The scene is a brewery tap room alive with action and conversation, reminding one of the impact neighborhood breweries have played for years in the small towns of Germany and other countries where beer is an anchor of popular culture and local community. This tap room is located inside the Galveston Bay Beer Company in Dickinson and on this evening it hosts a mixture of locals and beer enthusiasts who came from outside the immediate area to check it out.
The brewery has been open for more than a year and is located inside what looks like a giant aircraft hanger. Inside the front door, patrons are welcomed by an impressive bar that winds throughout the tap room making a couple 90-degree turns and offering plenty of great seating from which to sample a dozen beers that were brewed on-site and available on tap.
Galveston Bay Beer Company founder Mark Henry and his lead brewer Skyler Forshage are often found behind the tap room bar sharing their passion for beer with patrons.
The tap room first opened in March and is currently open on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Monday could soon be added to the delight of Monday Night Football fans. The room is also available for special events on days it is not open to the public.
With four signature beers and another eight rotating tap-room exclusives on draft, I recommend taking advantage of the flight (four 4oz beers in each flight) option to cover a lot of ground in a responsible way. The flagship beers (see list above) are the more popular beers brewed in large batches and also available on draft at many local restaurants and bars.
All are highly recommended. But part of the excitement in visiting the brewery is to see what experimental beer Fossage recently brewed and now has available on draft. Forshage guesstimates he has easily brewed more than 50 different styles of beer on the brewery’s smaller pilot system and is always curious to get feedback.
“It is interesting to see which styles of beer are a hit,” explains Forshage.
“I never thought our Duck Duck Gose would be as popular as it is, but only because I wasn’t sure how people would like the sour characteristic of the Gose style. But we have a lot of people who love it and we can’t brew enough of it to keep it on draft in the tap room.”
A key ingredient in Galveston Bay Beer’s Gose is Coriander seeds, which come from the Cilantro plant. Cilantro, considered a staple in Mexican dishes, is actually native to Asia and Europe and didn’t appear in Mexican cuisine until around 1500.
Other tap-room exclusives of note include the Blueberry Blonde, Captain’s Coffee Stout, The Golden Mild, Lafitte’s Watermelon (Hefeweizen), Dockside Dunkelweiss, Tripletail Belgian Tripel, Porter of Texas City, Lifeboat Lime (Pale Ale), Ex-Spouse Bitter, Mosaic Smash IPA, Toasted Mermaid (English Brown Ale), Lighthouse Lager, Red Tide (Irish Red Ale) and the really popular Duck Duck Gose.
Feel free to ask questions and have the servers recommend staff and patron favorites. You will notice they are eager to talk about their beers and help you find your favorite(s). Matter of fact, Henry has been pleased with the volunteers the brewery has been able to recruit.
“We are very appreciative of the relationship we have with our volunteers,” Henry explains. “They are great to us and it is a great way for someone to get involved in this exciting growing industry. We welcome people to come learn more about our volunteer program.”
Any stop at the brewery can also include a tour of the brewery. Beyond the tap room is the fermentation and conditioning room which is visually dominated by two giant, stainless steel fermentors to help give you an appreciation for the scale of Galveston Bay’s production. But Henry is quick to point out there is plenty of room for more to be added. Outside the fermentation room, is the giant brewhouse that once was used to brew award-winning beers at the Rikenjaks brewery in Louisiana before being relocated by Henry to Texas in 2008 and stored until the right opportunity came to open, much to the benefit of the local community and beer culture.
Next for Galveston Bay Beer company is more growth. More beers, more production and Henry has already started the “long process” to eventually get cans of some of their most popular beers out to the marketplace.
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Signature Beers Available On Tap at a Venue Near You
Sunny Day IPA (7% abv)
There’s nothing like kicking back on a sunny day (or maybe dreaming of a sunny day) and enjoying the fresh kick of hops in our Sunny Day IPA. The use of citra hops invoke fruity notes of grapefruit and lime assisted by a honey-like malt backbone built up to provide a perfectly balanced English style IPA that won’t wreck your pallet.
Scottish Ale (6.8% abv)
Hammerhead is a strong Scottish ale, also known as a wee heavy, brewed in the traditional fashion. A complex mix of malted barley along with a longer boil time give this beer a smooth malty sweetness and deep color while remaining light in body. A great beer that can be enjoyed any time of the year.
Tart Cherry Brown (6.3% abv)
(SEASONAL) Fermented with tart Montmorency cherries from Michigan, this special brown ale retains a hint of its cherry flavor without being overly sweet. The combination of malt, hops, and fruit come together to activate all the taste buds on your tongue. It begins with a burst of cherry tartness and as it mellows the toasty flavors of the roasted malts and slight bitterness from earthy hops give this beer a flavorful finish.
Lafitte’s Wheat (5% abv)
Jean Lafitte was a pirate who famously aided General Andrew Jackson in defending New Orleans from the British in 1815 then went on to settle a pirate colony in Galveston, Texas. Galveston Bay Beer Company has its roots in Louisiana – having bought out a brewpub there. Lafitte’s Wheat is an incredibly crisp and easy-drinking beer to be enjoyed all year-round. Notes of banana and clove round out a refreshing wheat finish.