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Freetail SA Beer Week Events

San Antonio Beer Week draws near and we have a full slate of events scheduled to celebrate and honor the growing craft beer culture in San Antonio. The scene has come a long way since we opened in 2008 as the second operating brewery in SA (tip of the hat here to our good friends at Blue Star Brewing Co.. Joey Villarreal started Blue Star in 1996 and San Antonio beer culture would look vastly different without the foundation he laid).

Without further ado, here is our list of Beer Week Events!

  • Saturday 03/21 – SA Beer Week Kick Off Party. Main Plaza, downtown San Antonio. San Antonio breweries will take over all the taps in Main Plaza and we will hoist a brewers’ toast at 7:15 followed by live music from Cryin’ DT Buffkin and the Bad Breath. Free to attend, you just need to buy the beer. http://www.sanantoniobeerweek.com/2015-events/2015/3/21/san-antonio-beer-week-kick-off-party
  • Monday 03/23 – Texas Beer & Cheese Pairing. Freetail Brewing Co.-1604 Brewpub location. Join us as head brewer Nick Adcock takes you on a journey pairing our beers with 4 artisan cheeses from CKC Farms and Blanco Brazos Valley Cheese. Tickets are $20, limited to 30 seats, for sale now at the brewpub on 1604. http://www.sanantoniobeerweek.com/2015-events/2015/3/23/texas-cheese-freetail-beer-pairing
  • Tuesday 03/24 – Southtown Progressive Beer Dinner. Take a walk through the historic Southtown neighborhood as we embark on a progressive beer dinner with stops at The Friendly Spot, Liberty Bar, Stella Public House and Blue Star Brewing Co. for a course and a beer at each stop. Only 20 seats, tickets are $40 each available only at our S Presa tasting room. http://www.sanantoniobeerweek.com/2015-events/2015/3/24/southtown-progressive-beer-dinner
  • Wednesday 03/25 – Flying Saucer Bourbon Barrel Aged Local Coffee Stout and keep the glass night. The Saucer will be tapping their keg of Bourbon Barrel Aged Local Coffee Stout and we have developed a unique glass that will only be offered at this event starting at 7pm. http://www.sanantoniobeerweek.com/2015-events/2015/3/25/flying-saucer-brewery-night-freetail
  • Thursday 03/26 – Piñata Protest Launch Concert at the Empire Theater. We are launching our collaboration beer with San Antonio’s own Piñata Protest with a free concert at the Empire Theater. Unfortunately, it’s already sold out. Fortunately, you may still be able to win some VIP tickets. Stay tuned to various social media for details. http://www.sanantoniobeerweek.com/2015-events/2015/2/26/59l9iv5q0uldgqnmo78ppx1xg4pea2
  • Friday 03/27 – Big Hops Growler Station (Huebner & Broadway) Bourbon Barrel Aged Local Coffee Stout tapping. Big Hops Huebner and Broadway will be cracking into their keg of Bourbon Barrel Aged Local Coffee Stout starting at 7pm. http://www.sanantoniobeerweek.com/2015-events/2015/3/27/freetail-special-release-tapping
  • Saturday 03/28 – Tower of Sour featuring Wood-Aged Beer Q&A with Jester King Craft Brewery – 3pm at Freetail 1604 Brewpub. The tradition continues as we dedicate one of our tap towers at the brewpub to sour beers. We will be featuring Peche’cus, Endymion, Makaria and the debut of Seiza, beer from the last remaining unblended barrel from our original sour program at the brewpub. We will also have two beers from our friends at Jester King Craft Brewery and maybe a few other surprises. We will also be joined by Jester King Head Brewer Garrett Crowell and Barrel Program Head Adrienne Ballou to engage in a Q&A panel with our Head of Brewing Operations Jason Davis and Head Brewer Nick Adcock to discuss the philosophy, approach and technique of making wood-aged beers. This is a no cost event, other than the cost of the beers you order. http://www.sanantoniobeerweek.com/2015-events/2015/3/27/tower-of-sour
  • Saturday 03/28 – 5 Pint Pub Crawl 2015. A bus crawl featuring stops at 5 San Antonio breweries hosted by Appliance Liquidation Outlet. The crawl visits 5 breweries, treating participants to a pint glass souvenir from each brewery visited, custom wood crate for your pint glasses, lunch, and dinner. http://www.sanantoniobeerweek.com/2015-events/2015/3/28/5-pint-brew-crawl-2015
  • Sunday 03/29 – SA Beer Week Closing Ceremonies. As the capstone event for SABW, the Closing Ceremonies will conclude the week in style. It’s a beer festival-style get together that showcases all of the amazing San Antonio area breweries in one location. This year’s Closing Ceremonies will be hosted at the Pearl Brewery. Follow the link for more details. http://www.sanantoniobeerweek.com/2015-events/2015/2/26/obbquwx17nv5pb6yh81ml3q4e7cq6h

Cheers to San Antonio and Craft Beer!

