Prost fellow beer friends! Dr. Neil Dorfman here! I have the honor of writing to you about the beer, wine and distilling happenings going on in The Woodlands / Greater Houston area!
Before I begin to discuss the nectar of the Gods, please allow me to introduce myself (no not the humpty dance).
Two years ago, I created a company called the Texas Beer Bus! #SelfiePlug
We have literally taken thousands of people to all of the local breweries, distilleries and wineries and so many other amazing establishments around the entire Houston area! Over the span of 2 years we have become the #1 Tour and #1 Food and drink attraction in Houston (ask tripadvisor.com).
My writings stem from personal experience, but keep in mind I have visited all these establishments and I have learned a great deal from these visits to some of the coolest places this city has to offer! To make a long story short, I know a little bit about beer, wine and distilling in our area! Let me put it to you this way, I was drinking Yellow Rose from Lone Pint Brewery in Magnolia almost a year before it was named America’s top IPA!
The goal of my articles will be to enlighten you to all there is to know about the happenings of the underground brewery, local beer, wine and distillery scene in The Woodlands / Greater Houston area.
I have been blessed to have met so many wonderful people over the span of two years and have watched this industry grow from the start! I hope you enjoy my writings and I look forward to seeing you out and about!
Let’s start this discussion with one of my favorite establishments and that is No Label Brewery in Katy! No Label is a beautiful outdoor/indoor facility with some of the best beer around! However, one of the things that makes No Label so wonderful is the people that work there. When you arrive at No Label prepare to be greeted by friendly volunteers, the term “Friends Sunshine Beer” barely gives justice to this establishment! Children playing, dogs running, music streaming, friendly vendors, food trucks and happy people is what you will find. Just recently, No Label had their annual Crawfish Festival. The turnout was small; only 3000 + people showed up to enjoy the great food and family friendly atmosphere! They are now gearing up for Don Jalapeño Ale that will hit stores the week of April 25th. Following Don Jalapeño Ale, they will release their Peanut Butter Chocolate Time Imperial Stout, end of April or early May (OMG I want 25 of those). That one is one of their beers in the Off Label Series. May brings their wonderful seasonal, Forbidden Lavender and their 5 Year Anniversary Barley wine. Also, their hours have changed, and they are now open 7 days a week! I implore you to get there early on Saturday!
I remember it like it was yesterday when I stood in a room with what was the old “Karbach” and listened to the gentleman speak of how the new brewery would be a multi million dollar facility in 2 years! For those of you who have not heard of Karbach (wake up and smell the hops), that vision has indeed come true!
One reason we named the brewery Karbach Brewing Co. is because we’re located on Karbach Street. Even more important to us, though, is the fact that the Karbach Street warehouse was the site Ken and Chuck started their beer distribution company decades ago. Lots of great beer has moved through the warehouse over the years, and now it is time to add our own to that list. Karbach is also a village in Bavaria. We hear they drink a lot of great beer there.
“Buff” as we like to call the Buffalo Bayou brewery, is located near 610 and I-10. They are now open on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons! My friends if you have never had a “Gingerbread Stout”, please stop reading now and go to your local HEB or Whole Foods and get a bomber! This is one of the beers that are near and dear to my heart! While preparing to defend my dissertation, I became anxious and nervous. I panicked, reached in my fridge and I found a Gingerbread stout. To this day, that flavor and taste reminds me of the soothing feeling it gave me as I was able to relax and successfully defend my dissertation. One of the all-time great beers and superb ways to spend a Saturday! Christmas in July is coming soon so keep an eye out for this event! Let’s just say it’s a beer party and I mean some of the best beers I have ever had! Peppermint Gingerbread Stout was out that day and I pulled up a chair and made myself comfy! Speaking of new beers, Buffalo Bayou Brewery is coming out with a new Rotundone; this is a beer made for those special days. One sip transports you back to Wallonia and the rustic countryside where the French Saison’s effervescent quench has saved Belgians from the heat for centuries. Spicy notes up front from the pink and green peppercorn, a clean citrus mouthfeel from the golden naked oats and a crisp, hoppy finish. It’ll change again as it cools and warms, and then again as it ages unpredictably, just like spring weather in Houston. Spring 2016 Rotundone is now available on your local shelves.
For some of you that may not be “in the know,” there is a new brewery (Kind of) that just opened up in The Woodlands area! The name is Southern Star! I know it’s not a new brewery per say, but it is a brand spanking new facility! It is gorgeous and the beer is amazing! From Sunday Funday painting parties to crawfish events, Southern Star is really a gem! Blonde Bombshell, Buried Hatchet, Black Crack (good luck on getting it) are some of the staples of this fine landmark! The beer is outstanding and with the new hours and new facility this is a must visit! The Conspiracy Theory IPA is solid along with the new Spring Pils; there are some exciting things going on at Southern Star. But really who is kidding who here? My first visit to Southern Star I had a Buried Hatchet for the first time; let’s just say I had a great day! Super place, super people and a must do! Maybe some of the friendliest employees and genuine people you will ever meet!
Lone Pint Brewery out of Magnolia has also made some noise! Basically their IPA beer which I have been drinking for 1,000 years now has won best IPA in Houston and the planet and solar system and rightfully so. This small brewery out in Magnolia makes some of the best beer in the world! Yes: in the world! On April 30th there will be a crawfish festival there as well (I may know 57 people going there). The owners are some of the nicest people you will find and will be there to drink with you on Saturdays! And yes, there are other beers as well! The Jabberwacky and Nitro relish are both winners! 667 neighbor of the beast is a super pale Ale! Beer peeps, and anyone with a pulse needs to try the Yellow Rose. As Heather reads this she is probably mad at me for plugging this beer so heavily but Heather I am sorry! This beer has won award after award and it is one of my go to beers. They sell them in bombers (good luck) and also 99.999.99 of beer establishments have this on tap! I implore you to get one today- like now! Also be weary of the flying head butt!
On the distillery side of things, Whitmeyers out in Cypress is planning their new facility! One of my favorite whiskeys- the peach whiskey is amazing! A little ice and you’re off and running! Travis is a super guy and really puts his personal touch on things. The single barrel cask strength is fantastic! Whether you’re enjoying it straight or mixed, all of the whiskeys are delicious! Tours are Saturdays and are really a great and educational way to spend a Saturday!
Off to Copperhead Brewery in Conroe! Some really great beer and super people! The Copperhead Brewery is a craft-brewery located only a few blocks from Downtown Conroe and less than 2 miles away from Interstate 45. They also have a large free parking area for their customers, making parking easy and safe. The Medusa is a winner and is a strong Belgium Dark; also the Copperhead White and Red are fantastic! We have taken over 500 people to this brewery since its inception and all yes, all 500 rave about the treatment and the beer! I highly recommend this to anyone looking to have fun on a Saturday. In addition, they are open Fridays from 4-7 PM.
That’s it for now. Be back soon with more news from the underground craft beer scene in Houston. Happy drinking!