Brewpubs in Houston and surrounding areas since 1993

Updated 3/26/2016

Background

This page lists the most basic history of brewpubs in the Houston and nearby areas. Brewpub is generally defined here as a restaurant that brews and serves beer on site. When brewpubs were first legalized in Texas in May 1993, it was a huge deal and people risked money to get into the business. Both small and large brewpubs sprouted around Houston and surrounding areas. It was a great time for beer lovers, but the market was hard on the brewpubs and most of them did not last more than 2 or 3 years.

The laws changed again in 2013 to allow breweries to sell their beer on the premises as well as to distributors and retailers. This was a move in the right direction and really blurred the lines between microbreweries and brewpubs, because now breweries could sell beer directly to customers (and they could also serve food), just like brewpubs had been doing. Because of these changes, and because there are, as of 2016, several breweries operating as brew pubs, I have added craft breweries to this list.

Sources

This data was compiled from various Internet sources such as restaurant and bar review websites. I also got a great deal of information from old copies of the Southwest Brewing News, for which I used to write. This article appears to be copied from the February/March 2001 issue of Southwest Brewing News, and is loaded with good information. This article from the Houston Business Journal also has a lot of great information and is worth reading. I also got a good deal of knowledge from Scott Birdwell at DeFalco's Home Wine and Beer Supply. Since all brewpub brewers in the Houston area started off as homebrewers, they all know Mr. Birdwell. Many of the brewing roads around here lead to DeFalco's.My final source of information comes from my personal experience of having watched the Houston beer scene for some time, especially during the rise and fall of the brewpubs. If you have any updates to this data send them to ken (at) ken blair (dot) com.

