In little more than a year, San Antonio has changed its reputation from a Lone Star and Pearl town to an up-and-coming craft beer destination. Even our hipster neighbors to the north in Austin are suddenly discovering that some of the best beer in the state is being brewed right here.
The next big step in our local craft beer revolution is this week, San Antonio Beer Week. It takes place all over town and well beyond city limits and runs through next Sunday to coincide with American Craft Beer Week
The inspiration for the event came from a call in the San Antonio Current by beer columnist Travis Poling
. In November, he made the case that we now have the breweries and beer bars that can support such an event.
The events aren't only for beer aficionados, Ranger Creek's Mark McDavid
says, “We certainly hope that bars will have special tappings of rare beers that get the nerds like us excited. But we also want to have educational events for those that aren't beer nerds but are interested in learning more about good beer.”
Our five local breweries — Freetail, Ranger Creek, Blue Star, Boerne's Dodging Duck and New Braunfels' Faust Brewery — all recently gathered at Ranger Creek to brew a special beer for this week. It's a pils that Freetail brewer Jason Davis
says has been pretty hoppy in early tastings. Of the combined effort, he says, “We had a blast brewing together, and the sense of camaraderie was palpable as we all pitched in different aspects of the process and the cleanup afterward.”
Many promising events are scheduled all over town and beyond, but here are some highlights.
Things really get going at 6 p.m. Monday with a Beer 101 Tasting event with Certified Cicerone — beer sommelier — Brian Tarver at the H-E-B Alon market at 8503 NW Military Hwy. and a 7 p.m. beer and cheese tasting at Freetail Brewing at NW Military Hwy. and 1604.
Professional brewers aren't the only ones getting involved. Brew It Up San Antonio, 415 Burnet St., will feature samples from home brewers, host Alamo Golden Ale and others at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Also at 7 p.m., El Cinco will be tapped at Joey's, 2417 N. St. Mary's St., with all the brewers in attendance.
The fifth annual King's Feast Wednesday at Blue Star Brewing, 1414 S. Alamo St., Suite 105, features five courses and five barley wines, including its King William Barley Wine. You have to preregister, so call Blue Star, 210-212-5506.
There's another release of El Cinco, this time at the Flying Saucer, 11225 Huebner Road, starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Saucer will be offering up commemorative pint glasses, but supplies are limited and popular glasses go fast, so don't wait around.
Starting at 11 a.m. Thursday, Freetail begins its four-day celebration of Belgian beers. Ranger Creek will be hosting a food truck beer dinner at Boardwalk on Bulverde, 14732 Bulverde Road, with its beers paired with food from five gourmet food trucks.
Art and beer team up for a local beer tasting at Zollie Glass Studio, 1428 South Presa St., at 5 p.m. on Friday. Also Friday, get Shiner and burgers at The Friendly Spot, 943 S. Alamo St., where you can get a taste of Shiner's new summer seasonal Ruby Redbird, made with grapefruit and ginger.
Saturday is huge with the 5 Pint Brew Crawl, hosted by the San Antonio Cerveceros homebrew club, which will visit all five of our local breweries on a chartered bus that pulls out at 9 a.m. The $65 fee includes transportation, pint glasses, lunch and dinner. At 11:30 a.m.
Freetail hosts its Battle of Wits and a bottle release. For dessert, there's a beer and cupcake pairing at 5 p.m. Bake, Broil and Brew, 1508 Guadalupe St.
Sunday sees closing ceremonies at Ranger Creek with food, beer and the announcement of the winning entry in the Sippy Cup Homebrew Competition starting at 7 p.m.
For details on all of those events and many more, visit SanAntonioBeerWeek.com.
Be careful out there
As you've no doubt seen in the San Antonio Express-News, drinking and driving in San Antonio, already bad, has gotten even worse this year. The point of San Antonio Beer Week is to show that craft beer is something altogether different from beers that are merely an alcohol delivery device. Beer Week is one traffic fatality away from going from celebration to public menace. Organize cab rides, designated drivers or, why not, limos. Just keep the roadways safe.