by Lance Higdon
No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers not day-drinking and cursing the creator of the fidget spinner. The school year’s end affords us these simple pleasures, as well as the chance to get away for a while, even if isn’t very far or for very long.
Luckily for San Antonio’s beer-loving summer breakers, the Hill Country offers ample opportunities to day trip to some of the best little brewhouses in Texas. Armed with little more than a designated driver and a GPS, we scouted out six craft breweries within 60 miles of Alamo City, all of which are guaranteed to satisfy your travel jones and slake your thirst.
Cibolo Creek Brewing Company
448 S. Main St., Boerne, (830) 816-5275
Cibolo Creek Brewing Company sits on Main Street Boerne, where German grandpas once could hand beers off from the backs of their floats during civic parades. You have to keep your pints on the brewpub’s premises today, but it’s a small price to pay for some top-tier craft. Start with the Postman’s pale ale and an order of beer-batter pretzels while you peruse the menu (Cibolo Creek boasts a full kitchen as well as a full-time brewhouse). Just be sure to time your visit for any day besides Tuesday, when Cibolo Creek closes to focus on beermaking.
Kinematic Brewing Company
635 Highway 46 E., Suite 207, Boerne, (830) 336-2043
Operating out of a commercial warehouse space a few miles outside of town, Kinematic is off the beaten path both geographically and stylistically — and that makes it a damn good destination for your avant-beer needs. In addition to their funked-out saisons, Citra IPA, and bieres de Mars, the nanobrewery maintains an impressive barrel-aging program; Garrison Brothers and Witherspoon empties have graced the space, producing heavy-hitting ales that will knock your socks off.
New Braunfels Brewing Company
180 W. Mill St., New Braunfels, (830) 626-2739
With their affinity for Vedic naming conventions and wild fermentation, NBBC cuts against the grain of New Braunfels’ lager-lovin’ image. Indeed, many of the brewery’s wildest offerings rarely make it beyond the Das Lokal Tap Room — which, if you’ve ever laid lips on Sangre Du Shiva (a sour weizenbock aged in red wine barrels from regional wineries), makes NBBC not so much a day trip destination as a shrine to sauers. The taproom is open from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 1 to 7 p.m. on weekends, so plan your pilgrimage accordingly.
1580 Wald Road, New Braunfels, guadalupebrew.com
Guadalupe Brewing offers the sweet suds counterpoint to New Braunfels Brewing’s sour. There are no less than nine different stouts on nitro at their taproom, and since calories don’t count on vacation, you’ll have yourself a time drinking through them all. Go buck with S’more bitter (with marshmallow!) and coffee maple variants first; if you need to rationalize your indulgence, there are peanut butter and coconut stouts too. The taproom keeps regular afternoon hours Friday through Sunday.
Real Ale Brewing Company
231 San Saba Ct., Blanco, (830) 833-2534
The second-oldest craft brewery in Texas and still only sold inside state lines, Real Ale is a no-brainer for any brewery-tour bucketlist. Nothing Real Ale makes is not good, but we recommend sipping as many of the Mysterium Verum beers (all barrel- and/or mixed-fermentation mutations of standard Real Ales) as you can handle — and, after you hit that threshold, that you switch to Hans’ Pils. If you play your cards right, you can even pet Hans himself. The taproom is open from late morning to between 5 and 7 p.m. daily.
Pedernales Brewing Company
97 Hitchin Post Trl., Fredericksburg (830) 998-7486
With not one but two beers affiliated with Robert Earl Keen, Pedernales Brewing Company has pretty puro Hill Country credentials. Easy is the name of the game with Pedernales — easy-to-drink lagers and ales (including an unbeatable Kristalweizen) at an easy-to-find location (you see the big inflatable beer bottle on Highway 87, take a right) with easy-to-make taproom hours, which run from 1 to 6 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday.