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Discussion in 'Southwest' started by bradybeer, Aug 13, 2017.
Hi Folks -looking for 3-4 breweries I need to visit near downtown Houston next month?
You have to visit Saint Arnold's. They are Houston's biggest and oldest craft brewery. Their space is fantastic. And they make some really great beers. Raspberry AF is an excellent fruited berliner weisse. 5 O'Clock Pils is one of the crispest, most refreshing pilsners I've ever had. Their IPAs leave a fair amount to be desired, but Art Car is not terrible. They have a half way decent tour too, if you like those sorts of things.
This may sound crazy but the next one on my list would be the Whole Foods Post Oak in-house brewery. They are producing some of Houston's best IPAs, including a number of "hazy" ones that are pretty solid. Their little bar is pretty cool and they have an excellent craft beer selection for sale, curated by a very knowledgeable (and super cool) dude.
From there, I would say Brash Brewing (solid IPAs and fantastic stouts), 8th Wonder (for true local flavor) and Eureka Heights (newish brewery that is getting better all the time).
Just missed my cut are Buffalo Bayou Brewing (who make a lot of interesting beers that don't always work for me), Sigma Brewing (another young brewery with nice space that is getting better all the time) and Holler Brewing (yet another young brewery with a great location and a fun vibe the one time I was there).
I'll be interested to see other people's opinions!
Yeah, for sure Saint Arnold. I don't know what your transportation situation is, cause it can be kind of difficult getting around Houston without a car. The only other brewery that can be considered in or around downtown would be the new 160ft beerworks, but I would not recommend them unless you want a good laugh.
8th Wonder is in EaDo, and is easy to get to. Sigma is a fair ways east of downtown, but not the worst drive or Uber. Platypus Brewing and Holler Brewing are on/around Washington a little west of downtown, and very close to each other. Again, not the worst drive or Uber. I personally love Holler, and if you were to go to one other brewery outside of Saint Arnold, that would be the one I would recommend.
@kbenson and I seem to be mostly of the same mind, and I would have recommended the same as Brash and Eureka but neither are very close to downtown or easy to get to without good transportation.
Fantastic-thank you. I have been wanting to hit Saint Arnolds-so on the list, 8th Wonder-then I have to ponder the third, and hopefully fourth
Holler is a bit cramped and beers are lackluster. Sigma is worth a stop.
Holler is not lackluster in any way, but thats like my opinion They make some of the best to style lagers in Houston, and the Cask ESB is like having Fuller's at one of their pubs.
"Near" downtown Houston is the operative word. We're very spread out here.
Everyone says Saint Arnold's but I think they're kind of a bust. Havent been in a while, but thats just cuz "beer-wise" they havent put out anything thats drawn me.
My 4 (in order of best beer):
1) Brash (far & wide our best brewery, IMO)
2) Whole Foods (has to be the PostOak & San Felipe location where they brew in-house)
4) Karbach (even though they soldout to InBev, their restaurant still has a good atmosphere and their BBA beer is decent).
**Honorable Mention** would be Sigma Brewing except their hours kinda suck.
Saint Arnold, dude, for sure. They have perfected the model of having a core of beers that appeals to the general population and then adding Bishops Barrel and Icon beers that are experimental and new.
Brash is def worth a stop. That Cortado tho...
8th Wonder is certainly in the convo. Not the be-all-end-all, but definitely worth a stop.
You'll find something to like at Karbach. People get their panties in a bunch after the In-Bev buyout, but good beer is good beer to me.
If you are limiting yourself to the center(ish) of Houston, that's where it stops for me. Buffalo Bayou, Eureka Heights, Town in City, Sigma, Under the Radar, and Platypus are all second tier to me. They all have their bright spots, so it's not like it's a waste of time, just lower expectations.
Haven't been to Holler yet, but they seem to be all to rage recently.
Welcome to H-town dude
That's why I really want to go to Holler. I've heard good things about them.
Without having been to the brewery that's pretty much my thoughts on Saint Arnold. The majority of their beers were alright but they do have the barrel aging program that I just think ruins good beer but other people seem too like.
The brewery itself may be good though, I don't know. My wife wants to go because they've been part of our lives for so long. But they have a big bar to clear on that even for Texas breweries.
On Karbach, my wife and I went there last year, and April, and on my birthday in July. We really liked our experience last year. Great food, and a great selection of delicious beers. This year both times we went the food was still good but they only had 1-2 beers that I was interested in at all. The rest was a wall of double IPAs or barrel aged beers.
The Sympathy for a Lager I thought was a great beer but then when I had it in April it seemed very bland.
Do they still make their normal beers on site or have they done what Goose Island did and offload all that production so the brewery could focus on the extreme beers?
I would do:
Saint Arnold - the oldest and most varied brewery in Houston.
