Thursday, May 12, 2011

Beer Travels: Brewery #4 - Saint Arnold Brewery, Houston, TX

As I'm sure my readers are aware, I've been spending a lot of time in Houston recently.  And I know this is the BR Beer Scene, but we share a lot in common with Houston.  I've even read that LSU makes up the 3rd largest alumni base in Houston?  On a recent trip, Mandi and I headed to the Saint Arnold Brewery, where we met up with my old roommate in BR Chris Perry and his wife Emily.  Thanks again to the guys at Mockler for getting us on to the guest list!

The first thing of note is that Saint Arnold has a relatively new home on Lyons Ave. in an industrial area on the Northwest side of downtown.  We plugged it into the GPS and it took us right there.  There is a small parking lot just adjacent to the building but unless you're the first person there or need the use of a handicap spot, you're going to be shit out of luck!  They do tours now on Monday through Saturday with I'm sure Saturday being the most popular.  Officially the doors open at 11 but we pulled up around 10:45 and made our way in.  And thankfully we were early because the place was already packed with people hanging out and waiting for the taps to open!  Fortunately we were able to find a small section of table unoccupied and as soon as the taps opened at 11 I went for an Elissa IPA and grabbed a Fancy Lawnmower for Mandi.

Elissa IPA, the standard tasting glass, and the Fancy Lawnmower.

For a little bit about how the tastings work, it's a $7 admission normally and you get a tasting glass (like pictured above) with 4 beer tokens.  If you bring in your own Saint Arnold glassware they will fill that up instead, although not necessarily a full pour on the big ass mug I brought in.  You can also purchase glassware there, with a discount for trading in your tasting glass.  The tours on Saturday run at 12, 1, and 2, so you can drink for a while then get in line for the noon tour... or just keep on drinking until the 1:00 tour... or just drink for a while and then bail out!  You are also more then welcome to bring whatever food you'd like or cards or games for entertainment, and as a result the scene really starts to resemble a lively beer hall!  

After the first beers I went for the one on the list that I'd never tried before... the Saint Arnold Texas Wheat, which I was told is also set to be discontinued so I guess I was just in time!  

To be honest, I can see why this one is being discontinued.  It's not a bad beer, but it's rather unremarkable.  An easy drinking summer thirst-quencher but the craft beer scene is moving away from these types of beers and I'm sure the fermenting space is needed for something more unique and interesting to catch the attention of the beer fanatics out there.

After a few more beer samplings, including the Brown Ale and Spring Bock, it was time to move on, but I really like the way the Saint Arnold crew does their tours and tastings.  No bullshit, they are there to serve some people some good beer and show them how the whole process works.  A highly recommended excursion to anyone making a trip to Houston.

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