A Hangout in the Heights
Located just off White Oak Bayou at 17th, New Magnolia has created a great spot for the Houston beer drinker. Their taproom and brewery feels old school in the best way possible. They don’t try to be anything but a place to drink their great beer, with an assortment of seating from a long bar looking at the taps to couches around coffee tables for groups. They also have a great selection of beer styles. In the 15 beers on tap when I was there it ranged from Heights Light, a delicious light lager to a brett saison to a west coast IPA, with everything in between. They also had three ciders on tap from City Orchard here in town.
I was there with my brother, so we got to try quite a few of their different offerings. The stand outs for us were their two pilsners on tap and the English Summer Ale. I started with the Ennio Pils, an Italian-style pilsner. It was extremely light and refreshing, great for an afternoon sip. Next was the Hella Pils, what they dub as a west coast pilsner. This was one of the best american Pilsners I have ever had. Great hop character, with just enough malt to give it a little mouthfeel without it losing its light crispness you want in a pilsner.
The final beer of the visit was the English Summer Ale, and we definitely saved the best for last (I was so excited after smelling it that I forgot to take a picture with the full glass). They offer it in two different versions, one on nitro and one on cask. For science, we got one of each. This pale English bitter was the perfect summer beer. At 5.5% ABV, it wasn’t too big to rule out multiple pints, but had enough flavor to stand up to food. It started with a cracker maltiness that was accompanied by a nice light bitterness from the english hops. Both the nitro and the cask were great, with the cask having just a hint more carbonation versus the creamier nitro. Other beers i can’t wait to try out next time I go are their collaboration with True Anomaly, a tart saison called First Bloom and their Brett Saison, Provisional. Another thing to watch out for is their Brew Club Beers, where members of the green level of their brew club get to brew a batch on their pilot system and have it on the tap wall.
When they opened in November of 2019, I was slightly worried about their longevity. While everything I had then was good, there was nothing special about their beers to make them stand out from the rest of the Houston beer crowd. Fortunately for everyone, they have started finding their niche. With the Heights Light starting to show up on tap lists at restaurants, cans of their Dry Hopped Kolsch, Fruited Splitz, and Redwood IPA on the shelves at grocery stores around town, and their approachable tap room, they have done a great job carving out a spot for themselves, and I know they will continue to knock out great beers. If you find yourself over in their neighborhood, do yourself a favor and check them out. You can thank me later.
Cheers, and happy drinking!