Freetail suspends plans for second location

From an official press release: Having previously announced expansion into the Houston market, Freetail Brewing Co. will announce the indefinite suspension of plans for a second location — citing concerns over access to capital.

“As I moved forward with the Freetail Houston project, I began to run into an increasing level of resistance in capital markets. A brewpub is a good project for downtown Houston, but the deal is simply not there for me at this time,” explained Freetail Founder & CEO, Scott Metzger. “When we announced the project on May 17, we also stated there were financial considerations to be addressed. Those considerations are ultimately what put this project on hold indefinitely, and no other reason. To move forward with the project at this time would beirresponsible and an injustice to my company and the City of Houston.”

“For now my focus will be to continue growing our successful original location, which has internal expansion needs of its own, and moving forward in the battle for fair reform of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, as it relates to the activities of our state’s brewpubs and breweries,” added Metzger.

I must say that I was disappointed to hear that Freetail passed up a downtown San Antonio location for Houston. I love Freetail but it’s so far out it hardly even qualifies as being in San Antonio, as far as i’m concerned (I may be a bit of a snob as far as boundaries are concerned but it takes a planned day to make it out there). There are lots of places to be had in the flourishing  downtown/Southtown (and in focus for a repopulation of work/live space by our Mayor, including a redevelopment of HemisFair Park and recent whisperings of an HEB) area and moving down would keep the competition healthy.

Still I’m sorry to hear that they won’t be able to brew their divine suds in Houston. They would have done well there by adding to the half a dozen or so breweries. But in the meantime maybe they’ll reconsider a location downtown as they battle the stubborn forces that be over antiquated laws.

—Lyle Rosdahl

Miche Monday! Make your own Miche.

Last Monday Ryan and I decided to make our own michelada. Delicious: clamato, spicy V8, lime, chili powder, worcestershire, pepper, ice and of course Modelo.

Miche Monday!

Refreshing!

Unfortunately I didn’t realize that I was out of regular Tabasco. I did put some Tabasco Chipotle in my first miche. The smokey flavor was interesting, though I wouldn’t want more than just a taste. Too overpowering. We went to La Fiesta down on Flores for ingredients. A pleasant experience. Time seemed somehow to stop in the open, well-lit store. It was a pity to leave almost but we had miches to make. Worth it.

—Lyle Rosdahl

Tall dark michelada at Rosario’s

Rosario’s

902 South Alamo ● 210.223.1806

($5.25)

So from Blue Star* Ryan and I decided to head to greener pastures (or redder ones) up South Alamo. Rosario’s offers delicious margaritas, but I’d never had a michelada there.

Beer: ✪✪✪✪

  • Choice. We had a Negra Modelo with this one. I’ve never had a michelada with anything but light beers (though the other day when I was at Blue Star someone ordered one with the brewery’s amber ale). The dark beer turned out to be an excellent choice.

Dressing: ✪✪✪

  • Salt and some mild but tasty chili powder lined the rim here.

Spiciness: ✪✪

  • Not much in the way of a bite to this one.

Color: ✪✪✪

  • While it wasn’t a bloody read color, the Negra Modelo made it nice and dark. Almost a maroon.

Overall Taste: ✪✪✪✪

  • This michelada tasted great to the last ice coated drop. Oddly enough, it got better the further down it went. For some reason the clamato and other standard ingredients settled. It certainly was a pleasant change. For obvious reasons most micheladas become watered down toward the end. The other unique quality to this was the dark beer. The slightly sweet, malty taste of the Negra Modelo complemented the slight spice and acidity of the clamato. While I was hesitant to try a darker beer at first, I’m sold now. Rosario’s micheladas come in a big ole glass (I assume the whole bottle of beer fit in this) but the price is still pretty steep. Get off the trolley right in front and step into the ambient and noisy restaurant for a taste.
—Lyle Rosdahl

*Just a note to say that I think Blue Star is an excellent place to drink beer. Their pale ale is refreshing and thoroughly delectable.

The beauty of bats

Near the boat dock under IH-35 at Newell & Camden a bachelor colony of Mexican Freetail bats hangs under the rumbling trucks and cars. (Yes, the females live in larger colonies elsewhere like the enormous colony under the Congress Street bridge in Austin.) Four Tuesdays in July and August (including the one tonight, 7/27 @ 8pm, 8/9 @ 7.30pm & 8/23 @ 7.30pm) San Antonio River Authority in partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife give an educational presentations prior to the emerging of the bats for their nightly feast.

BatsThe colony, according to Maura from SARA, is somewhere around 10,000 bats. They roost here in South Texas from about April to October then migrate to warmer climes down south. Of the 47 species of bats in the US, Texas is home to 32 of them. Unfortunately, though, bats in the US are being smitten with White-Nose Syndrome, a white fungus that is killing thousands of them.Luckily it is not yet in Texas, but there have been cases of it as close as Oklahoma. This is scary stuff.

Bats

The bats came out at 8:25 pm and streamed up over the highway for about five minutes or so. It’s a much smaller  showing than Austin’s but no less spectacular. There’s something magical about seeing the ribbon coming out from under the highway and disappearing around the phone tower. The ancient echolocation of bats against the cellular sky.

Fish under the bridge

View from the boat dock when you're not looking at the bats.

