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Our Houston Breweries Spotlight Series take a deep look at all of the most iconic and upstart craft breweries across Greater Houston. Check out our Definitive Guide to Houston Breweries.

Find a place as chill as its beer at 11 Below Brewing Company in the Northwest neighborhood of Willowbrook.

Around town, it’s not too difficult to find a glass or can of 11 Below, whether you’re at a bar tap, a grocery store, or any of the local restaurants in the metro area.

But halfway down that glass of an Oso Bueno, you should know the origin of that ice cold amber ale isn’t that far away.

In fact, not far from the north end of the Beltway, 11 Below Brewing is nestled among distribution warehouses, welcoming all with a pint and a seat at its beer garden tables.

 

An Oso Bueno welcome | Photo: Justin Jerkins

A Prime Happy Hour Hangout

With plenty of available parking, you’ll be able to slot in right next to one of several food trucks that find their way to 11 Below during Thursday and Friday happy hours or weekend open houses.

Once inside, you’re greeted by an Oso Bueno mural that just might influence which tap is worthy of your first beer token.

Along the right wall, a bar serves up the tasty brews along with to-go six packs, growlers, and a few additions to your wardrobe.

On the left, tables stretch deep into their warehouse, flanked by towering pallets of cans ready to hit store shelves and enormous, gleaming fermenters.

Just beyond the tables, you’ll find a modest outdoor patio complete with additional seating and a couple games of cornhole (Jenga and dart fans will be satisfied by the bar).

Stacks of 11 Below beers | Photo: Justin Jerkins

Full of Flavor and ‘Oso’ Good

Sticking to tradition, 11 Below employs a token system for beer. Three tokens can be had for $10 (a single token costs $4) and you’ll find your tap options ranging from four year-round beers to several special and seasonal brews available temporarily.

We found these mainstays to be worth a token:

  • Oso Bueno Amber Ale – The brewery’s flagship brew, this beautifully golden amber provides a hint of toffee along with citrusy hops that make for a light and refreshing ale.
  • 7-Iron Blonde – A true session beer, this light and slightly fruity blonde makes for a delightful brew that can be enjoyed through all eighteen holes at the golf course.
  • Lame Duck American Pale Ale – With blend of grapefruit notes and piney hops, this APA offers a taste to savor while still being light on alcohol.

During your visit, you might also be lucky to try one of 11 Below’s ventures into the world of stouts and IPAs.

And during our visit, a pineapple-flavored offering from Bishop Cider Company rounded out the tap wall.

An Oso Bueno Amber Ale | Photo: Justin Jerkins

Bringing a Brewery to a Beer Desert

Open since the summer of 2015, 11 Below is the fruit of collective efforts by long-time friends Bryce Baker, Jeff Handojo, and Brandon Moss. W

hile their lives went in different directions from oil field engineering to business school, the group eventually found themselves collaborating on turning a home brewing fascination into a commercial passion.

Even better, they decided to plant their brewery in a neighborhood nearest them, in turn creating a brewery for a community on that side of town lacking in options.

The name comes from the difference between their two prominent careers—a barrel of crude oil that runs 42 gallons versus a barrel of beer at 31 gallons. Hence, 11 Below Brewing is born from the transition in pursuing their dreams.

So when you’ve put that empty glass of Oso Bueno down at the bar nearest you, next time think about where it came from and find yourself sitting in the breezy warehouse of 11 Below at their next open house.

Food truck at the ready outside 11 Below Brewing | Photo: Justin Jerkins

Tips for Visiting

Food trucks are the common choice for eats around the brewery but they do provide a helpful list of other places in the area that deliver food.

The atmosphere here is perfect for any and all, including babies, children, and pups.

Outside of the brewery’s late-in-the-week happy hours and weekend open houses, 11 Below has a rolling list of events that includes visits throughout the week to some of Houston’s finest establishments.

If you can’t make it to the brewery then definitely try to make it out to one of these events nearest you.

11 Below Brewing Company in Willowbrook

Looking for more great craft brewery options in Greater Houston? Check out our Definitive Guide to Houston Breweries inside the Loop and in neighboring communities like Conroe, Kay, Pearland, Galveston, and beyond.

The taproom at 11 Below Brewing | Photo: Justin Jerkins