Back Pew Brewing, Ingenious Brewing
Back Pew Brewing
Although strictly speaking, Porter is just a few minutes outside of Houston’s City Limits, it feels like another world. The countryside beckons, and the concrete of the city gives way to tall trees and lush green fields. Although locals still consider themselves to be Houstonistas, the urban sprawl is completely forgotten, nowhere more so than at Back Pew Brewing.
Situated on its own huge plot of farmland, Back Pew is as modern as it is rural, with a shiny new taproom complete with a large TV screen showing the beer menu and Untappd check-ins, but when you step outside into the vast, leafy beer garden that extends almost as far as the eye can see, you kind of wish all taprooms could be like this. Visiting on a Sunday afternoon, we relaxed with locals, letting their dogs and kids run free. We were extra pleased to find that 5pm was, in fact, a ‘soft close’, a phrase I’m always happy to hear, and which enabled us to try a few more beers than expected. While Back Pew doesn’t serve flights, it has a tasting-token system which makes a lot of sense if you’re a local and paying regular visits, but means that you should allow extra time for a one-off visit to maximise your beer tasting. Glasses with four tasting tokens included come in different size and price options (half-pint, pint or stein) allowing you to taste two beers under 6% (the Saints) and two over 6% (the Sinners). A half-pint taster will set you back $9, so about the same as your average Texas flight, but a slighty larger portion! Tokens can be used at any time, but for out-of-towners, make sure you allow enough time to use them up without having to down your beer, although sitting in that lovely garden for a while is not great hardship, trust me!
Although Back Pew’s menu isn’t huge, everything we tried was really tasty. I particularly enjoyed the dry-roasty 9th Circle Black IPA and the fragrant but meaty Garnet Pietist Saison, and the friendly staff, laid back atmosphere and cool music to relax to all contributed to making this a great visit.
After Back Pew, we headed up the road to Ingenious Brewing. Even a quick glance at the Ingenious menu will have any fan of sweet beers licking their lips in anticipation. This really is the Mother Ship of dessert beers, and best of all, Ingenious haven’t over-egged their pudding, so to speak, as the beers more than live up to their ambitious descriptions. While Ingenious unfortunately don’t serve flights or tasting pours, most beers are available to sample before you commit, and almost without exception they are absolutely divine. I was, quite literally, a kid in a beer-candy store.
The Peanut Butter Marshmallow Time (exactly as it sounds) was intoxicatingly moreish, and the Blueberry Ice Cream Sundae was like drinking cake batter but better. Other highlights included Vanilla Coconut FroYo, Cinnamon Roll Brown, Chocolate Covered Cherry, and as if that wasn’t enough they have the absolute coolest taproom and stupendous branding. A mix of neon pinks and greens, chrome and glass, glowing hops and stylised brains, this is a taproom that has been conceived and executed with impeccable care and attention, and it was absolutely impossible for me to leave without buying one of their awesome tank tops.
They have a nice little grass seating area at the back of the building, so that you don’t feel so much like you’re on an industrial estate, and as if I couldn’t be any more enamoured than I was, they were pumping out classic 80s hits both inside and outside! My only caveat is to be careful – this was by far the most expensive taproom I’ve visited in Texas and I managed to rinse $60 in the blink of an eye. That said, it was worth every damn penny.
Beer lovers, make Porter a must-stop on your Houston beer travels!