TJones

Let's talk about Craft Beer in Houston...

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There are lots of venues to have a fine Craft Beer here in the Houston Metro Area. Some Old buildings have been repurposed into fine drinking establishments or eateries and have found new life. Lots of new exciting people moving here everyday. What are some of your favorite wateringholes that you have found with weird or exciting architecture to behold and be in awe of as you imbibe your local or national favorites ? Feel free to list names and addresses of these places and WHY they are so awesome to you. Don't forget to tell us what your poison is as well....be it a craft cocktail they make or a specialty drink only they make or your favorite wine, but most importantly.....DON'T FORGET THE CRAFT BEER !!!

 

P.S If you say PBR, or Bud....you will lose a testicle or breasticle, depending on gender !

 

I would start us off, but I don't wish to seem biased or that I am advertising for any one establishment. Just Sayin' !

Edited by TJones

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Did I just see a ghost? Where in God's name have you been?? One of the few pre-crash Haifers on here, good to see you again buddy :)

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Thank you my friend. Just been a crazy 5 years or so. 2 kids...1 divorce.... 2 new homes...1 new career...4 different cities lived in...6 different cities worked in, because of my new career... and 3000 craft beers later. I am back to my hometown of H-Town. Well, Cypress, but close enough. It's good to be back.

Edited by TJones
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Worst forward ever. Play some D dude.

 

Seriously though, seems like every bar and restaurant in town has at least a few craft options nowadays. Karbach Hopadilo is everywhere it seems.

 

For variety and number of craft beers available, I don't think anything compares to the classic Flying Saucer. but it's probably far from being the most interesting place to drink.

 

I've never drank a beer I didn't like. but my favorite go-tos are really heavy imperial stouts and really bitter IPA's.

 

My latest favorite is Saint Arnold's Boiler Room Berliner Weisse. It's a sour wheat that is very sour. The waitress warned that it wasn't good and that nobody liked it, so I had to try it. None of my group liked it, but I loved it and sometimes get a strong craving for it even though it's only 3.7%.

 

My favorite non local brewers are Green Flash, Founders,and Stone.

 

Houston beers that i prefer are 8th Wonder's Hopston and Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co.'s More Cowbell.

 

 

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Hearsay has the most delicious raspberry cocktail. I think they took it off their menu, but it comes in champagne flute and knocks you off your feet. Perfect for the first couple drinks of the night to really get you going.

 

This may not be considered "Craft" cocktails, but Peli Peli has an outstanding Martini, Capital Grill has some too. Oh GOD I can't even REMEMBER!!!!!! I've been 3 months sober and 3 more to go, I'm starting to lose my mind!

 

I don't drink beer often, and haven't been to the BRC (Big Red Cock), in a while... but they had a few light amber's. One was from Belgium (can't remember), but it wasn't a famous brand, that reminded me almost of bubble gum. I don't care what anyone says I will drink Coors light if they don't have anything dainty on the menu for me.

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Hearsay has the most delicious raspberry cocktail. I think they took it off their menu, but it comes in champagne flute and knocks you off your feet. Perfect for the first couple drinks of the night to really get you going.

 

This may not be considered "Craft" cocktails, but Peli Peli has an outstanding Martini, Capital Grill has some too. Oh GOD I can't even REMEMBER!!!!!! I've been 3 months sober and 3 more to go, I'm starting to lose my mind!

 

I don't drink beer often, and haven't been to the BRC (Big Red Cock), in a while... but they had a few light amber's. One was from Belgium (can't remember), but it wasn't a famous brand, that reminded me almost of bubble gum. I don't care what anyone says I will drink Coors light if they don't have anything dainty on the menu for me.

 

Isn't a cocktail that knocks you off your feet better left for last?

 

If all they have is Coors light, I'll have ice water.

 

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I'm a big fan of Mongoose vs Cobra, they always have good Porters and Stouts and rotate through so quickly there is always something new. Clown Shoes has some really good varieties I always like to try.

 

Keep an eye out for B52s, relatively new brewery in Conroe. I saw it at iPic Theater which was surprising.

 

MoonTower Inn is a good watering hole, no architecture except for a shack on picnic tables!

 

Okra is an older building downtown that is worth checking out.

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Karbach has a nice new building, they put a lot of care into the look and feel of the taproom/dinner area. I don't generally like Karbach offerings, but some of their seasonal stuff is on point.

 

8th wonder, it's right down the street from me, so I want to like them so badly, but I just haven't really found a beer they make that doesn't taste just a little off. I haven't been to their new addition in the back, but from what I've seen it looks like they've out hipstered moon tower.

