5 new breweries and distilleries tapping into one popular Texas city this year
It's a good year for fans of Texas beer and spirits to travel to the San Antonio area. Nowadays, no matter where you look around the city, a new microbrewery or distillery is opening up. In 2018, Islla St. Brewing, Roughhouse Brewing near San Marcos, and Rough Diamond Brewery all debuted, adding to an already booming beverage scene.
This year promises to be even busier, with five new projects on tap for the next few months. From a whiskey maker in the heart of the city to an experimental brewery in Boerne, these newcomers have Texans drunk with anticipation. Here's the closer look at what's buzzing now.
Black Laboratory Brewing
Owners Tim Castaneda and Jeff Weihe are no strangers to the Alamo City beer scene, having first introduced fans to their brews in pop-ups and other events throughout 2018. Now, they’re in the home stretch of retrofitting space at Hackberry Market, a former commercial building on East Houston Street in Dignowity Hill.
Much of the exterior work is slated to be complete by early February, and then interior work will begin. Castaneda says he hopes to open up the brewery doors by late April with an initial lineup of 10 taps.
The roster will include four house beers: Bindi Blonde Ale, a kolsch-style beer named after one of Castaneda’s dogs; Grizzly Greg's Mountain Ale, a honey/juniper braggot-style amber ale; Vanilla Joe, a stout brewed with in-house roasted Costa Rican coffee beans and Mexican vanilla; and a Northeast-style juicy IPA.
The rest of the handles will pour a selection of one-off beers, including IPAs with different hop combos, pilsners, kettle sour beers, and stouts. The Black Lab team plans to have house-roasted cold brew on tap, too.
While the industrial space does not have a kitchen, food will be allowed to be brought in. And tasty grub won’t be more than a stone’s throw away. A bevy of culinary businesses have also signed on to the Hackberry project, including playful vegan bakery Cake Thieves, former Dough Pizzeria Napoletana chef Jungsuk Kim’s pasta haven The Magpie, Truth Pizza, and meat market The Farmer’s Butcher.
Dos Sirenos Brewing
It’s a family affair at this upcoming brewery in the city's Southtown area, including the father-son brewer duo, Michael and Jacob Sirenos; Michael’s wife, Kari, a partner in the business; and Michael’s daughter Abbey, who helps on the creative side. Everyone is pitching in to get the project off the ground by late March or early April.
Housed in the former The Beach space at 231 E. Cevallos St., Dos Sirenos adds another destination to a strip that is already home to Blue Star Arts Complex and La Tuna Grill, bringing in a five-barrel system to produce eight core beers, and a few rotating and seasonal brews ranging from German and Belgian-style beers to stouts.
Hungry hopheads should be glad to know that an onsite restaurant comes with the package. Although final menu details have not been released, the joint is planning on classic pub grub like burgers and wings, as well as weekend brunch.
All can be enjoyed in a casual indoor space or a pet-friendly patio to deliver a bar-like experience for guests. Entertainment includes games, specially themed events, and live music from local musicians in keeping with the spirit of the eclectic neighborhood.
This microbrewery was once located in a business park east of Boerne, but in 2018 secured four acres on a ranch between Boerne and Comfort owned by brewer/co-owner Jon Beaumont’s business partner, David Fuentes.
Soon, visitors will get to sip brews in a spacious taproom, under the shade of a covered porch, or beneath a grove of oaks on picnic and farmhouse tables. There is also plan for a large live music stage, although that might not be available by grand opening time.
The seven-barrel brewhouse will produce some core beers from the previous location, such as Galileo's Revenge, a barrel-aged Belgian strong dark ale, and Umbra, an imperial porter. Beaumont is planning to take the other beers in a funkier direction, with a focus on barrel-aged sours and farmhouse-inspired ales. Kinematic also will serve Texas wines, including many produced in the nearby Texas Hill Country.
Although the exact date for the debut is still under wraps, it looks like the team is on track for the first half of 2019. Construction photos posted on Facebook in January show the first pieces of equipment being delivered, and an expansive bar made out of cedar milled in Comfort has already been built.
The downtown location of 115 Broadway is home to Maverick Whiskey, debuting in early March. The property once belonged to the family of Sam Maverick, who played a key role in the Texian rebels’ defense of the Alamo. Maverick was later elected mayor of San Antonio.
Ken Maverick, Sam’s great-great-great grandson, and his wife, Amy, have been redeveloping the property with a design that’ll reflect the family’s history on the site.
The first floor includes the distillery, featuring a 500-gallon hybrid pot still and a 26-gallon still. Head distiller Rikk Monroe, who worked at San Luis Spirits and launched Ben Milam Whiskey, will also produce bourbon, rum, gin, and agave spirits. All whiskeys at Maverick initially will be white until the aged variants become available for consumption.
The warm and inviting second floor is anchored by the main crescent-shaped bar with seating and glass walls permitting views into the distillery. There is also a small private meeting space with a speakeasy vibe.
A flight of stairs up from that space transports guests to a larger event venue to accommodate activities such as wedding receptions and parties.
Maverick Whiskey will have a catering partner to help to offer lunch, dinner, and happy hour. The owners also envision having a separate brewer onsite producing beer later down the line.
Tusculum Brewing Co.
The H.O. Adler Building on Boerne’s busy South Main Street, once the headquarters for the Bergmann Lumber Company, is undergoing renovations to host Tusculum Brewing. The owners are taking great care to preserve as much of the historical charm as possible.
Once finished, the building will house a seven-barrel system and beer garden, taproom, and brewery. The focus will be on English-style ales and Belgian-style beers, and the brewery will also offer wine, and food made in house.
Although the brewery was originally shooting for a fall 2018 opening, the team now hopes to complete build-out of the facility over the next couple of months, with an eye toward opening late this spring or early summer. In the meantime, Tusculum is taking part in local events as a preview. Follow the company’s Facebook page to see where they’ll pop up next.