Forget Craft Beer: Where to Get The Hard Stuff in Small Batches

Posted on October 3, 2013 | Back to blog

Houston Eats!

Craft beer is overrated

The worst thing about craft beer is it ruins your palette for “normal” beer. Once you’ve become accustomed to the bitter-citrus taste of strong IPAs, there’s no going back. Coors Light tastes like air. Budweiser tastes like water. Drinkers get used to having their pint with 6.5% of alcohol or more, and drinking anything less after that means getting bloated with no buzz to make it feel better. Once you start pounding hop-forward beers like they’re a bottle of Gatorade, it’s hard to drink anything less without feeling like you’re drinking yourself short.

Up the ante

If just enough of a good thing is alright but more is better, then you’ll appreciate a new trend in booze here in Texas. People inclined to produce a tasty alcoholic beverage aren’t limiting themselves to beer anymore. There’s a craft distillery trend that’s in full swing, and it’s arrived here in Houston. You’ll find small batch vodka and rum producers all over the state. Heck, there’s even one operation doing small batch vodka, rum, and whiskey.

When you think “Texas”…

Do you think about vodka? No, probably not. No self-respecting pioneer or scalphunter ever walked into a tavern at the end of a long ride and ordered a martini. I have it on good authority they didn’t order rum & Cokes, either. No, if you want the authentic Texas experience you have to order whiskey. And the only thing that should ever touch your whiskey, arguably, is ice. Without further ado, here’s a list of the best small batch whiskey producers in Texas:

Balcones Distilling

It’s Texas’s premiere destination for fine, small batch whiskey. They built their distillery from scratch and then won a host of awards, including the prestigious 2012 and 2014 “Craft Distiller of the Year” awarded by Whiskey Magazine. Chip Tate, their head distiller, is the man behind the magic. And he won’t stop until he puts Texas thoroughly and completely on the whiskey map. If in 20 years there’s such a thing as “Texas Whiskey,” it will be because of Mr. Tate.

Rebecca Creek

Some people say…that Rebecca Creek is producing some of the smoothest whiskey in the country. Smooth usually means a whiskey that tastes like oaked vodka – if there was such a thing. And there should never, ever be such a thing as oaked vodka, no matter what kinds of crazy flavors the kids are getting into these days. But we’re not talking vodka, we’re talking whiskey. And Rebecca Creek delivers.

Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling

Hard to find in stores but better when you drink it as fresh from the still as you can. It’s worth a day trip to San Antonio to check it out, assuming you’re close enough. They do tours and tastings, and their beer is knock-your-cowboy-hat-off good. That’s right, I said “beer.” Ranger Creek is the only operation you’ll find in Texas who does just as good a job on their whiskey as they do on their beer. It’s a building-size boilermaker. What could be better?