24 Sep Craft Beer Cellar Cypress Sneak Peak
Craft Beer Cellar Cypress Sneak Peak
Craft Beer Cellar Cypress will be the first CBC location in the country of it’s kind, and they’re days away from opening.
(Craft Beer Cellar Cypress’ Owner Justin Crane deep in thought discussing cereal, pancakes, and bacon – Credit: Josh Olalde)
Craft Beer Cellar Cypress Soft Opening is Slated for Friday 9/28/2018
Since their inception in Boston, Co-Founders Susan and Kate have had a very hands off approach to the beer-centric franchise. Texas has been home to two locations, but starting this weekend we’ll have a third right out in Cypress. Owner Justin Crane was hospitable enough to take some chairs and tables out of boxes, so we could sit comfortably while we interviewed him in what looked like a craft beer war zone.
Boxes of bottles, cases of cans, and bright, stainless, fermenters lined the floors and bar tops. Wait, what? Fermenters?
Craft Beer Cellar Cypress will be the first location in the country to brew it’s own beer, and we’re chomping at the bits to try it out! There are currently 31 locations across the country with 6 more in planning. By this time in 2019, there will likely be 50 in the nation, and so far, only one’s going to be mashing in.
Owner Justin Crane had dreams of opening his own brewery right here in Houston. After considering Houston’s booming beer landscape he decided, “There are so many great breweries in Houston already – all around the world even – why not just do something to support them?”
Justin’s a Colorado transplant, so he’s no stranger to being surrounded by a bunch of great breweries. He cut his teeth in beer at Odell Brewing while he was in college. “I approached Doug Odell and told him how much I loved beer and that I wanted to work there. I ended up doing some web dev work for them building out their customer loyalty program, and they gave me a case of beer every week. It was at this time that I decided I had to pursue a career in beer.”
He moved to Houston 5 years ago when Cypress was a beer desert. “We needed beer here,” he explained matter-of-factly.
Being only 1 of 38 locations to brew their own beer, Justin and Craft Beer Cellar Cypress had an uphill battle to fight. They had to get licenses for on-premise, off-premise, late hours, and brewpub. Even with lawyers on deck to navigate all the paperwork, that took 8 whole months to wade through. The buildout of the facility has taken about 4 months, and they’re just a few days away from pulling open the doors for a soft launch.
“It won’t be perfect. We’ll have some kinks to work out, but that’s why we’re doing the soft opening this weekend and then the grand opening in October.”
(We told Justin not to smile, but craft beer is so full of rebels – Credit: Josh Olalde)
Craft Beer Cellar Cypress Experience
The pillars of Craft Beer Cellar are beer, hospitality, and education, and it couldn’t have been more evident. When Justin pulled the table out of the box for us, and let us be the first butts to grace their chairs, we were humbled. We were just going to stand and write at the bar in between boxes and beer.
Tony’s son was also in attendance, and coming fresh off of a nap, he wasn’t really pumped to navigate the warzone that was Craft Beer Cellar Cypress. Without skipping a beat, Beer Geek Sarah took off her beertender hat and put on her mom hat, as she appeared from behind a wall of boxes with a coloring book and some crayons. Score 1 for hospitality. Then a few more puzzles made their way out, and all of the sudden, we had an un-interrupted interview on our hands. Score 2 for hospitality.
Sarah won’t be watching your kids, but something tells us that she’ll be just as hospitable when she’s on the other side of the bar pouring your beer!
Craft Beer Cellars are also keenly focused on education. Sarah had to undergo beer education classes to serve at Craft Beer Cellar Cypress, and every Beer Geek at every location does the same. Justin shared, “Aside from events like the Prarie Series Deconstruction, or Pint Nights with Breweries, we’re also going to host regular events focused on education, and record some videos about the science of the brewing process. We want to better educate people that love beer. Maybe they don’t know the nuance that happens with things like water profiles or timing of hop additions – we want to share that. We’re just focused on teaching people about beer and having fun.”
With hospitality and education more than aptly covered, Justin went on about the beer. “We’re really trying to get stuff that people want to get – stuff they can’t access everywhere else. We’ll definitely focus on local, but we also want to have beer that’s hard to find.”
(Justin was in his work clothes even though it was a day off – Credit: Josh Olalde)
Speaking of Beer at the Craft Beer Cellar
In addition to focusing on local taps, cans, and bottles, their beer will also be super locally-focused.
Justin continued on about the beer, “When we brew a new beer, we won’t make any big announcements about it. We want the beer to be available for the community – the people out here in Cypress. Since we’re brewing on a pretty small system, the last thing we want is for people to come flocking from all around the city, and then our neighbors don’t even get to try any!”
They’ll only distribute some of it to CBC Downtown, but due to the small 1BBL system, it won’t be a whole lot.
It’s less about FOMO or exclusivity for exclusivity’s sake; it’s a lot more about community.
As if all that wasn’t locally-focused enough, Craft Beer Cellar Cypress will donate a portion of the profit from all of their in-house brewed beer to a rotating monthly cause. Alllright, pour us another one.
They’ll open with a handful of local beers on tap including:
- Brash Abide (Houston’s second best stout per our blind tasting) and Worldwide Prestige
- B52 Wheez the Juice
- Celis Citrus Grandis
- And special stuff like Lone Pint Apricot Yellow Rose Firkin
- As well as other heavy hitters like 512 Nitro Pecan Porter and Firestone Walker Nitro Merlin
While we sat and talked beer, we had to ask Justin what local brewery was he most impressed by. He gushed, “Oh man. That’s so hard. Everybody’s so awesome, but if I’m impressed by one – actually the right word would be inspired by – I’d have to say it’s Ingenious. The guys that run it started with a little 2 BBL system, and they built a cult following before they were even open. That’s so inspiring to me. Baa Baa Brewhouse too. They’re all great.”
(Craft Beer Cellar Cypress will focus on local beer and rare finds – Credit: Josh Olalde)
The Future for Craft Beer Cellar Cypress
The soft opening will be this Friday 9/28/2018, and the official grand opening is scheduled for some time in October.
“We’ll be pulling some special stuff out,” Justin shared. “We have a relationship with Romero’s from the shopping center and they’ll have a menu on site, or you’re allowed to bring in food. We will also have a few artisanal snacks.”