Featured Brewery: Great Heights Brewing Company!
Before we get to the brewery, here are a few things to know about the neighborhood…
It was 1937 — developer Edward L. Crain had the vision to bring Small Town, America, to the bustling city of Houston. Crain purchased 1,100 acres 9 miles northwest from downtown Houston, opposite the already popular Houston Heights district — Crain named his vision “Garden Oaks.”
For the past 80 years, Garden Oaks has brought Houstonians a history of landmarks and sense of community. From the Historic Garden Oaks Theater (Now occupied by Grace Community Church) to the 2-time Houston Press Best BBQ – Gatlin’s BBQ (located 2 min away on Ella Blvd), and the popular GAStro Pub THE PETROL STATION (Did you see what I did there? It’s in an old GAS station converted into a pub – I nailed it), the tradition of “great”ness is continued with GREAT HEIGHTS BREWING COMPANY.
When you first drive up Wakefield Drive and arrive at Great Heights, something to comes to mind…HOW LEGIT IS THIS LOCATION? a great mix of commercial and community. While larger, it’s strongly reminiscent of Under the Radar’s location –
With that thought in mind, parking can be a headache, but again, with an area lacking available space, it’s understandable.
Walking up, you get that immediate sense of Houston community with a mural paying homage to what makes our city GREAT. But the art doesn’t stop at the door — 80’s video game icons such as Link (Legend of Zelda) Mega Man and Space Invaders brings young and old together — introducing the main theme we experienced at Great Heights.
Great Heights offers a simple atmosphere. Based on the location and the history of Garden Oaks, I’m going to say this is by design. The picnic tables force a close and intimate encounter with your fellow beer patrons — it was almost impossible NOT to strike up a conversation with the group next to you.
There is an outside patio area available with the same community seating found indoors. The day we visited, the weather was not cooperating and we were forced to seek shelter….in the tap room. Boom.
We enjoyed this area the most, being on the front lines seated with the 15-barrel two-vessel brew system, made us feel like the beer was poured straight out of the tank.
BEER (and food units)
The menu at Great Heights is, well, Great! As many young breweries (less than one-year-old) do, Great Heights Brewing has taken the approach of brewing a very solid lineup of beers, and not changing the menu or recipes constantly. This is a really good thing, especially for new breweries. Between Peter, Todd and me, we have tried all the beers Great Heights has put out, and since it is not a long list (they are only like 7 months old folks!), we thought we would include some notes on all the beers (Thanks to Peter and Todd for some notes on some of the beers I did not get to try!). Today, their full lineup consists of:
- Fruity Pellets – New England IPA – Hazy, juicy and smooth. What else can we say? Ryan’s favorite.
- Fruitier Pellets – New England IPA – This is Great Height‘s Fruity Pellets taken to the next level. This is hazy, juicy and pretty smooth; which seems to hit true NEIPA territory. The flavor is a juicy blast of citrus that won Todd over. Todd’s favorite.
- BAM BAM – New England IPA – A quality NEIPA that includes one of the lesser known hops (but one Peter really likes), Idaho 7. This is the most tropical of their NEIPAs.
- Denali – IPA (West Coast) -The hops provide fruity flavors with pineapple really standing out. This is a bit sweet for an IPA, but everything really comes together on this one. The interplay between hops and malt is nicely layered, complex, but still well balanced. Overall this is very well-crafted from top to bottom and easy to recommend to IPA fans.
- Citramendous – Double IPA – This Citra-fueled brew is an 8.8% double IPA. The flavor is traditional citrus forward DIPA with a bit more malt body than average. Peter’s favorite.
- Lager-ish – Kolsch – Light and crisp. This is the beer for the light-beer drinker.
- So Inclined – Saison – Solid everyday saison, with lots of earthy and some lemon peel notes. Peter suggested they throw this in a red wine barrel.
- Great Heights Porter – All the roasty notes (think coffee and chocolate) you would expect, and maybe more, with a dry finish.
- Great Heights Amber – One of the two launch beers available during Great Height’s soft open. A fairly hearty take on the amber style with more body and roast than expected.
- Great Heights Hefeweizen – This is a very easy drinking beer. It is also very well done. Lots of banana and clove, as well as some orange notes. Banana and clove stood out more than the orange. One of the better hefeweizens in town.
After a flight and couple “gotta have more” pours, I began to feel the effects and decided it was time to grub down. Great Heights Brewing doesn’t have a kitchen, but there are plenty of culinary options: food trucks, order to-go from local restaurants, bring your own food/order in, ask your bartender for a list of snacks on hand. Check out the breweries events page for a list of food trucks.
That day, we were graced with the Food Truck – Purple Flour Pizza. In that moment, I pictured Edward L. Crain sitting there with me, enjoying that pie, his vision of small-town America living on — You can’t get more American, than Pizza and Beer.
Address: 938 Wakefield Dr, Houston, TX 77018
Hours: Wed-Thurs 5PM – 10PM, Fri 3PM – 10PM, Sat 12PM – 10PM, Sun 12PM – 6PM
Phone: (281) 220-6900