Clear Lake craft beer fans are wild about Nobi Public House, which opened right before Christmas last year in an inconspicuous strip mall on Nasa Road 1. With just over 200 beers to choose from, a growler fill station, firkin/cask engine, and nitro taps, this place is heaven for beer lovers. There are also some interesting Vietnamese fusion dishes like pork fries with a fried egg and a sloppy, succulent, off-menu special called a Nobi Dog.
After hearing rave reviews about the Nobi dog, I ordered one for lunch. The waitress asked if I wanted a fried egg on top, but as I had just crushed the Vietnamese pork fries, also with an egg, I decided to skip it this round. The hot dog is big enough already, and certainly messy enough, without it. The toppings are simple but effective in delivering big flavor. Chargrilled pork, diced onion, carrot, daikon, jalapenos, Sriracha mayonnaise, and a small line of salsa pack quite a punch.
Nobi Public House comes to us from the proprietors of other Southeast Houston businesses like Nobi Asian Grill and (strangely enough) a craft beer and wine store inside the Shell gas station at Blackhawk and FM 528. Sure, there are a few other places to grab a pint in the area, like Boondoggles or Cock and Bull, but these establishments aren't keeping up with the times. Houston has had a recent influx of coveted new beers from both in-state and out-of-state breweries, and Nobi Pub is the only place to get them in the Clear Lake area.
Channing Herrin, general manager and beer nerd, has developed crucial relationships with the distributors and breweries to ensure that his customers receive these beers at the same time as, and sometimes sooner than, other craft beer bars in Houston.
On a recent visit to the pub for an Open The Taps event, Channing pulled out some big guns and tapped one of my all-time favorite seasonal beers, Pumking from Southern Tier. This pumpkin pie-esque beer features beautifully balanced notes of vanilla, spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, and pumpkin, of course. Weighing in at almost 9 percent alcohol by volume, it is dangerously drinkable, with a medium body that hides the booze very well.
A word to the wise, though: if you're planning to go on a weekend or for happy hour, get there a bit early. This place gets packed.