Have you ever felt guilty when you wanted to order a cocktail during lunch? Or felt like if you did, it was socially unacceptable? Or how about the strange looks you would receive from your co-workers when you ordered a beer with your burger? I too have suffered from this so-called "drinking rule". Who says you can't have a beer before happy hour? Those days are over and the rules are changing. What was once deemed a non-standard practice has become the norm and Saint Arnold Brewery is leading the way.
Saint Arnold Brewery recently kicked off their lunch program where it is not only okay to have a brew with your meal, but it is recommended. You are really getting the best of two worlds; to say the least. The lunch program is fairly straightforward. It is open from 11:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. (when they take the last order), and offers a singe selection per day that starts with a soup or salad and ends with an optional dessert. And beer samplings are included just for the hell of it! On some days you will even find a suggested beer pairing and just for the record, the Amber Ale is my fave and a great "starter" beer for the ladies.
The lunch menu, created by Executive Chef Ryan Savoie, is published on their website every Thursday or Friday. The menu is for the upcoming week, valid Monday through Friday only. I visited on a Wednesday and was welcomed by a large room, with plenty of bench-style seating, in the company of beer lovers and foodies alike. I had no idea of what would be served but with a menu focused on comfort food, I was sure I would not be disappointed no matter what chef decided to whip up that day.
Up first was an Iceberg wedge salad with bacon, radish and blue cheese dressing. I took a few bites, which I found to be quite enjoyable, and turned my focus to the main entree...the Chicken Fried Steak. It was served with the traditional mashed potatoes and brown gravy with a side of green beans. The steak was tender and breaded rather lightly, but seasoned well. I didn't feel as though I had to rip through three inches of crust to get to the good stuff; it was well balanced and very, very good.
For dessert, we had the Pound Cake. It was too dry for my liking, but when eaten with the dollop of housemade whipped cream and freshly sliced strawberries, it fit the bill. Oh yes, before I forget, they serve a vegetarian offering every week as well. I hear the Quiche is excellent and I continue to stalk the website hoping for a nice surprise one day!
It seems this new concept from Saint Arnold Brewery was meant to be as the building in which they are currently housed used to be a food service building for HISD. After speaking with Lennie Ambrose, Saint Arnold's Head of Marketing, they expect business will increase during the summer and with the goal of serving food that is as good as their beer, I think they are right on target. I won't be surprised if this becomes a lunch go to spot for many inside the loop. You can even make an afternoon of it by attending one of their brewery tours that kicks off at 3:00 p.m. I got a chance to check out their barrel room where rare beers are being aged in oak barrels from wineries and distilleries.
I think the setup would be great for business lunches or gatherings. I remember those times when I was responsible for choosing a lunch location for my team and as the old saying goes, "If I knew then what I know now..." Oh well, better late than never, right?
Saint Arnold Brewery Co.
2000 Lyons Avenue
Houston TX. 77020
Lunch Cost: Lunch: $17.55 plus tax; Dessert: $4.62 plus tax , Iced Tea: $0.92 plus tax
- Shanna Jones
Urban Swank did receive a complimentary tasting, but the opinions expressed are our own.