In the month since I surfaced from my beer-soaked weekend, I diligently hit each bar on the DCBW list, brewed another batch of beer, and, of course, drank. Added into the mix was a five-day trip home to celebrate my parents’ 30th anniversary.
As I’ve mentioned before, my parents’ love of beer—especially my dad’s increasing interest in hoppy brews—was passed on to me like a good piece of furniture. Time at home always includes scouring the beer aisles of their local grocery store (which has a surprisingly great selection) for bottles we’ve never seen before. And there were plenty.
I’ve realized that I’m a sucker for the big bottles and interesting labels. (How else are you supposed to choose?) My parents and I got several to share—though I would have bought all the 22-ouncers I could find if I could some how afford them—and a few six packs, too.
My favorite was the first one my dad and I tried. (My mom had a sip, but she tends to stay clear of the ultra-bitter beers.)
The Hop Henge Experimental IPA from Deschutes Brewery out of Bend, Oregon, was a punch in the mouth. The boldness of the hops was strapped to a jet pack, shooting across every taste bud, showing no mercy. At 95 IBUs and 8.5% ABV, this beer is not for the faint of heart (or tolerance). Created as part of their “annual exercise in IBU escalation,” Deschutes clearly knows their shit when it comes to hopping up a beer. It poured a transparent gold with a tumultuous head, deceptively light-looking, and went down more smoothly than the intense flavor would have you believe it might. “It’s all hops, no apologies.” I wouldn’t want it any other way.
One of my favorite things to do with my parents when I’m home is hit up the two brewpubs in San Antonio. For a city that’s pretty behind in its acceptance of craft beer culture, San Antonio does have two delicious brewpubs that are markedly different in their approaches.
First, there’s Blue Star Brewing Company:
It’s in my favorite part of the city, right along the river, surrounded by art galleries and studios and industrially-designed condos. It’s a family restaurant with a beautiful patio for the short slivers of time when it’s nice to sit outside. I try to go every time I’m home.
The second place, Freetail Brewing Co., is newer and has a very different atmosphere:
The beerhall-style restaurant is raucous and crowded and a fun place to grab some pizza and beer. All of their tap handles are handmade, blown-glass blobules. (I’m sure at one point we asked who made them, but I don’t remember.)
I always enjoy myself when I’m home, which make it hard to leave. Each time I’m there, I go back and forth with myself about whether or not I could live in Texas again. There are certainly a lot of pros (that don’t all have to do with beer) to my home state, but, of course, plenty of cons, as well. For now, I’ll look forward to time with my parents and mining the Texas beer scene when I’m there, but also take advantage of the perks of where I am at this point in my life.