Houston Breweries Release “Black Is Beautiful” Beers To Support Racial Justice
Although the murder of Houstonian George Floyd by Minneapolis police led to large protests and renewed advocacy around the world, forging racial equality is not a short term project. Efforts to continue progressing forward will be needed for the foreseeable future. One group that has banded together to make a difference are craft brewers. Almost 1,000 breweries across the United States are participating in the Black Is Beautiful project, including several in the Houston area.
The initiative is spearheaded by co-founder and head brewmaster Marcus Baskerville of Weathered Souls Brewing Co. in San Antonio. One of the few Black brewmasters in an industry that needs more diversity, Baskerville says he “has personally dealt with abuse of power by the police.” That is one reason he launched this collaboration, in which each participating brewery will create a brew that is a twist on a base oatmeal stout recipe developed by Baskerville.
This past Saturday, the brewery, which Baskerville operates with his business partner Mike Holt, sold three variations, from different breweries, of the Weathered Souls’ Black Is Beautiful base recipe. The brewery sold out and raised $30,000 for Know Your Rights Camp, a seminar series founded by Colin Kaepernick to “advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment [and] mass-mobilization.”
Though Weathered Souls donated to Know Your Rights Camp, each brewery involved in the program chooses its own charitable beneficiaries and donates all of the proceeds from its Black Is Beautiful creation to those organizations. Baskerville said on the brewery’s Facebook page, “We would like a portion of proceeds of the collaboration beer to go to your local foundations that support police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged. We think it’s best that everyone should choose their own entity to donate to in order to spread the love as much as possible.”
Several Greater Houston-area breweries are participating in the fundraiser (see below). While the initiative was announced in the beginning of June, brewing great beers takes time. So some area releases are debuting this week; others will debut in a few months. For the full list of those participating across the United States, visit the Black Is Beautiful website.
Please note that all Houston-area tap rooms are closed for in-house consumption due to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s recent decision to re-close bars in order to curtail the spread of COVID-19. However, many breweries are still offering beer to go.
Available For Ordering Now
8th Wonder Brewery, 2202 Dallas: The EaDo brewery’s Black Is Beautiful offering — a strong Black American ale — is available for online ordering and for pickup starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 11. A four-pack is $20 and it clocks in at a hearty 9% ABV. Brewed with 2-Row, Chocolate, Carafa III, and Crystal malts as well as Warrior and Cascade hops, the flavors are “rich, prominent notes of chocolate and coffee.” Multiple charities will be beneficiaries of all profits from the sale of this beer, including the Restoring Justice and The Center for the Healing of Racism. Visit the website to view the full list.
Battlehops Brewing, 6801 Hwy Blvd, Katy: A small keg of the brewery’s Black Is Beautiful entry, a cold-brew coffee stout with vanilla, will be ready for release on Friday, July 10. It will be available curbside exclusively at the brewery in 12-ounce and 32-ounce cans, which can be ordered online. One hundred percent of proceeds from each purchase will go to Pure Justice, which advocates for criminal justice reform in Harris County and the surrounding area.
Urban South HTX, 1201 Oliver: The Houston outpost of this brewery, which was founded in New Orleans, just released a hefty 10% ABV coffee stout for the Black Is Beautiful initiative. It’s brewed with roasted coffee and vanilla beans resulting in a beer with mocha-like flavors. All proceeds from sales of the beer are being donated to Black Lives Matter: Houston. Place orders online starting at 7 p.m. on July 9; pickup times are available to schedule Mondays through Sundays from noon until 7 p.m. starting on July 10.
Coming Very Soon
Astral Brewing, 4816 North Shepherd: Details are yet to come, but Astral’s Black Is Beautiful brew should be ready in about two weeks.
Holler Brewing Co., 2206 Edwards: This brewery, located at Sawyer Yards, will have its Black Is Beautiful beer ready for ordering on July 18. AK Babers of Hop Topic World, a blog about inclusion in the craft beer community, visited to help with the brewing, and the result is an Imperial American stout with Cascade hops that clocks in at 10% ABV. A 16-ounce can costs $5 and the 25.4-ounce is $7. Holler Brewing Co. is donating proceeds to the Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
Releases Later This Year
Baileson Brewing, 2322 Bissonnet: This brewery near Rice University expects to have its Black Is Beautiful offering available in September.
City Acre Brewing, 3418 Topping: The northeast Houston brewery is actually crafting three variants on the Black Is Beautiful recipe, which should be ready the beginning of August. City Acre used Weathered Souls’ base recipe with its house Scottish yeast, not the more widely used Chico American yeast. The planned variants are coconut vanilla, orange and raspberry.
Eureka Heights Brew Co., 941 West 18th: This Heights-area brewery plans to release a small test batch in mid- to late-July. If the recipe is successful, it will make a larger batch.
Great Heights Brewing Co., 938 Wakefield: The brewery, located in Houston’s Independence Heights neighborhood, plans a Black Is Beautiful release, but it’s postponed due to taprooms being forced to close.
Baa Baa Brewhouse, 539 FM 359 Road South, Brookshire: Sorry, but this one is already gone but we’re recording it for posterity. The brewhouse collaborated on 6 Feet of Separation, a 7.4% ABV triple-dry-hopped hazy IPA. Brewed with Citra, Nelson Sauvin, Motueka and Sabro Hops, the allocation, which was only available at Weathered Souls, sold out this past Saturday.
We’ll update Black Is Beautiful beer releases not yet scheduled as more information becomes available.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.