Scary Story, Scary Good Beer

**This Post was written collaboratively with Whitney Worrell**

Normally this blog would focus on the DFW area, but I’m going to do something a little bit different. With a walk on the supernatural side, I’m going to explore a brewery with some alleged “quirks.”

Brewing in Houston has been a ghost story in the making since the founder Brock Wagner started the St. Arnold Brewery in the building that resides at 2000 Lyons Avenue in 2009. The building itself has been around since 1914, which has given it the chance to be many things before, including haunted, but according to city records, the building at 2000 Lyons Avenue, doesn’t exist. Images from 1914 show the building and others around it, but City of Houston records show now buildings having been built there during that time.

A brewery is not the first place that many would imagine to be haunted, yet behind Texas’ oldest craft beer there is an odd story that includes the building being an overall mystery and ghost children possibly from the fire of 1912. On top of their fine crafted beer, a ghost story is lurking in the depths of that brewery. In fact, many stories have been told by employees of the brewery about hearing children’s laughter, singing, and shadows roaming inside.

“Philip Dagger, our packaging manager, and his 2- or 3-year-old daughter Sydney were in the brewery’s beer hall one night. Dagger was sitting at one of the tables while Sydney was playing near one of the corners of the hall. All of a sudden she points to an area near the windows that separates the beer hall from the brewhouse and shouts, “Hey Daddy! Kids!” Dagger looks over to where she is pointing but sees no one. Still, Sydney is insistent that there are children in that corner and continues to say, “Kids!” – Dennis Rhee

It has gathered so much attention that 39 Ghost Hunters visited there just last year to investigate the happenings of the brewery and had quite the experience. While they did not have a huge experience there, there were definite moments of paranormal activities of sorts. There are faces seen and children interacting with them, along with what sounds to be breathing and mumbling at one point. Personally, I am not totally convinced that all these ghost stories are true, and I would have to go down there and take my Ouija board with me and play around to find out, and one of these days I just might.

Another wrench in this scary story is that some of the employees aren’t even aware of the “supernatural” occurrences. When a family member of one of the employees was asked about the story by me, he had never heard of the rumors. He promptly asked his brother (who works for St. Arnold’s) who hadn’t heard of them either. As for now though I will say that there is something different about their story and their building, something eerie.

If the story behind the brewery interests you, there are daily tours every weekday and weekend. During this tour you can see if you have any paranormal experiences yourself and have one of their craft beers while you are at it! There are many skeptics towards this story along with any other ghost story,so whether it is the haunted history behind the brewery itself or just the good ol’ beer, go check it out and you can be the judge.

If you can’t make it down to Houston, though, there are plenty of places in DFW where you can get St. Arnold brews:

I took the liberty of swinging by Central Market this week and picking up some to try for myself. Lack of full six packs made it impossible to get all of the kinds they carried, but he was able to grab Lawnmower, Santos, and Amber Ale. Lawnmower was my personal favorite, and since it seems to be their most popular,  I’m going to go over that.

From their website:

“A true German-style Kolsch. Originally brewed in Cologne, this beer is crisp & refreshing, yet has a sweet malty body that is balanced by a complex, citrus hop character. Multiple additions of German Hallertauer hops are used to achieve this delicate flavor. We use a special Kolsch yeast, an ale yeast that ferments at lager temperatures, to yield the slightly fruity, clean flavor of this beer. Fancy Lawnmower Beer is a world class brew yet light enough to be enjoyed by Texans after strenuous activities, like mowing the lawn.”

Through all that beer specific talk, what you get is a slightly sweet, slightly hoppy beer that doesn’t weigh you down when drinking it. The name definitely holds up in that it’s a good beer to drink after mowing the lawn. It’s not a DFW beer, but I’d definitely recommend it.

 

Big Texas Beer Fest — Something You Don’t Want to Miss

On April 5th in the Fair Park Automotive Building, Big Texas Beer Fest is coming back for its second year, and that’s a great thing for small businesses and local breweries.

With the explosion of craft breweries in North Texas, beer festivals were bound to follow. Chad and Nellie Montgomery didn’t think they were coming fast enough, though. After attending the 2010 Great American Beer Festival in Colorado, they wondered why North Texas didn’t have a festival. They decided to change that, and without entrepreneurial experience, launched Big Texas Beer Fest 2013. With the success of the first year, they’ve brought it back for 2014.

They “want the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex to have an event [it’s] proud of”. To do this, they make sure the festival focuses on what they love:local craft breweries, small businesses, charities, and economy. With over 100 breweries (including almost all breweries from North Texas) supporting the festival and plenty of exhibits, they’re definitely on their way to accomplish that goal.

Local bars and restaurants will be partnering and exhibiting with breweries to show their strength in North Texas. The profits will be donated to charities. And, obviously, this is a great opportunity for the North Texas economy. More people will be exposed to beers they haven’t tried before which will help grow consumer bases.

Whether you’ve tried every beer around and want some more or you’re new to the craft brew scene, this event is something you don’t want to miss.

Supporting Their Team, Supporting Local

Soccer season (or at least MLS) is officially upon us. FC Dallas opened the year with a 3-2 win over the Montreal Impact, and despite the weather, supporters were there in full force. Their party, however, started at 7:30 on Friday night. The annual 24 hour tailgate brought the season into style with with camping out, barbecuing, and, of course, beer.

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All bundled up, supporters groups of FC Dallas, including Lone Star Legion, the Dallas Beer Guardians, and Dallas Football Elite, all got together to celebrate the dawn of the new season. Although national beers were present, craft and Texas beers were in control. Kegs and bottles of local brews could be seen everywhere, and everyone was sharing.

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Events like this are great for local breweries. Visiting fans and locals that haven’t been exposed to local brews get the chance to try new things. This can, and often does, lead to them supporting local breweries in the future. There are few events where people willingly part with their favorite beers for nothing, and this free advertisement for breweries can do wonders. 

When I first started hanging out with supporters groups, I hadn’t been exposed to local breweries. I didn’t even really know there were any in the area. The first local brew I had was from Franconia, and it was given to me by someone who convinced me that I needed to try something local. Fast forward to now. I’ve tried beer from almost all of the local breweries, and I’m writing this blog.

I don’t claim to know everything about craft beer. I’ll be the first to admit that. I wouldn’t, however, have anywhere near the amount of knowledge I do without events and people like these. If you look, you can find a tailgate for almost every event that can allow you to try new beers. If you’re just getting into the local brew scene, or if you have a friend that just can’t put down that Bud Light, see what you can find. Try new beers. You never know, next time it could be you offering someone a new kind of beer.