 

Nobi House, while not technically in Houston is a place to go for some beer, and they have some decent food too. Nothing terribly notable about the space though.

 

Closer to home, Mongoose v. Cobra has a really great list of interesting beer, and an interesting location with a great design.

 

And of course, if you just want to chill in the backyard, stop by D&Q. You can marvel at the awesomeness of your own homes architecture as you sip your favorite beer.

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One of our current favorites is Bovine and Barley downtown. They have a great wall of lights and almost all their beer is regional craft beer. They have pint night on Tuesday I believe and you can keep the glass for 4 dollars. 

 

The new brewpub at Karbach is also quite nice.

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Working on my 3rd Saucer downtown so I go there quite a bit after work. 

I like 8th Wonder since it's in the neighborhood and fun to go to before Coogs games. 

When in Sugar Land I have been enjoying Ginger Mule lately for their craft cocktails. 

When at work in Austin I like the Draught House and Moontower Saloon.

 

I prefer IPA's and like to try anything local on tap when traveling for work.

 

My favorite IPA is Stash by Independence Brewing Co.

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I'm on my 2nd Corona......am I allowed to post? I'm loving everyone's suggestions. I like a good sports establishment on Sundays, and especially one with local brews. Any suggestions on that?

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Typically I just go to upscale grocers to drink local beer :lol:

 

Spindletap makes the best 

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Taking the rail into the CBD for beer and lunch if anyone wants to link up.

 

The conservatory is probably where I’ll be heading?

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This got me thinking about when the whole craft beer movement really started to gain traction in Houston in the early 90s, before there was a Karbach or No Label or Southern Star, and St. Arnold's was just getting started and nobody had heard of it yet - back when Texas craft beer was Shiner.

 

This was back when brewpubs were a novel thing, breweries that were eating and drinking establishments first and the onsite brewing was for onsite consumption only. There are a few I remember that are no more:

 

There was Two Rows (the Houston expansion location of a Dallas concept) upstairs in Rice Village. I'm not sure when they first opened here in Houston, I think it was sometime in the mid 90s when I was away for college, they were here when I moved back in 1998, and I think they survived to about 2008?

 

There was an independent brewpub nearby, I think it was called either the Rice Brewery or the Rice Village Brewery. I don't think it lasted all that long.

 

Then down in Galveston, on the Strand, I remember there being the Strand Brewery, or Strand Street Brewery. Its location was taken over by the Fuddruckers.

 

Any other 1990s Houston-area brewpubs?

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It was just called The Village Brewery and it was on Dunstan in the old post office.

Across the street was The Vault which was more of a brewpub.

 

On Richmond there was Rock Bottom (chain) and the Houston Brewery.

Also, Bradley's in Clear Lake

 

There was also one on the North Freeway somewhere near Richey on the west side of the freeway.  Name slips me right now.

 

There was also a small brewpub on Highway 6.  The name also slips me.

 

May have been a few others but those are the ones I remember.

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Here's an article from 1998 announcing the closure of the Village Brewery, also gives a "time capsule" view of the Houston brewpub scene just as it was sputtering out in the late 90s

 

https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/1998/09/14/story5.html

 

" Now the city can count only six brew- pubs on tap, after a short-lived trend during the first half of the 1990s in which Houstonians clamored for custom ales. After the Village Brewery closes, Bank Draft Brewing Co., Two Rows Restaurant & Brew Pub, Huey's, Houston Brewery, Bradley's Restaurant & Brewery in Clear Lake and Bay Brewery Steaks & Seafood in Seabrook remain. Galveston has the Strand Brewery. "

 

"When the Texas Legislature lifted a 1994 ban that prohibited brewpubs, entrepreneurs were foaming to erect buildings. Most of the brewpubs in existence now were built within the first two years after the ban was lifted. "

 

"So, the distinctly 1990s brewpub phenomenon is slowly being replaced by retro clubs, which happens to be the future in entertainment. "

 

 

1 hour ago, gnu said:

There was also one on the North Freeway somewhere near Richey on the west side of the freeway.  Name slips me right now.

Apparently that one was Huey's. From the article: 

 

" Greg Schepens, brewmaster for Huey's on the North Freeway. Schepens, who was a brewmaster at Rock Bottom during its tenure here "

Edited by Reefmonkey

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5 minutes ago, mkultra25 said:

Not about brewpubs per se, but an interesting read covering the early history of the modern beer movement in Houston.

