Where are Houston’s flights?
Last week, I drove from my lovely Midtown castle to the faraway lands known as “The Heights” in order to sample the new beers at Town in City Brewery. Though the journey was far and perilous (traffic on 45N), I rested easy knowing that soon, I’d get to try some new-to-me and new-to-Houston beers, almost making the prospect of driving worth it.
As a responsible driver and frequent ticker, I had two goals: drink every beer that Town in City offered and subsequently drive home sober. So I asked the same question I ask every brewery I visit: “do y’all offer flights?”
The answer, sadly, was no. Town in City offers three sizes for on-premise consumption: 10 ounces, 20 ounces, and 60 ounces. With five beers on tap, that meant I either had to consume 50 ounces of beer (not driving-friendly) or send a lot of half-drank glasses back to be poured out. Because my desire to be safe trumps my desire to drink, I opted for the latter.
Thankfully, my friendly bartender at TiC understood my dilemma and rather than waste beer, poured me smaller samples. I was able to solve all my problems through the benefit of excellent customer service. However, it immediately brought a question to my mind: where are Houston’s brewery flights?
I am fortunate enough to travel frequently, for work or pleasure, and when I do, I visit breweries. According to untappd, I’ve been to 155 breweries since August 2012. And at those breweries, in places as wide-ranging as London, San Diego, Miami, and Boston (and many places in between), the answer to my question above, “do y’all offer flights?” is usually, “Of course! The details are…”
To illustrate my point, here’s a breakdown of the most recent 15 breweries I’ve visited, in 7 locations:
- Town in City; Saint Arnold; 11 Below — Houston, TX — No flights or tasters offered
- Galveston Island — Galveston, TX — Flights of four at a time
- La Cumbre; Marble; Nexus; Chama River; Bosque — Albuquerque, NM — Flights of four/five at a time
- Firestone Walker; Barrelhouse — Paso Robles, CA — Flights of four at a time
- Ladyface Alehouse — Agoura Hills, CA — Flights of five/six at a time
- Oasis Texas; Pinthouse Pizza — Austin, TX — Flights of five/six at a time
- Other Half — Brooklyn, NY — Single 4oz tasters
Obviously this is a small list, but notice something interesting here: only the three Houston breweries stand out as not offering flights or tasters. Even our neighbors a county over in Galveston have flights (and they come in little adorable Ball jars), and our friends in Austin offer tasters or flights as well. Yet, for some reason, Houston seems to be missing this typical brewery offering.
Admittedly, Whole Foods Market offers flights. And as a ‘brewpub’-style establishment, I’d be shocked if they didn’t. But otherwise, I can think of no Houston brewery that offers flights. If we’re going to get serious about beer tourism in this city, I think that our breweries need to address this gap. Especially in a city as car-centric as Houston. So rather than asking “do y’all offer flights?” at my next Houston brewery visit, I intend to ask: “where are Houston’s flights?”
Update: A couple of breweries have reached out over Twitter. Saint Arnold offers flights during their regular lunch hours and 8th Wonder offers flights Sunday-Thursday. A Twitter user tells us Southern Star also offers flights.