On Wednesday, 1/15/14, we found ourselves over at 8th Wonder Brewery in East Downtown Houston, TX. The brewery’s name pays tribute to the fact that the Houston Astrodome (now called the Reliant Astrodome) was known as the original 8th Wonder of the world. The brewery is actually located less than 10 miles from the Astrodome and will be connected via light rail once it is completed. It is also just 4 blocks away from the new BBVA Compass stadium (where the Dynamo plays), 4 blocks away from the Toyota Center (where the Rockets play), 10 blocks away from Minute Maid Park (where the Astros play), and 2 blocks away from the George R. Brown convention center, which will be home to one of the largest beer festivals in the country later this year.
The first batch of beer was brewed on Superbowl Sunday in February of 2013, followed by the launch of their first 3 beers about a month later on March 8th, 2013. We got to spend some time talking with Co-owners Ryan Soroka and Aaron Corsi while there. Ryan was first co-owner of the Eatsie Boys food truck in town with Matt Marcus and Alex Vassilakidis, and after deciding to start 8th Wonder, brought Aaron on to be the brewmaster. Ryan & Aaron first met at graduate school at the University of Houston, where they formed an underground brewing club. Aaron is also a professor at UofH right now and teaches brewing, wine-making, and distilling. They are also part of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild.
Their three year-round, flagship beers (aka their starting lineup) are: Intellectuale Witty Blonde, Hopston Texas IPA, and Alternate Universe Altbier. 8th Wonder also has their Imagin8ion Series – these are seasonals, one-offs, and test batches. According to the 8th Wonder crew, “this is where brewing dreams come true”. Their Imagin8ion series includes: Feight (pronounced Fate) a Red ale which they are contemplating making the 4th year-round beer, as well as MCA Rauch – a smokey German Rauchbier. Along with those, they have a few other seasonal beers launching in the next two months, including Rocket Fuel – Houston’s original Vietnamese Coffee Porter – a sweet porter brewed with lactose and Greenway Coffee. Also on deck is Dome Faux’m (pronounced ‘Dome Foam’), a throwback Cream Ale which pays homage to the light beer served at the Astrodome. Dome Faux’m was a collaborative brew with Moontower Inn, a brewpub located 1.5 miles from 8th Wonder. They also told us about BrewGK, a new Candy Apple Brown Ale, which is a collabor8ion with Bun B of UGK. . All of their beer is brewed on brand new equipment using a variety of ingredients that come from five different countries.
8th Wonder Brewery currently self distributes to three counties around the Houston area in a 1994 Chevy Van, but hope to expand under their ‘100-year plan.’ Their brews are only found in kegs as of right now, but we were told they hope to have them in cans by the second half of 2014 or early 2015. We were also shown a small barrel-aging program they are working on right now. Tours are held on most Saturday evening from 6 – 9pm, so that it’s not too hot during the summer and people can start their Saturday nights there. Big thanks to Ryan and Aaron for sharing their in-depth knowledge of the brewery and the brewing business
as a whole with us while we were there!
Author: Michael Roberts