St. Arnold Brewing – Houston

I’ll take the Weedwacker.

No, make that a Fancy Lawnmower instead.

Believe it or not, I wasn’t at Home Depot or Lowe’s; but rather at Saint Arnold Brewing Company in Houston.

I didn’t expect much when we arrived at the nondescript warehouse that was surrounded by an iron gate in a gritty, industrial section of downtown. Signs in the parking lot warned visitors to lock up any belongings before crossing the streets that seemed deserted. Upon entering a brick lined foyer, everyone was directed to the second floor.

Climbing up the stairs, voices from the second floor grew louder. Here was where the action was – in a huge beer hall that seated over 200 people. One entire wall was flanked by large windows looking into the brewery. At the far end was a bar where we ordered draft beer from about eight Saint Arnold selections.

The bartender took one look at my husband and said, “You need the Endeavor.” I chose the Elissa IPA. We sat down with our group at one of the picnic tables. While waiting on our food, which on this particular day was a balsamic green salad followed by fish and chips, I sampled the stout. I’m not beer drinker and to me stout beer tastes like motor oil. Surprisingly, the Endeavor, which is a stout, was relatively smooth and I enjoyed it. The Elissa was a little too hoppy for me, so I sampled both the Weedwacker and the Fancy Lawnmower. The only difference between the two is that the Weedwacker is fermented with a bavarian  hefeweizen, instead of the kolsch. I liked the lightness of both beers.

Lunch arrived and was quite tasty. The salad was as good as any four star restaurant. The fish and chips were highly breaded, but the portions were substantial and above average for bar food. The cavernous proportions of the room, coupled with the tile flooring, made the acoustics loud. This is not the place to go for an intimate date or a business meeting, but rather for groups of four to six.  At 1:00, the bartender announced it was last call for the unlimited beer. Some members of our group purchased Saint Arnold merchandise including beer glasses and t-shirts.

For a little under $20 this is a great way to sample unlimited draft beer, get a great two-course meal and explore an off the beaten area of Houston. Lunch is only offered on weekdays and reservations must be prepaid a day in advance. The fixed lunch menu is available on the website at http://www.saintarnold.com. Tours are offered for an additional fee.