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Magical Moments

A giant step for craft beer in Houston: Take an inside look at how the beer world changed

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Courtesy of Brewers Association
Darla Guillen, head shot, column mug, November 2012

Editor's Note: We asked CultureMap staffers and contributors to recall their favorite moments of 2012. Darla Guillen recalls becoming a small part of the microbrewery movement in Houston.

The burgeoning local craft beer industry in Houston is at its apex and beer nerds all around town are rejoicing. This year I helped out at a local microbrewery: I sat in on meetings, helped run events and generally learned about the industry and its local players.

It granted me a unique, personal take on the local brewing scene, one I might not have had as a mere consumer. There is one moment that, even after my breakup with a local brewery founder, I still recall fondly.

When I first walked into the brewery, it was a mess of exposed insulation, the skeleton of walls and the outline of a brewhouse. So to return for the inaugural brewing, with the first batch of beer filling the recently installed fermenter tanks, to smell beer brewing — a combination of oatmeal and cookies — and to see the cautious excitement of the master brewer, it was exhilarating and touching.

 I documented the first-ever batch of Houston's newest microbrewery from the perspective of a proud girlfriend and a proud Houstonian. 

Giant DSL-R in hand, I documented the first-ever batch of Houston's newest microbrewery from the perspective of a proud girlfriend and a proud Houstonian.

With the first batch in the tanks, the brewery handed off their spent grain to local farmers and went on to stir up the city's economy with innovative one-offs and future Houston beer staples. Being at the first brewing was magical in that I felt that I was a part of a major movement in the works and Houston history in the making.

Over time, I've gained an even more impassioned take on the beer-brewing landscape of Houston. Helming the movement is a group of beer nerds who are excited to support local products, who fervently lobby for Texas laws that encourage creativity and economic growth rather than restrict the market, and who are as excited to taste what's in their pint as they are to give their dollar back to Houston.

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