 

http://www.mikericcetti.com/americas-first-modern-beer-bar.html

 

I like the " and numerous aggressively-hopped and alcoholic domestic ales that recently styled beer aficionados are quick to champion " comment. Touches on an issue I have with a lot of craft beer (and craft beer drinkers) these days, who seem to think everything is supposed to have IPA-level hop. It's like when they were seniors in college they had their first beer that wasn't Natural Light, and was an IPA, and they decide that's what "good" beer is supposed to taste like. my hypothesis is the extra hop covers a lot of brewing defects, which is why so many craft brewers start out with this style. I also think that we long ago reached "Peak Craft Beer", and we have a lot of craft breweries resorting to gimmicks to sell beer - pithy names (both for the brewery and their different beers), wierd experimental hybrids of styles, uses of odd ingredients, and oh yes, hop hop, and more hop. I think it's part that a lot of hop can cover up a failed experiment and they can still sell it, but also it's appealing to a macho thing, like flavoring food with habanero and ghost peppers so they're actually painful to eat, but you always get some bro who claims he loves them and "it's not that hot" even as he's turning purple and drenched in sweat in a 70 degree room. Same kind of bro loves to talk about how much he loves mouth-puckeringly overhopped beer, "so much better than that watery macrobrew you guys drink."

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For me, Karbach is the worst over-hopped offender.  Going to their brewery will leave your hair and clothes smelling like hops for the rest of the day.  Now that they are also not a real independent craft brewery, it has only made the offense seem greater.

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2 hours ago, Reefmonkey said:

...Bank Draft Brewing Co..... Huey's...... Bay Brewery Steaks & Seafood in Seabrook ....
 

 

 Huey's! That was it.  And the Vault was of course was the Bank Draft and they had a vault.  duh!

Forgot about the Bay Brewery.  They had a great back deck that overlooked the Bay.

 

There was also another brewery in Galveston maybe the Galveston Brewery?  It was south of the Stand on a sw corner. 

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I think Karbach has their share of milder beers, I'm a fan of their Weissversa. Now their Hopdilla, a few sips of that were enough to tell me that was not the beer for me. Still not as hoppy as St. Arnold's Elissa, though, but I'm not going to condemn a whole brewery for having one beer in its lineup.

 

What does bug me though (and I am probably going to ruffle a few feathers here), is that there are just too many craft breweries out there (both nationwide and Houston-based), and each craft brewery produces too many different varieties. I think we've reached Peak Craft Brew. Several years ago, just here in Houston, we passed a threshold after which any new brewery is just white noise. It seems like the business model for new breweries is to try to get big enough that they get bought out by a big national brand, the way Karbach did with AB InBev. That's soulless. Houston now has 52 craft breweries. 52. We're a big city, but we're not that big that we need that many. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that every craft brewery has a whole slew of varieties, so that the varieties themselves become white noise. They're doing very little to differentiate themselves from each other, so they're stepping all over each other's toes. Practically everyone makes a pale ale, a pils, some kind of wheat beer, oh, yeah, and now most of them have to do a Kolsche (and I've had real Kolsche in Cologne, sorry US breweries, none of you match the likes of Fruh), etc. Every craft brewery tries to be everything to every beer drinker. Jack of all trades is master of none. It would have been better if the breweries had each carved out a niche, stay focused on one style of brewing do one thing very well, have maybe 4 varieties that are available all year, max, plus one seasonal at a time. St. Arnold offers 12 year round beers, THREE of which are IPAs, and two amberish English style ales that aren't that different from each other. And that's not including the 7 seasonals they put out, or the limited releases (Divine reserves,  Icon, Bishop's Barrel). And I've noticed, as they grow, their quality is starting to slip.

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4 hours ago, Reefmonkey said:

What does bug me though (and I am probably going to ruffle a few feathers here), is that there are just too many craft breweries out there (both nationwide and Houston-based), and each craft brewery produces too many different varieties. I think we've reached Peak Craft Brew. Several years ago, just here in Houston, we passed a threshold after which any new brewery is just white noise. It seems like the business model for new breweries is to try to get big enough that they get bought out by a big national brand, the way Karbach did with AB InBev. That's soulless. Houston now has 52 craft breweries. 52. We're a big city, but we're not that big that we need that many. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that every craft brewery has a whole slew of varieties, so that the varieties themselves become white noise. They're doing very little to differentiate themselves from each other, so they're stepping all over each other's toes. Practically everyone makes a pale ale, a pils, some kind of wheat beer, oh, yeah, and now most of them have to do a Kolsche (and I've had real Kolsche in Cologne, sorry US breweries, none of you match the likes of Fruh), etc. Every craft brewery tries to be everything to every beer drinker. Jack of all trades is master of none. It would have been better if the breweries had each carved out a niche, stay focused on one style of brewing do one thing very well, have maybe 4 varieties that are available all year, max, plus one seasonal at a time. St. Arnold offers 12 year round beers, THREE of which are IPAs, and two amberish English style ales that aren't that different from each other. And that's not including the 7 seasonals they put out, or the limited releases (Divine reserves,  Icon, Bishop's Barrel). And I've noticed, as they grow, their quality is starting to slip.

