Name: Künstler Brewing
(pronounced COON-stler BROO-ing).
After two previous names (the OK Brewery & Eishaus, San Antonio Brewing Company) and as many potential locations (the old Boneshaker’s space by the Hays Street Bridge, the old OK Bar & Grocery in Yanaguana Garden), Vera Deckard’s craft-beer-and-German-grub concept has opened for business in the Lone Star Arts District. Named with the Deutsch word for artist, the brewpub aims to bring “American boldness and German heart” to San Antonio beer — a mission which, from first appearances, seems to be succeeding.
Künstler prices are friendly to brewhounds on a budget — pints and snifters are $5.50 across the board and four four-ounce flight pours will only set you back $8. If you’ve socked away some shekels for a big beer investment, though, you can pony up $200 to join the Stamm Tisch Klub. The year-long membership guarantees 15 percent off your tab, exclusive access to Deckard’s quarterly special brews, and a flippin’ sweet 20-ounce stoneware mug (which, for the math-averse among us, translates to 20 percent increase in pintage). Membership is limited to 150 people, so be sure to hustle over to secure your spot. Just note that Künstler is closed on Tuesdays.
We paid our visit on Sunday afternoon of opening weekend, aiming in part to dodge the crowds that appeared to fill up the 60 or so seats in Künstler’s interior. Fellow imbibers perched at the lengthy, wood plank-finished bar and clustered in cozy groups around tables both inside and on the patio, playing cards and shooting the breeze. There are plans to build out an additional room with a flat-screen or two, but for now, with no TVs and music at a moderate volume, this is a place where you can hear yourself think while you drink.
After putting in an order for some pub noshes (a potato salad and pretzel, respectively), my wife and I started in on the beers. She sprang for a pint of the Ghost Tracks oatmeal porter; I went for the spread and ordered a flight. The Edelweiss started things off light but kept them artful, fortifying its easy pilsner personality with the fruity bubblegum pop of some dry Noble hops. The Sichuan, a Belgian ale brewed with the titular peppercorn, delivered a slight electric sizzle alongside yeast esters and warm malt.
Künstler’s Hawaiian Fog kept blowing up my social media platforms all weekend, and for good reason. It’s a Northeast-style IPA, über-fragrant with pine and citrus (grapefruit and guava, to my tastebuds) and presenting that telling Yankee haze. Nice to look at, even nicer to drink.
My dark-beer bias might be showing here, but my flight favorite was the Big Emma, a Scotch ale whose chocolate-coffee-and-bit-o’-peat profile is more heavy than wee. It was also the designated Mission beer of the day, with one dollar from each price earmarked to bring some heavy-lifting gym equipment to the brewery for future beer-and-burpees exercise classes. My wife’s Ghost Tracks oatmeal porter was oats-forward and molasses smooth and went down perfectly with my pretzel. We closed our tab out with a shared glass of Hopped-Up Brown Ale, which delivered the goods with a hearty helpin’ of Centennial hops.
All told, Künstler has gifted us with an inviting environment to gather with your buds, order a round of artfully-executed libations, and revel in the finer things in life. Like it says above the door as you walk in, Kunst und Bier gibt es allhier “Art and Beer: Get it here.”
302 E. LaChapelle, (210) 688-4519.