June 17th, 2011
The First Sip: Local Brewery Updates
Greetings beer geeks! I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful spring weather we’re having. Get out there and enjoy it now… the first day of summer is June 21st (that’s right folks… it’s not even summer yet…). Of course, the plus side to warm weather is that it’s quite conducive to drinking. But let’s not dwell on the impending dog days. Spring is still upon us and in the seasonal spirit of rebirth and growth, the Houston beer scene has been blooming.
Here are a few updates on new local breweries.
-NO LABEL BREWING CO., KATY, TX-
The folks at No Label are chugging away (pun intended) quite nicely. You can find their beer in a few more bars now including: The Public House, Alamo Drafthouse (both locations), Rockwell Tavern, Derek’s Major League (Beaumont), Petrol Station, Liberty Station, Wild Wing Café and, coming soon to Baker Street locations. They still host FREE tours on Saturdays from 1PM-3PM. Just a note, bring chairs and a tent… it’s all outdoors so you’ll want the shade.
Beers: El Hefe Hefeweizen, Pale Horse Pale Ale, Ridgeback Amber Ale
-KREUZ CREEK BREWING CO., SUGARLAND, TX-
It looks like they are getting ever so closer to being a fully functional production brewery. All indications are that they have their paperwork filed with the government and they have brewing equipment scheduled for delivery sometime in July. Though an official grand opening hasn’t been announced, I’d be expecting something to be official in the next month or two.
Beers: Their website boasts a pretty robust beer list… I’d assume that will be narrowed down to a few core brands by the time of the grand opening.
-KARBACH BREWING CO., HOUSTON, TX-
I’m pretty excited about Karbach. This operation is headed by the former brewer and CEO of Flying Dog who has moved here to stake his claim in the Houston beer scene. They seem to have their equipment and have been running test batches over the last few months, so we should look forward to seeing them on the shelves in the not too distant future. I’m very excited about their lager as I am a huge craft lager fan (you almost have to love a good lager in this Texas heat).
Beers: Hopadillo IPA, Weisse Versa Wheat, Sympathy For The Lager
-HEADY BREWING CO., HOUSTON, TX (East side of Downtown)-
Permits, permits, permits. That’s pretty much all there seems to be to report on Heady. I haven’t heard too much about them across the various beer blogs and publications I frequent.
Beers: “Artisanal Texas Ales” (read: “We don’t really know, yet…”)
-DOWN EASY BREWING CO., HOUSTON, TX-
I’m not entirely certain how I feel about this brewery. A while ago there was some fluff on their website touting how they don’t take craft beer so seriously and seeming to make fun of the craft beer crowd. The website has since changed, so I’m hoping that view has changed… unless they like to alienate their target market, in which case, carry on.
Fellow beer blogger Leslie from Lushtastic, who actually takes the time to do research and interview these startups, wrote a little article about DEB which does the update far more justice than I would: (http://lushtastic.com/2011/06/12/follow-up-down-easy-brewing-company/)
They seem to have some big ambitions, but are currently only in the fundraising stage. I certainly wish them the best and look forward to whatever it is they plan on offering. Given their current status, I wouldn’t plan on seeing much from them this year, but keep them on the radar for the near future.
Beers: “Easy drinking beers”. Most likely a pale ale will be in the lineup.
-BUFFALO BAYOU BREWING CO., HOUSTON, TX-
Once again, Lushtastic has written a great article after a meeting with the founder (maybe I should look in to this “research and interview” thing). Article can be found here: (http://lushtastic.com/2011/06/05/sneak-preview-buffalo-bayou-brewing-company/) Spoiler alert, Buffalo Bayou really doesn’t say much. Other than they hope to make beer (styles not released) and have them released by the end of the year (I have my doubts).
Beers: It’s a secret. I assume that means, they don’t know yet…
-CORNEL BREWING CO., BEAUMONT, TX-
Previously known as Gulf Coast Brewing Co., this small operation out of Beaumont has been moving right along and receiving all the necessary government paperwork, although some is still in process. Unfortunately for us Houstonians, Cornel will probably be very small scale and only available in Beaumont for the foreseeable future. But, if you happen to be in Beaumont (on purpose?) in the next few months, look around and see if you can find some of the local microbrew. Ronnie Croker of the Houston Chronicle does a nice writeup here: (http://blog.chron.com/beertx/2011/06/cornels-brewing-co-set-to-open-in-beaumont/)
Beers: Una Mas Cerveza (Mexican style lager). Future beers are planned.
Hope that quenches your thirst for some updates on these local breweries. I didn’t include the big boys of the Houston scene (Saint Arnold and Southern Star) as there isn’t really any big news out of either that is too exciting. Ok fine…
Saint Arnold just released Weed Wacker on a permanent basis. It’s the same beer as the Fancy Lawnmower, just with Hefeweizen yeast. It’s bready and banana-y. Fans of wheat beer rejoice.
Southern Star recently released an experimental seasonal, Waloon. From what I understand it’s a cross between a wit (Belgian wheat beer) and a tripel (Belgian strong ale). Sounds fun, but it’s currently only available on draft. Aside from that, the winner of their ProAm competition is an Imperial Cascadian Dark Ale (imperial black IPA). Plan on seeing this on draft soon (to replace their current ProAm draft, the smoked porter).
So, that should do it, for now. If you happen to have any updates on any of these breweries, please feel free to comment below or contact me directly. I am keeping a running database of these breweries and their progress, so any information is good information.
Stay crafty, my friends!