Restaurants / Bars

Houston’s Most Underrated Craft Beer Havens: These Homegrown Breweries Deserve Love

BY // 12.12.17

Creating your own beer is an art and a craft. Independent breweries are springing up all over Houston, and they’ve each put their unique spin on brewing in the Bayou City. What’s better than going on your very own brews cruise?

In this PaperCity guide, we break down underrated Houston breweries. These are largely under-the-radar spots that deserve a little more attention. After all, craft beer prowess should be rewarded. And there’s a whole beer world out there beyond Saint Arnold, Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company and other local beer staples.

City Acre Brewing Co.

If you’re looking for a Hitchcock Blonde, you don’t need to get on Netflix. Just head North by Northeast to City Acre Brewing, a hidden gem about eight minutes outside of downtown Houston.

Hitchcock Blonde, the brewery’s most popular blond ale, is a unique 50/50 wheat and barley mix finished with coriander and fresh lemon peel. It pays homage to poised leading ladies, the nearby Hitchcock Street, and the town of Hitchcock, Texas.

“It works on many levels,” owner Matt Schlabach tells PaperCity.

The former mechanical engineer’s doing his level best with City Acre, and it’s paying off. The brewery opened on July 1, 2016, after 14-ish years of planning. The beer is best enjoyed onsite at the brewery, with its “friend’s backyard feel.” More than 95 percent of beers are sold at the “traditional brew pub.” City Acre has about 15 to 16 distributing accounts, including D&T Drive Inn and The Conservatory.


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City Acre prides itself on its kitchen as much as its balanced beers. The chef cooks with homegrown ingredients as much and as often as possible.

“We have a priority for growing things that are better quality than you’ll get in store — carrots, greens, heirloom tomatoes,” Schlabach says. Hurricane Harvey wiped out City Acre’s produce, but the garden’s getting back on track.

Monthly “specialty dinners,” done demo-style, showcase the fresh ingredients and innovation. The chef prepares an appetizer, an entree with two sides, and a dessert in front of the 14 to 15 guests while Schlabach talks about the beers and keeps glasses full. Dinners are held inside the old Victorian house on the property, giving the event some privacy. They spin records for ambience. Paul Simon some weeks, Willie Nelson on others.

One of their more popular beers is Blood Orange Blonde, Hitchcock Blonde’s citrusy sister beer. The aptly named Jacket Weather, a mocha porter, is also available.

Address: 3418 Topping Street

Hours: Mondays 4 to 10 pm.

Wednesdays and Thursdays 4 to 10 pm.

Fridays and Saturdays 11 am to 11 pm.

Sundays 11 am to 8 pm.

Baileson Brewing Co.

Good brewers make good neighbors. Adam Cryer and Sarah Pope just opened Baileson this September, but it’s well on its way to becoming a neighborhood watering hole. It’s an easy walk for many, tucked into the old auto service building on Bissonnet, a stone’s throw from the Rice University campus.

The locals are rallying around the pair. Two neighbors walked on over to Baileson during the Thanksgiving holidays toting a gift of turkey. Six of the eight Baileson employees are proud regulars. They got their gigs after a few visits, eager to pitch in.

All employees are part-time, Cryer and Pope included. The two work full-time jobs during the week. Their two puggles — pug and beagle mixes, for those who don’t know — Bailey and Jameson inspired the name Baileson. They’re man’s best friend, and beer is the other. Hence the tagline, “Man’s Other Best Friend.”

Baileson’s a passion project for their “nights, weekends, and vacation days,” Pope tells PaperCity. They take beer seriously, but they know how to have fun with it. “No pretense, beer is what it is,” Cryer says.

Pope says they’re “babies when it comes to brewing,” but that comes with its advantages. All beer is served onsite — meaning no preservatives needed. Resulting beers are “stronger, flavorful ales.” Baileson beers average ABVs of 6.5 percent. Fan favorites include the Honey Wheat and a coffee stout brewed with beans from the nearby House of Coffee Beans.

