“I don’t like to put beer in a box,” the bartender with a ring through his nose and an Amish beard told my friend Jenn. She’d ordered a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. When the bartender told her The Petrol Station didn’t have it, she asked for “something else like it.” Big mistake. Evidently, no beer is like any other.

The Petrol Station
985 Wakefield

When the Amish pirate finally recommended a Founders IPA, Jenn asked him, “Is it good?” Another blunder. “We don’t have any beer on draft here that isn’t good,” he said, motioning toward the taps. 

Poor Jenn. She would have sampled any pint the guy put in her hand. In his defense, he was only trying to help her appreciate the fabulous world of craft beer. She ended up taking the pint of Founders IPA and enjoying it. I got the ruddier, more full-flavored Founders Red’s Rye PA. Between the bittersweet flavor of the rye and the heavy aroma of the hops, it was a remarkably bold-tasting beer. But I’m not sure I could make it through two. 

The Petrol Station is a neo-dive pub in Oak Forest that takes its name from the location’s former life as a filling station. We sat outside in the extended biergarten—there’s very little seating inside, and the noise level can get unbearable. Sitting outside drinking beer at the crowded picnic tables, you may get the warm feeling that you’re among a band of brothers—if you speak Beernerdian.

The beers we got that night, from Founders Brewing Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan, caused quite a stir among local beer lovers when they debuted in the Houston market. We were lucky to get a chance to try them—The Petrol Station is one of just a few bars in town with Founders on tap. 

The place is heaven for the craft beer–crazed. But if you have a more casual relationship with your brew, your best bet at this place is to study the chalkboards listing what’s currently on offer. Memorize a name, stride forward confidently, and pronounce it loudly and clearly. Do not solicit help. The Beernerdians do not speak your language.

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