Beautiful-good. This is the name ancient Sumerians gave to the delicious biochemical concoction we now call beer.
Beer brings people around a table, fosters conversation, and opens opportunity for communal fellowship centered around the shared experience of enjoying refreshing, satiating beverages together. Not to mention, this bubbly brew releases the feel-good hormone, dopamine, which makes these gatherings all the more jovial.
I imagine the ancient beer-creators of old speechless after their first ceramic bowl full, dodging yeast clumps and particles with bamboo straws, then exclaiming the two most flattering, celebratory adjectives they could think up to describe their new boozy discovery: “Beautiful! ….Good!”
Many of today’s leading breweries across the country respectfully use beer’s rich history as a foundational stepping stool to launch themselves toward more creative, modern takes on traditional recipes. With craft beer on the rise, more and more entrepreneurs and beer connoisseurs are building their own breweries and pubs, positioning their take on this ancient creation from a different and unique angle.
Here at Bellhops, we are scanning the country, seeking out the best breweries that capture beer’s potential and provide delicious brews to happy patrons (we’re a modern alternative to traditional San Antonio movers, by the way). City by city, we’re doing the work and investigation so that you can focus on enjoying your beer and the people around you.
Next on our list, we’re scouring San Antonio for some of the best pilsners, porters, and pales of the land. Check out our list below for the top 7 breweries in the beautiful, bright Alamo City.
Known first for their whiskey distilling, Ranger Creek has mastered the art of quite the few tasty drinks and an array of alcohols. Their spirits have won numerous awards, some from the American Craft Distillers Association. But their following is equally as enthusiastic about the beers they brew up, especially those aged in their spent bourbon barrels. Ranger Creek, though, plays hard to get with these loyal fans, opening their doors only one day a week to the public. On these days, its common to see a food truck or two parked close by to keep their visitors paced and somewhat sober.
This German Hefeweizen is deliciously drinkable at 5.5%ABV and has a hint of malty sweetness.
Opening less than two years ago, Weathered Souls keeps the numbers low – offering five or six styles at a time in their taproom – but their creativity large. Their chocolate and toffee forward porter and tropical, hoppy blond ale as well as a few others keep a permanent seat on Weathered Souls’ taplist, and they regularly release seasonals with creative and eccentric added ingredients to spice it up for the regulars.a
Jason and Errika Gonzales opened up this small pub-style taproom and began building their growing taplist featuring an array of styles. Pair these diverse brews with some of the tastiest brewery grub in the city, and you’ve found yourself a San Antonio local favorite. Enjoy their regular events, like flight night Fridays, and….
This tasty saison has been hopped to the lightest bitter perfection. Pair your bubbly sipper with Mad Pecker’s Madchos, a glorious nacho dish made with house-fried tortilla chips and topped with smoked pulled pork, beer cheese, and fondue. Oh. yea.
This local favorite was the brainchild of and crafted by Vera Deckard and her husband Brent Deckard. Throwing herself fully into the hobby of homebrewing, Vera soon took over the space of her home researching and brewing up her numerous creations. Künstler (meaning ‘artist’) opened in 2017, and Vera, assisted by her team, brews beautiful German style beers, and serves them from their clean, rustic taproom in Southtown. Pair their brews with an ever-changing food menu made from the freshest local ingredients.
This traditional German Märzen is packed with malty, bready goodness and finishes squeaky clean. Pair your lager with a shared plate of Charcuterie, Künstler’s assortment of meats and accouterments, and their Cheese Board.
At Southerleigh, locals and visitors dine at warm, rustic wooden tables next to tall, leaded arched windows. They lean back into soft studded-leather seats and dip cold gulf shrimp into herbed lemon butter. This fine dining-brewery hybrid exemplifies the thoughtful, culinarily aspects of traditional texan dishes and the best drink to pair these dishes with: beer! Southerleigh serves their long taplist of good ol’ standard IPAs and German Export Lagers (and some experimental brews here and there) from the historic San Antonio Brewing Association (later Pearl) building. Old copper brewing kettles sparkle from the upper floor balcony, reconfigured antiques find their place as chandeliers and decor thoughtfully placed around the restaurant. Now, with a second location underway, Southerleigh can spread their fancy sauces around South Side as well.
This bittered ale has been brewed with mint to create a balanced herby-malty brew with a hint of oak. It will pair beautifully with your shared plate of Texas Goat Cheese, blended with mint and tarragon, and Roasted Beets. But you can’t stop there. Their Wood Fired Texas Quals drizzled in pumpkinseed mole and queso fresco are calling you in their direction, and they would be the perfect match for Southerleigh’s Saison, spiced with a sage tincture.
Alamo’s large, glistening facility features a brewery, beer hall, and beautiful beer garden/patio, and sits right at the edge of downtown. The brewery bumps off the trend tracks of hoppy, aged, and sour beers, and instead specializes in continental European beers and pumps out quite the few German-style lagers. Eugene Simor, Alamo’s founder, brought back this brand, which was originally used by the historical Alamo Beer Company, shut down in 1918 during Prohibition. The new Alamo brewery serves easy-drinkers like pilsner, lagers, adn wheat ales. Though, they occasionally show off their more colorful side with rarer concoctions, like their maibock and doppelbock brews, which are limitedly distributed and served as specialty beers in the taproom.
This traditional Belgian-style wheat beer is hazy and unfiltered. It has been soaked with soft spices like ground coriander and orange peel to perfectly sinch this delicious package of flavor.
Freetail was but a twinkle in San Antonio-native Scott Metzger’s eye in 2006, but in less than three years, he built up one of the leading and largest breweries in his hometown. Today, Freetail pumps out progressive beers from two locations that are winning the hearts of local patrons and beer professionals alike. Winner of the Great American Beer Festival gold medal for aged beer, Freetail’s cellared vintage imperial stout, La Muerta, put San Antonio on GABF’s map for the first time. This bold brewery has also created a sour program, which brings in a hefty crowd of over-heated locals looking for refreshment. And they don’t leave empty-bellied. In addition to their great selection of unique and delicious brews, Freetail offers a tantalizing food menu including a pizza pie topped with tender BBQ brisket.
This Belgian-style Witbier is absolutely and refreshingly drinkable at 4.2%ABV and with low bitterness at 10 IBUs. Its beautiful light golden haze matches its style spot-on, and the flavors won’t disappoint either. The brew is spiced with coriander and orange peels with an added complexity from the malted rye and a blissfully bready backbone.
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