We’ve done our best to compile a list of the best breweries and bars in the Bayou City. But with no shortage of options, the task was far from easy. If beer is on your mind but happy hour has yet to arrive, you can at least start thinking about your next cold one by reading up on some of the best places to grab a beer in Houston.
8th Wonder Brewery
When it was built, the Houston Astrodome was billed as the “eighth wonder of the world.” For the past two years, a new wonder has been a-brewin’ within walking distance of the iconic structure. If you haven’t checked it out yet, now is a good time to sample the craft beer at Houston’s 8th Wonder Brewery taproom. 8th Wonder brews feature uniquely Houston names such as Dome Faux’m (cream ale) and Rocket Fuel (Vietnamese coffee porter).
Located within walking distance of the NRG Astrodome, Toyota Center, and BBVA Compass Stadium, the taproom is a great place to grab a beer before an Astros, Rockets, or Dynamos game. Keep your eyes peeled for events held at the brewery featuring live music and free-flowing beer.
Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company
In its three-year existence, Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company has stamped a stein-sized boot print on the Texas craft beer scene. Regular visitors enjoy the “experimental wits,” flavored spins on the brewery’s Great White Buffalo base. Examples include blueberry lemon, rosemary jalapeno, and blood orange. Other limited edition brews, such as a red velvet stout and apricot-flavored Belgian IPA, have helped put this crafty brewery on the Bayou City’s most popular brewers’ map.
1836, an invigorating copper ale named for the year Texas declared its independence from Mexico, and a hoptastic double IPA called More Cobwell are the most popular year-round beers. But Lenin’s Revenge, a potent chocolate stout, is considered by many beer savants to be the brewery’s best concoction. The Neartown Houston brewery, conveniently located near AMLI City Vista, AMLI Memorial Heights, AMLI River Oaks, and AMLI 2121, offers Saturday tours from noon to 3 PM.
The Ginger Man
The oldest of the eponymously named line of premium beer pubs, The Ginger Man offers a vast beer selection, a cozy indoor atmosphere, and an idyllic patio setting. Close to Hermann Park and Rice University, it’s worth a gander if you live in a nearby apartment, especially if you enjoy European imports.
The Hay Merchant
It’s hard to find fault with The Hay Merchant. It has a prime location, delicious food, a friendly atmosphere, an excellent American craft beer selection, and fair prices. What really sets this relatively recent introduction to the Houston bar scene apart, however, is the knowledge of its staff. If you appreciate bartenders and servers who know their craft, visit the Hay Merchant.
One of several pro-bike businesses in the Houston area, the Hay Merchant runs a “one less car, one more Karbach” campaign. Arrive at the bar on your bike, and get rewarded with a Karbach brew.
Karbach Brewing Company
While we’re on the subject of Karbach, we might as well cover this beast of a Houston craft brew success story. After 10 years at Maryland’s Flying Dog Brewery, talented brewmaster Eric Warner was ready to move onto bigger and better things. And so, in August 2011, Karbach Brewing Company was born.
Fast forward a few years, and Karbach is one of the fastest-growing breweries in the United States. Pundits think it could be the next Shiner. Loyalists scoff at the comparison. Karbach Brewing’s success, bolstered by its topselling Sympaty for the Lager, Weisse Versa Wheat, and Rodeo Clown Double IPA, has been so great the brewery is already expanding. It’s larger, more modern facility will triple their capacity, enabling it to better meet the ever-growing demand for its, dare we say perfect, hops-and-malt concoctions.
Karbach brewery tours take place on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. They cost or 2, depending on what size souvenir glass you want and how much beer you’d like to have with your tour.
Rudyard’s British Pub
A traditional British Pub in the middle of the Bayou City, Rudyard’s has experienced decades of unfaltering success. In addition to its transparent British influence, it’s claims to fame are the live, local talent it attracts and Chef Joe Apa’s monthly beer dinners. Offering a satisfying mix of craft beer and old-school European draft, Rudyard’s is just a hop, skip, and jump away from AMLI River Oaks.
Saint Arnold Brewing Company
It’s hard to imagine a Houston beer scene without Saint Arnold’s as a mainstay. Similarly, it’s difficult to imagine a list of the Bayou City’s best breweries without Texas’ first craft brewery on it. As popular as it’s ever been, Saint Arnold Brewing Company is known for its American craft twists on classic German favorites. These include the Boiler Room Berliner Weisse, Santo black kölsch, seasonal Spring Bock, and Summer Pils. Brewery tours are held every day of the week except Sundays and cost per person. Souvenir glasses and four eight-ounce pours are included.
First-rate, flavor-packed craft brew is the rule rather than the exception in Houston. Purchase or fill an empty growler at Premium Draught or at Growler’s Beer & Wine. Residents of AMLI Uptown can also check out the new Whole Foods Market on Post Oak, which features its own brewery and food-and-beverage pairings.
Where do you like to head when beer o’clock rolls around?
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