Bull & Bear Tavern & Eatery – 11980 Westheimer Rd, Suite A, Briarforest
BRC Gastropub ♥ – 519 Shepard Dv, Rice Military
The Yard House – 800 W. Sam Houston Parkway, City Centre
Little Woodrow’s – 5611 Morningside Dv, Rice Village
Little Woodrow’s – 2306 Brazos St, Midtown
Rudyard’s British Pub – 2010 Waugh Dr, Montrose
Fox and Hound English Pub & Grille – 11470 Westheimer Rd, Westchase
Down House ♥ – 1801 Yale St, The Heights

Please let us know of your experiences at these or other venues not listed here by adding a comment.

Beer Festivals

Annual beer festivals held in the Houston area are growing in popularity featuring a huge array of Texas and interstate craft beers.  They are a great way of sampling the growing numbers of local and national craft beers in a fun festival atmosphere. The 2012 calendar is to be confirmed so keep an eye on the websites listed below for  further information on dates, locations and most importantly tickets.

Houston Beer Festival houstonbeerfestival.com 

Monsters of Beer Festival monstersofbeer.com

Houston Beer Week houstonbeerweek.com

Texas Beer Fest (April 2012) texasbeerfest.org

Other Texas Craft Beer Resources

For the Top Beers in USA – Southwest category, visit www.beeradvocate.com/lists/top-southwest

The latest beer and craft brewery news can be found at Texas Beer Blog site, www.texasbeernews.com

Make sure to fill out our Poll below!

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