Well, in case you don’t remember the Alamo, it is located in downtown San Antonio and quite the boring tourist attraction. I have always been a mild war history nut but the Alamo itself was kind of a let down as far as a tourist attraction went….and they didn’t even serve craft beer (now you can see my disappointment). The building that you see before you was actually the Chapel of the entire Alamo compound and there isn’t much more beyond that, other than a small courtyard and a gift shop (which must have been built by Davey Crockett himself).
The Alamo…..(in the basement!)
So my wife wanted to go someplace on vacation that was a heck of a lot warmer than sunny Buffalo (like such a place exists) but wasn’t really interested in going back to Florida, so we decided on taking the kid to Sea World in San Antonio TX. What we didn’t realize that we came down to San Antonio during Fiesta…which someone described to me as their version of Mardi Gras….except with a lot less boobs being shown and more Mexicans to go around.
Fiesta goes for 18 days straight and is now loosely based around the annual Battle of the Roses, which started as a dedication parade for those that fought at the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto back in 1890. When we went downtown on Monday night, we visited the Market Square where there were streets lined with vendors and several stages providing various styles of music. We also visited the famed San Antonio Riverwalk where there was a boat parade going on. But, by Wednesday afternoon, we had noticed that downtown was becoming crazier with half the roads being closed, bleachers being set up all over the parade route, the cost of parking doubling and every corner being crazy busy…not exactly ideal when towing around a four year old with you.
One of the highest rated and most famous restaurants in San Antonio is Mi Tierra . Located in the famed Market Square area of downtown San Antonio, this place is know for its great food and 24 hour bakery that never closes. The food was decent, the atmosphere was great and my daughter is a huge fan of table side Mariachi bands. Since I was in a Mexican restaurant, it was only fitting that I had to get a Mexican beer that I had never had before…
While we were watching the boat parade on the Riverwalk, I found a kiosk nearby that was serving finger food and serving local craft beer, so I got to drink something while we watched the boat parade…
Later on Monday evening, after the wife and daughter called No Mas!, it was time to meet up with my local trader at his local watering hole for a small bottle share…or so I thought, at Big Hops Growler Station. We managed to keep the employees up past their bed times and we’re able to crush bottles until 1am (even though they closed at 10pm).
Big Hops Growler Station now has three locations around the San Antonio area and is a local watering hole for my TX trading partner Chris. He managed to swindle the employees to allow us to have a bottle share there that night, for my arrival….and here is what we crushed:
Jester King Brewing RU55 ~ American Wild Ale ~ 7.3% ABV
Dark Horse Brewing 3 Pairs of Legs Maple Porter ~ American Porter ~ 7.0% ABV
Prairie Artisan Beers Bible Belt ~ American Double / Imperial Stout ~ 13.0% ABV
Grassroots Brewing Arctic Soiree ~ Saison / Farmhouse Ale ~ 6.0% ABV
Pisgah Brewing Hellbender ~ American Barleywine ~ 10.2% ABV
Bruery Griffon Bruxellois ~ American Wild Ale ~ 6.1% ABV
Bruery The Wanderer ~ American Wild Ale ~ 8.0% ABV
Freetail Brewing Ananke (2012) ~ American Wild Ale ~ 5.8% ABV
Freetail Brewing Ananke (2013) ~ American Wild Ale ~ 5.8% ABV
Lost Abbey Angel’s Share Brandy Barrel Aged (2008) ~ American Barleywine ~ 12.5% ABV
Karbach Brewing Series F.U.N. Series 008: Fra-Gee-Lay ~ Herbed / Spiced Beer ~ 8.0% ABV
Freetail Brewing La Muerta (2010) ~ American Double / Imperial Stout ~ 10.2% ABV
Cascade Brewing Elderberry ~ American Wild Ale ~ 8.1% ABV
Crooked Stave Artisan Beers Batch #60 ~ American Wild Ale ~ ABV Unknown
Ithaca Brewing Luminous ~ American Wild Ale ~ 6.0% ABV
Darkside Fermentation Flanders Red ~ Flanders Red Ale ~ 7.0% ABV
Grassroots Brewing Arctic Saison ~ Saison / Farmhouse Ale ~ 6.0% ABV
(512) Brewing Whiskey Barrel Aged Double Pecan Porter ~ American Porter ~ 8.2% ABV
Harpoon Brewery 100 Barrel Series #49: Brown IPA ~ American IPA ~ 5.7% ABV
Brewdog Paradox Springbank ~ American Double / Imperial Stout ~ 10.0% ABV
Buffalo Bayou Brewing Smoke on the Bayou ~ Scottish Ale ~ 9.0% ABV
Crooked Stave Artisan Beers Nightmare on Brett (aged in Leopold Bros Whiskey Barrels) ~ American Wild Ale ~ 9.67% ABV
On Tuesday, we took a bus tour around downtown San Antonio, a RiverWalk boat tour, then lunch at a downtown brewpub called The Granary ‘Cue & Brew.
The Granary ‘Cue & Brew has been open for several years now and feature Farm to Table proteins from several farms in Texas. They strive to feature fresh foods while using only the best local quality ingredients, nothing off the back of a distributors food truck. From what I can gather, he Granary has been brewing their own beers now for a little over one year now, in keeping with the same standards of ingredients that they utilize with their food too, Farm to Tap. The interesting thing about their location is that is located in the vicinity of the Pearl Brewing Complex, which has been defunct now for many years. It was only until recently that a company came along, purchased the entire canning complex and repurposed the property for loft apartments and retail shops but still maintain the Pearl identity. My wife got the Beef Brisket, my daughter has the chicken and I destroyed a Pastrami Rib crusted with a cracked pepper rub…all of the food was excellent and their BBQ sauce was decent with a nice mildly smoked flavor to it. At the time we went, they had 4 in-house beers on tap, 2 in-house pops (yes, Pop not Soda) and several guest taps…but since I wanted local beers, I grabbed these selections:
After getting blasted by 95 degree heat all day, we decided to hit the hotel and relax for a little while…and thankfully the Embassy Suites by the airport had a bar inside, so I decided to grab a happy hour turd.
