What to Drink Now

What are HOU drinking? Houston beer experts suggest trying these Texas brews

What are HOU drinking? Local beer experts suggest trying these brews

8th Wonder Brewery Weisstheimer
CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler selected 8th Wonder Brewery's Weisstheimer hefeweizen. 8th Wonder Brewery/Facebook
Hops and Grain Brewing River Beer can
Casey Motes of Eureka Heights recommends Hops and Grain's River Beer. Courtesy of the Houston Beer Guide
Josh Stewart Brazos Valley Brewing Millions of Peaches
Two panelists selected Millions of Peaches from Brazos Valley Brewing. Courtesy of the Houston Beer Guide
8th Wonder Brewery Weisstheimer
Hops and Grain Brewing River Beer can
Josh Stewart Brazos Valley Brewing Millions of Peaches

When the Allen brothers named this city after Sam Houston, the foremost Texas hero, they fated that it would be a town with a “personality” as big as his. Thus, it should come as no surprise that big Texas spirit and big Texas taste are present in Houston’s beer scene.

To celebrate beverages that would make the former president of the Republic of Texas proud, we are thrilled to ask each month, “what are HOU drinking?”

Neve and Denise, B-52 Brewing Co., Wild Pale Ale, 5.5% ABV
Josh Frink, Houston Beer Guide, editor-in-chief

I'm extremely comfortable saying this is the best wild pale ale I've ever had. It uses the same strain of wild yeast as classic Orval Belgian beer and it nails the flavor. The barnyard and leather flavors from the yeast blend surprisingly well with the citrus and tropical fruit aromas added by the Mosaic and Galaxy hop varieties. This beer is only available at B-52 Brewing Co.'s taproom for now, but it's well worth the drive.

River Beer, Hops and Grain Brewing, Lager, 5.2% ABV
​Casey Motes, Eureka Heights Brew Co., assistant to the regional manager 

A beer like this embodies the full life cycle of a craft beer drinker. After going from pale ales to aggressive IPAs to boozy stouts, I usually find myself reaching for something more sessionable with lower alcohol content. That a world class brewery makes an old school American lager might seem odd, but I think it's a great example of a beer that brewers want to drink. The aroma starts with soft floral, then quickly changes to Saturday morning corn flakes. The flavor is slightly grainy, simple, and clean while the finish is crisp and dry, making you want another sip. Plus, we swear the production floor gets scrubbed way better after one of these.

Lame Duck, 11 Below Brewing Co., American Pale Ale, 5.5% ABV
Chris White, Houston Beer Guide, writer

I’ve got a beer box pal in the Cincinnati-area and he really likes APA, so I've been sending him what Houston has to offer. That process has led me back to some local beers I’ve sampled a few times, but haven’t exactly filled my fridge with for whatever reason. One that has earned its way back into my regular rotation is 11 Below’s excellent Lame Duck Pale Ale, which stands out as a really focused and crushable brew, perfect for these hot Houston summer days. It opens a little grassy, hits hard with some nice floral flavor, and finishes clean with just a tinge of bitterness. At just over 5% ABV it’s not so strong that you can’t take a few down on a weeknight. I’m happy to share this standout Houston beer as a must-try, and keep some for myself as well.

Weisstheimer, 8th Wonder Brewery, Traditional German Hefeweizen, 5.4% ABV
Eric Sandler, CultureMap, food editor

With the Houston heat still in full effect, I want a beer that's light, refreshing, and makes me feel a little cooler. Recently, I've found myself reaching for 8th Wonder's Weisstheimer, and not just because the brewery sponsors my podcast. As Houston Beer Guide's Chris White noted in his review, the new beer isn't "8th Wonder's version" of a hefeweizen; rather, it keeps things pretty classic with nicely balanced banana and clove flavors. A slight tang makes it food-friendly.

Millions of Peaches, Brazos Valley Brewing Co., Peach Witbier, 5.2% ABV
Jeremy Jordan, Half Yankee Workshop, owner

When it’s hot as hell outside I start to stray from my mainstays of Pale Ales and IPA’s. This month I fell in love with Millions of Peaches. A light and refreshing Witbier, it clearly tastes of peaches with a light sweetness, but it's a lot more subtle than you'd expect when you first get a peach-heavy whiff of it. There's a slight touch of sour, yet without the tart mouthfeel. "Moving to the country, gonna eat me a lot of peaches!"

U-P-G-R-A-Y-E-D-D, B-52 Brewing Co., Double Dry Hopped American IPA, 7% ABV
​Kenneth Krampota, Houston Beer Guide, writer 

I got a crowler of B-52 Brewing Co.'s standard, and a pour of the raspberry shake version, and both were outstanding. The raspberry version came off so differently than the standard because the acidity of the raspberry kills off the citrus flavors of the standard. Both are excellent, but very different animals. What they have in common is that soft pillow mouthfeel that you want in the NEIPA style. Both are worth seeking out.

Millions of Peaches, Brazos Valley Brewing Co., Peach Witbier, 5.2% ABV
​Josh Stewart, Interbrews Podcast and Liquid Lunch, host

People may not think about Brazos Valley Brewing in Brenham when they think Houston-area brewing, but they should. Josh Bass and the crew at Brazos Valley Brewing are making some killer beers. Millions of Peaches tastes like a biscuit with peach marmalade. It's an American wheat beer with a metric s*#t-ton of peachy goodness, and it screams for front porch enjoyment. This peachy wheat goodness has been in my heart, mouth, and belly, and also on my mind when it's not in my hand.

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Thanks to the Houston Beer Guide for allowing CultureMap to republish this article. For more great local beer content, check out houstonbeerguide.com.