Wednesday, February 26, 2014

New 'Current' Column: Big Hops Gastropub

Another edition of my "Bottle & Tap" column is in the new Current. I heartily recommend Big Hops Gastropub in north San Antonio:

Friday, February 07, 2014

A Historic Day for Texas Brewpubs

Today was a historic day in Texas. A brewpub loaded some of its beer onto a truck and delivered it to another bar.

That beer delivery might not seem like a big deal to those of y'all reading this from a state like California or Oregon, but it's a new thing for us Texans. Brewpubs were legalized in Texas in 1993, but they were forbidden from selling their products anywhere but the brewpub itself.

This created a really maddening situation where we Texas craft beer lovers would walk into our local stores and see brewpub beers from other states — like, say, California's Bear Republic — but not from the brewpub that was mere blocks away. It almost felt insulting.

Multiple attempts to change this law met failure until last year, during the 83rd Texas Legislature. I'm very proud that my boss, state Senator Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio, was one of the key players in getting this law changed. (She's running for Lieutenant Governor this year — if you're a Texas beer lover, she's definitely the candidate for whom you should vote. Also deserving a huge tip of the hat is Senator Kevin Eltife, the lead author on the bill.)

The Texas Tribune has an article about today's historic beer delivery, and of the great economic boon that the package of brewery laws passed last session could bring to our state. Give it a read here.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Jeff Young Leaving Black Star Co-op

Jeff Young, head brewer at Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery ever since it transformed from crazy idea to brick-and-mortar reality, will be stepping down. And if you've had his beer, you know his departure certainly is not due to failure to create a quality product — he does fantastic work, and Black Star's Recalcitrant Dockhand (and its many variations, such as Cantankerous Dockhand) is absolutely one of my favorite beers, local or otherwise.

Indeed, in his farewell letter to the membership of America's only cooperatively run brewpub (I think that's still true), he says he'll be moving on to start a new brewery.

I'm gonna trust him when he says his successors will do a great job. They have big shoes to fill. The day Black Star announced it was setting up shop in my neighborhood was one of the better days of my life. It's been a fantastic asset to my part of town, and I've really enjoyed having such fine food and drink walking ... er, stumbling distance from my house.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

My Latest TWO 'Current' beer columns

Dammit, I'm falling behind. I forgot to post my San Antonio Current column from last month, and now they've already published my column for this month. Please, take a few minutes to read both.

December: My year-end list of my favorite places to down a beer in San Antonio, and a plea to help me find more:

January: We're number two! Texas' craft beer scene is really beginning to assert itself financially:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My 'Current' Column on Winter Beers

My latest "Bottle and Tap" column in the San Antonio Current is now available. The subject: Christmas/Holiday/Winter beers. Enjoy:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

New S.A. Current column: beer fests

My latest "Bottle and Tap" column in the San Antonio Current is now available. The subject: Fall beer festivals! I'll let you give it a read by clicking here while I sit here and savor this Divine Reserve 13. (Photo courtesy of Texas Craft Brewers Festival)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ranger Creek Releases New Whiskey Born From Belgian Beer

As I try to revive this blog I'm hoping to move away from simple cutting-and-pasting of press releases, but this is just too interesting not to share. Gotta get me some of this:

SAN ANTONIO, TX, September 19, 2013 – In the fall of 2010 the guys at Ranger Creek were installing the equipment at their brewstillery and anxiously waiting to sell their first keg of beer.  They had brewed a batch of Belgian beer that couldn’t be sold because they were waiting for government paperwork.  On the distillery side, they needed to run something through their still in order to test it.  So they looked at the beer and decided to distill it.   The end result surprised them by how interesting and unique it was.  Three years later they are releasing this happy accident to the public.

As a combined brewery/distillery, Ranger Creek is fascinated by the relationship between beer and whiskey.  They are also committed to finding answers to crazy questions like “How does a Belgian beer taste when distilled into a whiskey?“  The resulting spirit is something that could only be created at a brewstillery, and it’s so unique that Ranger Creek had to create a new term to accurately describe it: Belgian White Whiskey.  

The new whiskey is the evil twin of the beer.  While the beer is named La Bestia Aimable (The Friendly Beast), the whiskey is called La Bestia Defavorable (The Unfriendly Beast).  The packaging showcases the relationship.  The whiskey was put in a 750 ml amber glass beer bottle with a beer crown finish and a swing top to reseal it.  When placed next to its twin brother the relationship is apparent.  Pictures of both bottles are available here:

La Bestia Defavorable will be available in Texas only.  The recommended retail price is $32.99/750 ml bottle at Spec’s and other fine spirits retailers across the state.  Bottles are available for purchase for $25.00 when visiting Ranger Creek’s brewstillery in San Antonio. Less than 500 cases of Ranger Creek La Bestia Defavorable will be released, so whiskey enthusiasts are encouraged to buy bottles while they last. 

Release events will commence in Ranger Creek’s hometown of San Antonio on Thursday, September 19 with a release party at The Brooklynite, featuring two special cocktails prepared with the new whiskey.  Bottles will be available on retail shelves starting on Friday, September 20.

EDIT: Details on that Brooklynite party:

The Brooklynite is Hosting a Ranger Creek Whiskey Release Party
Ranger Creek Introduces La Bestia Defavorable at The Brooklynite

WHAT:        The Brooklynite is hosting a Ranger Creek Whiskey Release Party! Ranger Creek will be introducing a brand new whiskey named La Bestia Defavorable this Thursday, September 19th, at The Brooklynite. No Cover and free samples of the new whiskey all night. Come out and try Ranger Creek’s new white whiskey that was born from a Belgian Beer! Cocktails and beer also will be available for purchase.  Food will be available for purchase via food trucks outside of The Brooklynite.

WHEN:        Thursday, September 19th
                  8 p.m. – 11 p.m.

WHERE:      The Brooklynite
                  516 Brooklyn Ave
                  San Antonio, TX 78215

PRICE:        No Cover and Free Samples



ITE:            Showcasing premium spirits alongside house-made cordials, bitters and juices in craft cocktails, The Brooklynite Team prides themselves on being supremely balanced, unapologetically playful, totally unique and always providing top-notch service.

CREEK:       Ranger Creek is a combined brewery/distillery proudly located in San Antonio, TX. We make beer and whiskey in our “brewstillery”, and we make it by hand one batch at a time with lots of love and attention. We like to focus on the relationship between beer and whiskey. As a combined operation, we can do things to highlight this relationship that no one else can, like age our own beer in our own bourbon barrels and distill our beers into whiskeys. We also use much of the same equipment to make both our beer and our whiskey, and we can do this because there are a lot of similarities between the two processes. 

MORE:        Website –