Since we were still very tired from the heat and long day, we decided to stay down for dinner that night and ended up at Freetail Brewing for some pizza and beers.
Freetail Brewing Company
Freetail Brewing Company was started towards the end of 2008 and have since then grown very nicely with a goal of making quality beers, which they have done. Some of their bottle selections have become some of the best beers made in TX in many different beer styles with options like La Muerta, Old Bat Rastard and Ananke. Over the past 5 years, they have grown beyond their current locations capacity and are expanding to a new locations dubbed FT2, which will be their production brewery located in downtown San Antonio. When we arrived, as if on queue, my daughter passed out in the car about 90 seconds before we arrived, so she was cranky and tired when we entered the place. Unfortunately, I had enough time there to order a pizza, two quick pints and pay the bill…and all within 20 minutes. The pizza was pretty good and the in-house beers were decent (tonight):
Wednesday morning rolled in and we were all still pretty tired from the previous day, plus my wife still had a touch of heat exhaustion. We were kind of dragging our asses in the morning but had to power our way through the day because we had tickets for several things that we had to do. After jumping back on the tour bus and looping almost all the way around downtown again, we stopped at the 750 foot Tower of the Americas. The Tower of the Americas was the corner stone piece of the HemisFair Park, home of the 1968 World’s Fair, and it listed as the second highest free standing structure in the US, second only to the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.
We decided to head back down to the RiverWalk and hit one of the highest rated restaurants in San Antonio, Boudro’s. Set along the riverwalk, we were able to grab a table right on the riverwalk where my daughter was amused by the birds swimming the riverwalk and waving at all the boats passing by. While Boudro’s was supposed to be known for their great food, my wife and I left both disappointed in our meals…maybe they are well known for their dinner food. Anyways, I couldn’t come down to Texas without slamming one of these ‘craft beers':
After lunch, we headed over to the San Antonio Children’s Museum for a couple of hours to burn some energy off then down the street to San Antonio’s famed Buckhorn Saloon & Museum. The Buckhorn Saloon & Museum is listed as the oldest running saloon in Texas, dating back to 1881. It was originally established as a trading post originally for all of the cowboys to blow off steam but then turned into a saloon and house of ill repute. The interior is loaded with a ton of taxidermy and the largest collection of antlers ever assembled. For a tourist trap, they actually had a nice tap list of local Texas beers, so I grabbed this one:
After returning to the hotel and the family passing out early on me, I had a little under two hours to get for a couple…and since I was only 10 minutes from Freetail Brewing, I decided to head back there again.
While I was there, I was bullshitting with a couple of guys and it turned out that one guy was opening his brewery sometime by the end of this year. San Antonio Brewing Company coming soon..plus the guy was really cool about wanting to hear an out of towners perspective on the craft beer scene. Overall, a really good place to visit with some really good pizza but the house beers were rather disappointing.
Thursday morning came and we decided that instead of dragging the four year old all over downtown San Antonio with the craziness of Fiesta, we opted for a two hour drive down to Corpus Christie so that we could hit the beach for the day. When we got to the shores of North Beach, to my surprise was this fucking beauty…the USS Lexington.
USS Lexington – Corpus Christi TX
After being at the beach for roughly an hour, the sun broke through the overcast and it was time for a beer, but the only shit that the nearby bar would allow me to leave with was this nasty gem…
During this time, my wife had the realization that her father had served on the Lexington. As much as I would have loved to tour an air craft carrier, we were nasty from swimming in the Gulf (see BP Oil Rig Spill for more details…), we didn’t think that our daughter would want to take the tour…plus we had to meet some friend out for dinner later that night.
After getting back to out hotel for much needed showers and some quick relaxation time, we headed over to meet up with my Texas trading partner, Chris and his new bride Amanda, at a real San Antonio gem, The Cove. This place has to be the most diversified business plan in the history of the world…maybe a close second place behind General Electric. The Cove is comprised of the following entities on the property…a Self Serve Car Wash, Coin Operated Laundry, Ice Cream Parlor, a walk up Food Counter, a music bar, playground, dog park and 50 tap Texas Craft Beer Bar. Yeah, it was interesting but such a cool set up…after we ate dinner in the front bar (indoors), we headed outside to let the daughter play with the other kids at the playground while the adults drank from the Texas Beer Bar.
On Friday, it was my daughters reason for pestering me for the past month…Sea World. Of course, I had to grab a beer for my theme park tick on Untappd.
Every night between the hours of 5pm-730pm, the hotel we were staying offered up a free happy hour…which included PBR and Killians. Gross indeed, but the hotel bar also had some bottles (that I didnt realize until our last night there) so I decided to grab another Texas turd from the bar…
With the kid and wife passed out and our last night in San Antonio, I decided that I had to sneak back to The Cove for a couple more beers..
Airplane beer, courtesy of Southwest Airlines…
I have to say that when we booked this trip, I told the wife to not book anything other than the day to Sea World because I wouldn’t to do things on the fly…after everything was said and done, we did a shit ton of things…and I got to drink a shit ton of good beer. San Antonio was fun to say the least and a nice craft beer town on the rise.
Texas Whalez Bro…