Lorelei Taproom Notes
Corpus Christi is not what you’d consider a craft beer destination. There’s a few local breweries, and an appropriately dive-y craft beer bar (Tapology) that has a more-than-respectable rotating crop of brews from around the country and hosts regional big-brand events (like the Founders CBS/KBS launch). The area has been a regular staple in my South Texas business travel since 2015, however, so I needed a go-to spot to post up with a cold one and my laptop.
A German ballad from 1801 tells of a siren who haunts a cliff on the River Rhine, luring sailors to destruction with her beautiful song. The haunted cliff, with it’s murmuring waterfall and echoing currents, became known by the same name as the siren — Lorelei Rock — and the story persists in local pop culture. That same legend inspired the name of Corpus Christi’s best brewery, where locals and travelers alike are lured in by the murmuring of conversation and the water features in the beer garden. Located 15 miles southeast of downtown CC, Lorelei Brewing Company is a craft beer oasis on the way out to Padre Island. Its location is also perfect for business travelers staying on the 356 drag. Drive a couple miles down the highway from the Weber-Everhart-Staples exits, take in some of the coastal TX scenery, and you’re there.
Lorelei Brewing Co. has a beachy, tiki bar vibe, inside and out. The patio is ringed by lush tropical greenery, mood-setting fountains, sail-cloth overhangs to shield from the Gulf Coast sun, and tables everywhere. Be advised…in the late fall and winter, when the sun goes down the temp quickly follows. The playlist selection and volume provided a nice workflow soundtrack…The Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself” was playing when I was settling in. The taproom is a cozier space reminiscent of a ship cabin, with a handful of bar-height tables and a view of the brewing bay. The bartenders and brew crew have always been inviting, friendly, and willing to share the nerdier details of their beer when asked.
On this particular trip, I was actually transitioning to a new gig, and needed a suitable place to post up outside of my hotel and finalize some off-boarding work. On a Thursday afternoon, Lorelei is starting to lure in patrons: a few locals are enjoying a well-earned, after-hours adult beverage, but there’s still seating aplenty, free Wi-Fi and, of course, beer. Given the choice, I’m setting up shop outdoors instead of indoors…if the circumstances are right. I picked a spot away from the bustle of the front entrance, but quickly noticed that Wi-Fi didn’t reach my table. So, for my first pour and web-based tasks I moved into the taproom. It’s a cozier space, , albeit with a wall of windows looking into the brewery itself. If it’s not crowded (and therefore much noisier), the taproom is a great workspace. The Wi-Fi isn’t as great…sufficient if you’ll be browsing, but not uploading/downloading or video conferencing. My email and chat abilities weren’t impacted, but I wouldn’t trust a Zoom meeting on it.
I’ve been fortunate to visit Lorelei every 3 months or so for the past few years, and the brewers have been getting better every batch. Take Merdude, their imperial Russian milk stout. My first taste back in 2016 was somewhat watery, with decent roastiness, but nothing to write home about. The Merdude in front of me on this January afternoon was a different beer altogether, and not just as a result of batch-to-batch variances. Deeper flavor, boozier but still smooth, with a thicker, creamier mouthfeel. I still pick up a subtle astringency, but it’s a beer that deserves wider distribution. Similar upgrades in the IPAs, like Manatus and Ephyra (their NEIPA and DIPA, respectively), have both benefited from more aggressive hop additions and more subdued grain bills.
Honeypot is the whale to seek at Lorelei. The folks down in Corpus Christi that know, know. And they clamor for this limited run treat which drinks WAY too easily for a 10.7% Belgian strong ale. While you definitely get some of the classic Belgian spice notes from Honeypot, it stands out with it’s well-balanced sweetness (from pure honey) and crisp finish. Proceed with caution. It’s a perilous hazard on your remote working journey, much like the brewery’s namesake siren.
Lorelei Brewing Co. is a quality brewery experience whether you’re looking for a temporary workspace, or just a craft beer detour after work in Corpus Christi. As a remote worker, I’ve always been welcomed in the taproom, enjoyed the libations on tap, and haven’t been hindered by the mediocre Wi-Fi. For locals, it’s a must-visit destination, and for visitors it’s an essential stop on your next trip to Corpus Christi.
With another enjoyable Gulf Coast afternoon in the books, Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams was a perfect companion as I stowed my laptop, finished my Honeypot, and hit the road.