Destination: San Antonio

Bierkast continues its Texas Take-Over as Todd journeys through the Lone Star State!

I recently spent five days in the beautiful city of San Antonio, deep in the heart of Texas.  Accompanying me were my sister Laura and niece Brooke.  We made the required Alamo visit and stopped by the Toyota factory to watch Tundras and Tacomas being assembled.  Our February visit was timed to coincide with the Stock Show and Rodeo, since my travelmates are cowgirls from Norco, CA (AKA Horsetown USA).  But this being Bierkast, I’m sure you want to hear about the beer.

san antonio 1The first beer-related stop was Blue Star Brewing Company, which was a pleasant stroll north of downtown on the River Walk.  I knew I’d be a fan of the establishment when I noticed their vintage motorcycle with sidecar in the parking lot.  Ever since getting a ride home in high school from a friend who had a BMW sidecar, I’ve been infatuated with these three-wheelers.

Situated in an Arts Complex with galleries and studios, the brewery also houses a bicycle shop.  The shop rents, sells, and repairs bikes.

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Along with a stellar meal, I enjoyed a flight of seven of Blue Star’s finest.  From lager to porter, all were finely crafted onsite with quality ingredients.  (Note to self: next time take better tasting notes when sampling a flight of seven beers).  Service was excellent- our lovely waitress gave us a number of recommendations on what to do in the area, several of which we heeded.

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Next up was Pearl Brewery.  I wasn’t aware until my arrival that it is no longer an operating brewery.  The grounds of the former brewery are now a 22-acre complex featuring residential, retail, restaurants, and offices.  While saddened that the brewery was shuttered, the Nutella tart at Italian restaurant Il Sogno quickly got me over any disappointment I felt.

Taking the advice of the waitress at Blue Star, we headed out to Hill Country to the city of Fredericksburg.  This town founded by German immigrants is home to Fredericksburg Brewing.   I sampled six of their beers: a German-style Kolsch, a keller-style lager, a mild red-amber ale, a medium-bodied hoppy pale ale, a hopped-up brown, and a dark brown English-style malty porter.  Like Blue Star, all were impressive.  The town itself is worth the drive–it’s the birthplace of WWII Navy Admiral Chester Nimitz, and there is a museum in his name that honors US Navy veterans.  Also nearby is Stonewall, the hometown of former president Lyndon Bates Johnson.  It’s amazing that such small cities created these two American greats.

san antonio 3Our last beer-related stop was Luckenbach.  Now if you’re not a country music fan (like me), you probably have never heard of this place.  The population is 3–that’s right, 3.  Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson put the town on the map with a song called, what else, “Luckenbach Texas”.   The dancehall is where everyone gathers to drink beer (Shiner Bock mostly) and listen to live music.  Chickens are all around, and they roost up in the trees, making Luckenbach unlike any music venue I’ve ever visited.  My beer of choice was Lone Star, which was available at the astonishingly low price of $2 per can.  The musicians playing guitar and singing created a very intimate environment.  For me, this was the highlight of the trip.  If you are ever in the area, do stop by to this incredible landmark.  It’s the least pretentious place imaginable, and probably has not changed in decades.  There’s no better place for live music and a cold one.

Stay tuned for my next destination- Austin in May…

Featured image courtesy of http://americanatexas.com/

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