Seeing (and drinking) Cougar Red!

On Monday, August 15th, No Label, Calhoun’s Rooftop Bar & Grill and Brewheart apparel will soft-launch ‘Brew of H’, a (Cougar) Red IPA that’s been two years in the making. I had a chance to talk about the beer and the collaborative story behind it with Shannon Parker, Owner and Designer at Brewheart apparel, as well as Gus Vincenti, Sales Manager at No Label Brewing Company.

Sometimes good beer starts with nothing more than a good idea, and Brew of H fits into that category. When Calhoun’s opened on the south end of the University of Houston main campus in August of 2014, their friends at Brewheart collaborated with them on a design for T-shirt that clearly communicates that University of Houston Cougars need good beer too — with a hand holding a longneck while simultaneously making the Cougar Paw hand sign.

Brew of H T-shirt

The design that started it all!

At the time, the only UH-themed beer available was red-dyed Bud Light available on draft at Cougar football home games. However, late in 2015 the Coogs at No Label Brewing approached Calhoun’s/Brewheart to use the name for a red-dyed version of First Street Ale to be sold in the run-up to the Cougars’ victorious trip to the 2016 Peach Bowl. That beer was such a hit — it sold out in a couple hours at Calhoun’s — that the idea for a true collaboration craft beer was cemented.

Over a few recipe formulation sessions and some test batches at No Label’s brewery in Katy the beer was finalized into a (very) Red IPA, hopped gratuitously in the boil with Cascade, Columbus and Nugget and dry hopped with the same combination. Shannon told Houston Beer Guide that she loves Cascade and that type of west-coast IPA, so this beer is a hop forward tribute to the style of beer, and it doesn’t use a drop of red food coloring — getting all its Shasta-pleasing scarlet luster from specialty barley malt. Gus said that the beer was more on the dank and earthy side than other No Label hoppy beers, but at 6% still aims at being balanced and in line with No Label’s approachable style. He said that Jennifer and Brian Royo, the owners of No Label and proud UH alums, wanted to brew something that would be not be a ‘gimmicky’ beer. They want to be true to the flavor, and took great pride in crafting this beer in the spirit of alma mater.


That’s one red IPA!

The soft launch at Calhoun’s on the 15th of August will be a ticketed ‘friends and family’ event, and What’s On Tap Radio will be there to document the festivities. A broader launch including distribution to multiple bars and restaurants in greater Houston will follow in the weeks to come.

The beer is currently planned as draft-only, and as No Label (through their distribution partner, Favorite Brands) does not have access to taps at TDECU Stadium it won’t be available for Cougar home games this season, so fill those growlers for your tailgate coolers! A packaged version could be available soon, and Gus said this beer could join No Label’s year round lineup, with draft distributed to accounts popular with UH alumni across No Label’s existing statewide Texas footprint.

But for now, it’s no surprise that it took a collaborative effort between some good beer people and some proud Houston Cougars to (finally) make a UH-themed brew. This season Cougar fans can add a new refrain to the traditional fight song – DrinkItUp, DrinkItUp, Go, Coogs, Go!!



A Dad and husband, a craft beer fan and advocate for Texas craft beer culture, a native Houstonian and UH Cougar, and some other stuff too.

Related Articles

  • Headed out West to meet Downtown Dusty

    Headed out West to meet Downtown Dusty

    Katy residents are fortunate to have a mayor who not only supports but savors craft beer. William “Dusty” Thiele and No Label Brewing Co. have collaborated on an Amber Lager to honor his contributions to the city they proudly represent. Dubbed “Downtown Dusty,” this amber lager is currently a seasonal offering, but I’m making a

  • Stout Fest 2024 at Excalibur Brewing in Old Town Spring

    Stout Fest 2024 at Excalibur Brewing in Old Town Spring

    When is the right time to drink a stout? The answer is ‘right now’. If you’ve read any of my articles or ever had a conversation with me about beer you’ll know that I’m all about that stout life. When I heard Excalibur Brewing in Old Town Spring announced the 2nd annual Stout Fest 2024, you know

  • Free & Easy N/A Belgian White from Karbach Brewing

    Free & Easy N/A Belgian White from Karbach Brewing

    Before you assume I’m doing a “dry January”, correct yourself right now. Full disclosure, I didn’t purchase this beer either. Karbach was kind enough to ship a few cans to me so here we are. You guys remember the last time I went on the hunt for a good N/A beer right? It didn’t end

  • A Beer To Remember in 2023

    A Beer To Remember in 2023

    As we say goodbye to 2023, let’s take a moment to reflect and remember all the tasty #HoustonBeer we enjoyed this year. Many beers stood out but only one beer can be crowned the beer to remember this year. We asked our contributor team and they delivered with their comments on which beer was their

  • Ingenious Brewing Company announces closure

    Ingenious Brewing Company announces closure

    Officially announced on Facebook, the circling rumors about Ingenious Brewing closure is in fact – confirmed true. Ingenious made the official post this morning. How do you say goodbye to a brewery you’ve been visiting since the beginning, made countless memories from, built great friendships and was the place you started your craft beer adventures


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *

Email *