For years, Houston’s own Saint Arnold Brewing Company—Texas’ oldest craft brewery—has garnered high praise from beer geeks everywhere. Sure, Houston may be home to bland beer giants, like those with names that rhyme with Mudmeiser; but why drink their corporate yellow water when you can experience a fine local craft brew, tour its birthplace, and meet the masters who created it? And yes, Texas has lots of other excellent craft breweries—and Houston has a bunch too—but Saint Arnold’s consistently outranks them, and Houston is proud of that fact.
Saint Arnold was the first microbrewery in Houston when founder Brock Wagner put his homebrewing skills to their first major commercial test in 1994. And since then, the company’s beers have won numerous awards, including top picks at the World Beer Cup, World Beer Championships, Great American Beer Festival, and others.
As of now, the company offers nine recipes year-round, seven seasonals, seven special recipes, and continuous work on others. Some of Houstonians’ favorite St. Arnold regular brews range from their light-bodied Boiler Room Berliner Weisse, to their Ale Wagger Brown, to the Santo “black Kolsch.” For seasonals, the Spring Bock makes a perfect April-to-June celebration beer. And if you can get your hands on one of their special Divine Reserve series brews, like their new-for-2015 Russian Imperial Stout, consider yourself privileged. But many Houstonians hold in highest regard Saint Arnold’s special cask-aged Bishop’s Barrel series, the latest of which was bottled in December 2014—so snatch them up while you can. Whether you like a black, bourbon-barrel aged, chocolaty stout, a mild spring-time bock, or a crisp summer IPA, Saint Arnold’s makes the best in Texas.
Currently, you can only get Saint Arnold’s beers in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. So if you’re in Houston, do yourself a favor and stop by the brewery for a firsthand account of how these true masters have honed their craft and continue to churn out consistently excellent brews with a heart the size of Texas. Even if you’re not a beer connoisseur, if you just want a good local brew, look no further than these guys, who basically started the Houston microbrew scene over 20 years ago. And any decent local restaurant or pub will have their most popular selections.
The Saint Arnold Brewery is open for tours regularly, which include really good food in addition to beer tastings. Tours are Monday through Friday at 3:30pm, and Saturdays at 12:00, 1:00, and 2:00. Weekdays offer a very broad, excellent food menu, and Saturdays offer a menu that’s narrowed down a little to (good) sandwiches and apps. It is located conveniently just northeast of downtown, at 2000 Lyons Avenue, Houston, TX 77020.
We Texans like our beer, especially at our legendary BBQ tailgate parties, and Houstonians have several local options to pick from for the prized beverage. But if you want the best this city has to offer in terms of craft brews, Saint Arnold is the one for you.