Once, Houston had nowhere near the variety nor quality of beer it has today, and by once we mean 2006. Saint Arnold, the oldest craft brewery in Texas, dates way back to a comparatively antediluvian 1994, but the rest are much more recent arrivals: Southern Star Brewing opened in Conroe in 2007, while Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. and Karbach Brewing Co. didn’t debut until 2011.

As for bars, your only options for American craft beer were Rudyard’s and The Ginger Man until The Flying Saucer opened downtown in 2000. Today such establishments are opening as fast as the TABC can license them, and just like that, “craft” is no longer code for beer brewed elsewhere. The area now boasts over a dozen craft breweries, of which two are among the largest and fastest-growing in America, and our city’s unique culture and mien are inevitably making their way into our brews.

Thanks to the recent relaxation of Texas beer laws—brewpubs can now brew up to 10,000 barrels a year and distribute directly to retailers—and our undying love of beer (only California has a higher annual consumption of brewskis than Texas), the craft beer movement is poised to grow even further. In America’s fourth-largest city, it seems, our thirst for innovation is equaled only by a thirst for great beer. —Katharine Shilcutt

In This Feature:

The Experts Have Spoken: Houston’s 5 Best Breweries

We gathered 16 craft beer connoisseurs, poured them beers, and didn’t let them leave until they agreed on the top breweries in town.

08/03/2014 By Katharine Shilcutt

Houston’s 6 Best Beer Bars

A great beer bar is more than just a huge tap list—it takes knowledgeable staff, good taste in selection, and excellent ambiance to make the cut.

08/03/2014 By Katharine Shilcutt Photography by Max Burkhalter

Growlers: a Guide

How do you enjoy some of Houston’s finest local brews if they’re only available in kegs? Enter the humble growler.

08/03/2014 By Katharine Shilcutt

Why Aren’t There More Brewpubs?

Hint: everything’s political.

08/03/2014 By Chris Abshire

The Houstonia Beer Glossary

Do you know your IPA from your APA? Saison from kölsch? If you’re going to drink craft beer, better make sure you know the lingo.

08/03/2014 By Katharine Shilcutt

Not Your Usual Garage Start-Up: Meet Lone Pint’s Heather Niederhofer

It’s hard to believe, but one of Houston’s best breweries began as a weekend hobby.

08/03/2014 By Chris Abshire

Petrol Station’s Owner to Start Selling His Own Beer

Ben Fullelove brews beer, but hasn’t been able to sell it at his own bar. That’s about to change.

08/03/2014 By Chris Abshire

Brock Wagner on Saint Arnold’s 20th Anniversary

What’s in store for Saint Arnold’s next 20 years?

08/05/2014 By Chris Abshire

Video: Saint Arnold ‘Buzzed’ About Being Named Best Brewery in Houston

Newsfix explores the world of Houston craft beer, visiting Saint Arnold, Moon Tower Inn, and Whole Foods.