The wheels are turning
New bike-themed brewpub cycles into San Antonio this fall
Sure, it’s not quite autumn, but it’s never too soon to start planning for an Oktoberfest bash. And local suds lovers in search of a new brew to toast the annual celebration won’t have to leave town to break away from the same old beer offerings. San Antonio’s newest brewpub will make it a breeze to break the cycle and imbibe something different.
Introducing Breakaway Brewing Co., the intoxicating new beer joint from locals Chris Pal-Freeman and his wife, Jean, which is on schedule to open this fall.
Pal-Freeman has done a lot of moving around the United States, be it as a military brat or with his family, and his stops have included San Antonio. But the couple has spent the last five years putting down roots in San Antonio. And Pal-Freeman’s love of brewing beer and cycling have come together in their plans to build a cyclist-friendly brewpub on the Near East Side.
As of early March, Pal-Freeman was awaiting city approval to proceed with building Breakaway Brewing at 1518 E. Grayson St., just steps from the gates of Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.
He hopes to fling open Breakaway Brewing’s doors by late September or early October, just in time for Oktoberfest celebrations.
The new microbrewery and gastropub will be located in a commercial building that currently includes Folklores Coffee House and the venerable bar Betty’s Battalion. It also lies near a handful of local restaurants, including Ma Harper’s Creole Kitchen.
The Government Hill neighborhood was a draw to Pal-Freeman both because of its proximity to downtown and its close-knit, walkable, communal atmosphere.
“I think it’s a great place. It’s close enough to Pearl but far enough to be its own neighborhood-centric place,” Pal-Freeman tells CultureMap. “You get a feel for old, traditional gathering places here. This building just seemed to fit.”
Pal-Freeman says he got interested in brewing beer after being gifted a home-brew kit more than 20 years ago. Experimentation helped to improve his brewing skills, regardless of where he lived, be it Portland, Oregon; Greensboro, North Carolina; or Pittsburgh — all bubbling hotbeds of beer brewing.
Pal-Freeman eventually got involved with a business that became Washington Brewing Co., near Pittsburgh, when he and his family lived there. In fact, some of his old beer recipes remain on tap at Washington Brewing.
When Jean Pal-Freeman accepted a job offer in San Antonio, the couple moved to the Alamo City, where Chris Pal-Freeman sought to fully channel his brewing and business skills into opening a local brewery.
Breakaway Brewing will feature 12 to 16 tap lines, including a Mexican lager and an imperial red ale, with most beers ranging from 5 to 6 percent alcohol by volume, he says.
“I live to play with flavors, but I’m really about balance,” Pal-Freeman says of his brewing style. “I like layers. I like to play with ingredients.”
As a self-described avid cyclist, he notes his beers will bear cycling-themed names. The pub will also offer a mug membership club appropriately called Peloton. Members will be able to get dibs on small and pilot beer batches, as well as cash in on other fun benefits.
Breakaway will also boast a kitchen that will crank out some cycling-themed dishes aimed at pairing perfectly with the beer offerings.
But this beer joint isn’t just for brew connoisseurs; the brewery will be kid-friendly and feature indoor seating, a dog-friendly patio, and plenty of bicycle racks.
Pal-Freeman notes everyone will be welcome at Breakaway Brewing, but says local cyclists will find it especially alluring considering its location, offerings, and cycling-forward appeal.
“We’re trying to make it as cyclist-friendly as possible,” he says.