Six Craft Breweries To Visit South of Houston
For the past three years, there’s been a boom in the Greater Houston area craft brewing industry. More than a dozen new ones opened and that trend means more options for Houstonians in diverse locations. Though Inner Loop locales get a lot of the sudsy buzz, the suburbs have a lot to offer as well — and that includes those south of Houston. Here are six breweries in that area worth checking out.
Fetching Lab, 1578 County Road 423, Alvin: Located down dirt country roads, microbrewer Fetching Lab feels like a home away from home. Brett Bray and Theresa Hutchings opened it in 2015 and makes a beer for every palate, including lighter styles suitable for Houston’s hot climate. Blue Mischief, a blueberry cream ale made with fresh blueberries, is the leading seller; a slightly tart and dry fruit beer with none of the lingering sweetness of the fruit itself.
Also worth a taste is Teumssian Fox pale ale, named as a tribute to Houston’s space program. A dollar from every pour of Fetcher In The Rye (a juniper rye) goes to Alpha Search and Recovery, an organization that specializes in canine search and rescue operations in Houston. The latest offering, County Road Kolsch, sports a bright mandarin taste and crisp citrus finish for keeping cool on the hottest of days.
Fetching Lab can be found in over one hundred bars and restaurants in the Houston-Galveston area on rotating taps and in a variety of retailers. The brewery is located next to the owners’ home, so it is only open to the public a couple of times a month on Saturdays. There’s plenty of parking and they accept cash or credit cards. Guests get beers through a typical token system: one token is $5 or three for $15 and both options include a pint glass to take home. Check out their website or follow them on Facebook to catch the next day at the brewery event.
Bakfish Brewing Company, 1231 Broadway, Pearland: Located a quarter of a mile from the original King’s Biergarten on Broadway is Pearland’s first brewery. Brian Allen and Kris Szecsy opened Bakfish in 2016, a spacious 2,000-square-foot, air-conditioned tap room with a covered patio. The brewery hosts a running club on Tuesday evenings and hosts a rotation of food trucks. Beers range in price from $4 to $8 and a flight of four 4-ounce pours is $8.
All Y’all, a golden ale, is their most popular beer thanks to juicy pear and sweet banana flavors that come from Belgian yeast and a sweeter malt base. Their 30-barrel system means there’s always room for something new on tap, such as Squid Pro Quo, an oatmeal stout with rich and creamy dark chocolate flavor and a seductive caramel finish that manages to be drinkable even when it is 90-degrees outside. The Daisy Chain Polarizer, which uses the shared yeast strain started by Southern Star after Hurricane Harvey, is a double dry-hopped IPA. Daisy Chain comes in at 8.1 percent but remains light and easy to drink with hints of orange pith, lemon and ripe melons. Bakfish is open Mondays through Thursdays 3 to 9 p.m., Fridays 3 to 10 p.m., Saturdays noon to 10 p.m. and Sundays noon to 9 p.m.
Vallensons’ Brewing Company, 4081 Rice Drier, Pearland: Tucked behind a Wendy’s on Highway 35 is a small, light blue warehouse with big ambitions. Valle Kauniste opened his brewery, named after himself and his sons (Val-N-Sons), in May of 2017 after 11 months of construction and over 17 years of home brewing. The brewery has a small tap room with additional seating on a covered patio and an additional half-acre of land that’s home to a massive mature ash tree. Patrons are encouraged to bring chairs to sit on the lawn with picnics or food from a rotation of food trucks. Brews are available by the pint or as an $8 flight of four beers. Settler’s Oatmeal Stout, named for the early Pearland settlers and a favorite of Valle’s, features rich coffee and chocolate notes with a slightly smoky finish. The Advocate Amber Ale is a tribute to Pearland’s first newspaper and provides a welcoming caramel malt flavor that’s slightly sweet but also crisp and lightly hopped. Vallenson’s is open Fridays 3 to 10 p.m., Saturdays noon to 10 p.m. on and Sundays noon to 7 p.m.
Saloon Door Brewing, 105 Magellan Circle, Webster: Saloon Door celebrated its second anniversary in April 2018 and has been making waves with dark beers packed with flavor. Jason Graham, CEO and brewer, and head brewer Josh Anderson both apprenticed at Mother Earth Brewing Co. in Vista, California before bringing their knowledge to Texas and opening Webster’s first brewery. Their taproom is a spacious, 2,400-square-foot, air-conditioned saloon with plenty of seating, two projection screens and something fun going on every night of the week.
There are 16 to 20 beers on tap at any given time, which makes the flight of five 4-ounce samples a good way to get a taste of every style. Tasty AF Peanut Butter & Chocolate Milk Stout is a must-have brew balancing the saltiness of peanut butter with the sweet, rich, chocolate malt quality of a classic stout. This beer, along with Saloon Door’s other stouts, manage to deliver big, bold, balanced flavors at lower alcohol levels, which is great for those who want to stay awhile. They also offer blends of two or more beers, so guests can create their own experiences. Craving a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Combine the Peanut Butter Milk Stout with the Strawberry Milk Stout.
The saloon is open Mondays through Thursdays from 4 to 11 p.m., Fridays 2 p.m. to midnight, Saturdays noon to midnight and Sundays noon to 11 p.m. On Thursdays, the brewery projects old-school games on screens for guests to play starting at 6:30 p.m.
Galveston Bay Beer Company, 12900 Farm To Market Road 3436, Dickinson: Galveston Bay Beer Company is located on FM 3436, which runs north-south between 646 and 517 in Dickinson. The brewery opened in 2016 and specializes in lighter style beers but dark beer fans can enjoy the Scottish ale, Bull Shark. The nose on Bull Shark is reminiscent of a fresh caramel apple but maintains a light mouthfeel, making it a great all-weather beer for thirsty patrons. Brewery tours are free to the public and there are over 12 different beers available in the taproom, which is open seven days a week. Galveston Bay Beer Company’s tap room hours are Mondays through Fridays 4 to 8 p.m., Saturdays noon to 8 p.m. and Sundays noon to 6 p.m.
Texas Beer Refinery, 2709 Dickinson Avenue, Dickinson: Less than a 10-minute drive from Galveston Bay Beer Company is another Dickinson brewery. Co-owners Ryan Rhodes and John Hearn opened TBR in 2014 as Dickinson’s first craft brewery and the 9th craft brewery in Texas at that time. They offer a solid core offering of seven beers, mostly in lighter styles like blonde ales and IPAs. Redneck Red is the most popular and, like most red ales, has rich malt flavor and aroma with a hint of dark stone fruits. Another popular brew is Mexican IPA, which uses Mexican key limes to accent the hop’s natural citrus qualities and tame the bitterness characteristic of the IPA style. Food is available in their taproom at reasonable prices and there’s plenty of parking and seating to accommodate a small crowd. The taproom is open Thursdays starting from 4 to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from noon to midnight and Sundays noon to 10 p.m.
Have a favorite Texas brewery outside the Beltway that we left out? Let us know in the comments. Cheers!