If you’re like me, you’ve noticed some major changes happening in town over the past few years. That abandoned warehouse I threw rocks through the windows of is now a hip coffee shop; the grimy bar I didn’t dare visit had a fresh revamp into the coolest place to go on a Friday night; and my resident taqueria is competing with the influx of culinary hot spots. It’s as if we are witnessing a contemporary cultural renaissance!
With a burgeoning metro population surpassing two million and the title of the seventh largest city in the United States, I guess this was a long time coming. Everyone is starting to put an emphasis on supporting small businesses and buying local whenever possible. We are visiting the newest restaurants with interiors decorated or outfitted by a neighborhood artisan and ordering food sourced from a nearby farm. And we’re washing it all down with some good ol’ Budweiser.
Wait a second—that last part didn’t make any sense! Didn’t we just make a decision to back the little guys?
The beer we choose shouldn’t be any different from the locally roasted coffee we insist on buying at the farmers market. With more than a dozen breweries calling San Antonio and the surrounding area home, it’s not like they don’t exist either. They are all over and vary in size from one-barrel brewpubs like Mad Pecker Brewing Co. on the city’s northwest side to larger operations like Freetail Brewing Co. that holds down a twenty-barrel production facility near downtown (as well as a fifteen-barrel brewpub near NW Military & 1604). Some of the breweries focus on more traditional German styles (like Alamo Beer Co. near the Hays Street Bridge) and others get a little wilder (such as Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery at the Historic Pearl that produces an ever-changing lineup using unique ingredients).
It’s been a slow start, but we are seeing a huge boom in the beer industry here in San Antonio. Now, you might ask yourself: What can we do to help? The answer is simple. It requires backing and sustenance from the public to survive and to thrive just like anything else.
Over the past few decades, many places have fallen victim to the lack of enthusiasm in the community. Luckily, places like Blue Star Brewing Company in Southtown have survived; recently celebrating their 20th anniversary, we are in the perfect position to make sure everyone has the opportunity to stick around. Whether you realize it or not, their presence can provide more than some delicious suds for us to enjoy. From stimulating the economy, revitalizing areas that we normally pass over, or even bringing jobs (ranging from brewers, accountants, marketers, and staff), new breweries are great indicators of a growing city.
Far be it from me to tell you what’s unfolding in the beer world—it’s tastier if you go out and learn for yourself! Go ahead, take a weekend off, and visit some of the amazing breweries that call our fantastic city home. Who knows? You might find something from your neighborhood that replaces all of the Bud Light in your fridge.