Stephen Beaumont drinks a lot of beer — enough to fill hundreds of pages in books he's written about the subject.
His latest, authored in partnership with fellow beer nerd Tim Webb, is called Best Beers: The Indispensable Guide to the World's Best Craft and Traditional Beers. And, as the name suggests, it spotlights that most iconic and astounding brews from across the globe.
While Texas makes a moderate showing in the book — four beers from the Lone Star State made the cut, including two from North Texas — it's obvious our scene is playing catch-up when compared to the number of featured beers from meccas like Oregon and California.
We recently chatted with Beaumont about his impressions of Texas beer and which breweries to watch.
Your new book is about the world's most iconic breweries, and up and comers. How would you say Texas' beer scene fares compared to other places you've been in United States?
Although Austin has a bit of a veteran scene and St. Arnold Brewing Co. in Houston has over two decades behind it, I think you still need to qualify Texas as a fairly young craft beer market. That said, I have in the past couple of years been noting D-FW as a beer scene to watch. And, of course, interesting stuff is always happening in what are sometimes the most unexpected places.
Which are the most iconic Texas breweries?
I'd say you definitely need to include St. Arnold in that category: 23 years old and mid-size brewing company of the year at the Great American Beer Festival this year! I also give respect to Live Oak Brewing Co., who has been killing it for 20 years, and most of that as a draft-only brewery. Then, of course, there is Jester King Brewery, probably the best-known Texas brewery nationally and internationally.
Which breweries in Dallas-Fort Worth should a drinker not miss?
I've been a big fan of Community Beer Co. since they opened and a server in the Fort Worth Flying Saucer presented me with a bottle of their Trinity Tripel. And although I've had a few of their beers in years past, I was able this trip to pay a proper visit to Peticolas Brewing Co. and came away very impressed — they're not in this edition of Best Beers, but they sure as hell will be in the next one!
Which breweries in North Texas are ones to watch?
A lot of people are talking about BrainDead Brewing these days, and from my visit I'd say not without justification. I think that if they get a little more disciplined with what they're doing, they could be releasing some top-notch stuff in the near future.
Which region of Texas is the one to watch when it comes to beer?
It's obviously a very big state with a lot going on — more than 200 breweries, according to the Brewers Association — and I can't claim to know each region very well, but I can say that I like what I've been seeing in and around Dallas over the last few years. There is a lot of urban vitality in the scene and I think it really could be going places.
Name your top 3 Texas brews.
The one I just had, the one I'm drinking and my next one.
No, seriously, I couldn't possibly say. Beer is for me a very location-, mood- and experience-oriented thing, so the Live Oak Pilz that thrills me one day might be left in fourth or fifth place behind the Petit Prince, Real Ale Oktoberfest or Peticolas Sit Down or I'll Sit You Down I have three days later. Suffice to say that there is no reason to go thirsty in the Lone Star State these days.