I’m not one to celebrate birthdays. I’d much rather have people owe me a pint the next time we hang out than have people buying me an excess of pints in one night that I’ll likely not remember. That being said, I still can’t celebrate a birthday without beer, so… what better way to spend a birthday than a brewery tour! Apologies in advance for the lack of pictures. I was distracted by beer..
First stop: Ranger Creek Brewery & Distillery in San Antonio. If you haven’t been to one of their open houses, well, I highly recommend making the drive out there (that’s assuming you’re also in the great land of Texas). It’s a fun way to spend a couple of hours on a sunny afternoon. And what’s better than beer from the source? Not much.
$5 for 3 full pints and I’m well on my way to having a great day. There was live music (a guy and a gal singing Irish rock music with lyrics about cheating on each other and drinking lots of beer), a hot dog stand, and three types of beer: Oatmeal Pale Ale, La Bestia Aimable, and Mesquite Smoked Porter. The sun was shining overhead and we found a comfortable place to lay in the grass. It wasn’t long before everyone congregated in the front of the brewery, which also happened to be near this barrel of fermenting beer with the most creative airlock ever…
From there, we were led through their brewhouse. Check out the gorgeous distiller:
And their shipping container turned bourbon store house:
Supposedly, the smaller barrels increase the wood to liquid ratio and will thereby shorten the barrel aging time. Needless to say, I can’t wait to try some when it’s finally released. (next summer?) They’re also in the process of allowing people to ‘reserve’ their own barrel of the Texas bourbon whiskey goodness (pending TABC approval). In the meantime, sign up for more information on this nifty concept.
We left Ranger Creek in the late afternoon and found ourselves at Freetail Brewing Co. The casual brewpub wasn’t anything like I expected. The beers were plentiful and offered unique flavor combinations. The ones that stood out the most – the two variations of their Figgy Pudding. It was well rounded without being too “figgy” in taste, but bordered on syrupy.. Not unexpected in a beer with “pudding” in the name, but not something I could drink more than a few sips of. The HB660 was tasty, as was the wheat beer brewed with rye.
Alas, the sun set and we were on our way to the third and final stop: Root Cellar Cafe + Darkside Fermentation. At this point, I won’t lie, I was feeling the buzz and in need of more than a few glasses of water. We ordered dinner. The beer bread was malty and delicious. The pecan crusted chicken was moist and delicious. And their Belgian Blonde.. Oh my. That was definitely one of the stand out pints of the day. Small batch Belgian beers = happiness.
Long story short, Austin definitely isn’t the only place in Texas with some amazing craft beers. I have a feeling I’ll be heading back to San Antonio and San Marcos relatively soon. I also need to venture North towards Fort Worth/Dallas in the near future. Hooray for beer inspired road trips!