Sometimes the best places to visit are made by the people running the show. In this case, it is the absolute truth with The Hop Stop in Humble. The northeast Houston area is somewhat of a craft beer desert with few other craft beer bars and, up until recently, no breweries. Dawn and Rick Tyler saw this as their opportunity to share their love of craft beer with the people of Humble, who had few options for non-macro beer bars.
Just over a year ago, The Hop Stop opened up and has been a hit among the Houston craft beer community ever since. Up until this weekend, we had only heard the stories about the place, but never seen it in person. Needless to say, a visit was long overdue.
Our first encounter with them was actually at the Brash Brewing anniversary party where we met Dawn briefly. Honestly, that entire night was a shit show that ended with nearly everybody pretty drunk. Needless to say, we didn’t recall much of the conversation. This time around, it was more cordial with us getting the chance to visit with the owners and regular customers for a longer period of time.
Much of the clientele was regular customers who knew them and many of the other patrons. Instead of a cold atmosphere to the newbies, the folks at the bar were genuinely curious and friendly. One of the first people to greet us was a regular named Donnie, who is a musician that occasionally plays at the bar from time to time. He was telling us stories of some of the events that go on at the bar, including jam sessions in the adjacent room to the bar. Plus, while we were there, another customer was in the room playing his guitar and singing a song. You can’t buy that type of cool atmosphere and it apparently happens on a regular basis.
We spent the first hour in the bar area observing the ambiance and charm of the bar. The bar is cozy and covered with a hodge podge of cool decorations including a replica leg lamp from A Christmas Story that fits nicely in the front window. My favorite sign that was posted is one that says “I dream of a world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned.” Simple, but brilliant. In addition, a ton of beer signs adorn the walls and their two keg coolers in the front of the bar are covered with brewery stickers from around the country (but, quite a few Texas breweries dominate the scenery).
The selection of craft beer was local favorites like Fetching Lab and Southern Star, Texas favorites like Cobra and 3 Nations, and national favorites like Epic Brewing and Sixpoint. We had both of the Cobra selections with the Dawn of the Dank imperial IPA being our favorite. This beer would be a dangerous one to finish a night as it’s 11.7% ABV and strangely smooth for such a high alcohol beer. The Galaxy hops that dominate this beer give it a tropical fruit flavor. This was truly a stellar beer for them to have on tap. Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you that the most impressive offering on tap was Saint Arnold’s Bishop’s Barrel 14, which was the imperial stout that is one of our all-time favorite of the series.
Ultimately, what will keep us coming back (besides the terrific craft beer selection) is the owners. Both Rick and Dawn are the consummate hosts and make you feel welcome from the initial moment you get there. Rick’s background is in hospitality and it shows. His knowledge of craft beer and ability to make you feel comfortable at a new bar is something that made us thrilled to be there. Plus, Dawn is a beer nut who can guide you in the right direction if you want to try something new. We loved her wittiness and humor that made us feel like friends from the first moment.
Is this the best craft beer bar in the Houston area? It just might be. Sometimes, 100 taps aren’t needed to make a place special. It just takes friendly people and a great atmosphere. The Hop Stop has that in spades.