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Bottle & Tap

Beer week is back

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When San Antonio Beer Week debuted last May, one morning news anchor observed, "I thought every week was beer week in San Antonio." This may well be true, but SABW, and more than 50 others like it around the country, are less about drinking beer than experiencing it in all its crazy diversity and local flair.

May 12-20 are the red letter days to interact with brewers, beer-loving chefs and bakers, extraordinary home brewers, and bask in general beer nirvana.

To whet Beer Week appetites on May 10, The Friendly Spot's normal second Thursday Beerducation class will feature brewers from area brewpubs and some tasty surprises have been promised.

Lüke restaurant on the River Walk is well-versed in beer dinners with single breweries, but their May 12 SABW kickoff dinner will feature four courses paired with beers from seven Texas breweries and talks from some of the brewers themselves.

Freetail Brewing Co. is putting on several events and special taps including the return of Tower of Sour, where several taps will be dedicated to Freetail's barrel-aged sour beer creations alongside classics such as Cuvee des Jacobins and New Belgian Brewing Co.'s La Folie. On May 16, Freetail's brewers and chef join forces for a beer and chocolate pairing.

May 19, beer presenter Jeremy Banas and Sweet Fuzion Cupcakes join forces at Bake, Broil and Brew for the Sweet & Sour Soiree, an event featuring sour beers (all the rage these days) and gourmet cupcake creations.

Carlos Fraire of the Cerveceros club has organized the Five Pint Brew Crawl, a chartered bus tour going from downtown San Antonio to Boerne's Dodging Duck brewpub, to North SA for lunch at Freetail, a jaunt to New Braunfels for Faust Brewing, followed by stops at Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling and Blue Star Brewing.

The people's event is the Golden Age of Homebrewing, which will feature free samples of beers from area hobbyists. There also will be plenty of Alamo Golden Ale because the May 15 event is on the future site of Alamo's new brewery on the near East Side at the Hays Street Bridge.

The Blue Star King's Feast dinner featuring King William barleywine from several years and guest barleywines is back for its 15th year on Friday night of Beer Week.

Also, be sure to check out the collaboration brew San Antonio IPA at the city's better beer bars. Brewers from three or four breweries and two in-the-works breweries gathered at Ranger Creek in April to create an India Pale Ale — with corn as 15 percent of the grain used — to celebrate a locally grown ingredient. Blue Star, Faust, and Freetail also made their own variations with different twists on the corn ingredient so imbibers can compare.

Enjoy the taste explosion, but remember that cabs are cheaper than DWI fines, and hotel beds are far more comfortable than those with bars for doors.

The full event list is available at sanantoniobeerweek.com.

Travis E. Poling is beer writer for the Current and is co-author of Beer Across Texas: A Guide to Brews and Brewmasters of the Lone Star State. You can hear him March 8 at The Friendly Spot Ice House leading the monthly Beerducation series.

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