First Look at Platypus Brewing

The tag line reads:  Brewed with Texan Heart and Australian Soul. The newest brewery in the Washington area blends homegrown ingredients with both Texas and Australian hops to produce Texas-Australian hybrid beer. The Houston Press happily stumbled upon the soft opening of Platypus Brewing on October 2.

Located in the space of the former Drake nightclub at 1902 Washington, Platypus offers plenty of free parking across the street from the brew pub. Signage is large and set high upon the massive brick-walled side of the building. A partially-covered deck spanned almost the entirety of the front area of the brewery with space for a dozen long communal picnic tables. A long, narrow sandy aisle runs the length of the deck with boxes and bags ready for a game of Cornhole. Inside the glass doors is a brightly-lit dining area with a contemporary-style bar and loads of taps on the wall. Through another set of glass doors towards the back of the dining room stood the giant stainless steel tanks and piping. A mezzanine and event space is available upstairs.

Flights provide an opportunity for patrons to sample four-ounce pours of four of its six house brews. All but one of the beers is a 5 percent ABV (alcohol by volume). Interestingly named, Box Kick, the resident IPA (India Pale Ale) is a 6.7 percent ABV. Box Kick is perhaps the most fragrant and notable of Platypus' beers. The strong, hoppy presence in the beer is perfect for Houston's lingering heat. For being an IPA, it satisfies the palette with underlying citrus tones while leaving a not-too-bitter after taste. 

The Ranga at 5 percent ABV is another good choice. With notes of red licorice and a sweet candy aroma, this red ale is a bit on the sweet side and finishes with a flowery essence on the tongue. 

The Name Me! beer is a brown ale with hints of roasted coffee and chocolate. Platypus wants their customers to submit a name for this brew. The beer was light on malt and true to the menu description of being an "easy-drinking delight." 

Executive Chef Michael Douglas explained that the soft-opening food menu was an abbreviated version of the full menu, which will be offered for lunch and dinner once the brew pub is officially open. On this visit, our party enjoyed the Chilled Gulf Prawns, Spent Grain Pretzel Baguettes and a mason jar of delicately pickled carrots, cucumbers, red jalapenos and okra.

The most surprising item of the night were the beernuts.  Don't let the simple listing of "Beernuts" (without any description) on the menu deter the eyes. The tastebuds will do a dance of joy soon after the bowl arrives at the table. Chef Douglas doubled back to the table to reveal some of the magic behind the heavenly bites of cashews and peanuts drenched in dark, red spices that sent tingles down the spine. "The rub on the beernuts is a mixture I've used for my barbeque since I started cooking, probably when I was 15," he said.

With the weather finally giving Houstonians a break from the heat, the spacious outside patio will be sure to draw a hungry, thirsty crowd. The Press took a peek at the full menu and it looks pretty stacked.  
Expect Box Kick IPA Braised Wings, some Aussie house specials like Steak & Mushroom Pie and Sausage Rolls and fresh fruit hand-crafted popsicles.

According to its Facebook page, Platypus Brewing is closed on Mondays and open from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays through Thursdays, 3 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 9 p.m. on Sundays.
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Cuc Lam is a freelance food writer for the Houston Press and local pop-up chef. She enjoys teaching cooking classes and hosting dinner parties when she is not writing.