St. Arnold’s ‘buzzed’ about being named best brewery in Houston

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HOUSTON, TX – The Brewers Association says craft beer is any beer made in small batches by independent producers using traditional ingredients. But Brock Wagner, found & brewer at St. Arnold Brewing Company, says there’s more to it than that. “It’s a mindset. It’s about making great beer. It’s using the highest quality ingredients, not using adjuncts like rice or corn,” Wagner explains. “Viewing it as an art as opposed to ‘How do I ship the most beer I possibly can?'”

Wagner opened St. Arnold’s here in Houston in 1994. It was the first craft brewery in the state. “When I opened the brewery, I thought that I was creating a brewery that hopefully would be around 100 years. About 3 or 4 years in, I wasn’t so sure,” he explains. “The market was not developing… we were still having to explain what this beer was that we brewed. ”

But he persevered, focusing on his goals of brewing the best beer in Texas and making his brewery an institution Houston could be proud of. And it’s paid off. This month, Houstonia magazine named St. Arnold’s the best craft brewery out of more than a dozen in the city. “Certainly we’re flattered,” says the humble Wagner. “I just like the fact that people are focusing on craft beer the way they are, so I’ll just take that as a victory.”

For a complete guide to Houston’s craft beer scene, check out this month’s Houstonia.