Brash - the polar opposite vibe as St. Arnold, more extreme beers. If you don't like big stouts or hoppy IPAs, then skip. I love Brash, but that is pretty much all they make
Eureka Heights - beer is good, and they have nice bathrooms (random, but I noticed it and have heard it from other people unprompted)
8th Wonder - beer used to be okay, but the brewery was fun to hang at. Beers have since improved a lot and it is still fun to hang there.
HM: Karbach, Sigma
Not sure about Karbachs production, etc. If I go to Karbach its typically for lunch on Friday (maybe once every two months or so).
Kinda lost interest in them once they did their InBev sale. And - thats not me making a stand about selling to Big Beer. I love capitolism.
I just feel like once a brewery sells to Big Beer the experimenting stops and the product becomes very mediocre.
Sigma is not far from 8th Wonder and really those two and Saint Arnolds are all generally in the same part of town. Definitely need a car or be prepared for some Uber trips. Also be warned that those three breweries are in a warehouse district that is not the nicest. If you rent a car, definitely do not leave any valuables visible in the back seat...
I'd just go to Hey Merchant and get the local brews on tap there. Food is great and fun to hang out outside or at the bar. Not far from downtown.
Totally agree with this. For not being a brewery, Hay Merchant is the best game in town.
Order the double burger. Its best burger in Houston, IMO.
Petrol Station - best burger in town. Not even close.
Hay Merchant's is better.
Actually, while we engage in this argument, now is a good time to also say - Petrol Station (also for not being a brewery) is a great place to check out as well. The food there is also very legit.
Petrol is owned by the same guy that owns Brash Brewery and are both in the same neighborhood.
Sorry, not sorry. Burgers and beer have changed in Houston over the last few yrs and we're now spoiled.
BTW - at Hughie's new Heights location now. Great Vietnamese food and 36 taps with 12 of them being local. Taplist can be found on Untappd.
Can't wait to visit the new location, will probably check it out later this week. Oh, and Houston has always been a burger town (among many other things) Best burger, without considering beer is Stanton's City Bites, an awesome hole in the wall since the 60's. Got to love everyone's opinion
That may have been the case a long time ago. ABI seems to have learned that craft beer drinkers want experimentation and not just an alternative.
The acquisitions since Goose Island have offloaded their standard offerings to mass production at other ABI facilities leaving the brewery itself to focus on their experimentation/special beers.
OP, the problem you'll find with Houston is we are a spread out city and close to downtown for us, could mean 20-30 min drive, depending on traffic, from actual downtown. I didn't read all the post but are you planning on driving or Ubering around town?
Gotta agree with @TxUltraRunner on this one. Petrol has one of the best burgers in town. Hay Merchant's burger is a fancy attempt at a Double Double though, so a Californian like the OP might really enjoy that.
Having said that Hay Merchant is the best beer bar in town, in terms of variety and selection. But there are a lot of great places to get beer these days thank goodness. One very Houstonian place that is near Saint Arnold, 8th Wonder and Sigma is Moon Tower Inn. It's an outdoor ice house style place with great "fancy" hot dogs. They even brew their own beer so it may technically fit what the OP is looking for.
My 4, in no particular order
1. Saint Arnold
2. Holler Brewing
4. Whole Foods Post Oak
Also my opinion: 8th Wonder is garbage. I like 10% of their beers, and none of my 4 trips to the brewery has been pleasant. Bush league
This right here. Saint Arnold's brewery as your prep and then Hughie's.
Just went to the new Hughie's yesterday and it is the same as the old one with nicer plates . My favorite place to eat downtown as they have a decent wine selection for the wife and always a good selection of taps. Plus the new one has a full bar in the back if that suites you
This, 8th wonder sucks outside Rocket Fuel. 8th wonder has a great space but it's too bad they skimped on beer making. If you want beer in EaDo then go to Sigma.
Totally agree. I think they sell mostly due to their branding, nostalgia for the dome, etc; certainly not for quality
Just want to throw out that I really enjoyed Town In City when visiting last year. Smaller place, which I tend to like. Saint Arnold is classic and a must. Agree that 8th Wonder is overrated.
So, I'm gonna put both feet in my mouth here:
The dudes from 8th Wonder are driving around in their army truck rescuing people from the flooding. That's fucking awesome. I will be buying some of their beer the first chance I get.
Love them or hate them, but you can't say they don't love the city and the people here. They are about to drop Astro Turf in cans so you can buy the shit out of that
Gotta give props to all the brewers in Houston I've seen over the past few days doing their part, especially with having water avail. If anyone sees any fundraisers being done by Houston breweries, can you post here please? Wife and I are scheduled to go down next weekend, obviously up in the air at this point...but if we do end up going, we'd like to do our part.
Cheers to all fellow Texas Gulf Coast beer nerds and beer snobs who have been affected and/or have family affected by Harvey.
If anyone wants to donate to Red Cross and get a cool glass, check this out...
St Arnold, 8th Wonder, Eureka Heights, No Label are all doing a ton. Freetail also had a big fundraiser.