First Look: Cranky Britches Brewing Company
It didn’t take me long to trek out to Dickinson to check-out Cranky Britches which joined Ingenious Brewing Company in debuting with a soft opening over last weekend. Since I didn’t make it to Cranky Britches over the weekend, I was happy when I saw on their Facebook page that they would be open during the evening on weekdays.
The brewery is located in an industrial park on FM 1266 (aka. — Dickinson Avenue) less than a mile away from Texas Beer Refinery. It’s a bit tucked away within the complex and not visible from the road. Apparently, this is where Galactic Coast Brewing Company was located (same exact address) and that they ceased operations some time ago without an official announcement. It’s a bit interesting because Cranky Britches announced on Facebook that they will be brewing Galactic Coast’s Sneaky Blonde in the future — nice to see Cranky Britches is not letting the equipment go unused. There appears to be adequate parking for slower taproom hours, but I could see some issues if Cranky Britches was really busy. Since I missed their opening weekend, I’m not sure if this was an issue or not. Cranky Britches acknowledges parking is tight and advise you to park on the front row nearest the street and not to block any of their neighbor’s entrances. With Texas Beer Refinery, Saloon Door Brewing, Galveston Bay Beer Company, and a handful of solid beer bars (Nobi being my favorite), it’s obvious that the Clear Lake area has developed a strong beer culture.
Because Cranky Britches has stressed on their Facebook that they’re in a soft opening phase and are still under construction, they advise you to bring a lawn chair and your own glassware (or you get stuck with a plastic cup). Cranky Britches is kid-friendly, pet-friendly, and allows you to bring in outside food. The taproom consists of a small bar and limited outside seating. There’s not much of an inside as the brewhouse takes up much of the interior. They launched with six beers, but had blown through two of them before I was able to visit. I enjoyed the four I was able to try. My favorite was American Strong Ale which has the big malty body braced by ample hopping (Mosaic and Magnum) I want from the style. I also tried it with a shot of their cold brew coffee at the owner’s suggestion and was pleasantly surprised with the combination of flavors. Damn Skippy, their 8.4% peanut butter Porter, is another winner with a full, yet smooth, peanut butter chocolate flavor that works well as a dessert beer. Fans of coffee flavored beers should enjoy Fleur de Latte, an Imperial Milk Stout brewed with Madagascar vanilla and New Orlean’s style chicory coffee. The line-up rounded out with Asmodeus Amber Ale, a more lightly-malted, drier take on the style. The two I missed, Boreas Brown Ale and Czech’s in the Pale, an American Pale Ale brewed with 100% Saaz hops, show a solid variety. One of their upcoming releases, Andromeda IPA, is a planned flagship beer, and they are planning a SMASH IPA series called SMASHing Your Dreams.
My visit to the brewery was definitely enhanced by the atmosphere; I got to meet and have great conversations with a handful of local beer fans as well as members of the Cranky Britches team. This is one of the great advantages of hitting up a brewery outside of peak hours: I always have a great time being able to relax, drink great beer, and talk beer and brewing with others who are as enthusiastic as I am. Based on the quality of the beer and the folks making it, I see Cranky Britches being a great addition to the growing Clear Lake area scene.
Devil and the Deep Brewery opened in Galveston this weekend, so I’m sure I’ll be out there in the coming weeks to give everyone a First Look at the area’s newest brewery.