For Casey Motes, in making the change from mechanical engineer for the oil and gas industry to becoming one of the co-founders and the brewmaster of Eureka Heights, there was at least one thing that felt familiar.
“A brewery is basically one big chemical plant,” he said.
The process starts with water, purified through reverse osmosis. From there, with the right salt, hops and other pieces of the formula, the brewery can emulate German, English and other styles, or it can play with different ideas, Motes said. Eureka has five core brews but has over a dozen on tap, as the crew is constantly tinkering.
“It’s the most fun thing we do,” he said.
While Motes leads the day-to-day operations of the brewery along with Rob Eichenlaub, full ownership is a multifamily deal, with their spouses, Lori Motes and Shelley Eichenlaub, involved as well as Joel and Heather Swift. The three couples founded the brewery in 2016.
“Our focus is Houston and the local community and serving low-alcohol, sessionable, really drinkable beers,” Motes said.
Even its name, Eureka, is rooted in a nearby fault line, which also became monikers for a rail line and an oilfield, Rob said.
With playful design aided by local creative agency Primer Grey and fun names—like Moo Caliente, for its spicy stout reminiscent of a Mexican hot chocolate, or Mostly Harmless, a nod to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series—Eureka has a memorable presence, Motes said.
“It’s helped us get into places where we wouldn’t normally be given our size,” he said.
Eureka’s formula is working, due in part to canned sales that began in September, giving it access to customers at local grocery and liquor stores. In its first calendar year of production, Eureka produced 400 barrels of beer. In 2019 it is expected to produce 6,000, Motes said. It plans to add a seasonal brew to its in-store lineup in June.
Even with these commercial successes, Motes said coming to the brewery on 18th Street is still recommended.
“It’s really the ideal way to experience us,” he said.
Eureka Heights Brewing Co.
941 W. 18th St., Houston
Hours: Wed.-Thu. 4-9 p.m., Fri. 3-10 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. noon-8 p.m., closed Mon.-Tue.