12 Apr 2022 Best Crawfish Beer in Houston
2022 Best Crawfish Beer in Houston
It’s that time of the year again, and everybody’s asking us what kind of beer to bring to the boil. From hop-filled IPAs to accentuate the spice, to malty sweeter Bocks and Brown Ales to balance it out, these are some of the best crawfish beers to bring to the boil.
(A graveyard of crawfish and beer on a beautiful day – this should be a painting)
Back in 2017 when the Houston beer landscape was very different, Chris and I were on the hunt to find THE best crawfish beer. We spent an entire spring hopping from spot to spot in pursuit of it.
We were initially inclined to pair with IPAs because that’s what we’d always been told. Spicy + hops = magic because of the way they accentuate one another.
We both agreed, it’s a timeless flavor combo, but we also agreed that there’s gotta be more to it than that. We’re also not real keen on accepting “that’s just how it is” for a good enough reason. Especially since not everybody wants to drink danky IPAs. What about the crispy bois and the malty bois, amirite?
Crawfish boils, much like big holidays and Super Bowl parties, offer beer nerds like us the opportunity to share some of our unique beers with friends and family. These folks may know nothing more than a case of Keystone, so it’s an opportunity we don’t want to miss out on. There’s nothing wrong with drinking what your dad drank when you were a kid, but there’s so much more out there, and crawfish is just one more opportunity for us to evangelize for the gospel of good beer. Here are a few approachable crawfish beers you might want to offer your friends whenever y’all are cracking shells and sucking heads.
Oh…? Just me? Whatever.
It’s worth noting that some of the beers we put on the first list were seasonal beers that are gone now, and even still others were from breweries that didn’t make it, so we figured it was time for another list. So bust out the spice, and enjoy sharing some of Houston’s finest with friends and families in no particular order.
Crawfish season is said to run from January to July, but real Texans (and Cajuns) know that the Apr/May/June are the sweet spot for the biggest bugs. Now’s the time to share these fantastic beers alongside the boil with some of your best friends.
The Best Crawfish Beer in Houston – The Crispy Bois
I can’t go anywhere without grabbing a 12 pack of Eureka Heights Buckle Bunny Cream Ale. I’ve turned so many of my friends on to good beer with this staple. The subtly sweet, crushable, effervescent nature of this beer makes it a solid second fiddle to some spicy crawfish.
Dome Faux’m is a little stronger in flavor than the average ale, but it’s easy drinking, it’s a classic, and you can find it almost anywhere. Overall, it’s smooth and a little sweet. For the average bud-light drinker, it’ll be a little bit strong maybe. Dome Faux’m’s very crisp, refreshing and balanced on the tongue with a mildly floral hop bitterness on the finish. This is for your Budweiser drinking friend.
Fortress Hibiscus Sour Ale
While this one doesn’t fit cleanly with the crispy bois, it certainly doesn’t belong with the malty or hoppy categories either. This one’s sort of on its own. The super light floral note rides the dry tart finish of this summer crusher effortlessly. It’s such a refreshing beer. If I still had time to cut my own yard, this would be my yard-cuttin’ beer
for sure FIVE sure. That bright refreshing nature made it a super strong pairing to the spicy little bugs.
SpindleTap Proper Pils
Proper A.F. This is a beer flavored beer in the truest sense. The uber-brilliant clarity, crisp, clean drinking pilsner drinks like it was made for the warm Houston weather. The fact that SpindleTap is so keen on food and beer pairing helps make so many of their beers find a home on lists like these.
This beer may just end up on every list we ever make because it’s just that dang good and versatile. The subtle dry hopping isn’t enough to make a macro drinker recoil, but it’s enough to make the crisp, cleanness of this pilsner jump out on the pallet and elevate the spicy flavors.
11 Below Lil Snack Pilsner
If you’re anything like me, eating crawfish is an activity, not a meal. No matter how fast I tear into the little things, it just isn’t enough to fill me up without some potatoes, boudin, or some other lil snack. This light, easy-drinking crispy boi is the perfect accompaniment to turn crawfish from an activity to a meal.
The Best Crawfish Beer in Houston – The Malty Bois
11 Below specializes in beer made for Houston weather (according to them years ago), so it’s no surprise that they’ve got back to back entries into the Best Crawfish Beer in Houston list. The full-flavored, but medium-light bodied nature of Oso Bueno makes it a beer with enough flavor to stand up to the intensity of crawfish, and the mild sweetness really balances it all out.
Satyr’s Swill was one of my favs when we did this last time. Crawfish aren’t a delicate thing to eat, period. Their flavor isn’t delicate, and all the cracking and slurping certainly isn’t delicate, so why not try an un-delicate beer alongside them? This one from Back Pew can be a little sneaky, so make sure to eat plenty of potatoes and get an Uber!
