By any measure, Houston's craft beer has been exploding. Established breweries like Saint Arnold and Buffalo Bayou are expanding their facilities or building new ones, and new breweries are opening all the time.
In addition to breweries that aspire to grow to citywide (or regional) distribution, the past couple of years have also seen an increasing number of businesses that want to cater to a small group of devoted fans or a specific neighborhood. Instead of appearing on 100 tap walls, their beers might only be found on a dozen.
From the dozens of local possibilities, our CultureMap Tastemaker Awards judges panel of former winners and restaurant industry insiders selected these seven breweries as the current brightest stars in the scene. Find out the winner April 4 at the Tastemaker Awards party. We'll celebrate all the nominees, eat bites served by 20 local restaurants, and drink cocktails made with bourbon provided by event sponsor Woodford Reserve. Tickets are on sale now.
8th Wonder Brewery
It’s hard to believe how far this brewery has come in only five years. Not only are signature beers like Dome Faux’m and Rocket Fuel found on tap walls and store shelves across the city, but the EaDo brewery draws crowds both for special events and before sporting events. Up next: launching a companion distillery that will provide opportunities for further growth.
Brash Brewing Company
Frankly, Houstonians should feel like that the city is home to a brewery built on a love for heavy metal, '80s arcade games, and mouth-puckeringly hoppy IPAs. Brash’s beers may not be for everybody, but the brewery’s packed events testify to the general excellence of their products and the passionate fan base that supports them. Don’t like it? Like their recently-released stickers say, “Fuck you. We’re from Texas.”
Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company
The guys at Buffalo Bayou march firmly to the beat of their own drummer. Figs in beer, why not? Beers inspired by gingerbread and pumpkin spice lattes — all just part of the fun. Idiosyncratic as those flavors may seem, they’ve been successful enough to allow BuffBrew to build a massive, $14 million, 28,000-square foot, three-story complex in Sawyer Yards that will include a 200-seat restaurant. Let the Great White Buffalo flow forever!
Eureka Heights Brewing Company
This Heights-adjacent brewery’s lineup of sessionable brews has emerged as the city’s next big thing. Part of the credit goes to clever branding — consider the not-so-subtle Douglas Adams reference in the label for Mostly Harmless — but the flavors of beers like Mini Boss, their smash hit double IPA, really speak for themselves. With a new canning line almost ready to roll, expect Eureka Heights to find an even wider audience.
Holler Brewing Company
Holler represents the new breed of smaller, neighborhood-focused breweries that are popping up across Houston. Instead of finding its brews across Houston, fans have to travel to the intimate brewery in Sawyer Yards for their fix. In addition to brewing award-winning beers, the company also publishes a consistently insightful blog on the challenges of operating a brewery.
Lone Pint Brewery
The Magnolia-based brewery’s reputation primarily rests on Yellow Rose, its single malt, single hop IPA that uses Mosaic hops for a bright, citrusy flavor. When found on a tap wall, fresh — as in, released that week — Yellow Rose remains an almost perfect beer. The rest of the brewery’s lineup offers some hidden gems, too, as anyone who’s enjoyed a Gentleman’s Relish can attest.
The words “Australian beer” may trigger bad flashbacks of Foster’s ads, but Platypus’ blend of Australian attitude and Texas style has been winning fans across Houston. Beers like the Ranga red ale and Ruck N Maul double IPA deliver lots of complex flavors. In addition to having a patio that’s a nice place to knock down a pint or two, the tap room also offers one of the only places in Houston to get Australian-style sausage rolls and meat pies.