Only a few hundred feet from the Bexar County line, in neighboring Guadalupe County, sits Cactus Land Brewing Co. at 368 County Road 325 in Adkins, Texas just outside of Loop 1604. This 800-square-foot nano-brewery might be small, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for with big personalities, hand-crafted brews and a family-friendly vibe.
Cactus Land is the passion of area residents Dustin and Erica Teague, who both grew up in the San Antonio area. Teague gained his love for brewing after picking up a brew kit at a homebrew shop in Houston. He was hooked and three years ago, Teague built an all-grain brewing system from scratch.
Cactus Land looks to put a different spin on the brewery concept, taking advantage of their rural surroundings by providing a down home, country atmosphere where beer lovers can get away from the city, bring their family and relax for the afternoon.
This three-barrel production brewery will be operating under a brewpub license that will allow Cactus Land to have to-go sales in addition to on-premise consumption.
“We wanted folks to be able to take growlers of our beer home, as well as take advantage of special brewery only bottles releases,” said Teague.
Cactus Land’s brewing system was originally built for the Anheuser-Busch brewery at the former Busch Gardens at Sea World. After laying dormant outside for 15 years, it was purchased by Vera Deckard, also in the process of opening her own brewery, who later sold it to Teague.
Teague plans to have three flagship brews, a vanilla Porter, an Amber ale and an Imperial Stout in addition to seven rotating seasonals to round out their 10 tap tasting room. Teague plans a soft opening in mid-November with a grand opening in January 2017. Tasting room hours will be Fridays and Saturdays every other week with beers available on draft only at the brewery to start. Keg distribution to the San Antonio area should follow within the year.
Boerne is no stranger to breweries, and there’s another to visit with Cibolo Creek Brewing in, you guessed it, Cibolo, Texas, located at 448 S. Main St. in nearby Boerne.
After having toyed with the idea for years, founders Mick and Sonja Mazour began plans for Cibolo Creek. Armed with their son Josh, lead singer Austin’s Crooks and their son-in-law Ty Wolosin, a veteran brewer most recently with Austin’s Kamala Brewing. The Mazours and family opened their brewpub a mere two months ago, although this seven-barrel brewpub was almost a production brewery.
“Josh [Mazour] has always wanted to run a ‘bar..ish’ type establishment with his family...so this was a no brainer to join with us,” said Wolosin.
Cibolo Creek’s regular line-up features Boerne Blonde, a crisp and light a blonde ale; Creek Side IPA, an American-style IPA; as well as a wheat ale in the spring and a German Dunkel in the fall. Seasonals will include a pale ale, amber ale, Belgian saison, porter, stout, dark pale, pilsner, and a Märzen lager. Wolosin also has an experimental program that currently includes a sour Abby ale with Mexican Plums and soon a sweet potato marshmallow stout.
All brews are currently taproom only, with options around town later in the year. - Jeremy Banas
Black Laboratory Brewing
Brewing beer is often quite like alchemy. You are taking one substance and transforming into another. While the “science” of alchemy has long ago been disproven, it makes sense that a couple of real scientists have struck out on their own here in town and begun to forge a legacy as one of the city’s newest craft brewers. Owners Tim Castaneda and Jeff Weihe met years ago at a job they both admittedly hated and it was then that their shared love of beer germinated the idea for Black Laboratory Brewing.
“I told him I was doing some home brewing and he was interested in that. So, he came over one day and we brewed a batch together that came out pretty good. We’ve been brewing together ever since,” Castaneda said.
From that first batch in Castaneda’s garage, Black Laboratory (or Black Lab, if you will) set out on the path of beer excellence. The process has had to be taken literally one step at a time. However, perhaps owing to the meticulous nature of two honest-to-goodness chemists, each step along the path to what will eventually be a commercially viable brewery has been taken with utmost care; and as they have gotten closer, they have ensured that the beer they are crafting has been nothing short of phenomenal.
“It’s also been hard to come up with something really unique, you know? You have an idea for something and you think that will make a great beer, but when you go researching it, you find out someone is already doing it. But, we love sours and IPAs and those are what we are getting into now,” Castaneda said.
With that in mind, barrel-aging is where Black Laboratory is at right now. While their Texas Common (an amber hybrid with notes of caramel and fruit), their Third Coast IPA (an American-style IPA), Grizzly Greg’s Mountain Ale (a honey and juniper berry beer) and their Coffee Vanilla Stout (it is as yummy as it sounds) can be sampled at various festivals throughout the area.
Though you won’t be able to visit their brewery for another year, beer fans can taste their wares on November 12 at La Villita as Castañeda and the San Antonio Cerveceros, of which he’s VP, man a booth during the SA Home Brew Competition. - Eric Moreno