FREDERICKSBURG BREWING COMPANY
Fredericksburg Brewing Company is the oldest brewpub in Texas, having opened for business in 1994, soon after it became legal in the state to do so. The brewery sits in a former car dealership in the middle of spectacular Fredericksburg, a town more known for its wineries, but with a strong beer culture as well. The main part of the brewery / pub is in the old auto showroom, but there is also a big beer hall in a back room with a large projection TV that was showing a basketball game when we were there. It’s a cool old (1908, we were told) building of concrete and wood with state and country flags hanging from the high ceilings. Still, we found it a bit bright and spacious in there.
The brewery itself has stuck to its roots. Everything it brews is for sale exclusively on its premises. Their staples are a Red Ale, a Porter and a Pale ale and they also had an IPA, a chocolate stout and a honey cream ale when we were there. We generally liked them all except the red ale (we’re still just not fans of reds), but loved none of them. To be fair though, I liked the IPA enough to order two pints after our tasting.
PEDERNALES BREWING COMPANY
The Pedernales brewery is a gem. Not for the atmosphere as much as for the quality of the beer and the unusual ownership structure. The atmosphere itself is a bit unusual for a brewery. It’s housed in a former winery building that never got off its feet because of an outbreak of Pierce’s disease. It has a small, low-frills indoor tasting area and a big patio set back a bit from State Route 87 just outside of Fredericksburg.
We were taken through the beers a bit by Robert, one of 250 owners of the brewery. The brewery was founded by a former winemaker (not the same guy as the failed vineyard though) who wanted it to be community owned. To that end, the bylaws forbid any person owning more than 10% of the brewery.
The beers are marketed under both the Pedernales name and “Lobo,” plus they have a “Robert Earl Keen Honey Pilsner”, that is in cooperation with the country singer. In the hot weather, we started with the light Lobo Texas Lager and it was fantastic. I worked my way up to the Texas Hop Bomb Smash IPA, a seasonal. Everything we tried was outstanding.
Pedernales bottles their beer and had recently bought a canning machine, which Robert was nice enough to show us. They have distribution throughout Texas and in parts of “Old” Mexico.