03 Mar What You Need to Know Before Visiting Urban South HTX
“We brew naked!”
Got your attention, huh? Good, because if you know anything about Urban South, and especially the team heading up their second location, you’ll know that everything they do is worth your attention.
What You Need to Know Before Visiting Urban South HTX
Price: Tasters to full pours
Growlers, Crowlers: Yes, Crowlers, not quite yet!
Food: Rotating food vendors and restaurants next door
Most Popular Beer: TBD
Kids/Pets: Yes and yes
Bathrooms: Clean and selfie-worthy with AC
Parking: Large parking lot on the West side of the property
Hours: 7 Days-a-week 11a-10p
And while brewing naked is nothing more than a rumor, Urban South HTX is not. Situated in the Sawyer Heights Neighborhood, near Buffalo Bayou’s new location and just a stone’s throw from Holler Brewing and Platypus Brewing, the new 14,000 square-foot facility that just opened this weekend.
Complete with a massive brewhouse containing a 10-barrel brew system, endless cold storage, tons of taproom space, an absolute unit of a barrel room, and even two private meeting rooms, it’s truly a sight to behold.
As Houston’s first out of town brewery opens with a very familiar team, expectations are predictably high.
But once we get into the details, you’ll see why each and every one of those expectations will not only be met, but also exceeded.
Urban South HTX: History
If you’ve been drinking good beer in Houston for more than a year or two, then there’s no doubt that you’re familiar with the team leading this new brewery: Dave Ohmer and Marin and Justin Slanina.
With time spent at Whole Foods Market Brewing (sorely outdated site) and B-52 Brewing, these three have paid their dues in our town and then some. Between eye-catching marketing and killer beers, there’s a good chance that you’ve had at least one beer made by them.
In our last article, we dove into the background of this group and how they ended up at Urban South.
Go read that, then come back here because we never put out on the first date.
Caught up? Great!
Here’s something else you’re sure to know.
Texas doesn’t make it easy on new breweries. As Dave, the project manager putting Urban South HTX together, said, “We got delayed about 6 months because of the city.” (Permits were a big part of that.)
“We learned about opening a brewery in Louisiana vs. in Texas.”
“First of all,” he continued, “there’s no TABC. Therefore, there aren’t a lot of those little intricacies to deal with. Second, there aren’t any self-distribution laws nor any distribution tiers. Getting beer around Louisiana seems much more relaxed.”
And finally, to-go beer has pretty much always been a thing in our neighbor state. (Texas only recently got that ability.)
“It was much harder than we expected,” Dave told us.
But they made it through that painful process and had an incredible Pre-Grand Opening VIP Event last Saturday. Based on the turnout, it looks like all of that hard work has paid off. Wish we coulda been there, but we already had prior commitments – maybe next time!
Urban South HTX: The Experience
One look at the new facility and the word “experience” comes to mind. It isn’t a garage with a few kettles stuck in the ground. Their new place screams fun and inspiration.
The bright, retro logo was requested by the Urban South HQ, and the Houston team took it from there.
“We got a few documents and were told to go,” said Dave, remarking on the freedom and trust they’ve been granted from Urban South Brewery.
To truly understand where all of their inspiration comes from, we asked what they considered unremarkable in the beer market.
Justin was quick to answer. “Uninspired beer. Any beer that has no heart.”
We hearrrrd that. *sassy voice*
“I wake up, and I go to bed thinking about beer. It’s not just about liquid. It’s about creating an experience, memories, and something that people share with one another,” he told us, almost poetically, but just speaking his mind.
Like we said, experience.
Dave and Marin backed him up. “It’s what we live. This is what we do. It’s so much bigger than beer.”
Between hanging insulation, wiring electrical, and designing can labels, the team at Urban South HTX has had incredible freedom for the entire project.
Marin worked to “create an atmosphere around what Dave and Justin are.”
And that came with a LOT of hours. I mean, we met them at 7:00 at night in the middle of the week, and they were STILL working when we showed up.
“We don’t just clock in around here,” said Justin.
In the exploding Houston craft beer market, Urban South HTX and its crew are quickly making themselves stand out, and the grit goes well with our city, although most folks may not ever know this place was masterminded by three people…
Urban South HTX: The Beer
When it came to talking beers, that’s when the interview started to take off.
“I GET 1 GLITTER BEER A YEAR, Y’ALL” screamed Marin.
Oh. Wow. Ok.
Well, there that is.
But in all seriousness, we don’t think there was a single style that didn’t get discussed. (Brent even suggested an Eisbock and had to sit in the corner for a few minutes).
Since this is an R&D brewery, you’d expect that.
Sours, lagers, hazies, stouts, barrel-aged beers, and a few surprises are already in the line-up.
They’ve got a massive barrel room too (32 barrels already), and not just for bourbon barrels. Be sure to expect beers aged in liquor barrels, like rum and tequila, as well. It’s a passion shared by the team.
But with so much going on, we had to ask one of our favorite interview questions: Is brewing an art or a science?
The answers were split, which tends to be the case.
“Science makes beer. Art makes great beer,” said Dave.
Justin concurred. “Start with science, then you’re good.”
Marin disagreed without batting an eye. “It’s an art. The science is already done, so we don’t really talk science. The art is really in fermentation and aging.”
These three have been well-remarked for the beers they’ve made, and the wild things they’ve been able to do on the cold side of brewing, but all of their wizardry couldn’t be done without the spirit of collaboration.
With their local familiarity and huge facility, everybody’s chomping at the bits wondering about collabs. After all, part of what helped turn Urban South HTX into a reality were past collabs with B-52.
One of the most well-known was My Spirit Viking. Man, that was a BANGER. Big thanks to Hop Drop for the plug on that one and Josh Olalde for the stunning shots.
Their doors are always open for collabs (and our fridges are always open for some of those cans).
Urban South HTX: Just Getting Started
One of the brewery’s most unique and ambitious goals is wanting to keep every drop inside the brewery.
Between their massive tapwall and canning operations, there will be a tsunami of beer coming out of Oliver St.
Through controlling their distribution, they also want to get kegs out in the market and support the local bars and restaurants.
As part of the experience they’re trying to build, they want people to come to the brewery and drink their beer.
They’re very proud of what they’ve put together (as they should be).
“Check out the space and give us a chance to share what we love with you,” Dave told us.
But never settle either. They’re going to continue to grow, expand, and perfect.
With their Grand Opening last weekend, Houstonians were ready for a chance to see precisely what they mean – so are folks from around the country. We’ve even seen a few folks that made travel plans to visit Houston for the occasion. Wow.
With an ear-to-ear smile, Marin said, “It was a fun day!”
We can’t wait to stop by, that’s for sure.
Be sure to check them out, and check their schedule for all of the details and events.
They’re excited. We’re excited. You should be excited too.
Urban South, welcome to our city.
Beers to you, Houston.