My long and not-so-lost friend Don Jalapeno was a perfect pairing. The subtle smokiness, spice, full-flavor, and light-medium body make for a beer that’s perfect with a meal. All the more true when the meal is also spicy and handcrafted. I do this weird thing with beers that I really love. If I get a 6 pack, I drink the first 5 within the first several weeks, but I save the last one for some special occasion. That was the case for this can of Don Jalapeno.
Honey Hole ESB was one of those beers that I loved long before it was cool. I remember telling people for years that it was one of my favorite beers to cook with, one of my favs to have with a meal, and that it was GABF good. Then a few years later I was right. Dang, that feels good. It feels even better when it’s going down the hatch with the spiciness of crawfish. The sweetness helps really bring out the salty spice of the bugs.
Knuckle Bock knocked my socks off with these crawfish. The toasty caramel notes made the crawfish flavors bounce off my tongue. This is a real winner because it’s a dark beer that drinks clean enough to make your macro-drinking friends pause for a moment. Yeah, Shiner’s great, but have you tried this? The way their eyebrows raise on the first sip makes it a winner at the boil. Try and prove me wrong.
Spring Bock is another, albeit lighter, option compared to Texas Leaguer’s Knuckle Bock. Similar flavors, but the beer’s a little lighter overall – body, taste, and aroma. It makes for a bit more approachable dark beer for those that are really on the fence. It made the crawfish sing in a way that only a Saint Arnold beer could.
The Best Crawfish Beer in Houston – The Hoppy Bois
Paradigm Precision IPA
Paradigm’s one of the newer players on the scene in Houston, so I had to give them a chance at the boil. They did NOT disappoint. This super clean, straightforward IPA shines among the spice. The brilliance and clean-drinking nature make it a solid option for any day, but the citrus and piney hop flavors really made the spicy crawfish flavors peak.
Ingenious Mosaic Pils
Could this be in the crispy boi section? Sure. Could you write this article and put whatever beers you want wherever you want? GO RIGHT AHEAD. For me, this one’s more apt to be handed to the hop heads. Yes, it’s a clean, and super bright Pils. However, the ultra floral, earthy, berry type notes that the Mosaic contribute make it the type of beer that a BMC drinker would likely turn away, and that’s one reason that it landed here. It’s more like an IPL if you just drank it with your eyes closed, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The equal parts of fruity hop notes and bright, light, crispness made this a beer I wish I had more of at the boil. My favorite aspect of this beer is it has all the flavor without all the ABV.
A real winner as it relates to shelfie beers, this American style IPA brought all the citrus refreshment to the party. The fact that this beer’s available year round makes it an easy pick for parties, but we all know IPAs aren’t for everybody. This is one IPA that your craft beer friends will appreciate. One part West Coast with the piney resinous finish, and one part New American IPA with all the fruity citrus, this one’s sure to please alongside the bugs. A 6-pack’s plenty, though, because the ABV keeps the good times flowing real quick.
What on earth would we be doing if we didn’t mention Lone Pint Yellow Rose? Word on the street is cans of this are coming to help make this Texas staple even more accessible at the crawfish boils. Glass bottles are good for certain cases, but a crawfish boil isn’t always one of them. I suffered through it because the floral, fruity, subtle-berry notes of this beer balanced perfectly with the spice. It even elevated the flavors. But I’m sure gonna be glad to crack open a can of this at the next boil. Be careful with this one because the higher ABV can cut your afternoon short if you’re not mindful.
Keeping in-line with progressive IPAs, Saint Arnold Art Car’s ubiquitous accessibility, full flavor, and sneaky ABV make it a great contender in the Rtic at the boil. This bright, clean, refreshing IPA finishes with strong bitterness that coats the tongue. That hoppy coating makes the spicy coating hit different, and for that, I’m grateful. Much like the rest of IPAs on this list, take it easy. This isn’t a porch pounder like some of the others that go so well with the season.
No Label Cali Boy West Coast IPA
Can’t say that I saved the best for last, but… I saved one of my personal favs for last. How’s that? This beer’s clean, bright, tropical fruity hop notes played so well with the spice of the crawfish. Then the brilliantly crisp, clean sip made it super refreshing. The ABV’s the only real reason to make you sweat, but as long as you pace yourself, this one’s a winner winner mud-bug dinner.
If you take nothing else away from this article, it’s that a crawfish boil is a tremendous time to share all kinds of unique beer with your not-so adventurous friends. Similar to Super Bowl parties, these types of gatherings allow you the opportunity to show your friends something they didn’t know existed without coming off like some kind of snobby beer-dork.
Take a couple 6-packs of these, and your friends will be talking about how you came through with the best crawfish beer in Houston.
Fun fact: last year, we had a big crawfish boil planned with a handful of beer industry folks, but it got rained out. Maybe we can get another one going this year and get another article cooking for y’all.
Beers to you, Houston.