Bourbon Barrel Aged Local Coffee Stout Release Details

Back in… I think 2009… we released bourbon barrel aged La Muerta. Much to our dismay, it eventually turned sour and was worthy of only one thing: pouring down the drain. It was then that I vowed NO MORE BOURBON BARREL AGED BEER! (Even though I believe we did do one more barrel aged Old Bat Rastard if memory serves me correctly, and we have done one-offs in 5-gallon bourbon barrels sourced from craft distillers).

But, you know, times change. We all get older, some of us mature. Since those olden times, we’ve built a new brewery and we (feel like we) have a better grasp of the barrel-aging game.

By now, you should be familiar with Local Coffee Stout. If you aren’t, go back in time on this blog and educate thyself. Then, go find a bottle and enjoy it. It’s FREAKIN’ DELICIOUS. When we were conceptualizing Local Coffee Stout, we knew we had to age this in bourbon barrels. And thus began a quest in which Head Brewer Nick Adcock (one of 3 head brewers we have… because we are like a hydra) searched far and wide to find us enough barrels to make it worthwhile. Lo, Nick found us a dozen freshly-emptied Woodford Reserve barrels and in went Local Coffee Stout for a brief one-month stint. Why only one month? Lots of breweries make a point of emphasizing how much time their beer sits in their wooden bourbon-soaked tombs. To be honest, given the balance of bourbon-barrel and base beer character we were hoping to achieve, we found that one month was really all it took. Anything longer would have allowed the bourbon to dominate and overpower the coffee character, which sort of defeats the purpose of aging a coffee beer. The key for us here is balance. With this beer, we aren’t trying to present a preeminent dissertation on bourbon and beer but rather a nice balance of the character of our original beer, that excellent coffee flavor, and the bourbon barrel.

Some tasting notes: if you pull this straight out of your fridge, the bourbon aroma will be faint. Let it warm up, and the fruity American white oak character of the bourbon will come through along with a heavy char and the typical vanilla accents. Coffee is still present but definitely in the background. Take a drink and you’re met with a rich, creamy mouthfeel, roast bitterness offset by the sweetness of the coffee and a slight smokiness from the bourbon. Subtle alcohol heat that doesn’t overwhelm (a pleasant result of limited barrel aging time).  Super Head Brewer Jason Davis says “it’s like drinking bourbon filled chocolate.”

So… where do you get it? Glad you asked.

For OFF-PREMISE BOTTLE SALES. 22oz bombers will hit the shelves this coming Tuesday, March 10. Below is a list of accounts that will receive cases. Please note, we do not have control over the price or quantity that each retailer will sell this for. We also cannot control when they will receive their allotment. It will all be on a truck to each of these accounts for sale at some point on Tuesday. Please contact the individual stores for exact details.

BROADWAY CENTRAL MKT CAFE 4821 BROADWAY

SPEC’S WINES & SPIR #100 5219 DEZAVALA ROAD #100

TOTAL WINE & SPIRITS #503 125 LOOP 410 NW SUITE 260

GABRIEL’S LIQUOR & WINE 1309 LOOP 1604 NORTHWEST

WHOLE FOODS MKT BLANCO 18403 BLANCO SPGS

TOTAL WINE SPIRITS #504 17530 LA CANTERA PKWY 103

WHOLE FOOD MKT # 10075 255 E BASSE RD STE 130

SPEC’S WINES & SPIR #113 11751 BANDERA ROAD

SPEC’S LIQUOR #69 14623 IH 35

CANYON GOLF MARKET 26180 CANYON GOLF ROAD

HEB SA32  BANDERA RD/LOOP 1604

HEB SA45  HWY281/EVANS RD

HEB SA31 WURZBACH/NW MILITARY HWY

HEB SA46  WILDERNESS OAK/HARDY OAK

HEB SA41  POTRANCO/1604

HEB SA 39  BLANCO/1604

HEB SA 43  BASSE/BROADWAY

HEB SA 23  BABCOCK/WHITBY RD

HEB SA 17  IH 10/DEZAVALA

HEB SA15  1604/KITTY HAWK

HEB SA12  281/1604

HEB Leon Springs LEON SPRINGS

HEB SA01 NACOGDOCHES/NEW BRAUNFELS

JESTER KING CRAFT BREWERY Austin

For ON-PREMISE DRAFT TAPPINGS: We have a limited number of kegs and we will announce each tapping as they occur. The first tapping we have to announce will be at 3pm THIS FRIDAY (that’s tomorrow) at the grand opening of Big Hops’ new location at the Hays Street Bridge. These guys are killer and we want to help them open their newest location with a bang.

