Dog Will Hunt – Running Walker Brewery
Just down FM 359 from Texian Brewing in Richmond, Running Walker is laying the chips to become a major player in the Houston area craft beer scene. A few of their beers are starting to show up in accounts around town, and they have much bigger plans in the upcoming months. Fellow Houston Beer Guide writer Greg Manuel and I were invited out to the brewery to check out the progress. The brewery shares land with the Braman Wines tasting room, which had a nice crowd for a rainy Saturday afternoon. The winery and the brewery are both owned by Joe Braman, a noted figure in Texas ranching, real estate, oil, and wine. The name Running Walker is from a breed of hunting dogs Joe hunts with, one of his passions. The brewery itself is located in a large warehouse building next door to the tasting room. In front of the brewery they are working on building a large outdoor patio with both their wine and beer served, along with a stage for live music. Inside of the brewery building they are planning on a tap room, also selling their wine and beer, along with what is going to be a beautiful event space. The winery itself is located in a building behind the brewery, and down the road there are plans for a possible distillery as well. Also being discussed, is the idea of a tasting/tap room near downtown Houston serving their products. Our first steps inside of the brewery itself were quite a surprise. I’ve been in a number of breweries in my life, from large scale operations to small shops, but I hadn’t seen anything quite like this. No expense was spared, the floors were epoxied, everything was brand new, and the feeling was more of walking into a chemical clean room than the usual brewery. The German brewer, with 20 years of industry experience, preaches cleanliness and it really showed. Also notable was the amount of space they had to grow. They could easily quadruple in size in this facility and still have space. Currently they are setup on a 17 BBL system with a IDD High Efficiency Brewing System (HEBS). This system allows them to brew 4-5 different batches of beer in a single day. As general manager Tom Rey told us, their limits on brewing right now aren’t on the system but on the number of fermenters they have. They also have an 150BBL surge tank for filtering their well water supply.