If you’ve been anywhere on social media around Houston this week (or our own website), you’ve undoubtedly heard about 8th Wonder’s fourth annual "Celebr8ion of Beer" happening Saturday afternoon. The EaDo brewery is of course a huge supporter of local music and artists, but they're hardly alone. A plethora of fellow breweries are establishing themselves in different niches across the city, with one goal: to serve their community to their fullest, something that certainly applies to Eureka Heights Brewing Company in the Heights.
Occupying a generous amount of warehouse space on 18th Street off Durham, Eureka Heights has gotten that ball rolling quickly. After opening in August of 2016, they’ve already had success in the past with DJs and bands, something the brewery's "Ambassador of Buzz," Brent Davis, wants to keep going. He says the first step is getting a PA system that would suit the space, while hosting acts their guests would enjoy is their main focus. If they’re going to do it, they want to to do it right, Davis notes. They aren’t oblivious, though — they know that having music, especially a variety of types, can enhance an experience, and want to make sure they appeal to everyone who comes through.
“Our group is a couple of different people; we all have our likes and dislikes and interests, and that pairs really well with our beer," Davis elaborates. "[The beers] all have different tastes that appeal to different people. We like to mix it up and keep it fresh and appeal to all audiences.”
The two events coming to Eureka this weekend bear this out. Saturday from 1-8 p.m., they will host "Art Market for a Cause," designed to showcase professional and upcoming artists and including a plant market; the Eureka staff . will play some of their favorite tunes, while proceeds benefit The Journey School of Houston, which focuses on inclusive education for children. (Veteran local turntablists DJ Koshy and Squincy Jones will spin for the Art Market on March 26.) This Sunday, from noon to 6 p.m., their "Hootenanny" will feature a chili cook-off, roping contest, music from the Vinyl Ranch DJs and MC Craig Hlavaty Eureka also plans to debut four specialty beers specifically brewed for this event. Davis explains the inspiration comes from their ties to country music and the rodeo; owner Casey Motes’ brother, Ryan, is a professional cowboy and team roper.
According to Vinyl Ranch founder Dave Wrangler, mixing at events like the Hootenanny is becoming more and more popular now that the molds are broken, and there isn’t one formula per brewery. “We all know this, but Houston is so multicultural that you've gotta come correct with a mixed bag to keep the audiences engaged," he says. "I feel that people have come to expect that, particularly in those settings where people are coming together to bond over food, beverages and music. I think a genre-neutral scene is a sign of health and vibrancy, and that model has proven itself successful here.”
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He’s right, of course. The culture of local live music and breweries is blossoming at a rapid pace, so much so that it is becoming commonplace for new and established brewers alike. Besides Eureka, other locations having opened int he past year include Platypus Brewing (Washington Avenue); Town In City (Heights); Holler Brewing Co. (Washington again), and Sigma Brewing Co. (Eastwood); all of them are chomping at the bit to start hosting music. The outdoor ambience of the Australian-inspired Platypus begs for live music, which the owners plan to feature every Friday this Spring during crawfish season (another tasty addition to their full-service menu).
During its first six to eight months of operation, Town In City hosted live music frequently, but its close proximity to residential neighbors led the brewery to restrict performances by artists like the Beans, Heights Funk Collective, and Leslie Krafka to special events like the infamous White Linen Nights. In the immediate future, they plan to introduce the Houston Cider Company and have live music at that opening celebration. Holler, tucked nicely away on Edwards Street, had a grand opening party with music but, with four months under their belt, has decided to focus on their taproom for now. (However, their beer is available through taps at Cottonwood, Armadillo Palace, and Southern Goods, all of which frequently host live music.) Sigma Brewing Co., just on the outskirts of EaDo, falls under that category as well. Open just six months, its owners hope to expand into live music, provided the space is available. Going on now, however, are wrestling matches in the Sigma parking lot.