By Paul Muth
Cougar fans and beer enthusiasts will have plenty to be excited about on Saturday, September 16th, as TDECU Stadium will now be offering arguably the University of Houston’s most popular beer. No Label Brewing Co.’s Brew of H will now be available for purchase out of its very own kiosk in section 132, located at the Gate 1 entrance. Oh, and football. There’s a football game, too.
“We’re beyond proud and excited to see Brew of H Pale Ale in TDECU Stadium this year,” No Label Co-Founder and Cougar Alumni Jennifer Royo exclaimed.
Interestingly enough, Brew of H actually started out in 2014 as a t-shirt design by local craft beer-centric clothing line Brewheart Apparel, sold online and to patrons of the on-campus bar and Thursday night party hub, The Rooftop Bar and Grill on Calhoun. The whimsical play on words has since made the improbable jump from t-shirts and hats to an actual brew pouring out of taps across the city and will now be distributed in bottles, just in time for the fall semester.In 2015, discussions with Katy’s No Label Brewing Company began to put an actual “brew” to Brew of H. It seemed fitting that the final recipe decided upon would be of a Red IPA, and in mid August of 2016, No Label’s Brew of H Red IPA debuted. It was an instant favorite to students and city-wide Cougar fans alike.
“It has been extremely exciting to have created the ‘t-shirt that became a beer’ – rather than the other way around, as it typically tends to happen – and equally rewarding to participate in brewing it and then watching it grow over the past year. I think we’ve all been humbled by the positive response it has received from both students and alumni,” Brewheart Apparel owner Shannon Parker shared.
Brew of H is widely viewed as Coogs’ favorite UH beer, and recently the recipe has been updated from a Red IPA to a Pale Ale in order to cater to a wider range of Coog palates.
Parker says that, “Brew of H Pale Ale will be more of a sessionable, easy drinker. And while the beer may no longer be ‘red’ in color, the Cougar pride that it represents remains the same.”
Per No Label, the new Pale Ale recipe is described as “light bodied with a soft fruity aroma, with hints of orange zest giving way to hints of grapefruit and a piney dankness. A perfect balance of malt and hops gives Brew of H its refreshingly crisp and easy drinking character with a nice and dry finish.” At 5.25% ABV and 38 International Bitterness Units (IBU), the new Brew of H will present a smoother drinking experience than its predecessor, which sported 69 IBU.
In addition to the updated recipe, Brew of H will be available regionally in bottled six-packs at your local grocery stores beginning this September.
As 3-time winner of the Coogs Choice Awards’ “Best Place to Watch Away Games,” The Rooftop on Calhoun is definitely the number one place on campus to enjoy Brew of H. According to General Manager Kayla Thurman, patrons can’t get enough of the stuff.
“The original Brew of H prototype set the bar high when it sold out in less than 2 hours during the 2015 Peach Bowl. Since its ‘official’ release in August of last year, it has remained our best selling local craft beer in the house,” says Thurman.
Demand for Brew of H has since reached the point that University of Houston football’s TDECU Stadium has given permission for a stand alone kiosk, selling only Brew of H, to be made available at every home game. They’ll be easy enough to spot, as they’ll be set up in front of the student entrance (gate 1) in section 132.
Royo and her husband Brian have accomplished an uncanny feat. From UH students, to alumni, to craft beer entrepreneurs, to ultimately serving a product made in homage to UH back to the university itself. The gravity of the situation is hardly lost on them.
“As proud UH Alumni (’06), we’re ecstatic to share this Cougar owned and Cougar brewed beer with fellow Coogs,” Royo said.
The unlikely story of a sweet shirt design turned regionally distributed craft-beer has gone on to benefit Cougar fans and beer enthusiasts alike, and this fall we can look forward to an updated recipe and higher accessibility to what is becoming an iconic Houston brew.
Oh, and football. There’s football this Fall as well.
Paul Muth is an Army vet who tends to talk a lot, so when his friends tell him to stop, he either writes or talks to a microphone and calls it a podcast. He writes better with a beard and looks better with a beer. Or something like that. Follow him on twitter at @abumnamedpaul.