Name Location Type Date opened or started brewing Date closed, changed name or ceased brewing Brewer(s) Notes, comments, history & additional information
Bank Draft Brewing Company Dunstan Brewpub, bar 1995, August 2000, September Scott Littlewood, Jeff Humphreys Bank Draft brewed their own beer and also served a number of microbrewed beers as well. They did not operate a restaurant. The establishment had a great run but ultimately suffered when the owners opened The Mercantile, a brewpub in downtown Houston. The Bank Draft was located in Rice Village near The Village Brewery, Two Rows, and 2 or 3 other beer enthusiast bars including The Gingerman. Here's a page from the original Bank Draft website that details the history how the Bank Draft got started.
Bay Brewery, The 709 Todville Road, Seabrook, Texas Brewpub 1997, July 2000, October Phil Endacott Was also known as the Bayview Seafood Company.
BJ's Restautant / Brewery 515 W. Bay Area Blvd., Clear Lake, Texas Brewpub 2003? Ceased brewing, but still open as of March 2016. Mark Duchow This location was formerly known as Bradley's Restaurant & Brewery. It is possible that BJ's, a national chain of restaurants, ceased brewing on-site in 2006. I sought information directly from the company to clarify this, but never did receive a response. Some of BJ's locations do brew on-site but some get their beer from a reigonal location. This article says that at least one Texas BJ's is getting its beer from Saint Arnolds in Houston.
www.bjsrestaurants.com
Boondoggles' Pizzeria & Brewery 4106 Nasa Road One, Seabrook, Texas Brewpub, bar 1997, October Ceased brewing, still open Steve Roberts No longer brewing, but still serving beer and food.
Bradley's Restaurant & Brewery 515 W. Bay Area Blvd., Clear Lake, Texas Brewpub 1996, January closed Gary Heyne, Phil Endacott This operation changed ownership and changed name to BJ's brewery at some point after September 2001.
Galveston Brewing Company 2521 Mechanic Street, Galveston, Texas Brewpub 1996, January 1997, May Steve Roberts This was the second brewpub to open in Galveston and competed with the nearby Strand Brewery. The Galveston Brewing Company was known for producing beers of a greater variety and quality that what was brewed at the Strand, but did not last as long. Food-wise, The Galveston Brewing Company served only deli sandwiches.
Harp & Star Brewing Co. 1404 Fm 1960 Bypass Rd. E, Humble, Texas Brewpub N/A N/A Richard Coggins This operation never got off the ground. Richard Coggins was formerly brewing for the Market Square Brewing Company.
Hoffbrau Steaks and Brewery FM 1960 and FM 249, Houston, Texas Brewpub   2001, August Max Miyamoto This was the second brewpub with brewer Max Miyamoto at the helm. After this he took the reins over at Side Street Brewing.
Hops House Brew Pub 2317 South Highway 6 Brewpub 1998 Ceased brewing in 2000, still open as of March 2016 John Crockett Still operating, bar only. Now called JP Hops House. www.jphopshouse.com
Houston Brewery, The 6224 Richmond Ave, Houston, Texas Brewpub 1994, September 1999, December Tim Case A heroic undertaking when first built, and known for producing top-quality beer. Ultimately the business was unable to make a profit due to the high cost of running the operation and peoples' declining interest in the Richmond strip nightclub scene. Although changes were made along the way, this operation fell like most of the others.
Huey's Restaurant and Brewery 15335 North I-45 at Richey Road , Houston, TX Brewpub 1996, May 2000 Greg Schepens Greg Schepens was previously with the Rock Bottom Brewery.
Market Square Brewing Company 800 block of Congress st., Houston, TX Brewpub 1994, September 1995, July Richard Coggins This was a very small brewing operation located next to La Carafe. They were using 14 gallon fermenters and no temperature control. There were plans to move to larger brewing equipment but the operation shut down before that happened.
Mercantile, The Downtown Houston Brewpub 2000 2001, January Jeff Humphreys This establishment was operated by the same people as Bank Draft Brewing Company, and was located in the building of the 1912 Isis Theatre where some of the theatre's original decorative elements were discovered before construction of the brewery.
Rock Bottom Brewery #3 6111 Richmond Ave Brewpub 1994, September 1998, February Greg Schepens, Kevin Marley, Tom Crawford The Rock Bottom renovated and moved into the former Lake Longhorn restautant, and was part of a national chain and was a very large operation. Part of the reason of failure was the inability to get enough people to fill the place at the right times. Parking was also very, very limted. The company had an agreement with the office building next door to use their parking after business hours. The next door building was built and owned by M. David Lowe, a staffing company that was purchased in 1997. The operation also suffered partially due to the declining interest in the Richmond Strip area. This was a wildly successful area for nightclubs since the early 80's but the trend started to dwindle around this time. After closing the building became Polly Esther's, a nightclub / dance club. After that closed it remained a nightclub for a few years. The building was demolished in 2007 after having sat idle for several years due to the continued decline of the nightclub business in this area. As of January 2009, the land still sits idle and is covered with layer of short weeds and grass. www.rockbottom.com As of March 2016, the property is the location of a paintball playing field and the land has a large for sale sign displayed.
Side Street Brewing 2006 Lexington, Houston, Texas 77098 Brewpub 2003, September 2004, February Max Miyamoto This was Max Miyamoto's third gig in the Houston area.
