It isn't unusual for people to describe the Saint Arnold brewery as one of their favorite haunts, but is the Houston brewery haunted? According to local legend, in 1912 the entire neighborhood surrounding the area now occupied by the historic brick building that houses the brewery was burned to the ground in a fire started by vagrants trying to keep warm behind a tavern. Paranormal experts have been investigating whether more than just flavorful beer is lurking inside the oldest craft brewery in Texas.
In 2009, Saint Arnold moved into its current facility – a brick building on the northern edge of downtown Houston built in 1914 that had previously housed the Houston Independent School District's frozen food operations. Staffers who once worked at the HISD facility reported unexplained and spooky sights and sounds, and Saint Arnold's brewery staff have reported the same.
"This building was really creepy when we bought it," says Saint Arnold Founder/Brewer Brock Wagner.
One Saint Arnold employee's young daughter was the first to notice something strange about the facility. On two different occasions, she claimed to see "kids" running around the brewery when there weren't any others there. As described by Brewer Dennis Rhee to CultureMap Houston in the story, "A Ghost Story Brews at Saint Arnold's":
Philip Dagger, our packaging manager, and his 2- or 3-year-old daughter Sydney were in the brewery's beer hall one night. Dagger was sitting at one of the tables while Sydney was playing near one of the corners of the hall. All of a sudden she points to an area near the windows that separates the beer hall from the brewhouse and shouts, "Hey Daddy! Kids!" Dagger looks over to where she is pointing but sees no one. Still, Sydney is insistent that there are children in that corner and continues to say, "Kids!"
In the CultureMap report, Rhee also recounted another strange experience when he was alone in the brewery one night:
"I was cleaning out the lauter tun (one of the brewing vessels) late one night (probably around 2 or 3 a.m.) towards the end of a 12-plus hour shift. While squeegeeing and hosing out the spent grain, I started hearing some noises that sounded a lot like children's laughter. I paused for a moment, thinking that the noises might have been caused by the echoing of my movement in the lauter tun. The laughter was still there. Since I was the only person in the brewery at the time, I poked my head out of the manway to see who was out there. No one. I was a little spooked, so I quickly finished my tasks, locked up, and got the hell out of the brewery."
There have been other reports of singing and mysterious shadows appearing at night.