Houston Thirsty For More Craft Breweries As Industry Grows

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A look at Houston's booming craft beer business. (KTRK)

According to the Brewers Association, there were only 59 breweries in Texas in 2011. As of last year, that number more than tripled to 189. Here in Houston, the craft brew revolution has exploded as well.

St. Arnold's Brewery has been doing it right by Houstonians for 22 years now. Selling their first keg back in 1994, the brewery has expanded by leaps and bounds. Probably best known for their Fancy Lawnmower, many consider it one of their favorites.

Since then, micro and craft breweries have been popping up all over. Paying homage to our local sports teams is 8th Wonder Brewery. They say the absolute must try is their Rocket Fuel.

"It's one of our signature beers. It's a Vietnamese coffee porter," Co-founder and brew-master Aaron Corsi said.

It's easy drinking, creamy and rich, big bold on flavor, but not really filling. Ideal for Houston tailgating.

"Dynamo and the Astros are right down the road and in walking distance. So are the Rockets, so people come here and tailgate before games, so why not call it the 8th wonder of the world" Corsi told us.

Also in Houston, the Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company. They also have a fan favorite.

"1836, this is our flagship beer. It's the first beer that we made" Troy Witherspoon said.

It's a beer that will complement any comfort food.

"It's got cascade hops for bittering, accentuates spicy foods, and then finishes out nice and smooth with noble hops" Witherspoon told us.

Speaking of hops, the Hopidillo at Karbach is one of the top sellers.

"It's got a lot of hops, so very explosive hop bitterness. But also a little bit more balance per style" David Graham with Karbach said.

Now in its fifth year of beer production, Karbach has grown at a record pace.

"I think we really underestimated the demand of Houston. The 4th largest city in the US, with only one brewery in the city limits before we opened. So I think Houston has just been a thirsty city and we've been happy to help grow," Graham said.

Heading south of Houston, the Texas Beer Refinery just opened their tap room a few months ago.

"Our top seller and most popular by far is going to be our Mexican IPA" Noel Martin with TBR explained. "It's a key lime IPA, so it has a nice citrusy balance to the hops character. Makes it really nice for the hot summer day. And it's easy to drink as far as IPAs go, and can cover a lot of pallets."

Probably the newest kids on the block have already established a good fan base. In Webster, Saloon Door Brewing joined the craft beer revolution in April. Their Citrus Wheat is an American style wheat beer with added flavor, that makes it great to drink in the Texas heat.

"We added the orange zest. You can get a little bit of grapefruit. We wanted to give it a little extra something extra that was already in the glass," Brewmaster Josh Anderson said. "You didn't have to add anything to our wheat. We wanted it to be perfect."

Like many of the brewmasters in town, Josh Anderson was a home brewer himself who turned his dream of running a brewery into a reality. It's an industry that's growing rapidly, giving H-Town one more thing to be proud of when it comes to making a great local product.
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