Strand Brewery 101 23rd St. at Harborside Drive, Galveston, Texas Brewpub 1995, May 2001 Wolfram Koehler, Michael Briggs, Tyson McLeod This was the first brewpub in Galveston and offered a full menu but was never known for producing beers with great variety or character. This operation was backed by George and Cynthia Mitchell whose names are well known in the Galveston and Houston areas. This location was a Fuddrucker's restaurant, but as of January 2009 this is no longer listed on the company's website. It was most likely closed after hurricane Ike greatly damaged the island. Wolfram Koehler, the brewery's first brewmaster, was formerly with Crescent City brewpub in New Orleans.
Two Rows Restaurant & Brewery 2400 University St, Suite 200, Houston, Texas Brewpub 1997, January Closed October 2, 2010. Rob Cromie, Ian Larson This is the Houston Chronicle article about the closure. Was part of a chain, and a good establishment. The end of an era in Houston. www.tworows.com. Two Rows was located in Rice Village which was home to two other brewpubs and still has a few beer enthusiast bars that remain today, most notably The Gingerman.
University Brewing Company (Brew U) 3941 Southwest Freeway, Houston, Texas misc 1997, July Closed James Hudec This was a 'Brew on Premise' operation where customers could brew their own beer with the help and equipment of the shop. They also served their own beer which was brewed in-house. The establshment closed sometime before 2000. James Hudec reportedly went on to open the Brenham Brewery (closed, 2003), brewed for Rahr and Sons Brewing Company for six months, and also brewed for both Gordon Biersch and Crescent City in New Orleans.
Village Brewery, The 2415 Dunstan, Houston, Texas 77005 Brewpub 1994, April 1998, September Bryan Pearson, Max Miyamoto This was the very first Brewpub in Houston and opened with great fanfare. The operation faced competition early on from two other brewpubs in the area, as well as a few beer enthusiast bars. I'll never forget going there once during the first few days after it opened and the place was overwhelmed with customers. I think we waited 2 hours before finally being served. Things mellowed and the owners made small changes to the operation over the years to fine tune the business formula. Ultimately the name was changed to The Orchid Lounge shortly before going out of business forever. Here's their original website saved at archive.org
The League of Extraordinary Brewers / Brewery Incubator 907 Franklin Street, Houston, TX Brewpub, bar May 13, 2013 August 23, 2014 Founder Lucrece Borrego Not a tradtional brepub, but a unique concept funded via Kickstarter. From their now-defunct website: "We are creating the world's first co-working brewery and incubator to foster the development of craft breweries by providing a pilot facility, tap room, support network and audience accessible to all aspiring brewers. We cultivate these nano-breweries through business workshops, networking events, co-marketing, investor pitches and co-working until they are fully ready to launch their own brewery. We aspire to serve as a venue for experimental brews and new collaborations, promoting industry innovation and education. More than a brewery, we aim to create a community center for craft beer locals. Our pub will cater to members. We will host classes, tastings, tours and community brew-ins. We will sponsor homebrew clubs and competitions. We are boldly going where no craft brewery has gone before... to the people!"
City Acre Brewing 3421 Folger St, Houston, TX 77093 Brewpub unknown unknown Matt Schlabach News stories mention a poential opening of 2012, but as of March 2016, says that no opening date has been announced.
Moon Tower Inn / Sudworks 3004 Canal, Houston, TX 77003 Brewpub, bar 2011 open as of March 2016 unknown As of March 2016, their website claims "Moon Tower Inn cookshack and sudworks. Houston Texas' one and only brew pub.", however no beer information is given.
Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company 5301 Nolda Street, Houston, TX 77007 craft brewery 2011 still open as of March 2016 CEO Rassul Zarinfar
Karbach Brewing Company 2032 Karbach Street, Houston, TX 77092 craft brewery 2011 still open as of March 2016 Founder Eric Warner Eric Warner, brewmaster then chief executive from Flying Dog Brewery in Colorado. The brewery also has a restautant serving lunch and dinner.
Gulf Coast Brewing 7648 Canal St, Houston, TX 77012 craft brewery? ? ? ?
Saint Arnold Brewing Company 2000 Lyons Ave., Houston, Texas craft brewery 1994 Still in operation as of March 2016 Founders Kevin Bartol and Brock Wagner Houston's first microbrewery and a remarkable survivor. The growth of Saint Arnold is a testament to the growing number of craft beer drinkers that have been able to sustain the this and several other large craft brewers in the area for years. They also have a restautant on site serving lunch and providing food for events at the brewery. They continue to innovate and offer great beer.
8th Wonder Brewing 2202 Dallas St., HouTex, 77003 craft brewery 2013 Still in operation as of March 2016 Aaron Corsi They also taproom serving beer at the brewery.
Southern Star Brewing 3525 N. Frazier St., Conroe, Texas 77303 craft brewery July 2007 Still in operation as of March 2016 Founder Dave Fougeron Taproom serving beer at the brewery.
Galveston Island Brewing 8423 Stewart Rd, Galveston, TX 77554 craft brewery 2014 Still in operation as of March 2016 Mark Dell'Osso This article states that the operation works under a brewpub license but also plans to distribute off-site.
B-52 Brewing Company 12470 Milroy Ln, Conroe, TX 77304 craft brewery 2013 Still in operation as of March 2016 Chad and Brent Daniel Taproom serves beer Friday and Saturday.
Texian Brewing Company 1125 FM 359 Rd, Richmond, TX 77406 craft brewery October 2012 Still in operation as of March 2016 Joshua Haley Taproom serves beer Friday and Saturday.
No Label Brewing Company 5373 1st Street, Katy, TX 77493 craft brewery 2009 Still in operation as of March 2016 James Wolfe Taproom.




Texas Brewers Festival t-shirt from 1996: