Breweries • Tap Walls • Growler Fills & More
The national, state and — most importantly — local craft beer scene is exploding. There are now more breweries in Galveston County than there was in the entire state less than 10 years ago when The SCENE first started listing and tracking them.
But even faster than the growth of local breweries has been the extraordinary expansion of the draft beer selection available in local venues. Not too many years ago those whose palate had matured beyond the common macro (Big Three) offerings would be pleased to find a Shiner or Heineken on draft in your average restaurant. Obviously, the selection in pubs would be better, though the additional tap selections would primarily contain imports (Bass, Stella Artois) along with a selection or two from Saint Arnold and maybe a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale out of California if one was lucky. I remember when the “area’s” second craft brewery Southern Star opened in Conroe back in 2007, I had to assist Galveston County SCENE advertisers in getting access to the beer to offer thier customers a second Texas craft beer option, which was a big deal at the time. Now there are roughly 20 licensed breweries closer to this market than Southern Star which does not seem so local anymore, though they remain a personal favorite of mine along with Saint Arnold. But boy, have times — and the selection — changed!
Personally, the fact I can now eat almost anywhere and expect to be offered a selection of solid Houston, Texas, and national craft beers to enjoy with a meal is the biggest and most positive change. Often an option from more local than Houston will be among the handful of options. In 2016, craft beer on the menu at any venue is a given and no longer a plus.
Then there is the Tap Wall “Arms Race” with venues taking their commitment to craft to another level. To follow are some of the biggest and best tap walls full of craft beer in the area:
Skallywag Suds N’ Grub 600 6th St., Kemah
The Republic House 5835 Center St., Pasadena
Nobi Public House 241 NASA Pkwy., Webster (Growler Fills Here)
Boondoggles 4106 NASA Road 1, El Lago
Brews Brothers 2404 Strand St., Galveston
Gordon Street Tavern 114 N Gordon St., Alvin (*Growler Fills Here)
Bayview Duck 3131 Texas 146, Bacliff
Stuttgarden Tavern 2110 Strand St., Galveston
Yard House 700 Baybrook Mall, F-wood
Beers Looking At You 17074 Hwy. 3, Webster (**Growler Fills Here)
Chelsea 4106 NASA Road 1, El Lago
Beerfoot Brewery 2816 Ave. R 1/2, Galveston
J. Henry’s Draught House 1105 Clear Lake City Blvd. (**Growler Fills Here)
Chasin’ Tails Sports Bar 2402 Bay Area Blvd., Houston
* Gordon Street Tavern only fills Growlers of their in-house beer (beer they brewed on-site) due to TABC law.
** J Henry’s has a Growler Fill Drive Thru for your convenience.
Three additional venues with draft beer selections worth mentioning are Bakkhus Taverna (605 6th St., Kemah); Texas Bar 36 inside of Dickinson BBQ Company ( 2111 Fm 517 Rd. E, Dickinson) and the recently expanded Dan’s Pizza Company (15148 Hwy. 3, Webster). While none of these three venues have close to 40 or 50 taps like many of those listed above, they do have at least a dozen. And more important is how they use those taps and the commitment to local and independent craft they demonstrate. For example, Dickinson BBQ may only have 12 taps. But the fact that it takes seven or more different sources including multiple beer distributors and many small, independent self-distributing breweries to fill those 12 taps shows more commitment and deserves more credit than a bar with 50 taps that uses only two or three sources to fill them.