Photo: Savannah Mehrtens/Staff Photo / Savannah Mehrtens/Staff Photo
Two Huffman locals with experience in home brewing had a dream of making a family-friendly brew pub in their hometown, but the challenges that followed were unexpected.
Sam Pier and Sean Matthews bought The Cedar, a restaurant looking out over Lake Houston in Huffman, in August 2019 with high hopes. Less than two months later, Tropical Storm Imelda flooded their newly acquired business which they converted into the Lake Houston Brewery. After recovering from the flood, March came along with the novel coronavirus and the eventual partial openings of restaurants and bars.
Although the previous owner had survived Hurricane Harvey with The Cedar, he sold the business because he was looking to retire, Pier said. When Imelda hit, Pier said it was a difficult time.
“It was definitely some trying times for sure,” Pier said. “I feel like we finally got on a roll there, and then, well not finally. I mean, we opened up and it was just really good business going and then we got flooded so we had to close for three weeks. That was definitely a trying time.”
From flooding to a global pandemic, Pier and Matthews have worked through some unprecedented times in their first year of business.
“Well we’re just looking for a little bit of breathing room, to be honest with you,” Pier said. “...I mean, we’re just trying to make the best of our situation we’ve got. It is pretty tough times right now but just doing what we can each and every day.”
The Lake Houston Brewery is a laid-back environment, often with live music near their abundant outdoor seating. All brews are made on-site, born from a passion that started in a home brewery with a full spectrum of profiles. Pier said they hope to have their line in stores eventually.
They also offer a full brew pub menu as they are technically classified as a restaurant, much of which remains from the original Cedar menu, Pier said, including the shrimp and catfish that the original restaurant was known for. Pier said they will revamp soon and expect positive changes in the future.
They are looking to grow their business and even purchased the lot next to the restaurant for parking as they eventually expect large crowds. Their goal from the start remains the same, which is to make the Lake Houston Brewery the local, family spot to come to.
“We both grew up here in Huffman, we both have families and kids raised here in Huffman,” Pier said. “We’re trying to make this the spot to be. We know this community pretty well, and it’s just our dream to make this place the fun family environment to come hang out at.”
The Lake Houston Brewery is located in Huffman, the first right from the bridge, at 10614 FM-1960. They are open from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday. For more information, visit their website www.lakehoustonbrew.com.