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Brews Cruising (Pt. 3): The Killer B(eer)s and a Brew Named Sue

Murals on buildings in Houston's East End, an area of town which
reminded me of Columbus's Franklinton neighborhood
Columbus Ohio's craft brew scene has been centered on a mutually beneficial relationship between brewery and food truck. New craft brewery sans food service opens up, and soon after a rotation of regular food trucks is in place to provide the food. As we found out, Houston's 8th Wonder Brewing put a little twist on the scenario: beer-loving owner of established food truck decides to set up a brewery.


The brainchild of the folks of the long-standing Eatsie Boys Food Truck, 8th Wonder lies in the industrial East End section of Houston (with the skyline of Downtown Houston lurking, folks in Columbus in for a visit may be reminded of the Franklinton neighborhood.) The brewery's name is a reference to the Astrodome, dubbed "The Eighth Wonder of the World" at its opening in 1965. In case you wondered, the Astrodome still stands generally unused, remaining in limbo as county taxpayers battle over what to do with this iconic structure.

Once you get within the extremely non-descript warehouse where this brewery resides (the only real initial clue you've arrived at the right place lies in the brewery's logoed vehicles outside), the full homage to the Astrodome unfolds. Plenty of memorabilia related to the building lies within including the original floor used for the 1971 NCAA Final Four basketball tournament and a large panoramic picture of the original interior. In an additional neat touch, the wall behind the tap area neatly mimics the Astrodome's outline.

The traditional colors of the Houston Astros MLB team are also quite noticeable; fans of that team may harken back to the Killer B's (Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell and, later, Lance Berkman) or older vintage stars like Nolan Ryan, J.R. Richard and Jose Cruz. They may be even old enough to have seen them play under the team's original name (the Colt 45's.)



An even more expansive outdoor space, replete with benches, p├ętanque courts and cornhole boards, and a disc golf course lies to the back. This ample elbow room comes in quite handy when the Astros or Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo are hosting a home game - their stadiums lie mere blocks away from the brewery.


The brewery sports a unique token based system that is advantageous for regulars (a pint glass that allows you cheaper pours in the future provided you bring it), but as we were just driving through, we opted for traditional beer flights. All our beers were quite enjoyable, with our standouts being Rocket Fuel Porter with Vietnamese Coffee, the Hopston English-style IPA, and their flagship Alternate Universe Altbier.


Of course, you can't not go to 8th Wonder and not visit the food truck that started it all. The Eatsie Boys truck camps out "eight days a week" behind the brewery and offers a Houston-area twist on various finger foods, sandwiches and wraps. We're big fans of fried pickles, and the version the Eatsie Boys puts out is not only plentiful, but also one of the tastiest versions we've ever consumed.


8th Wonder Brewery
2202 Dallas St (Google Maps)
Houston, TX 77003
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800 miles removed and a couple days later, we dropped by perhaps Tennessee's largest and most well-known craft brewery, plopped firmly within Nashville's popular Gulch neighborhood, as a way to kick back and relax from that day's sightseeing.


Opened up in 2003, Yazoo Brewing (actually named after a river in Mississippi next to which owners Linus and Lila Hall got married) is very familiar to fans of Columbus' Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. Their collaboration frozen confection flavor Yazoo Sue with Rosemary Bar Nuts, made with the brewery's well-regarded smoked porter Sue quickly became a best seller when it was first released in scoop shops in 2013.

Yazoo moved into their current taproom space in 2010. I personally try to make some comparison to other brewery spaces I've encounter, but Yazoo's is pretty unique in that regard. The interior's slew of elements, including but not exclusive to the tap area, painted cement block walls, lots of brewery swag, plenty of art work and a variety pack of tables, chairs, and church pews, may not sound cohesive but actually just works well together. It's easy to see why people bring in their favorite eats (Yazoo allows outside food to be brought into their space) to hang around for a couple hours with friends and family.




Higher gravity beers are tricky things to deal with for Tennessee brewers: those above 6.25% ABV must be sold in liquor stores (thankfully, this will change slightly for the better in 2017 when a law raising that level to 10% ABV goes into effect.) Yazoo has tread into these waters, receiving a license to produce bigger beers like the previously mentioned Sue as well as quite a few of their wild ale/funky brews.


On this visit, the high-gravity Indomitus Dolium proved to be a nicely potent and boozy Old Ale, but the standout was the much more modest ABV-leveled Zure Bruine Flanders Oud Bruin which made our tart-leaning hearts sing, sporting a complex fruit and caramel base and a nice dry finish. 

We had intended on hanging out for awhile and sampling more brews (we did get in one more in a decent Sly Rye Porter) but alas found out their taproom closes on the early side (8 PM on this day.) I guess we can count ourselves as thwarted in that endeavor, but that will just give us more incentive on our next visit to Nashville to come back for a second round or three.



Yazoo Brewing Company
910 Division St. (Google Maps)
Nashville, TN 37203
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