For the last 10 years, Bryce Baker, Jeff Handojo and Brandon Moss have experimented with homebrewing beer—a hobby that paid off as the friends are preparing to open their own brewery in the Willowbrook area.
11 Below Brewing will brew, package and distribute beer out of a 10,600-square-foot facility at 6820 Bourgeois Road when the business opens in February or March 2015.
"We'll have tasting room hours on Saturday like Saint Arnold's and Karbach," Baker said. "People will be able to come in and sample beers and get a tour—all the fairly standard-issue things that brewers offer."
Although Baker, Handojo and Moss began homebrewing as a hobby, they eventually began considering turning it into a full-time job.
"I think every homebrewer has the idea," Baker said. "After looking at the numbers and conceptualizing, we thought maybe we [could] make this work. Once we had the idea, it never went away."
The partners came up with the name 11 Below Brewing as a reminder of their former jobs as oil field workers.
"Eleven is the difference in gallons between a 42-gallon barrel of crude oil and a 31-gallon barrel of beer," Baker said. "It's a nod to our former lives. We wanted something that marks our transition from oil to beer."
The business partners decided to launch 11 Below Brewing in the Northwest Houston area because it is close to home—Handojo and Moss are graduates of Cy-Fair High School.
"It was close to home, and the area was lacking a local craft beer option," Baker said. "The closest brewery to this area is Karbach off Hwy. 290."
11 Below Brewing will launch with three different beers and has plans to offer new or seasonal options in the future based on customer feedback.
"We'll offer up subsequent beers in the tasting room and see what feedback we can get," Baker said. "We'll let the consumer dictate which beer comes next. That's why it's nice to have a tasting room—instant feedback on what's just been brewed."
Additionally, there will be local food trucks on-site as well.
The brewery will also feature Keenan Zarling as head brewer. Zarling attended the Siebel Institute of Technology and has previously brewed at two other breweries in Texas and Indiana.
For more information on 11 Below Brewing, visit www.11belowbrewing.com.