Beer me, SA
San Antonio is on its way to becoming a great beer city.
There are now three breweries and brewpubs in operation, ringed by three more in neighboring communities, and yet another hometown brewery is in the works for established beer brand Alamo Beer. Several pub-crawl-worthy areas have sprouted up, most notably Southtown and a reemerging North St. Mary’s strip. And some of the city’s top chefs and restaurants are putting a premium on the best beers to go with their food.
But San Antonio, in its ongoing flirtation with inferiority and envy of cities with more than one major league team, isn’t bragging about a beer culture that is both at the core of the city’s history and enviable selections.
What we need is a San Antonio Beer Week.
Beer weeks have become popular all over the country. In the last year, I’ve attended successful first-time beer weeks in Chicago, Houston, and Austin. Philadelphia, New York City, Colorado, San Diego, and Portland have legendary beer weeks that are all economic generators bringing in people from surrounding states and sometimes thousands of miles.
While a beer week can culminate in a big festival, it doesn’t have to. The Austin Beer Week was fairly organic in its organization, with beer bars and brew pubs stepping up to put on more than 100 events. Restaurants soon followed with a slew of amazing beer dinners by some of the top chefs in the city.
San Antonio could easily pull this off with its existing breweries, its proximity to the Austin breweries, at least 10 bars known for beer selection, and beer-committed restaurants like Pavil and the new Lüke downtown. Alamo Draft House cinema also has a presence here and has been active in beer weeks in other cities with beer-themed movie nights.
But the city needs to step up and support a homegrown group of tax-paying small businesses that costs the city nothing.
Already, city leaders have refused to meet with Freetail Brewing Co. owner Scott Metzger about city harassment at his existing location, prompting him to bypass SA for a second location, although he had been looking at downtown.
Metzger said he is considering New Braunfels, San Marcos, Houston, and Fort Worth for the second brewpub. The latter two just lost their only brewpubs this fall. With a $3 million investment and 50 jobs at stake, something tells me city leaders might eventually hear him out.
Taste of Divine
Saint Arnold Brewing Co.’s special release Divine Reserve 10 will be on San Antonio shelves this week. There are only 1,872 cases made for the whole state, so this English Barley Wine will go fast.•
Travis E. Poling writes about beer weekly for the Current. He is author of Beer Across Texas: A Guide to the Brews and Brewmasters of the Lone Star State and can be reached at email@example.com