San Antonio Beer Week opening ceremonies at Ranger Creek Brewery. Photo by Jeremy Karnes.
San Antonio Beer Week 2014 opening ceremonies at Ranger Creek Brewery. Photo by Jeremy Karnes.

Raise a glass, San Antonio. It’s Beer Week.  From May 10 -18, San Antonians have the opportunity to support and sample local brewers, brewpubs, growler stations, and craft beer friendly stores and bars through a mecca of entertaining, social and local events. So, grab your folding chairs and a pint glass and join in on the fun and entertainment.

Plugging in to San Antonio Beer Week has become progressively easier over its relatively short history.  With Zac Harris and his fellow “monks” at Monks Toolbox driving much of the technology and updates via www.sanantoniobeerweek.com, those who wish to partake in the official events can do so with ease.

“We turned on the SA Beer Week website twenty-one days ago and already have over 30,000 views,”  Harris said.  “We see ourselves as advocates for brewers and the popularity of the website is a testament to them.”

Zac Harris of Monks Toolbox enjoying the hoppy fruits of his labor during San Antonio Beer Week 2014. Photo by Jeremy Karnes.
Zac Harris, co-founder of Monks Toolbox, enjoys the hoppy fruits of his labor during San Antonio Beer Week 2014. Photo by Jeremy Karnes.

Over the last four years as San Antonio Beer Week (SABW) has grown in popularity the number of events has grown as well. Day one of the week included the opening ceremonies of with hundreds of people in lawn chairs throughout the Ranger Creek Brewery grounds, five breweries pouring their own varieties as well as the 2014 SABW Collaboration beer, and food truck fare to kick-off the festivities.

Augie serves up a Redfish IPA from Goliad Brewery at Big Hops Growlers on Huebner Road. Photo by Chris Day.
Augie serves up a Redfish IPA from Goliad Brewery at Big Hops Growlers on Huebner Road. Photo by Chris Day.

The opening days of SABW includes special events at Big Hops Growler Stations and even Whole Foods Market is getting into the action at their Blanco location with a Monday afternoon tapping of Colorado based Great Divide Brewery’s 20th Anniversary Ale. The week provides opportunities to try the latest entrants into the local craft beer scene.   You can experience the flavorful Redfish IPA from Goliad Brewery on a visit to Big Hops on the weekend.

Take Monday off and join the Firkin Fun Pub Crawl bus that starts at Blue Star Brewing Company with coffee and breakfast tacos before a fun-filled day of visits.  Included on the tour is a visit to the new GS1221, the newest growler station on Broadway.  Or, hit the Shiner Soul Slam for some “soulful jams,” great food, and Shiner’s best at the Alamo Street Eat Bar on Tuesday on a visit to Southtown.

San Antonio Beer Week 2014 opening ceremonies at Ranger Creek Brewery. Photo by Jeremy Karnes.
San Antonio Beer Week 2014 opening ceremonies at Ranger Creek Brewery. Photo by Jeremy Karnes.

A short drive along 410 on Saturday to the Total Wine & More found beer-tasting takeovers of this typically wine driven shop.

“We want to be known as the number one craft beer store in the market. We are focused on craft beer, education, and fulfilling the local craft beer need,” said  enthusiastic Beer Manager Erik Short.

A Ranger Creek crate with San Antonio Beer Week 2014 flyer. Photo by Jeremy Karney.
A Ranger Creek crate with San Antonio Beer Week 2014 flyer. Photo by Jeremy Karney.

With tastings from San Antonio-based Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling as well as Portland, Oregon’s oldest craft brewery Bridgeport and California born Stone Brewing Co.; the variety was good.  And on a day where the San Antonio Spurs trounced the Portland Trailblazers, it seemed fitting that Bridgeport be part of the San Antonio consumption trend and not the other way around.

Similar to Fiesta, one must pick those events that appeal most to your tastes and time available.  Unlike Fiesta, it’s not likely to break your budget. With a few exceptions like the opening ceremonies that had an entry price of $10 which included a complimentary commemorative glass, many of the events have free admission. As an additional convenience, new alternative transportation entrant Uber is offering free or discounted rides for people interested in trying the service for the first time through a program put together by SABW organizers and Uber representatives. This offering comes despite a pending cease and desist order for Uber from the San Antonio Police Department.

San Antonio Beer Week is a great way for local craft beer fans to support their local establishments as well as those who may be less familiar with the variety of options to try it out. So, before diving in, make sure you visit www.sanantoniobeerweek.com  for all your options.

As always, drink local and drink responsibly.

Zac Harris of Monks Toolbox (right) talks with Eugene Simor of Alamo Brewing Company during San Antonio Beer Week 2014. Photo by Jeremy Karnes.
Zac Harris, co-founder of Monks Toolbox, (right) talks with Eugene Simor of Alamo Brewing Company during San Antonio Beer Week 2014. Photo by Jeremy Karnes.

Related Stories:

An Introduction to the World of Craft Beer in San Antonio

With a Hearty Keg Pull, Alamo Beer Co. Breaks Ground on Eastside Brewery

Crafting the Texas Spirit: Local Distilleries on the Rise

Better Brew for Texas: Bipartisanship over a Cold One

The Rise of the Cocktail in a City on the Rise

Chris Day

Chris Day, an advertising and communications executive by day at KGBTexas, is a runner and craft beer drinker.