New breweries as unique as the locals—H-town is the country’s most ethnically diverse city—are springing up overnight, boasting beers that, like the food, highlight varied influences, from European and American style to Cajun, Mexican and East Asian flavors. Super Bowl LI visitors, prepare for superior gameday guzzling.
Saint Arnold Brewing
In its 23rd year, Texas’ oldest craft brewery is a stalwart member of the community, known for reliable, straightforward brews enjoyed in a true beer hall. Friday pub nights see rollouts of special runs; this winter, try Raspberry AF, SA’s Boiler Room Berliner weisse with an infusion of raspberries. 2000 Lyons Ave., saintarnold.com
Karbach’s got something for all tastes, from sessionable (Love Street kölsch) to aggressive (Hopadillo IPA) to imperial (seasonal Three Legged Lab imperial stout). Enjoy pints in the sprawling biergarten or grab a bite in the full restaurant—think Weisse Versa-battered Fish and Chips and Karbachtoberfest Beer Can Cornish hen. 2032 Karbach St., karbachbrewing.com
Eureka Heights Brew Co.
The October grand opening featuring a firkin jorts party perfectly reflects this brew crew’s playful spirit, which shines through in drinkable beers like Buckle Bunny, “a gettin’ lucky cream ale,” and Mexican milk stout Moo Caliente, spiked with cinnamon and cayenne. 941 W. 18th St., eurekaheights.com
Town In City Brewing
Tucked in Houston Heights (“the small town in the big city”), TIC is your cool neighbor’s home bar but with serious sips: Mosquito’s Revenge Pale Ale is an easy drinker, and the Englishstyle City Porter provides a creamy pick-me-up when it’s on nitro and blended with local favorite Black Hole Cold Brew coffee. 1125 W. Cavalcade St., townincitybrewing.com
Brewmaster Ben Fullelove—owner of pub Petrol Station—lets his hop flag fly, brewing for fellow heavily bearded lovers of wickedly stacked pales, IPAs and intense imperials. His beers are available around town as well as at Brash’s 13,000-sq. ft. warehouse, a grunge paradise outfitted with classic arcade games and a punk metal jukebox. 508 W. Crosstimbers Rd., brashbeers.com
City Acre Brewing
Garden beds and fruit trees lend fresh, creative spins to City Acre’s German-style beers, food and shrubs. Check out its limited-edition variants of saison brewed with Lenoir black Spanish wine grapes, grapefruit, lemongrass and kumquat. 3418 Topping St., cityacrebrewing.com
Moon Tower Inn
Kicking it in Second Ward long before it was cool, this edgy dive houses Moon Tower Sudworks, whose beers are available exclusively in its own yard. Sample the 66 varied beers as well as five in-house brews with nine different wild (and we mean wild) game sausages like pheasant and cognac and elk with bacon and cheddar. 3004 Canal St., damngoodfoodcoldassbeer.com
Hand-carved wooden tap handles, a vibrantly hued grove of hammocks, pizza on demand and Wednesday night jazz by Kermit Ruffins hint at why it’s easy to while away an evening at this expansive beer garden. Seek out B-52’s Orbit Hop Saison or Real Ale’s Belgian tripel, Devil’s Backbone. 1517 Alabama St., axelradbeergarden.com
The Hay Merchant
Situated in the heart of Montrose with $3 pints at happy hour, 80 taps, five cask engines and a James Beard Award winner in the kitchen, this industry hot spot has it all. Snacks, obviously, are mandatory; get down on Angus Beef Jerky or Cornmeal Crusted Dilly Beans, or go big with the squadrequired Half a Pig Head, complete with taco fixins. 1100 Westheimer Road, haymerchant.com
West Alabama Ice House
When your wallet’s slim, find a sunny picnic table at Houston’s oldest ice house—where grandma restocked her ice box— to nurse tallboys of easy Lone Star and grub on some of the best street tacos in town from Tacos Tierra Caliente, a food truck almost always parked across the street. 1919 W. Alabama St., facebook.com/WALABAMA
If, instead of falling down the rabbit hole, Alice followed a grand staircase beneath downtown Houston, she’d miss the Mad Hatter but surely would find solace in an underground wonderland of 60 taps, a ramen bar, Texas BBQ joint, crepe stand, coffee house and Greek cafe. No doubt, you will, too. 1010 Prairie St., conservatoryhtx.com
Nobi Public House
Touring nearby NASA is optional, but a drive south to Nobi is a must for this fusion of beer-geek haven and Vietnamese diner. Pair chargrilled pork nachos, spring rolls or a banh mi-style sandwich with whatever beer strikes your fancy —you’re bound to find something special. 241 E. NASA Parkway, nobipub.com
HUNT THESE TAPS: At Whole Foods Market’s first and only in-store brewery, its popular Post Oak Pale Ale leads with orange marmalade, finishes dry, and can be taken home in a growler. Platypus Brewing’s Aussie-Texan mashups include Bobby Dazzler, an Australian ale brewed with local honey and Australian Topaz hops. Innovative Back Pew Brewing is proud to introduce Black Habit, a German schwarzbier, and Act of Balor, an imperial milk stout named after a three-eyed Irish demon. Dream Shake, 8th Wonder Brewery’s winter imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels, is indeed the stuff of dreams.
CHECK OUT: D&Q Mini Mart, AKA The Beer Station
Behind the doors of a convenience mart facade, owner Brandon Nguyen has stocked a veritable treasure trove of all things malted, hopped and fermented. Looking for a sour IPA? He’s got two. Glassware? Yep. From rare beer to the just plain good, you’ll find it here. Pick up a four-pack of infamous Lone Pint Yellow Rose and let Nguyen help you build a Satan’s Sixpack for next-level tailgating. 806 Richmond Ave., twitter.com/TheBeerStation