When it was announced that Saint Arnold was going to have its own spot at Minute Maid Park a little bit of my heart sank. They were movin’ on up, and the progression of Houston’s craft beer scene was hitting the big time. Sure- many people outside of the bayou city may have yet to try the wonderful beer the Saint Arnold creates, but the popularity is definitely picking up steam.
The brewery is located in a refurbished fire house was over 100 years old, but from the outside it looks like a typical warehouse. Magnificent views of downtown, a nice little park, trains whistling by and seemingly quiet operation. From the outside, at least.
Walking through the powerful double doors, up a few sets of stairs and you’re instantly made aware of your location. Larger than life murals of the saint are posted on the wall and the walk to the main beer hall begins.
If you get to visit the brewery after reading this I want to make you aware of something: Stop as you enter the dining hall and pause for a moment to embrace the grandiose space that can only be achieved in a space that is covered in solid wood from the floors to the tables; fantastic brickwork and then the wall lined with glass to showcase the large copper kettles.
The reason for this particular trip was to eat lunch and do a beer tour. Lunch specials vary, but there are menu items that you will see more than once. The special on this visit was shrimp and grits. It came with a side salad and, the best part, unlimited beer samples until 2 P.M. that same day. Did you catch it? UNLIMITED. I’ll get back to that here in a second.
Liberty IPA had just been relased, and it was for a great cause, so we picked up that to donate and for the glass and went on to enjoy each beer offered that day and our lunch.
The community-style seating is one of the great parts about Saint Arnold. When it gets busy you get to sit next to other beer people and chat and meet new friends. I got to meet a family visiting from North Dakota; never visited Houston before and just had a pleasant conversation.
So, remember the unlimited beer? Pace yourself, there’s plenty to go around, but try something new. Try something even if you don’t think you’ll like it, because maybe you will. In my case it was trying Boiler Room. BR is a Berliner Weisse; sour but not too puckery and if you’re lucky there are additional flavorings to make it even more enjoyable. Typically the options are raspberry or woodruff syrups. Makes it a tad sweeter, but not over powering.
I won’t describe the tour- very entertaining, but the experience for me was the food and afternoon drinking. If you do decide to do the tour, you will receive drink tokens and an extra glass for more (MORE!) beer samplings. Remember kids, water breaks.
Don’t forget, take a look around. The building is fantastic. Get out of your beer comfort zone, and get the lunch special. Totally worth it.