A couple of weeks ago I hit the road to follow the LSU Tigers to College Station for their matchup with the Texas A&M Aggies. Having never been to College Station, I decided to do a little research on the best place for craft beer in the area. The results were clear. O’Bannon’s Taphouse (facebook) was the place to go.
I arrived at O’Bannon’s on Friday afternoon and met with owner, Chris Steele, who was nice enough to stick around and let me bug him with some questions. O’Bannon’s has a great Irish pub look and atmosphere, but it was apparent that the beer selection was far greater than that of your average Irish pub. With 50 beers on tap and around 80 beers total, there were the Irish pub musts, Guinness, Harp, and Smithwick’s, but what set O’Bannon’s apart was their American craft beer selection, specifically Texas craft beer.
Chris had a sampler of Texas beers brought over with beers from Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., Live Oak Brewing Co., Karbach Brewing Co., and Saint Arnold Brewing Co. Some of the highlights of the sampler were the Karbach Rodeo Clown Imperial IPA, Saint Arnold Oktoberfest and Live Oak HefeWeizen. The Live Oak HefeWeizen is an exceptionally good beer and is currently the 2nd highest reviewed hefeweizen on BeerAdvocate.
A sign of a bar owner who really cares about a beer is a number of seasonal offerings. This shows me that I’m drinking fresh beer and attention is paid to beer selection and tap rotation. This was all evident at O’Bannon’s, with many fall selections, from Oktoberfest beers to pumpkin beers. I was also impressed when Chris told me they regularly host cask nights, though I was saddened to discover that I would be missing a Saint Arnold Pumpkinator cask night by just a few days.
After some friendly conversation with some Aggies and a couple more pints of beer it was time to say “Slán go foil” (goodbye for now) to O’Bannon’s Taphouse, with plans in the works for a return in the spring for the LSU vs. Texas A&M baseball series and many football games in the future.