Oktoberfest may be winding down at bars across Houston, but Willy’s Pub is just getting started. Unveiling a new menu, Operations Manager Gavin Cross described Pub’s goal of offering beers suited to the student body’s diverse taste.
“We try to have a range of different beers in different styles to satisfy all the types of Pub customers,” Cross said. “There’s a set of ales, some of them are unfiltered, some of them are lighter. We have IPAs, fruit beers, dark beers like stouts, lagers, which are easier to drink, wheat beers and malt beverages like
The new menu design places all of Pub’s bottled selections on a spectrum, from light and accessible to heavy, hoppy and high-alcohol beers. The light end of the spectrum offers many recognizable lagers like Heineken, Corona, Shiner, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Dos Equis. The heavy end, labeled “tastes like twigs” on the menu, offers heavily-hopped IPAs like Dogfish Head’s infamous 60-minute IPA and smooth, dark beers like the Left Hand Milk Stout.
Pub’s General Manager Chynna Foucek spoke of Pub’s commitment to offering beers diverse in both taste and price.
“We try to hit all the demographics,” Foucek said. “We have undergraduates, but we also have MBAs that come. MBAs have more of a refined taste, whereas undergraduates have a budget.”
With Bud Light and Shiner Bock as cheap as $1.50 on draft, it’s easy to see Pub’s appeal to the student on a budget. At $4 a bottle, Mickey’s malt liquor is another popular choice among undergraduates and, in terms of relative price, it’s the best deal at Pub.
For the more discerning drinker, Pub still offers great value on its higher quality beer. Golden Monkey, a spicy tripel style ale with a hefty 9.5 percent abv., is another student favorite that sells for only $3.50, a great deal compared to off-campus bars that price it at $7 and up. The newest brew on tap, Leprechaun, is a locally-brewed cider with a light, semi-sweet taste.
Cross discussed the range of local brews available at Pub, which are often from companies with special ties to Rice.
“We have a lot of local offerings,” Cross said. “We coordinate frequently with Buffalo Bayou, which is founded and run by a Rice and Willy’s Pub graduate. A beer that Pub had custom made for Willy Week last year is now a big part of the Buffalo Bayou lineup, so that will be on draft in our wheat-beer line.”
The new menu also features two beers from Saint Arnold’s, another local brewery founded by Rice graduates. The Lawnmower, Saint Arnold’s flagship brew, is a crisp Kolsch-style beer with citrus notes. The Saint Arnold’s Santo is also brewed in the Kolsch style, but the addition of Munich black malt gives it a darker and maltier flavor than its cousin.
Beyond releasing the new menu, Foucek plans to host a series of events for students looking to expand their knowledge of beer this fall.
“We really want the undergraduates to be able to try different types of beer, so something we’ve been pushing is Keep the Glass events,” Foucek said. “Distributors will have glasses for us with their breweries or logos on the glass. So you come in, you pay $5, and you get to keep the glass. We did that with the Leprechaun cider, we’re doing that with the Bridgeport, we’re going to be doing one with Saint Arnold’s and Karbach will be doing one as well.”
Pub’s new menu is in effect now and will add an additional Buffalo Bayou brew homecoming weekend.