Welcome to Go Inside: Exploring Texas Culture! Brought to you by First Choice Power, this series will explore the legends and history that make up the meat and bones of the Lone Star State. Specifically, we’ll share our favorite indoor attractions to visit, which includes the great museums and quirky cultural outposts that fill the Texas landscape.
Texas can add its name to states whose ambitious residents have created a number of micro breweries that are in strict competition against any other state in the union.
The oldest independent brewery in Texas, Spoetzl Brewery, brewer of the widely known Shiner Bock, was founded in 1909, in Shiner, Texas. But with its large scale production of today, it can hardly be labeled a microbrewery.
While the oldest operating microbrewery in Texas, Saint Arnold Brewing Company, was founded a mere 23 years ago in 1994, since then our creatives, brew masters, and chemists of all sorts, have built up a diverse landscape of delicious brews and ciders.
What exactly is a microbrewery? It’s a limited-production brewery that more times than not specializes in producing specialty beers, and often only sells their brew locally.
Check out our five favorite microbreweries in the Lone Star State:
- 8th Wonder Brewery
- Big Bend Brewing Company
- Buffalo Bayou Brewery
- Live Oak Brewing Company
- Lone Pint Brewery
Some of these are off the beaten path, and a perfect spot to make a destination for a slow country drive one of these weekends.
8th Wonder Brewery, Houston
Named lovingly after the “8th Wonder of the World,” that is, the Astrodome, which in 1965 was the first air conditioned stadium in the world, 8th Wonder Brewery crafts fresh tasting beers inspired by all things Houston.
Their labels mimic some of Houston’s sports team logos throughout the years, and each beer is named with a wink to Space City. Dome Faux’m, for example, is said to imitate the creamy ale served back in the day at the Astrodome itself, while the Weisstheimer Hefeweizen is named for the street Westheimer that cuts through Houston’s beloved art neighborhood of Montrose.
And if you’re a hop head, then make sure to grab a pint or a sixer of their IPA, Hopston.
Big Bend Brewing Company, Alpine
Making beer in what is dubbed the thirstiest place in Texas, Big Bend Brewing Company makes its home in Alpine, the gateway to Big Bend National Park.
Opened in 2012, the brewery was founded by Steve Anderson, considered by many as one of the pioneers of the craft beer scene in Texas. Prior to starting Big Bend Brewing he had opened Waterloo Brewing in Austin in 1993, and then became head brewer at Austin’s Live Oak Brewing.
Big Bend Brewing Company’s beer is straight forward delicious. Their staples such as the La Frontera IPA and Terlingua Gold Pale Ale’s go down well on a hot Texas day.
And if you happen to be at their taproom in person, then indulge in some of their seasonal brews like their West of the Pecos Raspberry Maibock, The Blue Norther Winter Ale, or the Dark Sky Double Chocolate Porter.
Also be sure to sign up for one of their brewery tours.
Their distribution is limited given their location on the map, so if you are lucky enough to see a six pack of cans in your local beer shop, scoop one up.
Buffalo Bayou Brewery, Houston
Undoubtedly the most creative brewery in the state, Buffalo Bayou Brewery is inspired by science, gastronomy, and we would say for certain, poetry.
Split between their heritage series, which feature flavors that combine classical brewing techniques and rich Houston flavors that point drinkers towards different points of history throughout the city, and their secessionist series, beers that are ambitious and boundary pushing, their unique beer is consistently rich in flavors, unlike many of the wash down beers the state has been known to cozy up to.
A peppermint ginger stout, beer aged with local roasters Amaya’s Coffee, brewing a white ale with almonds and clementines, a wit beer infused with watermelon flavors, a lychee cream ale, a maple chill jam beer, and a beer that holds the notes of a bananas foster desert, their brews extend to the far reaches of what creativity in beer making looks like.
But if tossing back a few thin mint flavored stouts doesn’t strike your fancy, then pour yourself a glass of 1836 Copper Ale, the state’s best, in my opinion, easy and drinkable beer.
For lovers of the hops, More Cowbell will quench your thirst. And when you reach the end of that 16 ounce can, “do not ask for whom the cowbell tolls.”
Tours are offered on Friday’s and Saturday’s.
Live Oak Brewing Company, Austin
Live Oak Brewing opened its doors in 1997 as a European microbrewery, and now offers tours, special tappings, food trucks, and biergarten events.
Their tasty classics such as the Big Bark Amber Ale, HefeWeizen modeled after Bavarian beer that is perfect on a steamy hot day, or their Pilz, a crisp golden pilsner with a strong hop character, never disappoint.
If you’re at the brewery, be sure to ask to taste their seasonal brews, too. From Oaktoberfest to Primus Weizenbock, a dark rich cloudy beer that is currently on tap, you’ll find something to sync with the weather, and transport you between the worlds of the Texas Hill Country, and the Bavarian region of Germany.
Lone Pint Brewery, Magnolia
Located 50 minutes north of Houston in the pastoral farmlands of Magnolia, Lone Pint Brewing is a grassroots brewery that while still young, recently celebrated it’s 5 year anniversary.
It specializes in brewing ales, and one element that makes it unique is it’s use of renewable energy. Their spent grain is fed to a local dairy farmer’s cows.
Their Yellow Rose is a Smash IPA and goes down easily on a warm summer day. Gentlemen’s Relish is a rich brown ale that is reminiscent of a Northern English brown ale. Their Tornado Shark is an American strong ale has a robust, sticky toffee flavor.
Lone Pint serves up a community feel to the landscape of Texas breweries, so hop onto their website and look for upcoming events to join in the family feel.
Did we miss your favorite brewery? Let us know!