Katie Haugland Bowen / Flickr
Before Houston experienced the horrible effects of Hurricane Harvey, we had asked Eric Warner, brewmaster of Houston-based Karbach Brewing Co. (a member of The High End, owned by Anheuser-Busch), to help us compile a list of must-drink beers from his resident city. And while it's our pleasure to showcase such great beers from a fantastic town, we also recognize that there are more important things than beer in this world.
We and the folks at Karbach hope that if you’re able to give to Houston's relief efforts, you can consider donating to the Houston Food Bank or the Mayor’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. We're wishing the city a speedy recovery from these tough times.
In the meantime you can also support the local businesses that Warner has highlighted below. His Houston beer bucket list is chock full of amazing brews that can only be found in Space City.
These are the eight beers you must drink in Houston:
Saison, 5.6% ABV
credits:"[B-52 Brewing / Facebook](https://www.facebook.com/B52Brewing/photos/a.503038216413205.122796.455261717857522/1256761881040831/?type=3&theater)" width:400 align:right
Warner says: “These guys have a cool setup -- it feels like you’re hanging out in the woods. Their Saison Hop is a great example of the style, with a rotating dry-hop that always livens up the experience.”
Fun fact: We think Warner is understating the whole “you’re kind of in the woods when you go there” thing -- check out this photo of beers in front of a firepit. Drinking beer at B52 is (part-time) camping for those who don’t love the outdoors.
American Pale Wheat Ale, 5.6% ABV
Warner says: “Not technically in Houston, but a great day trip to take. Galveston Island Tiki Wheat is an American style wheat with just the right amount of coriander spice that instantly gets you into beach mode. The brewery recommends serving with an orange slice, as if the beer wasn’t refreshing enough on its own.”
Fun fact: This beer has won a medal two straight years at the Best Little Brewfest in Texas, which is a 100% charity festival featuring everyone from the locals at Shiner Beer to out-of-towners like Chicago’s Destihl Restaurant & Brew Works.
Warner says: “IPAs are fun because there’s so much breadth within the style. This IPA from just outside of Houston is great because of its simplicity -- the 2-row pale malt and Mosaic hops do all of the talking.”
Fun fact: The success of Yellow Rose back in 2013 inspired the single-hop IPA series The Zythophile Lone Hop Series, which the brewery releases four to six times per year. Take a look at Lone Pint’s Untappd page and you’ll see they’ve released a ton of ‘em over the years.
Imperial Porter, Varying ABV
credits:"[Karbach Brewing Co. / Facebook](https://www.facebook.com/karbachbrewing/photos/a.190673270978057.46349.189302774448440/1626200514091985/?type=3&theater)" width:400 align:right
Warner says: “Although Karbach is best known for its Hopadillo IPA and uber-refreshing Love Street, fans always eagerly await the quarterly releases of the Bourbon Barrel Hellfighter. This imperial/Baltic porter is aged in a variety of whiskey and bourbon barrels, and released quarterly, alternating between the base version and a flavored variant. Next up: BBH Espresso!”
Fun fact: Looking at the lineup of old BBH releases is drool-inducing for anyone who loves bourbon-barrel aged beers (a.k.a. everyone who loves beer), including BBH chocolate, BBH cherries, and BBH vanilla.
Blonde Ale, 5.25% ABV
credits:"[Southern Star Brewing Company / Facebook](https://www.facebook.com/SouthernStarBrewing/photos/a.464345692320.248133.184906097320/10154545711677321/?type=3&theater)" width:400 align:right
Warner says: “This brewery led the second wave of craft brewing in Houston, and Bombshell’s a refreshing blonde ale that’s a mainstay at local craft beer retailers.”
Fun fact: Breweries like Southern Star, which was founded in 2007, are now considered some of the veterans of the beer world. Last year, they moved onto 13 acres, granting them the space to host car exhibits and live music.
Coffee Porter, 4.6% ABV
Warner says: “Houston is an unbelievably diverse city, and honestly has some of the best food in the world. This Vietnamese coffee porter feels like a fusion of culinary and brewing science. Low ABV, but super flavorful.”
Fun fact: The cold brew coffee in this beer is from Houston-based Greenway Coffee Company, which collaborated with 8th Wonder to create this creamy java delight.
Kolsch, 4.5% ABV
credits: "Eureka Heights Brew Co." width:400 align:right
Warner says: “These guys are right down the street from us, and are some really nice folks. Their Mostly Harmless is easy-drinking and light bodied, but still has a fantastic citrus hop character that makes it intriguing.”
Fun fact: Nothing about this beer’s branding makes sense, and we love it. The logo is an illustration of a dolphin in a towel (that seems to have wet itself?). And one of the taglines in the description of the beer is “Drink up, the world’s about to end.” Yeah, we’ll have what they’re having.
Brown Ale, 5.8%
Warner says: “You don’t see a whole lot of brown ales anymore, but this is a great example. Nice and malty for the rare days that we get cooler weather!”
Fun fact: Obviously you don’t need a reason to drink beer, just like you don’t need a reason to breathe air or eat food. It’s just a part of life. But if you’re looking for even more motivation, a portion of the sales from this particular brew goes to local animal rescue.