Houston: Joining the Craft Beer Revolution
The Full Pint is proud to bring to you Houston: Joining the Craft Beer Revolution. This is an original article penned by our newest intern Andy from Houston, TX.
When you think of great beer meccas in the United States, places like Portland and Asheville probably come to mind. Maybe Vermont, for the infamous Heady Topper and Hill Farmstead’s many unique brews. Or the entire state of California, with too many top notch breweries to count. But Houston?
It’s true – Houston can’t compare to the above. While not new to the craft beer revolution, our numbers are still small. But we are growing, and fast. Just in the past few years, several new breweries and beer bars have not only popped up in the Houston area, but have thrived. I’m talking fight-to-the-death-loyal fans, as it should be.
If you’re a beer lover heading into the Houston area with low expectations, let’s raise them. Whether you hit one or all of these spots, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by what Houston has to offer.
Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Saint Arnold is the oldest craft brewery in Texas. They have the biggest line-up of beers of the breweries in the Houston area, and they’re all worth a taste. While they do offer tours every day except Sunday, stop by on Saturday between 11 and 2 if you’re looking for the social element – the huge tasting room will completely fill up within an hour. For $7 you get a taster glass and four beer tokens, each good for one fill. You’re free to bring your own food in, so pick up a pizza on the way.
Karbach Brewing Co.
Karbach just recently celebrated their first year in operation, and they’ve had a busy one. After only six months of offering tours and tastings at the brewery, Karbach plowed forward with a canning line that includes a lager, wheat, IPA and DIPA. Did I mention they have a beer called Rodeo Clown? They also have a few great seasonals like Hellfighter Porter, Karbachtoberfest, and their new pumpkin ale that will be in bombers in October. Visit them on Friday or Saturday for a tour and tasting.
Southern Star Brewing Company
Southern Star, located in Conroe, popped up in 2007. Over the years, they have developed a strong line-up of year-round canned beers. From the light and smooth Bombshell Blonde to their imperial stout, Buried Hatchet, Southern Star has a beer for everyone. Stop in for a free tour every Saturday from 1-3PM, or bring your family and friends and relax with a cold one in hand. Local tip: there’s no air conditioning and limited seating, so dress for the Houston heat and humidity and bring a chair.
The Hay Merchant
The Hay Merchant is getting close its first birthday. Located in inner Houston, they feature a sizable and varied tap list and a menu full of gourmet treats that range from warm pretzels with IPA and cheese dip to the more elegant duck confit. The beer menu is updated daily on their website, so you’re never in the dark. To sweeten the deal, The Hay Merchant has five casks that are constantly swapped in and out. Expect to pay between $6 and $8 for most beers, but for the selection, it’s worth it.
The Petrol Station
Petrol Station definitely wins the award for being unique – they’re located right in the middle of a neighborhood. Speaking of awards, Stone Brewing company has twice named them “The Most Bitter Bar in America”. The title is well deserved, as Petrol Station features a tap list that will please any hophead. The place packs out many nights of the week – they blew through five kegs of Stone IPA in a matter of hours during an IPA day special this year. As far as price, Petrol Station’s new growler reads “The Poor Man’s Hay Merchant”. It’s certainly fitting, as they offer a number of beers at $4 and have a great happy hour special. Local tip: try the Rancor. Don’t ask questions, just thank me later.