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Bottle & Tap

Old Boxcar gets rolling

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Old Boxcar gets rolling

Old Boxcar Brewing Co., which will become San Antonio's second microbrewery when it opens later this year, pays homage to the founder's grandfather.

Two railways ran by the farm of Jason Ard's grandfather outside Corpus Christi. The sound of those boxcars rolling by and a model train set at the farm are fond childhood memories for the fledgling brewer, who will start ordering equipment for Old Boxcar's location near Wetmore and Thousand Oaks Road in the coming weeks.

"I'm really opening it for my grandfather who passed away about two and a half years ago," Ard said. A small financial legacy from the war veteran and engineer helped Ard secure financing for the brewery from San Antonio-based micro lender Acción Texas and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The beer lineup to look forward to in late 2012 includes Shady Oak blonde ale made with wildflower honey from the Texas Hill Country, Barn Owl American Amber, and Woodcutter Rye IPA.

"I want to make beers everyone can enjoy," he said. "Everyone," it seems, includes those now drinking lighter American lagers who still hunger for a little more flavor. Personally, Ard is a fan of IPAs and hoppy interpretations of other styles such as the extra hoppy American pilsners that have been making their way into the craft beer scene.

He's already thinking about a winter warmer IPA as a cool weather seasonal, most likely a heavy-duty IPA with amped up everything.

The 3,600-square-foot brewery will have a 10-barrel brewing system with 20-barrel fermentation tanks and a tasting room that will handle up to 75 visitors.

Bottle & Tap also has just learned that Old Boxcar has retained Les Locke as head brewer for the venture. Locke has professional brewing experience at a brewpub in Eugene, Oregon, and has assisted Freetail Brewing Co. brewmaster Jason Davis on numerous occasions. Coincidentally, Locke also is a frequent guest at my house bearing sometimes off-the-wall homebrewed creations that are always tasty.

Lucky Ol' Sun

San Antonio's existing microbrewery, Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling, has just rolled out a new warm-weather seasonal called Lucky Ol' Sun.

The Belgian-style golden ale got good reviews at a sampling of the draft-only beer at the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium last Thursday. Pints of it were also flowing freely at the new Alamo Street Eat Bar in Southtown.

Ranger Creek's Mark McDavid said folks can expect to see the beer around for awhile if the demand is there. The brew is 5.5 percent alcohol, much lower than their other Belgian-inspired beer La Bestia Aimable, with spicy notes up front and a super dry finish from the local honey, which is a fully fermentable sugar.

McDavid also said to expect a Strawberry Milk Stout in mid to late April. Assistant Brewer Holland Lawrence picked up the 500 pounds of Poteet strawberries fresh from the farm the same day they went into the brew.

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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