Friday, 21 June 2013


San Antonio Area BreweriesRecently I visited my dear friend Wendi in San Antonio, Texas and she happens to be a beer-aficionado. Unfortunately I was not able to enroll in the beer course in the Algonquin College sommelier program this spring as anticipated so my knowledge of beer knowledge isn't extensive...and my tasting notes are very basic. My introduction to locally brewed Texan beer began at her home with Alamo (Golden Ale), Lobo (Lager), and Sierra Nevada (Pale Ale) during the first few days of my visit. The beer "tasting" continued until the last day of my visit with Lost Gold IPA ("a Hill Country favourite"). We enjoyed the plentiful hops in this IPA from the Real Ale Brewing Company (Blanco, Texas).

Socially Responsible Brew in Oma's Secret Garten:  On a cloudy but warm Saturday we drove to Gruene, a charming town along the Guadalupe River, about 45 - 60 minutes from San Antonio. After working up a thirst (from our midday wine tasting and stroll through this small town!) we stopped at Oma's Secret Garten.  There we each tried a different beer from the small, socially responsible Guadalupe Brewing Company (  I enjoyed the Honey Ale and my friend tried her favourite style: IPA. The Honey Ale (7.32% alcohol) was a golden colour and had a foamy white head.  It had a creamy, smooth flavour.  Proceeds from this ale support bee research in Texas. The Guadalupe IPA was stronger in flavour and alcohol (7.52%). It had a distinctive citrus (I picked up grapefruit) flavour, due to American citrus hops, and had a darker hue from the rich malt.  The IPA is a seasonal product and proceeds support Big Ben State Park.

Guerne is Great: After a relaxing dinner at the Grist Mill restaurant (see an upcoming post on Texan wine) and visits to various shops and community gathering spots in the village (all well maintained in their original architectural form) we went to nearby New Braunfels to see the band Redd Loves Blue perform (see their facebook page or check them out on you tube).  Wendi's son, who was receiving daily radiation treaments while I was visiting, performed energetically in the opening number with his friends in Redd Loves Blue.  It was a fun and inspiring end to a wonderful day in Texas Hill Country!