College Station, Texas is best known as the home of Texas A&M University, one of the nation’s largest public colleges. There is no way to visit College Station without hearing a conversation, taking part in an activity, or doing something related to Texas A&M because the university engulfs the local social scene, due to its immense size. But there is another upcoming industry in College Station and it’s an industry that, while vastly different from education, is nonetheless one often associated with college students and the university way of life. That industry is beer and one College Station craft brewery that has been around for many years and has gradually grown in size and influence is New Republic Brewing, a neighborhood brewery located at 11405 North Dowling Road.
New Republic Brewing dates back to 2010 when a pair of Texas A&M graduates and their wives got together and decided they wanted to pursue the business of beer. With their shared love of the craft, the spouses and friends embarked on the long road to craft beer fame, starting off with an extremely small system and brewing beer only for local draft accounts. As the years went by, demand for New Republic beer grew and the management responded by brewing more beer and by packaging in cans. Today, the brewery’s beer can be found in the Houston area and in other nearby cities.
This brewery is located away from the University in a residential/rural area. Walking into the brewery for the first time, you feel like you’re entering a warehouse or barn and you are greeted immediately by the bar and bartender. Guests can purchase a large serving of beer or a flight sampler and then carry their beverage out back, to one of the picnic tables. The beer garden in the back features a stage for bands and other entertainment and it is dog friendly. If there is no band playing, expect to hear a continuous feed of classic rock music in the background. And if you get hungry, just walk back to the front where you are likely to find a food truck, as New Republic Brewing doesn’t serve any of its own food, at least not yet.
I often go for a flight sampler when I visit any new brewery, but since I was already familiar with New Republic Brewing beer, I decided instead to seek out beer I had not yet tried and I went for the larger serving sizes. Here is a summary of the beers I sampled, listed in alphabetical order, followed by my Untappd rating on a five point scale:
- Apha Tester: Coffee Kadigan, Blonde Ale, 4
- NRB IPA, American IPA, 4
- Passion Fruit IPA, fruited IPA, 4
Other New Republic Beers I have tried in local taverns and at festivals:
- Dammit Jim!, Amber Ale, 3.5
- ESB, Extra Special Bitter, 4
- MarlinSpike, English Porter, 3.25
- Matroyshka, Russian Imperial Stout, 4.25
- Whipsaw, Double IPA, 3.75
Overall Average Rating: 3.84
The beers I sampled at the brewery were all above average in quality and I rated them all four stars. Among the others, Matroyshka Imperial Stout is the best New Republic Beer I have ever tried, but the ESB is also noteworthy.
Texas A&M and Beyond
New Republic Brewing is the brewery I most often associate with Aggie brewing and I have known about this brewery since its inception back in 2010. I first got to know these guys when they had just started brewing beer and they were serving their brew at the now defunct Texas Beer Festival in downtown Houston. The first beer they brewed was Bellows Amber, and it was the one they were most strongly promoting. I don’t believe they brew this beer anymore, as they have grown and evolved in many new and exciting directions.
It took me a while to finally make my way to New Republic Brewing in College Station, located only about 90 minutes from Great Beer Now headquarters. I kept meaning to get here and finally got my chance when my wife successfully set up a weekend excursion to this college town. I had always wondered what College Station was like and, knowing that New Republic Brewing was located here, I knew my chance to visit the brewery had finally arrived.
Like I often do when I visit breweries, I didn’t look up any pictures or read reviews online beforehand. I like my visit to be completely free from any outside bias so I avoid any outside information. Thus, I had no idea what to expect when I visited New Republic Brewing and I was met with a few surprises. One is the location. Given that College Station is a university town and that the founders and employees are almost all current or former Aggies, I expected the brewery to be located closer to the campus. Another surprise was the setup. I didn’t know that had the large outdoor space and stage for entertainment. These are certainly assets to any brewery and while there was no live music when I visited, I would bet the outdoor area turns into a rockin’ good time when the tunes are delivered by a live band.
I was already familiar with several New Republic beers but as I indicated above, I went for beers I had not previously tried. They were all very good and my wife commented that they tasted fresher and cleaner than other New Republic beer we have tried in the past. This is common with many breweries and it makes sense. Beer deteriorates with age so the sooner you can get your lips around a bottle, glass, or can, the better. And the beer was, indeed, quite fresh and tasty served straight from the New Republic Brewing taps.
New Republic Brewing has been in existence since 2010 and its growth invokes the lessons learned from the Tortoise and the Hare. As most of us recall from childhood, the lesson from this story is that slow and steady wins the race. New Republic Brewing has certainly grown slowly over the several years of its existence, but the steady growth has allowed for better attention to quality and, according to official sources, they are on pace to cross the 1,000 annual barrel mark very soon. This is definitely positive news and it is a testament to the founders and others who have been determined to grow the business slowly over time.
College Station will always be associated with Texas A&M University but the craft beer scene in the area shows that there is more to this part of Texas than higher education. New Republic Brewing is a cool place to sip on freshly brewed beer, listen to music, and make new friends, both human and canine, as you relax in the outdoor beer garden. Pay a visit to New Republic Brewing the next time you find yourself in the College Station area. And tell them Great Beer Now sent you.