First Look: Brigadoon Brewery
Brigadoon Brewery had their soft opening on June 30th and started with regular Friday and Saturday hours this past weekend, making them our area’s newest brewery. They are also Pasadena’s first brewery. What’s interesting about Brigadoon is that, since 2008, they have operated a seasonal brewery at the Texas Renaissance Festival that’s open for the duration of the festival. Their brewery at Ren Fest is unique because they brew using historic techniques and equipment. During the festival, they provide demonstrations of Renaissance-era brewing and offer additional beer classes. The majority of their recipes are based on historical beer styles as well. The story behind the name is also interesting, it’s based off a Scottish musical from 1947 named Brigadoon, the theme of which fits perfectly with the nature of their Ren Fest location. The full story is on their website and is worth a read (http://www.brigadoonbrewery.com/WhyBrigadoon.html). The good news is that the original brewery is not going anywhere and that their Pasadena brewery is open year-round and operates on a modern brewing system. I always seek out Brigadoon’s beer when I go to the festival, so I was eager to see their new location.
Brigadoon Brewery is located in an industrial park on Spencer Highway, about a mile from Beltway 8. During my visit there was adequate parking for the number of guests, but I could see it getting hectic with a large crowd. The brewery consists of a small, air-conditioned tap room in front of a more warehouse-like area that holds their brewhouse. During my visit, people were only allowed into the brewhouse during tours, but there appears to be enough space to possibly accommodate additional guests in the future. The taproom is cozy, consisting of two beer hall style tables and a small wooden bar. There are some board games to play and the atmosphere is welcoming and relaxed.
There were four beers on tap during my visit: English Ale, Rustin IPA, Green Ogre Double IPA and, the beer Brigadoon is probably most known for, Black Plague. English Ale and Green Ogre are also returning favorites that have been produced at the original location for years. All beers were $5 a pint, except for Black Plague, which was $5 for a smaller sized pour. All four beers excelled in malt flavor as even the IPAs favored the malty ends of their style categories and seemed to aim more for balance than hop explosion. Their English Ale fills the role of their lightest and most accessible beer nicely. It’s an easy drinker that still gives you malt character and complexity. There’s plenty of sweet caramel malt with touches of biscuit.
As predicted, my favorite was their popular Russian Imperial Stout, Black Plague. This is a thick and chewy beer with rich malt flavors reigning supreme. Big roast and chocolate are joined by an overall sweetness that’s thick, but doesn’t cloy thanks to an ample roasty bitterness. I love big stouts like Black Plague; this is a great one and a Houston Beer Scene Pick. There’s also a barrel-aged version that’s available in bombers. Along with the beer selection, Brigadoon has a few cider and wine options.
Brigadoon was smart in their decision to open the new brewery with mostly tried and true recipes of which their fan base was already familiar. I’m looking forward to catching up on brews I could never catch at the festival, as well as whatever new creations they release. While I enjoy the new location, I must admit that their original location is much more interesting due to the vintage brewing equipment and demonstrations. Hopefully, as the new location evolves, they’ll take on some of the flair that makes their original location so unique. Until then, I’ll just have to enjoy the fact that Brigadoon brews are available year-round. Cheers!