This is my first full day back from my trip to San Antonio. I really enjoyed the city, did not enjoy the heat or the humidity. As with any new place I go, I look to see what breweries are around so that I can visit them and taste what they have to offer. The first stop on San Antonio’s brewery list (of 2) was Blue Star Brewery. The brewery opened in 1996 and is located in the Blue Star Arts complex, which is essentially converted factories.
The general vibe of the place is pretty simple. There is a simple menu, none of the decorations are super complex, and the staff’s attire isn’t fancy. It is the kind of place I dig. My wife and I walked there as it was only 3/4 of a mile away from our hotel but my wife swears it was over a mile. All I have to say is that the GPS doesn’t lie. Win! When you walk into the place you are greeted by a line of stainless steel tanks and a seating area to the right. Behind a glass wall at the back of the building is the actual kettle and all of the “hot” parts of the brewery. The bar is backed with the stainless steel tanks.
The had eight different beers on tap when we were there, including one on cask. They had everything from a pilsner to a stout to an English IPA (cask and keg versions). Each sample glass we had came in at about $1.25 with a few of the higher ABV beers costing up to $1.99. Pretty standard prices from my experience.
The pilsner was solid with a nice light but flavorful body and a slight hop crispness at the end. The pale ale was on the more pine side of the hop flavors but it was solid. It also leaned a bit more towards the hop end of the balance. The amber was my wife’s favorite beer and was a solid amber with a nice malt component an a bready aftertaste. The stout was a real treat, very straightforward but balanced and a great, smooth roast flavor on the backend. The English IPA was more hoppy than what I was expecting. If was an American IPA it would of fit in better, but it did have a wonderful malt backbone that fully supported the hops. They also had a cask version of the beer which was excellent and really toned down the hops and brought out a nice malt complexity. The final beer was the King William Barley Wine which rocked in at 11% ABV. It was good, but I think there was too much heat in there to make it a smooth drinking barelywine.
Overall I really enjoyed the Blue Star Brewery. Since I have lived in Texas I have noticed that service at restaurants has been lackluster to say the least. The Blue Star staff was wonderful (our server was Allen) and always made sure that we had what we needed. My only real complaint was that their menu is very limited. We did commit one crime in ordering according to The Naked Pint, and that was that we ordered a pitcher of their amber. According to the book you should never order a pitcher. I don’t think it really matters and that’s why we did so. The beers were solid, the food was pretty good, and the service was outstanding.
My wife and I are going to be taking a little trip to San Antonio soon to celebrate our one year anniversary in the coming days. We are planning on doing a number of things while in the city, but I am looking forward to doing two main things; visiting the two brewpubs the city offers and going to Schlitterbahn Waterpark. While not related at all,I love beer and I love amusement parks. For the past eight years or so I have also run a roller coaster related blog in addition to Brewery Reviewery.
The two brewpubs we are looking at visiting are Freetail Brewing Company and Blue Star Brewing Company. Looking around the internet, both seem like solid brewpubs and I am excited to visit them. I just hope that the town is similar to Portland where public transportation is the perfect designated driver.
One of the most surprising things in my mind is that a well known city like San Antonio should have more beer related things. The do seem to have a number of good beer bars, but I would of thought that they would have more brewpubs or even a production brewery. The city is over one million strong and two brewpubs seems pretty low. I don’t know if it is a southern thing or not, but I could name a dozen or so breweries or brewpubs in the Philadelphia area. Even here in Lubbock, a city of a quarter of a million people, there is one brewpub. Portland has over half a million people and they have a place called the Brewer’s Blocks where there are a handful of brewpubs in those four or so blocks. I really wish I liked Texas more as it is a gold mine waiting to be tapped in terms of breweries or brewpubs.
Summer may have started on Monday, but today I have a spring beer to review. I said in my last post that I had a backlog of beer reviews, I figured that I should get my last spring beer out of the pipeline before I start moving forward with the other reviews. Might Arrow comes from New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado. The beer is actually named for a dog that “ran the brewery” for 12 years. The brewers that the following to say about their beloved Arrow.
This is our brewed tribute to Arrow, Kim’s Aussie/Border Collie mix who ran (literally) New Belgium for 12 years. When she wasn’t patrolling the brewery grounds, she was famous for her office visits: She never met a tummy rub she didn’t like. Atta girl Arrow.
Might Arrow pours a nice bright orange color and it is perfectly clear. A wonderful fluffy white head compliments this beer. The nose is full of bright hops with some hints of grapefruit in there. You can absolutely notice the cascade hops that are used in the beer. Other than the hops there isn’t much to the nose. The typical earthy New Belgium yeast that you can smell on most of their beers, is not present on this ale.
After tasting the beer is as hoppy as the nose promises. It is not as highly hopped as an IPA but on the hoppier side of a pale ale. The earthiness that I didn’t pickup in the nose is there on the taste. You can almost always tell a New Belgium beer from another brewery’s because of their yeast. Holds true on this beer. There is a nice balance in the beer as well. It is still on the hoppier side, but is nicely in balance.
This beer is super drinkable. I absolutely loved it. I wish this was a year-round production. This is an mind-blowing beer, it is just very solid and a joy to drink. It comes in at 6% ABV is it is sessionable as well. Sorry that this review came out after this beer is out of it’s production schedule but if you find it grab as much as you can of it. You will not be disappointed. Continue reading →
My wife finally got back from chasing tornadoes with Vortex 2 the other day and last night we decided to go the the adult beverage store and get a few things. The problem was that I really didn’t need anything, we have a bottom of a shelf in our fridge full of beer. The problem, they are just signal bottles of multiple styles, brands, and kinds of beer. While it really isn’t a problem to have lots of beer, for a beer blogger it is a problem to only have one left of each beer if you haven’t reviewed it yet.
Thus my curse as a beer blogger. I have dozens of beers, but only one of each, so when I just want to drink a beer and not have to worry about doing a review, I am kind of stuck. I normally will get a six pack and put one aside and enjoy the other five. The last one is the one that all of the attention gets paid to. I get pictures, review, and really examine the beer. My wife told me that I need to start drinking more. Yes! I already have a backlog of beer review to post on this site and I have plenty of others still left to do. Anyway, the beer reviews are going to start flowing as my wife is encouraging my habit. Any other bloggers or causal drinkers have any problems with getting rid of the last bottle?
One of my friends from back home is as big of a beer freak on me. He is signal and does well for himself so he has a lot more of his disposable income being thrown at beer. I am truly jealous of his collection as I wish I had access to some of the same beers. Somehow he finds some really rare beers that I didn’t even know were possible to find in the Philadelphia market. He will routinely send me text messages on what beer he is drinking and what special beer he was able to find.
Lately his text messages have been about how overrated some of the rare or limited production beers have been. He contends that because the beer is rare, people treat it like it is something more special and rate it higher. In general I would have to agree with him. I think some of the most sought after beers build up such a reputation and a are so hard to find that they get killer ratings that might not be all that well deserved. I generally stick to the more available mass produced craft beers, but when I find a rare one I do get it. I have found about a 50/50 split between beers that lived up to the hype and ones that have not. Does anyone else notice that rare beers might not always have the most accurate ratings based on their rarity?