This year's San Antonio Beer Festival, held Saturday, October 15, was the biggest yet for the event. More than 130 breweries were well-represented at Dignowity and Lockwood parks on the city's near East Side.
Breweries big and small brought new, standout products and creative variations of famous brews. After sampling plenty, we've rounded up the most notable brews from the fest.
Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company: Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout
A tremendous imperial stout that nearly perfectly blends coffee, vanilla, and oak flavors. Roasty and strong but not overbearing.
Blue Star Brewing Company: Apache Amber Lager
An old favorite of the local brewer is back in production. It has a nice color, medium body, and a toasted malted hops flavor that is not overwhelming. It delves toward a slight sour, but still retains a great lager/red ale feel.
Brazos Valley Brewery: Big Spoon
A tres leches stout. It boasts a heavy vanilla flavor with hints of coffee and chocolate. You'll want to bake cookies or brownies to accommodate the beer.
The Bruery: Or Xata
A well-established blonde ale from this eclectic Orange County, California, brewery. In this case, adding hints of rice, cinnamon, and vanilla beans makes it a delicious dessert beer.
Funkwerks: Raspberry Provincial
A stunning Berlinerweisse. It's definitely raspberry-ish but with a nice lemon taste. It's refreshing yet not as sour as one would expect.
Goliad Brewing Company: Sweet Potato Pecan Scotch Ale
Inexplicably, it's the first time we had a brew with a sweet potato touch. Goliad's latest has a great blend of sweet potato scotch ale body and pecan.
Guadalupe Brewing Company: Pecan Cocoa Stout
Pecan. Cocoa. Stout. Imagine if temperatures were in the 60s as they should be right now. This beer would be a dream come true from the New Braunfels-area brewer. Sweet, strong spices dominate the beginning of each sip, which winds up as a dark full body.
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales: Forgotten Tales of the Last Gypsy
A barrel-aged saison. It's not very strong, but with mango and a hint of rye, it's a truly tasty, funky brew with an apt name.
Lazy Magnolia: Black Creek
The imperial stout from the Mississippi brewery doesn't taste particularly strong, which may be a good or bad thing, depending on how long you've been imbibing. It has lots of carbonation and is pretty sweet, literally.
New Braunfels Brewing Company: PKL FKR
Yes, it's a pickle juice Berlinerweisse. Like a pickle juice shot in a dive bar, for most, it's an acquired taste. For others, it's close to heaven. Overall New Braunfels Brewing Co. is to be applauded for such a bold move.
Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling: Tangerine Saison
This was brewed especially for this year's festival. It's got an amazing fresh tangerine taste, particularly refreshing during this warm fall weather.
Victory Brewing Company: DirtWolf
This double IPA has a bit of spiciness, if you will, to the hops, but it is refreshing. It also has a beautiful, dark copper color.