For Baileson, craft beer is a beverage that’s “meant to be communal,” Cryer says. Craft breweries have a farmer’s market vibe, where you can talk to the flesh-and-blood people behind what you’re buying, he says. And it’s a two-way street. Brewers get to find out what drinkers really want.

A rotating group of food trucks serve outside Baileson on Sundays. Beer drinkers can find anything from Blue Smoke Barbecue to Whatcha Cravin.

Address: 2322 Bissonnet Street

Hours: Fridays 4 to 10 pm.

Saturdays 11 am to 10 pm.

Sundays 12 to 9 pm.


Platypus Brewing LLC

The platypus and Platypus Brewing share more than a name. They’re both hybrids, and, according to Platypus staff, “they’re both wacky.”

The boozy brainchild of husband and wife Sean and Rachna Hanrahan, and their friend Morgan Hughes, is a hybrid Australian-Texan joint. Rachna’s a native Houstonian; Sean and Morgan hail from Australia. Initially, the Land Down Under was the planned locale for Platypus.

Brisbane’s loss is Houston’s gain. Joined by award-winning brewer Kerry Embertson from California, Platypus launched a year ago in September.

Live bands play on the Platypus deck for Sunday brunch.

With a tagline that boasts, “Brewed with Texan heart and Australian soul,” many of Platypus’ brews contain Aussie ingredients. An anniversary Saison released in September featured lemon myrtle.

Be on the lookout for an Australian sea salt and plum beer coming this January, Embertson tells PaperCity. Back in California, she was more limited as a brewer with a more fixed range of beers that left little room for experiments. Now, she says “it’s exciting to start from scratch,” with special beers.

Two specials come out each month, and some new barrel-aged stouts will start rolling out next year. It’s fitting, with Australia Day coming up on January 26th. Check it out — if you can keep up.

Australians “are way crazier than Americans. It’s like the Fourth of July on drugs,” Embertson says.

If you’d like to dip your toe into the brewery experience first, head on over for a Sunday brunch. Try a fried chicken biscuit paired with a fan-favorite Freckled Dingo and listen to live music on the patio.

Address: 1902 Washington Avenue Suite E,

Hours: Monday to Thursdays 3 to 10 pm,.

Fridays and Saturdays 12 pm to 12 am.

Sundays 11 am to 9 pm.


Holler Brewing Co.

John and Kathryn Holler know it takes two to make a thing go right. They’re working hard to make it outta sight. Holler Brewing’s a small operation “where the owners are truly the operators,” Kathryn Holler tells PaperCity.

A groomsman gift of a Mr. Beer Kit got them started years ago. That hallmark of homebrewing spurred a life change for both. The twosome quit their jobs in January 2015 and dove headfirst into brewing, opening Holler in November 2016.

Their formal training took them around the country and even abroad. Kathryn brewed and served at Two Henry’s Brewing in Plant City, Florida. John studied at Chicago’s Siebel Institute before attending Doemens Academy in Munich.

Homebrewing together inspired the Hollers to launch their own brewery.

The Hollers stamped their name on their business and started brewing. They’ve got a wide range of beers, and their ESB is turning heads in the craft beer community. The English-style ale took home a bronze in the extra special bitter category at the Great American Beer Festival.

On December 23rd, they’re spicing things up with a Festivus MiracAle, a Belgian brewed with holiday spices. Craft beer fans can enjoy the holiday special indoors, or on Holler’s patio on Edwards.

The brewery’s deeply personal and that goes double for the choice of location. Being in the loop was a key requirement, along with room for plenty of parking.

“We enjoy the area, and we love being surrounded by artists and other new creative-type businesses,” Kathryn says. “We were excited to find a space that is constantly getting better.”

Address: 2206 Edwards Street, Suite A

Hours: Wednesdays to Fridays 4 to 10 pm

Saturdays 12 to 9 pm.

Sundays 12 to 7 pm.

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