For those of you who may miss the release, we will have a limited number of bottles at our two locations starting Thursday 3/12. Note, this is not a bottle release like we have done in the past. We will just have the beers on the shelf when we open. The brewpub on 1604 opens at 11am, the S Presa tasting room at 4pm

 

Growing & Busting at the Seams!

Hey gang, we sent out the press release below this morning and I was really excited to hit send. So much so, that I held myself back over the weekend from leaking spoilers. Bottom line: our plans are coming to fruition. We’re making beer, getting out there and selling it, and we’re expanding our reach. I’ll be back after the Press Release to talk a little bit about some of the thoughts and discussions we’ve had internally throughout this process.

FREETAIL BREWING CO. POSTS 100% GROWTH IN 2014, ANNOUNCES EXPANDED DISTRIBUTION

(February 2, 2015) San Antonio, TX – Following a record year for beer produced, San Antonio’s Freetail Brewing Co. announces it has entered into a distribution agreement with Tri-City Distributors to carry its products in Comal, Guadalupe and Gonzales counties and will expand its existing distribution territory with Silver Eagle Distributors, the nation’s second largest beer distributor, to include Houston and surrounding areas.

After the completion of its new brewing facility just south of downtown San Antonio, Freetail began distribution of its products into the San Antonio market on October 21. Even with just a little over two months in the market, Freetail was able to post a 100% increase in beer production versus 2013 thanks to the increased capacity offered by the new facility. “This is what we worked so hard towards,” said Freetail founder and CEO Scott Metzger. “We are humbled and grateful for the fantastic reception our beers have enjoyed since we began distributing. As a born and raised San Antonian, I’m proud to make a contribution to our city’s growing culinary and artisan beverage scene.”

As it continues to grow its presence in its hometown, Freetail has also set its sights on new markets. To do so, it has partnered with New Braunfels-based Tri-City Distributors to cover Comal, Guadalupe and Gonzales counties, and the brewery will be extending its existing partnership with Silver Eagle Distributors to reach eager Houstonians.

“Our new partnership with Tri-City is exciting as it not only helps us expand our reach in the greater San Antonio metropolitan area, but it gives us greater access to the Texas hill country and the kind of outdoor activities we brew for,” explained Metzger. “The choice to primarily package our beers in environmental friendly, recyclable, aluminum cans comes from our own passion for hiking the hill country, hitting the bike trails, tubing down the river or enjoying a day on the lake.”

The roll-out into Comal, Guadalupe and Gonzales counties should take place in short order with both packaged and draught available this spring.

In reference to its move into the Houston market, the brewery describes it as inventible and obvious. “We’ve always enjoyed a great deal of support from our friends in Houston and I promised that it would be the first major market we moved into after San Antonio. Today, I’m extremely proud to make good on that promise.”

The initial roll-out into Houston will be draught-only this spring, with the full-assortment of packaged beers available in fall 2015. Look for additional details in the coming months on the official launch date in Houston.

 

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About Freetail Brewing Co.

Freetail Brewing Co. was founded in 2008 on the pursuit of creating exciting, innovative and unique world class beer. We embrace the laid back and fun-loving Texas culture and set out to create products that mirror the lifestyle of our diverse and rapidly growing community. We believe in promoting an increased appreciation of craft products and their responsible enjoyment. For more information visit www.freetailbrewing.com.

About Silver Eagle Distributors

Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P. is the nation’s second largest beer distributor. The company employs approximately 1,400 employees that serve 16 counties in Texas through operations in Houston, San Antonio, Conroe, Cypress and Rosenberg. Silver Eagle distributes a broad selection of domestic and import brands, as well as microbrews and craft beers and several non-alcohol beverages and waters. For more information, visit www.silvereagle.com.

