Yesterday I talked about some celebrating that we did this weekend, which included a birthday celebration for my sister at one of the Craft Breweries in Houston, Saint Arnold. Chris and I discovered this brewery during our first year of marriage and have fallen in love with it. Which is why we try to make it there whenever we can.
When Chris and I got married, we were looking for things to do on the weekends to occupy our times when it wasn’t football season, when somebody told us about Saint Arnold’s Brewery near downtown. Even though I’ve grown up in Houston my whole life, what I did before my high school graduation (which included going to the movies and shopping), didn’t exactly translate into what I liked to do once I was graduated from college and married (which included hanging out with friends, usually with some good food and alcohol).
Saint Arnold, like many craft breweries in the Houston area, are open for brewery tours during various times of the week, including the most important day of the week, Saturday. Saint Arnold costs $10 to get into the brewery, which includes an 8 ounce glass and 4 tokens to try out some of their beers, which includes their seasonal beer. You also have the option to trade in your souvenir glass for a pint glass for $8, which you can get filled up with your tokens. You can also use that glass each time you go back for another visit to the brewery. All of these are some of the many reasons why the brewery has turned into a fun place for us to hang out with friends on the weekend, and to celebrate at.
Now we are far from professional brewery attendees, but we have learned quite a bit from our numerous trips to Saint Arnold, so I thought that I’d share some of my best tips and tricks for spending a Saturday at a brewery, specifically Saint Arnold.
- Arrive Early- Saint Arnold opens their doors to the Beer Hall at 11:00 AM on Saturday mornings, but the line starts forming way earlier than that. One of the reasons for the early line forming is because there is limited seating available inside the Beer Hall. Saint Arnold has these huge picnic tables set up inside the beer hall, and they are a very hot commodity, as far as seating is considered. We typically use a 30 minute rule of thumb when going to Saint Arnold, which means that we in line at the brewery, waiting to get in, at 10:30 AM on Saturdays.
- When in doubt, bring chairs- If you feel like you’re going to be late arriving, like getting there around 11:00 or 11:30, bring some lawn chairs with you. There is ample space within the Beer Hall to set up camp with your friends, even if you can’t find a seat at one of the tables.
- Bring Food- Maybe this is just specific to Saint Arnold, but a lot of breweries will allow you to bring outside food into the brewery. We always bring lots of “snacky” foods with us like chips and salsa, Ben dip (a concoction from my brother in law which is basically just cream cheese and french onion dip seasoning), cheese and crackers, veggie trays, and sliced meats. If you don’t feel like bringing your own food from home, you can also pick up a couple of pizzas before heading to the brewery. There’s nothing better than pizza and beer right? And if you’re just super lazy and don’t want to worry about food until you get there, Saint Arnold now serves food. We had one of their burgers this weekend, and they were phenomenal!
- Bring Entertainment- What’s better than drinking with friends? Playing card/board games with friends! We always bring a couple of card games with us when we head to the brewery, to make sure that we can stay occupied, in case there’s a lull in the conversation. Some of our favorites to bring are Uno and Cards Against Humanity. I’m sure y’all remember Uno from your childhood, and maybe you’re familiar Cards Against Humanity from your college years. Cards Against Humanity is basically Apples to Apples for “Terrible People.” Both are great to play with some beer because Uno just gets incredibly competitive, while Cards Against Humanity just gets even more hilarious!
- Hydrate- The only rule at Saint Arnold is that you can’t bring in other alcoholic beverages, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring in any other beverages whatsoever. With all of the beer that you’ll be drinking, hydration is definitely key. So I highly recommend bringing some water with you.
- Go On A Tour- Besides trying new beer and hanging out with friends, another reason to visit a brewery is to go on one of the tours that they have. That’s why the brewery is open in the first place. On the tour they’ll walk you through their beer process, and a lot of craft breweries will tell you the difference between them and the big guys. Besides going on the public brewery tour, you can also go on a private brewery tour if you’re lucky enough to know somebody that works for the brewery. My brother in law happens to work for Saint Arnold, so on Saturday we got a private tour at Saint Arnold, which included a tour of the barrel room.
- Have Fun- My final tip is to have a good time with friends. That’s why you’re there in the first place, right? In order to have a good time, I recommend doing what you want to do. If you want to go on a brewery tour, go on one of the tours, if you want to eat and talk, eat and talk, and if you want to play games, then play some games. You really can’t go wrong on a Saturday which involves drinking beer with good friends.
Well, I hope this helps you during your next trip to a brewery! And if you’re ever in Houston on a Saturday, try and check out Saint Arnold, I promise you’ll have a good time!