 

I have a very different attitude toward this situation... I love the variety and options available. I like to try as many different beers as possible, and will always order something I haven't had if that's an option (though of course I have some favorites that I'll go to if that isn't possible), so I welcome the large number of breweries. And even though we have 52, I think that's still per capita less than many other cities. I don't think most breweries are trying to get bought by a big national brand, because this isn't very realistic as there are only a very small handful of breweries that reach this level. Rather, I think a lot of these breweries, especially in the suburbs, are trying to be more of a local hangout/bar type of place with some distribution but without the idea of spreading nationally. While I'm crazy and will travel all over the area to visit as many of these breweries as possible, most people frequent their nearby "neighborhood" brewery, i.e. Bakfish in Pearland, Running Walker in Richmond, Saloon Door in Webster, No Label in Katy, etc...) much more often than going to one across town, if they ever even do that at all. There are certainly some breweries in Houston that suck, but for the most part I think that we have a pretty good selection. And some do carve out a niche (i.e. Spindletap with their NEIPAs, Texian with sours, Ingenious with barrel aged stouts), but I appreciate that most of them try brewing lots of different styles. I guess everyone has a different preference, but I say keep the new breweries coming!

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Agreed that Spindletap makes some of the best haze/juice IPAs.  Barrel aged imperial stouts are great but dangerous. Shouldn’t drive after a 2nd pour.

 

@asubrt have you had deGarde sours from Tillamook, OR?

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1 hour ago, ekdrm2d1 said:

Agreed that Spindletap makes some of the best haze/juice IPAs.  Barrel aged imperial stouts are great but dangerous. Shouldn’t drive after a 2nd pour.

 

@asubrt have you had deGarde sours from Tillamook, OR?

 

I haven't, but looks like they have pretty amazing ratings. Available in Houston at all?

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13 hours ago, asubrt said:

 

I have a very different attitude toward this situation... I love the variety and options available. I like to try as many different beers as possible, and will always order something I haven't had if that's an option (though of course I have some favorites that I'll go to if that isn't possible), so I welcome the large number of breweries.

That's great if you're intrepid enough to wade through all the choices and market duplication, I'm just not sure it's the best thing for the longterm health of the industry. There is a lot of psychological research on this, including a book from about 10 or so years ago called "The Paradox of Choice", that studied consumer choice and found that consumer happiness is related to choice in kind of a bell curve, that consumer happiness increases with increased choice only to a point, after which happiness starts to decrease with increased choice. As choice increases beyond that point, consumers tend to "choose not to choose", most often by falling back on their previous choices, what they are comfortable with, rather than trying new things. I'll be interested to see what the survival rate of all these craft breweries is. Personally, I think it would be awesome if there were a bunch of local breweries that served their immediate neighborhood, I'd love to while away a lazy saturday afternoon in the beer garden of a neighborhood brewery down the street from me, very European. There is a newer brewery not far from me in Spring Branch I want to try called 4J, I like their stated philosophy about beer, about keeping it simple and not overhopping:

Quote

" Simple people = simple beer. We are simple people bringing it back to the basics by brewing simple beers.  Two light beer drinkers started home brewing with one mission – make beers that are easy to drink, a lot more flavor, and higher alcohol content. Done, done, and done. We don’t have any crazy processes or additions. That may come later when we add in seasonal or specialty brews. For now we want to keep it very simple from the brand to the logo to the foam. We make beer that tastes great and that we enjoy drinking - come enjoy it with us!

Warning: we don’t overpower our beer with hops because we want to emphasize the malty flavor and other characteristics. In other words, we hop to our own beat. "

 

Problem is brewing is high overhead, you need economies of scale to survive. It's hard enough for a bar to survive as it is, then put a small scale manufacturing facility to produce what the bar serves on top of that.  You just don't get the economies of scale you need trying to be a neighborhood brewpub (it was tried and failed in the 90s, see the HBJ article from 1998 I posted earlier), which means you need distribution beyond your home turf, which means you run into being more white noise in the craft brew marketplace, and invariably quality control suffers.

