Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Beer Travels: The Petrol Station in Houston, TX

I think by now I've established that The Avenue Pub in New Orleans is my favorite beer bar in Louisiana.  Polly does an awesome job getting the best new and rare beers and keeping her customers up to date on what's new on tap.  Lately though, I've been spending a lot more time in Houston, so I was on the lookout for a similar type of beer bar when I was recommended a place called The Petrol Station.  So, after checking out The Ginger Man Pub one Friday night, we decided to check this place out Saturday afternoon.  I noticed it was a little out of the way, just north of 610 on the of the city, but not too far from where Mandi lives, so we plugged it in to the GPS and headed that direction.

If you do the same, don't be alarmed when you take a few turns onto some residential streets!  The Petrol Station is tucked away on a side street in a mostly residential area, but fortunately there is a large open lot across the street that serves as ample parking.  As the name would indicate, the building used to be a gas station before becoming the Petrol Station coffee shop, and eventually evolving into a craft beer paradise. 

The first thing I noticed on the first visit was that almost everyone there was chowing down on a nice looking burger.  Okay, so that's noted for later, but I wasn't terribly hungry yet and neither was Mandi so we settled down at the bar and ordered up a few beers, starting with the first two new ones I noticed, a Rood Red Ale from Independence Brewing out of Austin and a Southern Star Walloon, a couple of beers from Texas craft breweries. 

From there the local brews kept flowing, with a Real Ale Real Heavy, Saint Arnold Weedwacker, and an Independence Stoned Crow Imperial Porter on tap.  we moved from there to a Palo Santo Marron, the 12% alcohol barrel-aged brown ale from Dogfish Head (@dogfishbeer).  A fantastic brew and one I'd yet to spot in bottles so I was thrilled to see it on tap!  With all that beer flowing it was time for a little food so we went the appetizer route with an order of spinach & artichoke dip.  It wasn't the best I've ever had but it was still a great compliment to a few more beers. 

After a Brookyln (@brooklynbrewery) Main Engine Start Belgian Pale Ale it was time for a couple more Texas brews.  This time the (512) Altbier (@512brewing) and the Real Ale Lost Gold IPA.  This place was quickly turning into a goldmine for new beers when I noticed a label that I'd never seen before.  A quick inquiry and I was told it was a Pale Horse Pale Ale from No Label Brewing (@nolabelbrewco) out of Katy, Texas.  Whoa... now I'm going from new beers to new breweries.  And not only that, but it was a really tasty pale ale.  I definitely want to check these guys out at some point soon and learn more about them.

 Man... so many good beers at this place.  I'm pretty sure there were 35 taps going with mostly American craft beers but a few Belgian ales mixed in, and the most impressive thing was that they were constantly rotating new beers on them whenever one would "float" so to speak.  They must have changed out at least 4 beers in the few hours we were enjoying ourselves at the bad, and most new taps were something new that I just had to try.  Before we left we also had the chance to try the Breckenridge (@breckbrew) Regal Pilsner, Independence Stash IPA, and the Ska Brewing Decadent IIPA.  All great beers but by this point they were getting hazy.


In summary, great beer bar, and I've made two trips back since then.  I'll be writing about them before long, but I had to go back just to try the burger!  The bartenders really know their beer, there is new stuff on tap every time, and I think I've found my new favorite Houston watering hole.

Petrol Station on Urbanspoon
*Exterior photo taken by Chris N. on Yelp.

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