First Look: Fire Ant Brewing Company
Fire Ant Brewing Company had a soft opening recently making them Tomball’s first brewpub. I was able to visit this past Saturday and Sunday to try out their beers, they have so many options it took two trips for me to try them all. Fire Ant will have a full menu with burgers, wings, and other brewpub fare, many items will be cooked with their beer. Based on the descriptions of their food in a preview menu, I’m excited to try quite a few of their options such as a schnitzel sandwich and stacked reuben.
Fire Ant is located in a prime spot one block off of Main St., in Tomball’s classic central business area. They have a small lot next to their building, and there also appears to be plenty of street parking in addition to a large, free public lot. Their location is new but has a classic look that fits in with old town Tomball. I can’t understate this, Fire Ant’s building is impressive for a start-up brewpub.
There is plenty of space inside and out, both of which have their own large bars. The outside area is very inviting with a combination of bar seating, benches and even some tables on an upstairs balcony. This will be an excellent place to hang out as our weather continues to slowly get cooler. The inside features booths and tables, as well a more bar seating. The overall effect is a nice meld of restaurant and taproom that doesn’t feel like too much of one or the other, which I see as one big sign of a quality brewpub. There are a few TVs scattered throughout the restaurant and I can envision Fire Ant being a popular place to watch Football. Fire Ant gives off the vibe of a sleek new brewpub that’s warm and inviting in ways that should be just as appealing for singles and families alike.
Bryce@HoustonBeerScene joined me for my initial Fire Ant visit and we were both very impressed that they were able to open with so many beer options and that we enjoyed the large majority of the ones we tried. It’s a bold move to open with so many beers and I think it worked in their favor.
Fire Ant launched with a huge selection that included all 15 beers of their “Signature Series”. There are also plans for three more seasonal beers to be on tap soon. If they’re able to consistently keep a large number of different beers on tap, they’re going to be hard to beat for variety as their options hit a lot of different style categories. A list of their “Signature Series” is as follows:
- Summer Craze Blonde – American Blonde Ale
- Hell’s Heavenweizen – Hefeweizen
- Slam Dunk Pilsner – German Pilsner
- Sand Castle Kölsch
- Fire Ant Bock – Traditional Bock
- Fire Ant Lite Cream Ale
- Market Street Brown – American Brown Ale
- 2920 IPA – American IPA
- Destination Dunkel – Munich Dunkel Lager
- Working Ant Porter
- Mosaic Ant – American Pale Ale
- Telgte Altbier
- Fire Ant Gold – Munich Helles Lager
- Double Warning – Double IPA
- Crazy Ant Red Ale
On top of the 15 “Signature Series” brews, their planned seasonals include an Oktoberfest, an American Strong Ale, and a Pumpkin Ale.
My favorite is Destination Dunkel which really takes the use of using darker malts to some amazingly high levels for the Munich Dunkel style. The flavor actually doesn’t end up too far from a Schwarzbier and the fullness of the malt makes this one of my favorite dark lagers in recent memory. Another of their dark lagers, Fire Ant Bock, caught my attention as well. Like Destination Dunkel, I felt they pushed the beer to the malty end of the style, this one a Traditional Bock, and made a solid beer in doing so. Expect something a bit chewier than your Shiner. They also succeed with their more lightly malted German lagers. Fire Ant Gold is a Munich Helles with plenty of sweet, lightly bready malt flavor up front and a dry, crisp finish. Slam Dunk Pilsner is about just as easily drinkable and provides a bit more Noble hop punch.
A couple of their German ales also stand out, with Hell’s Heavenweizen and Sand Castle Kölsch coming through as solid style examples. Fire Ant also did good work with American Ale styles as Fire Ant Lite packs way more flavor than I expect from a Cream Ale, and Summer Craze Blonde features a nice tropical hop note that stands out. Both fit a recurring theme that runs through the majority of the brews at Fire Ant, they’re accessible, well-done, and not high octane. Even their more malty brews, Market Street Brown and Working Ant Porter, are relatively tame in the ABV department at 5.7% and 5.9%, but pack quality, complex malt flavors.
If there’s anything to knock, their Pale Ales are well made, but don’t really stand out. 2920 IPA is the best of the bunch, a solid, all-around IPA with enough hop flavor and bitterness to keep me interested. Mosaic Ant, on the other hand, feels a bit thin in both regards, perhaps sacrificed for sessionability. Double Warning doesn’t quite come together for me. It’s described as a mix of a Double IPA and a Belgian Strong Ale and not unpleasant, but I think I’d just prefer a straight up Double IPA. Still, Double Warning is a fun choice by Fire Ant as you don’t see 8.5% Belgian Double IPAs too often.
I’m really looking forward to a return visit with the restaurant up and running. With a spiffy location, and a large list of brews, I really think Tomball’s first brewpub could have a winning formula on their hands if the kitchen rocks and everything clicks.
Keep checking us out for additional First Looks as more breweries open. I’m already planning to attend the October 13th soft opening of Southern Yankee Beer Company, and eyeing an announcement of a grand opening date for Walking Stick Brewing Company. Craft Beer Cellar Cypress is now open and will be the first Craft Beer Cellar location to brew their own beer. Also look for Bryce to share drone footage and additional Fire Ant content soon.
Address: 308 Market Street, Tomball, TX 77375
Phone: (281) 222-9326
Hours: Mon: 11am-9pm, Wed: 11am-9pm, Thur: 11am-9pm,
Fri: 11am-11pm, Sat: 11am-11pm, Sun: 11am-9pm