Best Burgers

The Dirty Dozen: 12 Houston Breweries You Need to Know About

Newbies and old standbys alike.

By Timothy Malcolm May 24, 2019 Published in the June 2019 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Brash Brewing Co.

Independence Heights | Thurs–Sun

  • The beer: Primarily the heavy, high-ABV stuff like imperial stouts Smoglifter, Vulgar Display of Power, and Hammer Smashed Face.
  • The extras: Arcade games; a jukebox that plays all metal, all the time; regular concerts and bad-movie nights; a Christmas celebration honoring late Motörhead lead singer Lemmy Kilmister.
  • Best for: Fearless drinkers.

Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co.

Sawyer Yards | Daily

  • The beer: While we think other places have taken the baton of “most creative brewery” in the city, BuffBrew still specializes in off-kilter selections like a bananas foster ale, a light and bright (not dark and rich) coffee beer, and stalwart Creamsicle—what you think it is. Our favorite: Smoke on the Bayou, made with malt smoked at local pits like Blood Bros. BBQ and Gatlin’s BBQ.
  • The extras: In 2019, it opened a three-story haven for beer nerds with standout pizzas and entrees from chef Arash Kharat, multiple bars, and a stellar rooftop party area with stunning skyline views.
  • Best for: Your first Houston beer tour.

8th Wonder Brewery

East Downtown | Daily

  • The beer: Generally lighter (cream ale, hefeweizen), with Houston-centric names, and a roster of collaborations with Houston rappers Bun B, Slim Thug, and Paul Wall. There’s also a tasty Vietnamese coffee porter.
  • The extras: Outside food, drink, and seating permitted; the huge beer garden boasts two iconic, larger-than-life sculptures by H-Town’s own David Adickes (his Beatles tribute, and his We ❤️ HOUSTON sign).
  • Best for: Newbies.

Eureka Heights Brew Co.

The Heights | Daily

  • The beer: Reliable as ever with offerings like the light and refreshing cream ale Buckle Bunny and easygoing IPA Mini Boss, the Heights stalwart also loves trying new things. For example: Big, boozy, bourbon-barrel beers like Stun Gravy and Nuke the Whales are fun finds.
  • The extras: A great sense of humor. Over Halloween 2019, the brewery transformed into the Duff Brewery to honor The Simpsons.
  • Best for: Your post-softball-game antics.

Great Heights Brewing Co.

Garden Oaks-Oak Forest | Tues–Sun

  • The beer: A little bit of everything, so try out a bunch, but the brewery’s been getting into hazier, hoppier fare lately; when it’s available, try the best of those, Galactic Fruitier Pellets.
  • The extras: Beanbag toss on the back patio; Thursday-night trivia.
  • Best for: Beer geeks in training.

Ingenious Brewing Co.

Humble | Daily

  • The beer: This is the most adventurous stuff in Houston. Think smoothie-style beers, big stouts that taste like pastries, and Berliner weisses doused with fruit.
  • The extras: Modest kid-friendly lawn; can releases and special events for fans to try new beers.
  • Best for: The wild-at-heart.

Holler Brewing Co.

Sawyer Yards • Weds–Sun 

  • The beer: Brewmaster John Holler likes old-school European styles including extra-special bitter beers and Belgian tripels, but he’ll come out with big, hazy, hoppy beers once in a while, like the mango-citrusy Just A Phazy. The Belgian IPA is great, too.
  • The extras: Weekend food trucks; Wednesday steak nights.
  • Best for: Passport carriers.

Sigma Brewing Co.

East End | Thurs–Mon

  • The beer: No-nonsense, hoppy brews like Bonesaw and the Hoarder’s Endowment series.
  • The extras: Board games; Nintendo video games; occasional events featuring local “comedy wrestling” troupe Doomsday Wrestling.
  • Best for: Hopheads.

Spindletap Brewing Co.

Northside | Thurs–Sun

  • The beer: This is the go-to brewery for hoppy, juicy New England IPAs. Juiceton and Diamonds in My Mouth are among the best in the region.
  • The extras: Semi-regular events including chili cookoffs, crawfish boils, beer dinners, and paint nights; crispy pies from frequent food truck resident Texzas Wood-Fired Pizza.
  • Best for: Haze-chasers.

Saint Arnold Brewing Co.

Fifth Ward | Daily

  • The beer: They do it all, from boozy suds aged in bourbon barrels to refreshing standbys like Santo and Amber Ale. Art Car is a workhorse IPA and a go-to for many locals.
  • The extras: The 20,000-square-foot beer garden with a great skyline view; outstanding fare from the kitchen. Try the Bishop’s Burger—two juicy Angus patties with cheddar, onion, tomato, arugula, and pickles—perfect with a hoppy beer.
  • Best for: Families. 

True Anomaly Brewing

East Downtown | Daily

  • The beer: A couple NASA staffers opened this brewery in early 2019, announcing a devotion to Belgian ales, wild fermentation, and barrel-aging. Its offerings are awesomely calibrated and complex, but let’s keep it simple: These drinks are bomb. Go for Small Giant, the little Grisette with a big refreshing punch, and power, and Beryl, a beautiful raspberry and red currant sour.
  • The extras: Grab a board game from the deep collection of favorites, and pair your pints with pizza from Vinny’s across the street.
  • Best for: Time-worn tradition seekers.

Urban South HTX

Sawyer Yards | Daily

  • The beer: This New Orleans import arrived in Houston in early 2020 promising its own Bayou City beer list, and it hasn’t disappointed. These folks, nabbed from B-52 in Conroe, can do it all: skillful fruited sours, juicy and delicious IPAs, and even crisp pilsners. 
  • The extras: Urban South dropped into town with a full line of merchandise including sweet hoodies, tanktops, and t-shirts. Get that beer drip.

Best for: Beer nerds who want what’s in right now.

 Some of our other favorites:

B-52 Brewing Co.

Conroe | Weds–Sun

  • The beer: Varies, but tart beers with fruit, hazy IPAs, and creamy stouts are specialties, along with super-creative offerings brewed with cereal and baking spices. We like the Stargazer series of dark beers.
  • The extras: Weekly standard trivia nights, monthly themed trivia nights.
  • Best for: Diverse palates.

Bakfish Brewing Co.

Pearland | Daily

  • The beer: Generally lighter styles like golden ale, blonde, amber, and the stellar I Tell You Wit, a slightly sour witbier that’s perfect for summer afternoons.
  • The extras: Regular Pickle & Pints events, during which guests play the life-sized ping pong game pickleball.
  • Best for: Southbound travelers. 

City Acre Brewing Co.

Northeast Houston | Weds–Sun

  • The beer: Brews with subtle twists, like cilantro-tinged Hitchcock Blonde and crisp Skull Creek Kölsch.
  • The extras: A fun outdoor space with a fire pit, gardens, and horseshoes; outstanding eats from chef Rick Kelsay. The Urban Cowboy—with a bacon-infused patty, American cheese, onion rings, and jalapeño ranch dressing—is the best burger at any brewery in the city.
  • Best for: Foodies.

Texas Leaguer Brewing Co.

Missouri City | Fri–Sun

  • The beer: Named after baseball terms, offerings run the gamut, but the best are Belgian pale ale 6-4-3 and Knuckle Bock. New beers, released on Fridays, are part of the brewery’s “farm system.”
  • The extras: With its big projection screen and baseball theme, this is the place to be during Astros games.
  • Best for: Sports fans.
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