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So since we're on the topic, does anyone here do any homebrewing?

 

I don't brew any beer, but I do make muscadine wine from vines in my backyard, and in early summer I go blackberry picking and make both a dry and a sweet blackberry wine.

 

In early september I tried my hand at hard cider for the first time. I'm not such a fan of the superdry pale yellow clear ciders with no apple flavor, or the sweet pale yellow clear alcopop grocery store ciders. Crispin makes some varieties I like - hazy, just enough sweetness, and lingering apple flavor. I used a gallon of pasteurized unfiltered organic apple juice from Whole Foods, added brown sugar, and a cider yeast. When I first tasted it, I was disappointed, but now that it's bottle-aged about a month, it's really grown on me. Despite the addition of brown sugar, its not sweet, it's just slightly off-dry (initially I considered back-sweetening, but glad I didn't), the increased sugar mostly just drove up the ABV. Now I wish I had made more, I'm down to my last few bottles.

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On 10/15/2018 at 9:53 PM, asubrt said:

 

I haven't, but looks like they have pretty amazing ratings. Available in Houston at all?

 

No, it’s not.

 

You have to trade for it, or buy it on the secondary market.

 

I go there once a year. It’s fun. Saw the Pacific Ocean got the first time last trip

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Here's my last trip to deGarde in Tillamook, OR.

 

My brother is into the whole beer trading scene. Collecting, and trading the rarest American small batch brews. Whales, or White Whales they are called and can reach thousands of dollars on the secondary market. Selling beer is against the cultural rules though.  You trade beer, and not sell it for a 500% markup.

 

deGarde is sour wild ales, so you take antacid medicine before you go to a beer event. Sour beers can turn your stomach!

 

UFmp8gl.jpg

 

Here is our group for the deGarde tasting

pZv2EMb.jpg

 

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4 hours ago, ekdrm2d1 said:

 

deGarde is sour wild ales, so you take antacid medicine before you go to a beer event. Sour beers can turn your stomach!

 

I can’t imagine purposefully consuming something you have to take a prophylactic dose of medication before drinking. That seems like nature telling you you’re not supposed to drink it. With fermented food and drink, there is a thin line between transformed and just spoiled. 

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I've heard a few sets of people talk about opening Meyerland's first brewery.  Is there a Meyerland, Bellaire, West U brewery?

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22 hours ago, ekdrm2d1 said:

I've heard a few sets of people talk about opening Meyerland's first brewery.  Is there a Meyerland, Bellaire, West U brewery?

 

The closest would probably be Baileson Brewing on Bissonnet just west of Greenbriar. I think it's right on the edge of West U, but not that close to Meyerland.

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On 10/28/2018 at 6:28 PM, asubrt said:

 

The closest would probably be Baileson Brewing on Bissonnet just west of Greenbriar. I think it's right on the edge of West U, but not that close to Meyerland.

 

You seem very knowledgeable! Thanks

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My craft beer preference aren't the norm(stouts and porters) so it's easy for me to avoid basic beers.  I think Brash has distinguished themselves as the Houston brewery for stouts.  I'm ok with the number of breweries, we haven't reached Portland levels.

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On ‎10‎/‎27‎/‎2018 at 8:00 PM, ekdrm2d1 said:

I've heard a few sets of people talk about opening Meyerland's first brewery.  Is there a Meyerland, Bellaire, West U brewery?


I'd be at a Meyerland / Bellaire brewery every weekend. I hope there's some truth to these rumors! That area seems to be in a dead zone for breweries. 

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I had that NOLA Island Remedy Imperial pale Ale with Key Lime and Coconut.  Good. Should have bought another one at Sigma Brewing

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Whole Foods Post Oak is killing it with juice bombs. They're latest DL Double is so crushable!

 

Work in the morning after crushing Double IPAs all evening. Fun! :ph34r:

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Brother is in town from Seattle. Doing a brewery crawl. Going out to Crosby to Ingenious Brewing, then Spindletap, Sigma, and finally Saint Arnold.

 

SA apparently has a bunch of old BB or Devine at their new space. Will be my first time visiting their addition. Heard it’s big.

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CM has a “tap takeover” featuring Parish Brewing. First time trying the famous Ghost in The Machine!

 

Do I have to go back to the office? :ph34r:

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