—Lyle Rosdahl

Bland at Blue Star Brewing Company

Blue Star Brewing Company

1414 S. Alamo, Suite 105 • 210.212.5506

$5.00

As we rolled into the Blue Star Arts Complex, Lyle commented that the sidewalks along S. Alamo are going to be expanded in order to meet the needs of a large pedestrian population. Being that it was 2:30 on a Monday afternoon, pedestrians were nowhere to be seen and parking was ample. Approximately 8 – 10 people dined on a late lunch, while the bar remained unpopulated. We took a seat and ordered a Blue Star Michelada.

Beer: ✪✪✪✪

  • Your choice. Currently, according to their website because I can’t remember what was actually posted in person, Blue Star offers six house-brewed beers on tap: Texican, Pilsner, Apache Amber, Smoke Dark, Stout, and Pale Ale. Both, Lyle and I, opted for the Texas conceived, Mexican inspired, playfully named, Texican.

Dressing: ✪✪

  • I’ve only found chile powder dressing at two places as I am presently in the infant stages of my michelada hunt. Instead, salt dressing is the norm. I can’t fault Blue Star for going the salt route, but let it be known chile powder earns one more stars.

Spiciness: ✪✪

  • The bartender didn’t skimp on his pepper pouring with each sip offering plenty of punch. Unfortunately, due to the beers solely being on tap, Blue Star doesn’t provide michelada minions the usual portion of beer remaining in the bottle. Otherwise known as the chaser, used at times when the michelada gets too spicy.

Color:

  • Our micheladas looked like iced tea with shards of pepper. This unappealing color stemmed from the noticeable absence of tomato juice/Clamato  from Blue Star’s recipe. Moreover, the mountain of ice initially heaped into the glass quickly watered the color of the beer and the michelada’s other ingredients (Worcestershire sauce, lime, possibly soy sauce).

Overall Taste:

  • What a disappointment. For starters, they don’t use the necessary tomato juice. There was entirely too much ice that caused the beer to quickly deteriorate from its intended taste. In other words, I left Blue Star with the feeling that I had paid extra to have someone water down my Texican, and in the process dump some pepper on the beer water.

I’m assuming the impending renovations will increase foot traffic to-and-from the Blue Star Arts Complex. That being said, I can guarantee no one’s going to be running to the Blue Star Brewing Company for a michelada.

Next, please.

— Ryan Sachetta

The Monterey’s Michelada

The Monterey

1127 S. St. Mary’s • 210.745.2581

$3.50

Beer: ✪✪

  • Pearl – the faux-Texas beer. No longer brewed in San Antonio, Pearl is brewed by Miller Brewing Company in Fort Worth. I noticed a gentleman seated at the bar drinking a michelada with a can of Brooklyn Brewery’s Summer Ale. Thus, I’m not sure if you can request a substitute beer (possibly for an additional charge) or maybe the patron at the bar is a regular.

Dressing:

  • The glass lacked dressing (salt/ chile powder) around its rim.

Spiciness: 

  • This michelada lacked that smack of spicy. I probably said “this could use more pepper” on several occasions.

Color:

  • Personally, I prefer micheladas with an indistinguishable red color (that way I don’t have to ask the bartender if tomato juice is included in their recipe). The Monterey’s was a faded tomato red, highlighting its perfect beer:tomato juice ratio.

Overall Taste:

  • Despite this michelada’s poor showing in individual categories, its overall taste was indisputably refreshing. The light, is-this-even-beer-taste of Pearl coupled with the tomato juice made for a quenching summer drink. I appreciate a spicy michelada and The Monterey’s completely lacked in that department. Nonetheless, at only $3.50 in the comfy confines of The Monterey, it’s well worth a try.

— Ryan Sachetta

Miche Monday! Tito’s.

Tito’s

955 South Alamo • 210.212.8226

($4.50)

Beer: ✪✪✪✪

  • Choice. I had a Modelo, my go-to beer. The other standards are also available.

Dressing: ✪

  • None.

Spiciness: ✪✪✪

  • Sadly not nearly spicy enough. It had a bit of a peppery punch but no real sting, which I appreciate in a michelada.

Color: ✪✪✪

  • Blonde. They don’t make these with tomato or clamato juice. It suffered because of it. A good michelada has a bit of color to it. Still it made for an airy summer drink.

Overall Taste: ✪✪✪✪

  • Light but better with a shot of tomato juice, which the bartender provided happily when we asked. I love Tito’s. It’s one of my favorite restaurants in San Antonio. This bumped up the star rating here. Still a good michelada has a little something  extra to it: celery, chili powder, olives, hell even shrimp. I mean, that’s a meal! Always visit Tito’s; just don’t think you’ll get the city’s best miche.

—Lyle Rosdahl

Miche Monday — Recipe

Welcome to Miche Monday where we review different micheladas (a cerveza preparada). It’s a lovely summery drink involving beer, lime, salt, pepper, tabasco, worcesterhire sauce and tomato juice (or some kind of combination of these ingredients and/or more).Here’s the first recipe (from Texas-Backyard-BBQ.com) and stay tuned (a little outdated, I know, but the micheladas aren’t and what’re you going to do, change the channel with the clicker?) for some reviews.

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  • 1 Lime
  • Kosher Salt For Glass Rim
  • Salt or celery salt
  • Tabasco Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Cajun Chef Hot Sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Coarse Ground Black Pepper
  • Pacifica* Beer – (Some prefer a dark beer)

ℑℑℑ

*They mean Pacifico but the recipe is solid. Add as much or little beer as you like. Notice that there is no clamato or tomato juice. I prefer it with the former. We’ll get you another recipe to try next Monday. Enjoy!

—Lyle Rosdahl