First Year Follow-Up: Great Heights Brewing Company
Welcome to the first edition of a new feature at Houston Beer Scene, First Year Follow-Up. Since we started Houston Beer Scene in September 2017, we have made it a point to do a First Look on every new brewery that opens in the Houston area. In First Year Follow-Up we will check back on these breweries to see where they’re at after a year or so in business. In these entries, the focus will be on what’s new and has changed since opening. Great Heights was Houston Beer Scene‘s initial First Look entry (Ryan@HoustonBeerScene reviewed them as well) so it’s only appropriate that they’re also the inaugural First Year Follow-Up subject.
I have visited Great Heights frequently over the last year and, while they started strong, they’ve added a couple of things to enhance the taproom experience. They now have a permanent food truck on-site, The Purple Flour, which serves a variety of pizza options and also allows you to create your own. I tried a slice of their BBQ chicken and a slice of their Buffalo chicken pizza and was happy with both. The slices were $6.50 apiece, but they were some of the biggest pizza slices you’ll see around town. I was told they were about the size of my face, but I think they were even bigger than that. I especially enjoyed the Buffalo pizza as their sauce has a unique and more peppery flavor than the more standard Frank’s Red Hot type flavor. They also offer a wide variety of dipping sauces and sometimes offer Cake Pops, a chocolate coated cake on a stick. Shortly after opening, Great Heights also added a nice, wooden patio which is almost a requirement in Houston these days.
Great Heights has recently expanded their hours to include 5:00-10:00 on Tuesdays, a day which also includes beer specials. Wednesdays now feature a Pints and Pies Trivia Night which features pies from Flying Saucer Pie Company (trust me – these are amazing, Flying Saucer is a Houston legend for a reason) as prizes for victors, along with gift cards to the brewery. Some trivia nights have special themes such as Halloween and Harry Potter. They’ve also had various events such as a yoga night, a Beer and Axes appearance and hosted a Business and Brews Networking meeting to name a few recent ones.
Great Heights’ most recent big event, their first-anniversary party, occurred on November 17th. Unfortunately, we were not able to attend, but I was able to try the three new beers released for the event and can easily recommend all three. Hopefully, they made enough to keep these on-tap for awhile and perhaps for off-site distribution. I do know they’re available at the brewery at the time of writing. Lupulin Starship, a New England Double IPA, has one of the softest, creamiest bodies in recent memory. Brewed with Galaxy, it’s plenty juicy, with a fruity citrus flavor. Tripel Secret Probation is a Pro-AM competition winning brew made in collaboration with Matthew Herrold. It’s an impressive take on the Tripel style. Great Height’s version falls on the low ABV end of the style at 7.5%, but is still very complex and flavorful. All of the elements that make a Tripel great are on display here, a full-flavored, fruity malt paired with distinct, spicy Belgian yeast.
World of Pain (which I know was Peter’s favorite of the three beers) is the heavyweight and probably most typical of what one expects for an anniversary beer: a big, rich American Imperial Stout. Great Heights didn’t pull punches and went fairly strong at 10.3%. World of Pain drinks too easily for 10.3%, there’s plenty of roast and chocolate flavors, but no heat. Great Heights also released another batch of popular New England IPA Fruitier Pellets for their 1st Anniversary. These brews really typify Great Heights releases over the past year; they’re high quality, lack flaws and are strong examples of their styles. When I first visited Great Heights, they only had two beers on-tap. Now they routinely have around ten (of 21 different ones brewed in their first year) on-tap and peaked at thirteen for their anniversary. I haven’t had a bad beer from Great Heights, but find their IPAs to be their strongest suit and most focused upon beer style. Personal favorites include Fruitier Pellets, Bam Bam and Denali.
It’s been an exciting first year for Great Heights as they’ve steadily released quality beers while also upgrading the experience of visiting the brewery. They also have some beer aging in barrels that I’m eagerly looking forward to trying. With Decant Urban Winery next door slated to open soon and Walking Stick Brewing Company just recently opening across the street from Great Heights, this area of town is really heating up. Don’t forget popular bars Petrol Station and Wakefield Crow Bar are also within the same block as well. I see some super easy pub crawls in the future.
Check back with HoustonBeerScene for additional First Year Follow-ups. Look for one on Baileson Brewing soon from Peter. After that, next in line will be Texas Leaguer Brewing Company. Cheers!
Address: 938 Wakefield Dr, Houston, TX 77018
Phone: (281) 220-6900
Hours: Tue-Thu: 5p-10a, Fri: 3p-10p, Sat: 11a -10p, Sun: 12p – 8a