Founded by homebrewing enthusiasts Brock Wagner and Kevin Bartol, Saint Arnold Brewing Company has operated out of their hometown of Houston, Texas since the 1994 inception. The brewery is named after Saint Arnulf (Arnold), the patron saint that, as legend tells, divinely provided beer to the parishioners of Metz who brought the saint’s remains back to their resting place. The brewery has attempted to follow its namesake by filling Texas with its own craft beer scene. With their new facility capacity being 100,000 barrels per year, it's safe to say they've done just that. Aligning itself with the no-fuss Texan mindset, Saint Arnold founders have offered honest, straightforward craft beers. We were able to get ours hands on four active brews: Santo, Elissa, Endeavor, and Boiler Room. Read our reviews below, and let us know if you've had any other bottles from Saint Arnold in the comments!
Saint Arnold put their own spin on a German classic to create the black Kolsch. With roasted malts added to the recipe, Santo pours a thin, cream soda-colored body and a dark tan head unlike your typical golden Kolsch. Char and nuttiness pushed through nose, coupled with a syrupy molasses as well as pilsner grain and cereal notes. Nuttiness follows through in the taste alongside some fruitiness with a effervescent mouthfeel that leaves a clean finish. If you need a similar Texan brew to get your bearings, one taster said at the end, happily, "It's like a Shiner!"
The guys at Saint Arnold call their IPA is an "English-style" IPA. But this brew, named after a historical ship moored in Galveston that would transport IPAs to India, is still as American as it can be. A fluffy buttermilk head floated over an agave-colored body. The use of American hops offered the brew a bouquet of fruity aromas reminiscent of Sour Patch Kids in the nose, as well as some hints of green grass. It had a hop-forward taste that completed with a grainy mouthfeel and an ever-present Skittles notes. It's truly the best of both worlds!
Most likely homage to Houston's prized industry: the NASA Space Station, Endeavor is quite a trip. The body poured a honey orange blossom akin to your favorite 99-cent AriZona Iced Tea, complete with a cream-colored head. The earthier fresh lawn and grassy aromas were undeniable, along with caramel notes that oozed into the flavor. The earthiness continued, as well as a piney-sappiness in the finish thanks to the distinct Simcoe hops. For a DIPA almost a month old, this was extremely fresh!
The last beer, and the anomaly of the bunch, poured a hazy, hard lemonade-color with a bristling snow-white head, enticing enough for cooling off during a hot, Texas summer. The lemonade descriptor wasn't too far off, as lemon pepper and soapy lemon aromas lingered alongside sweeter coriander profiles. Upon the first sip, everyone was surprised by the clean upfront taste, followed by malty wheat and cereal notes. The beer exhibited limited sourness – more of a lemony bite – that was a pleasant feature, making the drink extremely quaffable. If you're into adulteration, one drinker even suggested to "drop some salt in and turn it into a Gose."