HOUSTON -- The food may be tasty at St. Arnold s Brewery, but the big lure is what s on tap. In fact, USA Today named Texas as the ninth best in the list of craft brew states in America.

I think it s an exciting time for Houston and the craft beer scene, said Keith Gier, beer drinker.

St. Arnold s is the oldest craft brewery in Texas. It led the way for the explosion of new breweries popping up in Houston as part of the nationwide craft beer craze. Also included is the Fort Bend Brewing Company in Missouri City.

The demand is there, it s just amazing, said Sharon Coburn.

She and her husband, Ty, did very well in the software world, but wanted something more fun and rewarding, with better benefits.

Well, obviously all the free beer you can drink, that s one, which is not a bad benefit, Ty Coburn said.

The husband and wife do much of the work themselves and have come up with four different beers; all using different mixtures of grains and hops.

The roasted barley gives it hints of chocolate, hints of coffee, said Ty Coburn.

The Fort Bend Brewing Company continues to grow. Right now, you can find it at about 75 bars and restaurants in the Houston area and beginning in April, you can find it in certain local grocery stores.

There are about a dozen breweries in the Houston area now and the Coburns say if state lawmakers helped out with new legislation, there would be even more.

The couple says they have invested over a million dollars in their company and it will be a while before they see any profit, but still, they remain dedicated.

Make sure you re ready to eat, drink and sleep beer for a long time, because it s your life, Sharon Coburn said.

But who wouldn t want to do that, her husband chimed.

If the average beer aficionado and aspiring brew master does not have a ton of cash to invest, they can start by getting a home brewing kit.

At St. Arnold s, however, they ve got almost two decades of a head start on all new breweries and Houston beer lovers will tell you there s never been a better time for a cold one.

Drink responsibly.

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