The build up to this opening day event was intense. For months, Bearded Fox Brewing Company had used their social media pages to tease us into wondering when they would be opening. Finally, the announcement was made during halftime of the Super Bowl on their Facebook page with a “Meet the Brew Crüe” event that would serve as their soft opening. Talking to owner/CEO, Marcus Garcia, he said they didn’t know what to expect for a turnout leading up to the event, but I don’t think anybody could have imagined the total count of people.
An estimated 600 or so people came to Bearded Fox to try out the beer and meet the folks behind the magic for the first time. Happily, we were there to partake in the festivities. What started out as a three-hour event quickly turned into about five or more hours of serving people non-stop. We were surprised by the sheer number of people since many brewery openings we’ve attended have been small get-togethers that lead up to the grand opening usually four to six weeks later. If this was any indication of how huge their grand opening will be, I’m sure they’ll have to prepare for a much larger crowd the next time around.
Designed to introduce themselves to the Houston area craft beer scene with a bang, VP of Marketing, Randy Clark, stated that the lead up was a deliberate and patient attempt at getting people excited about craft beer in the northwest Houston area with Tomball seeing their first craft brewery open to the public. After all, the area has only seen 11 Below Brewing open up with another brewery, Fire Ant Brewing, coming soon to Tomball as well. As for the marketing itself, the fox hop logo was a hit with several people buying merchandise like t-shirts and koozies left and right.
Throughout the evening, we got a chance to chat with several people about their selection of beer to gauge opinions on which beers were the best. Due to it being a soft opening, four beers were on tap for people to sample. Aunt Rose, a red lager, was the lightest option at 5.5% ABV and was the most approachable beer for people to enjoy. Quite a few people we talked to thought this beer was fantastic as it was a clean red lager that tasted like a blend between an amber ale and a märzen. The G.O.A.T. imperial IPA was an 8.5% ABV, 70 IBU IPA that was tasty, but still feels like it needs a little refinement with a little too much sweetness coming through the flavor. We found out that honey is added into the brew from President/COO, Mike Sturm, which is clear with the sweetness and caramel profile that is still pleasurable. Ultimately, we believe that it could use a little more bitterness to balance out the sweet flavor, but we believe that minor tweak can make it an even better beer. The Stone Cold Fox stout is a well-done beer with just the right amount of coffee notes without tasting like a cup of black coffee. A dark chocolate finish made this 7.5% ABV stout a wonderful choice for somebody looking for a darker beer.
However, the real winner of the beer choices was clearly the No. 48 coffee porter. Without exaggerating, this beer can rival (512) Pecan Porter as one of the best porters you can buy in the Houston area. This beer was the first to run out with the attendees raving about the complex flavors in this brew. It was hands-down the best beer they brewed and one that any dark beer fan should try out. Talking with several people connected in the craft beer community, the consensus we gathered is that there is absolutely no tweaking needed on this recipe as it can already be one of the best new brews in the Houston area.
We were thrilled to be a part of this great event and can’t wait to drink more of this beer as they continue to grow the craft beer scene on the northwest side of Houston. We’re looking forward to more events like this and can’t wait to enjoy another pint of their No. 48.