Houston rents will jump nearly 11 percent from 2022, the report finds

Houston rents will jump nearly 11 percent from 2022, the report finds
Houston rents will jump nearly 11 percent from 2022, the report finds

As we begin to round out the first quarter of 2023, Houston’s craft beer scene shows no signs of slowing down. New breweries continue to pop up around the Houston area while established names completely rebrand their concepts.

Whatever the case, Houston proudly boasts a maturing mix of craft breweries with exceptional offerings and excellent draft digs. Here are some new (and new) places to visit, along with some old favorites that have made enough changes to deserve a fresh look.

Three new breweries

Turkey Forrest Brewing
Located inside Big Owl Craft Beer House, Turkey Forrest is the beer love child of Louie Espinoza and Oscar Gonzalez. While it’s technically considered a “nanobrewery,” there’s nothing small about the team’s amazing beer program. The small production facility does not distribute, but they do offer crowlers to-go of their current offerings.

A rotating tap list influenced by the team’s Mexican-American roots sets Turkey Forrest apart from other breweries. Beers like Chasing Marranitos (as in marranitos pan dulce!!) Russian Imperial Stout and Aguas Frescas-Tamarindo Sour are call-backs to the neighborhood that surrounds them. The team also holds its own when brewing traditional styles such as Costal DIPA and The Chase American Stout. Don’t miss this “never miss” brewery.

Bad Astronaut Brewing Co.
The massive brewery, which opened a few months ago in an abandoned 36,000-square-foot screw factory, has been quick to ramp up production and distribution. Founders Chris Fall and Craig “Rocky” Keener, who both hail from Karbach Brewing, aim to produce mostly low-ABV stout beers in their initial offerings.

Beers like Cloud Punch German Pilsner and Cruis’n Through Helles Lager are fresh yet delightful retellings of classic German styles. Expect to see their beers appearing on the tap handles of local bars and on cans at local supermarkets.

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Black Page Brewing Co.
Named after a historically complicated Frank Zappa song, Black Pages brewpub is located on White Oak Bayou in the Near Northside neighborhood across from White Oak Music Hall. which specializes in naturally carbonated German lagers and adventurous American-style beers. The brewery itself is quite stunning – the interior consists of a beautiful minimalist design surrounded by an elevated patio amongst the trees.

Brash Brewing Company/Facebook

Their beers are the product of German master brewer Henryk Orlik, a recent transplant from Louisiana favorite Abita Brewing with a resume that includes brewing everywhere from Canada to Cleveland. Known as the “beer father” of well-known Abita brands like Purple Haze and Andygator, he is a valued asset to the Houston craft scene.

Among their current losing streak, their Houston Hades Lager really stands out. Refreshing and naturally carbonated, the bready, slightly bitter lager is a can’t-miss among Houston’s current offerings.

Two favorite breweries reimagined

Brash Brewing
Brash is back baby! Following a recent acquisition by Equal Parts owners Matt Peterson and Nick Sorenson, Houston’s no excuses, the heavy metal brewery has staged a resurgence for the ages. Starring this effort is the return of former head brewer Vince Mandeville who parted ways with Brash’s original ownership a few years ago. With the addition of Mandeville, the beers are as strong as ever.

In particular, The Mystik West Coast IPA (formally labeled Pussywagon) is a lively piny double West Coast IPA with nuanced sweet undertones. With 7.6 percent ABV, this beer is the pinnacle of the mainstay. For now, the brewery only sells cans to go, but there are plans to reopen the huge taproom.

Brewing of whole foods
Located in the Amazon-owned Galleria grocery store, Houston’s Whole Foods Brewery is one of two facilities in the store’s North American portfolio. The Houston location in recent years has served as a proving ground of sorts for launching successful brewing careers — see Dave Ohmer of Seek Beer Company and James Carlyle of Ingenious Brewing.

At the beginning of 2020, Chris Shelton took the reins and hasn’t looked back. Chris, whose global experience includes brewing stints at world-renowned Toppling Goliath along with stops in Copenhagen and Korea, brings a fresh perspective to the revamped program.

With a heavy focus on Hazy New England IPAs and experimental collaborations, the breadth of the new program has produced a distinct style. Ya Sabe’s Dark Lager (a collaboration with Feathered Serpent Meads) is a beer/mead hybrid made with organic local wildflower honey. It is roasted, bold and “forward” drinking with just the right sweetness. Star Sailor SMaSH and Wholeistic Hazy IPA are also worth checking out.

6 quick hits

Looking for some beers to pick up for your next imbibing session? Here’s a list of other outstanding new brews from around the city:

Eureka Heights
Some Light, Light Beer, 4 percent ABV, 10 IBU: Arguably the best light beer on the market – crisp, refreshing and extremely easy to drink. Beers like this are made for patios.

Spindle Loss
Local warehouseLight American Lager, 4 percent ABV, 10 IBU: Another great, light drinking beer with a dash of hop flavor from three varieties – Chinook, Strata and Simcoe – this beer has the best of both worlds.

Walking stick
Pikes Peak Pilsner5.2 percent ABV, 30 IBU: This classic lager with a touch of maltiness is a fantastic interpretation of the historic style.

Great Heights
Donny who loved bowlingAmerican IPA, 6.9 percent ABV: Clear, golden, moist and dry, it’s everything an IPA should be – even Jeffery Lebowski wouldn’t pass it up.

Brewing of equal parts
MKII, Hellas, 5.1 percent ABV: Clean, crisp and spicy with a hint of sweetness, this beer is a little on the thick side for a traditional Hellas, but the proof is in the end product. You won’t regret buying a case.

Real anomaly
Super heavy, Barleywine, 15.7 percent ABV, 68 IBU: This collaborative brewing project with The Brew Bros and The Pint Exchange is HEAVY! Dangerously rich, complex and delicious, drink with extreme caution as the huge ABV can prove… troublesome.

Ralph Palmer is a local beer blogger, co-host of the Beer, Blood and the Bayou podcast, and a partner in the grill pop-up Deckle and Hide. Follow him on Instagram at eyefearnobeer.

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