First Look: Ingenious Brewing Company
It’s amazing to see how many new breweries have opened recently in the Houston-area – in the first five months of Houston Beer Scene’s existence, we have seen six new breweries open. This past weekend, Houston had two breweries debut with soft openings. Cranky Britches Brewing Company launched last Friday in Webster with six beers on-tap representing a variety of styles. Unfortunately, I did not make it to Cranky Britches, but I was able to visit Ingenious Brewing Company, who had their soft opening on Sunday, making them Humble’s first brewery. Out of all of the recent openings, Ingenious’ opening has left the greatest impression on me amongst some tough competition.
Ingenious is located in an industrial park on S. Houston Avenue close to Will Clayton Parkway, making them a short trip from Highway 59/I-69. Although Ingenious had been open for a few hours by the time I arrived, there appeared to be plenty of parking. Even so, Ingenious was pretty packed and there was an almost constant stream of people lining up to try the beer. Everything seemed to run pretty smoothly. The brewery is newly-built and features a medium-sized taproom with the brewhouse located towards the back of the building. The taproom area features a bar, as well as a combination of large and small tables; there is also plenty of outdoor seating available behind the building. Ingenious seems poised to be a good spot to catch sporting events, as there were quite a few large TVs scattered around the taproom and behind the bar. Ingenious does not have a kitchen, but GastroCraft was on location serving a limited menu. Guests are also allowed to bring in outside food. For me, the bar-area was the highlight of my visit – it’s really a work of art, and words don’t do it justice …you gotta check it out for yourself!
I was also very impressed with their beer selection, which was on the very high end for a debuting brewery. I had a pretty good understanding of the beer styles that Ingenious was going to launch because they previewed their beer at The Hop Stop a couple of times. However, I was not expecting them to have so many choices. At final count, there were about 15 different beers available at the soft opening, including some variants of the same base beer, such as nitro or quadruple dry-hopped versions. There were four IPAs on tap, three of which offered some type of variant. The IPAs available lean heavily towards the hazy end of the spectrum, fitting the current desires of our scene perfectly. The most interesting beer, which was not necessarily my favorite, was the Vanilla Coconut FroYo IPA. It definitely provided a smooth-mouth feel and all of the different flavors you would expect from its name. FroYo was also on nitro, which I imagine was ridiculously smooth. My personal favorite, of the IPAs offered, was Hop Delivery System (HDS), a fairly juicy combination of Citra, Mosaic and El Dorado hops – enough said. The beer style options were not limited to hopbombs, as there were quite a few brews representing malt-forward styles. I enjoyed both their Make Russia Great Again, a 12% Russian Imperial Stout, and Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream Sundae, an Imperial Milk Stout that’s finished on cocoa nibs; the base version of this brew, Ice Cream Sundae, was available on nitro, too. Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream Sundae‘s use of cocoa paired well with the sweetness and body of the Milk Stout, and Make Russia Great Again were both rich and roasty, as you would expect. Unfortunately, I missed out on two barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout variants due to last call, but this does give me a good excuse to make a quick return visit. Rounding out their taplist was nitro and standard versions of Vanilla Coffee Cream Ale. You will notice – at least in the immediate since – the absence of some of the more expected beer styles (such as a wheat, lager, or amber) that many breweries have in their line-ups.
All in all, the quality and selection were very commendable for day one, and I‘m really looking forward to seeing where the future takes Ingenious. Visit us again soon for additional First Look posts, as I plan to visit Cranky Britches Brewing Company very soon. Also, Devil and the Deep Brewery opens this weekend in Galveston. Please let us know if you’re aware of any other breweries set to open in the area.
Address: 1986 S. Houston Avenue, Humble, Texas 77396
Phone: (832) 412-2142
Hours: Nothing official has been announced, check their Facebook for updates