Since its founding in 1881, Conroe has been known for its hard-working residents. At the end of a hard day's work, few things refresh someone, like a beer or two. So raise a stein for Oktoberfest at one or all of these local breweries: Southern Star Brewery, B52 Brewing Company, and Fass Brewing.
Keith Amador, the events coordinator of Southern Star, and Dave Fougeron, the brewery’s CEO, have worked together for years. Fougeron started Southern Star in 2007 while Amador joined the brewery in 2015, eight years after it opened and a year before it moved from its original location to a custom-built facility on 13 acres.
“I started home brewing in college because I couldn’t afford to drink the beer I liked all of the time. After graduating with a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, I had a choice between pursuing my degree or brewing professionally,” said Fougeron when asked about the origins of Southern Star. “Obviously, I chose the latter.”
Southern Star specializes in consistent, crisp, clean beers. Their best-known is Bombshell Blonde ale, which is fermented at lower temperatures and is especially clean. Their highest-rated beer is Buried Hatchet Stout.
"We do tons of events that bring our community together- many with live music. We also organize cornhole events with the CASA Foundation and Montgomery County Choral Society, and we have hosted numerous events for veterans."
Indoors, the brewery boasts an extraordinary tap room that overlooks the production brewhouse, and outdoors, people can enjoy a Biergarten with a live music stage and a disc golf course.
Kris Gray is the operations manager for B52, having joined the brewery a couple of years ago with a long history of brewing behind him. "I fell in love with the art of beer," he said. "I actually received degrees in brewing and business and hoped to manage breweries."
B52 was founded by two beer-loving brothers – Brent and Chad Daniel – in 2014. Craft brewing was like home to them (literally); while at college, their house and garage were set up as a microbrewery. After settling on a business plan, they created their brewery from converted shipping containers.
With indoor and outdoor seating, food trucks on-site, B52 caters to a large audience. "Not only do we have more than twenty house-brewed beers on tap, but we also feature a large selection of wine, cider, and mead," said Gray.
The 'new kid on the block' in Conroe is Fass Brewing, which opened in October of 2021 under the guidance of Dylan Emmons, brewer and president of the business.
"I began home brewing when I was 19 years old. At the time, I couldn't legally buy beer, but I could buy all the stuff to make it," he said. "While my peers were drinking cheap macro lager, I was trying to find and brew IPAs, barrel-aged stouts, and European beers."
Once Emmons turned 21, he got employed at a large regional brewery, eventually leaving to attend brewing school in Chicago at The Siebel Institute and Munich at The Doemens Academy.
"Eventually, my father, cousin, and I decided we wanted to open our own brewery. We wanted to bring a style of ambiance, beer, and service to the area that hadn't been seen before, so we searched for a building that could provide a canvas for our vision. It turns out that building happened to be the Gentry Building in Downtown Conroe."
The Gentry Building was built in 1911, constructed with brick after a horrendous fire ravaged Conroe. Though Fass is the newest brewery, it enjoys being in the oldest building, bringing old-world charm to the area.
"We try to bring a sense of community to Downtown Conroe through our events. We host an Oktoberfest and Springfest every year, and now a Lagerfest, where we invite a bunch of friends from other breweries to pour their lagers on Main Street."
Southern Star Brewery, 3525 N Frazier St., is open Thursdays through Sundays, with brewery tours at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. every Saturday. B52 Brewing Company,12470 Milroy Lane, is open Tuesdays through Sundays and allows pets. And Fass Brewing, 236 N Main, is open seven days a week, with hours that local shoppers, diners, and theatergoers can readily take advantage of.
All three breweries are connected to the community, with events serving nonprofits. And they are within a few miles of each other to explore beer tasting on your own with a designated driver or an Uber!