Will travel for beer
No one needs much of a reason to road-trip to San Antonio — or to enjoy an ice cold beer — but San Antonio’s beer scene is pouring on the ways to visit. Whether you're planning a late-summer getaway to the Alamo City or you're scheduling next year's travel, consider this your indispensable guide to the city's best brews.
Blue Star Brewing Company
Lone Star, Southern Star, 14th Star. For some reason, brewers like looking to the heavens. San Antonio’s own entry into the celestial sphere has been around since 1996, giving it more than two decades to perfect its sessionable lagers and pilsners. Those German styles might go best with pub grub like the spot’s famous beer cheese dip, but that’s not all this Southtown fave is all about. The fruity sours and heady ales are just as likely to launch us into the stratosphere.
Cactus Land Brewing Company
Dustin and Erica Teague, the married co-owners behind this tiny nanobrewery, started out as hobbyists, but it was always clear that their ambitious beers needed a larger audience. After winning several home brewing competitions, they were able to get a commercial operation off the ground with the help of a Kickstarter and a lot of hard work. Today, they make some of the area’s most intriguing beers, using native prickly pear cactus, fruits, and herbs in their creations to achieve real Texas terroir. Check the website before making the trek to Adkins, however. The taproom is only open on alternating weekends.
Issla St. Brewing
This small batch beer works may be brand new, having only arrived on the scene in January, but its South Texas roots run deep. Owners Josh and JD Peña make beers in a variety of styles, but the best throw in some San Antonio flavor, like the empanada-inspired IPAs and the juicy He Mang and the Mangos of the Universe with tajin. It also needs to be said that Issla’s pun game is always on point. A gorgeous purple brew offered in April payed homage to La Reina with the name Witty Witty Plum Plum.
Freetail Brewing Company
Not to question this brewpub’s knowledge of biology, but the Mexican free-tailed bat pictured in its logo might actually be a dragon. Needling aside, the mascot does seem appropriate. Freetail makes monster core beers like the citrusy rye wit and the rebelliously bitter Sour Doubt IPA. Stock the fridge with those cans, then visit the brewpub for more flights of fantasy like the piney Vader Saber imperial red ale or the crisp Pretty in PFNK, a 2019 brew meant to raise awareness of women in the craft beer industry.
Roadmap Brewing Company
Even if the beer wasn’t very good, this downtown hot spot would likely still pack guests in. The tasting room is one of the most chill places in San Antonio, welcoming kids, leashed dogs, and outside food. As it happens, the beer is very good — and diverse enough to tickle almost anyone's tastebuds. Hopheads will naturally gravitate to the classic Mama Dukes IPA or the Simcoe and Mosaic-packed Mini Van Dad. Guests who want something sunnier can tackle Professor Plum’s Alibi, a fruity kettle sour, or the beachy, low ABV salted wheat beer, Boom Gose the Dynamite.
Weathered Souls Brewing Company
After years of doing it itself, Weathered Souls finally signed a San Antonio distribution deal in March, but it hasn’t lost an ounce of its indie cred. Supplies are sourced from South Texas and the company eschews advertising for word-of-mouth. The old-school attitude makes a difference when patrons visit the taproom. Instead of being bombarded by marketing speak, guests are just allowed to hang out.