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San Antonio Breweries: Blue Star Brewery

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.

San Antonio beer tasting

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.