Through the Looking (Beer) Glass
Look closely. Just across the horizon there, a stone's throw from the Alamodome. See it? Right below the beautiful Hays Street Bridge. Yep, there it is; that beautiful, rusty, antique-looking complex. That's the home of the Alamo Beer Company, aka nirvana. There aren't many places or industries where one would actually like to see the metaphorical sausage get made. However, if you are a beer fan, you have to indulge in taking a tour of a brewery and I can think of no better one than Alamo’s.
“We opened up down here to the public on March 6, 2015, and we just celebrated our one-year anniversary this past March,” said Alamo Beer Director of Sales Zac Harris. “We have 15,000-square-foot brew house, a 2,000-square-foot beer hall and a 3,000-square-foot beer garden. When our founder, Eugene Simor, had the vision for the brewery many years ago, he wanted to not only make a business here, but make it a destination for people to come to from all over San Antonio. He wanted to make good beer and be a part of the revitalization of this part of town, the near East Side.”
Altruism, commerce and great — not “good” — beer all make for a winning combination. For those of you who have not visited the Alamo Beer Company brew house, let me paint a picture. Beneath its faux-rusted metal exterior, inside the large glass windows, lies a magical place. The brew house is where all the good stuff, the wheat, the hops, the barley, the water, etc., where all of that combines into magical batches of elixir.
The brew house is a place where wort and mash are transformed through steam, through copper, through steel, through more water and, ultimately, through the love, attention and the knowhow of classically, German-trained Brewmaster James Hudec into one of Alamo’s four signature beers (the classic Alamo Golden Ale, the Alamo German Pale Ale, the Alamo Amber Lager and the Alamo Pilsner) and their one-of-a-kind seasonals, such as the good to the last drop Schwarzbier.
“Our beers, our styles, are classic old German style; basically, the beers South Texas was founded on,” Harris said. “Our Maibock is also coming up. We only brewed that once, for our grand opening in 2015. It’s become our cult-following beer because people are constantly asking us about it. We’re going to be packaging that up this year.”
Do yourself a favor, come out and visit during their regular hours Thursdays through Sundays (visit their website alamobeer.com for the details) grab a responsible amount of delicious beer and enjoy the atmosphere in what is fast-becoming a booming part of our fair city.
Mortal (Beer) Kombat!
Have you ever watched one of those competition shows on the Food Network and thought, gee, I wish someone would do something like that, but with beer? Well, you’re in luck because Freetail Brewing Company has got you covered. On Thursday, May 19 (during American Craft Beer Week), the Freetail Taproom on South Presa will be the site of a beer throwdown with the second annual Brewer's Bout.
“This is a little in-house competition we’ve had here once before,” said Freetail Brewing Company Head Brewer Jason Davis. “Five teams of our staff from the pub led by five brewers all take turns brewing five different beers that they come up with on a small, 15-gallon brew system.”
For a mere $10, you can sample the beers from all five special batches and vote for the winning team. The squad with the most votes will have their brew available for everyone to quaff at Freetail's original 1604 location.
This time around IPA’s were the only style off the menu as that’s what won last year. Team A will be brewing an American wheat ale with coriander and lime peel. A Wallonian-style pilsner with a hint of honey is the contribution from Team B. For Team C, an extra pale ale with hints of citrus. A taste of the exotic is what Team D will be bringing to the table with a Thai curry saison with “forbidden” rice. Team E is also thinking outside the box with its peanut butter and jelly ale. Visit Freetail's Facebook page for more info.