As Alan heads off to New England, I'm just getting back from an excursion to Houston. I scheduled this trip ages ago and didn't realize that I would be in downtown Houston during American Craft Beer Week. Since there are no brewpubs in downtown Houston and I didn't rent a car, I didn't get to participate in the Great American Beer Tour (aside from a late week visit to the Two Rows brewpub near Rice University.
I did (much to my surprise) find good beer in Houston. My first night there I was content visiting the taps in the hotel bar. They were serving St Arnold's Summer Pils. Several years ago, my wife and I drove over to the St Arnold's brewery in Houston to see about getting a tour, but we couldn't find anyone around on that particular Saturday. The hotel had some other interesting offerings like the New Belgium 1554, a Brussels-style Black Ale; it dark, light-bodied, and has lots of roasty, chocolatey flavors. I'm fairly certain there's a dose of lactose in it as well, but couldn't confirm this from the blurb on New Belgium's web site.
While I was working my way through the taps at the hotel, a buddy of mine was over at a place called The Flying Saucer. He tells me about it the next day: "They have a decent beer selection. And last night they were serving pints for two-fifty." Now you tell me! Isn't that what cell phones are for?
Anyway, my friend felt so guilty that he went back with me the next night and we worked our way through as many of the 80 taps as we could then moved on to the bottle list. The real treat of the evening was the bottle of Pierre Celis Signature Grotten Brown. This is brewed by Brouwerij St. Bernardus in Belgium and imported into the US.
The Grotten was a trip down memory lane for me. I went to college in Texas and one of my favorite beers was Celis White. When I was young and ignorant I had no idea what the "Celis" was supposed to mean, but I liked the beer.
If you want to read more about my vists to The Flying Saucer, I wrote a review for Beermapping.com since that resource has been so helpful in my beer travels lately. And while you are there, you should take a look at my review for Brewery Tap, a British-style pub on the north side of downtown Houston. (Note: my handle on Beermapping is "theangler".)
It's good to be back to Long Island and I hope to tell you about some of the cool beer developments here in New York in the next couple of days.