About Tri-City Distributors

Tri-City Distributors started out in New Braunfels, TX in 1971. Since then, Tri-City has grown into a major distributor, delivering nearly 2 million cases per year from 20 different suppliers serving Comal, Guadalupe and Gonzales counties. In 2011, the company expanded its beverage portfolio to better serve its customers, adding wine, mixers, water, vitamin drinks and teas to its product mix. Whether you’re a retailer or a brewer, Tri-City offers services that let you focus on running your business and connecting with your customers. For more information, visit www.tricitybud.com.

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So that’s the news. We grew a lot in 2014, we’re expanding our reach in the greater San Antonio area with the extension to Comal, Guadalupe & Gonzales counties, and Houston… you’re finally getting some Freetail.

I’ll be honest, it hasn’t been all puppy dogs and ice cream as there have been some growing pains. We went from a single brewpub location with a brewing staff of two producing a little over 1,000 barrels a year to a packaging brewery with a brewing staff of 7, a support staff of 5, running canning & bottling lines, re-building our wild ale program essentially from scratch, and doubling our annual production from 2013 in just a little over 2 months. As you can imagine, there’s been little time to catch our breath.

Along the way, we had to ask ourselves a bunch of tough questions. Not to make our six-and-a-half year-old brewery sound more grizzled than it is, but the craft beer world has changed a lot since we entered it. The expectations of craft beer drinkers, both from the casual to the experienced, have been heightened (for the better). The biggest question we asked ourselves was whether we were still relevant in the Texas craft beer dynamic. It was a tough one to ask given our history, but the answer was aligned with the same principle of staying true to ourselves and always striving to do better. We aren’t going to chase trends if they aren’t aligned with who we are. We’re going to continue to strive to make quality beers that are accessible (from a pricing perspective). We’re going to have our core “boring” beers, we’re going to have specialty “exciting” beers, because we love “boring” beers as much as we love “exciting” beers. We’re just going to be us.

Lastly, another thank you to all the folks who support us along the way. We make beer, but it’s for nothing if you aren’t out there drinking it. We are continually humbled that you give us a place at your dinner tables, your tubing trips, your gatherings with friends, and your backyard bar-b-ques. We pumped to keep it coming.

On that note, I’ll leave you with a teaser. In addition to our new seasonal can in March, we’ll be rolling out two more year-round cans soon as well. You’ll have to wait for more details there!

Cheers,

Scott

FT2 Bottle Release: Local Coffee Stout Sat 1/24/15

Hey friends, it’s been awhile since we’ve done one of these, and we definitely haven’t done one at the new brewery. This Saturday, Jan 24, we will host a bottle release at our new brewery on S Presa for Local Coffee Stout.

Before I get into the details of the release, let’s get into the details of this beer:

While we were undergoing construction of our new brewery at 2000 S Presa St, we noticed some activity across the street in this building at 2001 S Presa.

After a little asking around, we found out that San Antonio’s esteemed coffee shop, Local Coffee, was setting up shop with their new roasting facility, Merit Roasting Company. We immediately perked up on a couple of levels: we were pumped that continued positive development was happening down here in Roosevelt Park, we were psyched that we’d have a place to get world-class coffee every morning, and we were absolutely thrilled at the prospects of collaborating on some coffee beers. We’re not the type to throw around the term “no-brainer” a lot, but a potential collaboration with Merit fit the bill. Fortunately, Merit was just as curious and excited about us as we were about them. Merit owner, Robbie Grubbs, would poke his head in from time to time and we developed a relationship built on mutual respect for each other’s craft. Soon after, the idea of for our first collaboration, Local Coffee Stout, was born.

As we began to develop the recipe for Local Coffee Stout, our head of brewing ops, Jason Davis, was inspired by Merit and their passion for letting the beans drive the flavor profile of the coffee rather than the too-typical practice of the roast dominating. Merit provided us with a cold extract of lightly roasted El Origen coffee from Honduras. Sampling the concentrated extract gave us a deep appreciation for Merit’s craft: a brew that was full of fruit flavor (tamarind, dark fruits) without overpowering us with burnt astringency that has become the trademark flavor of mass-produced coffee grounds. We blended the extract with our stout in the cellar. Our own experience taught us that adding coffee on the hot-side of the process would result in changes to the coffee, which would have negated Merit’s efforts. The result is a coffee stout that is a little different from most coffee stouts, because this coffee is different from most coffees. Virtually all of the roast character of the finished beer comes from the malt, not the coffee. Rich coffee notes abound upon first whiff and playfully dance with the residual sweetness of the malt. Coffee stouts aren’t exactly innovative these days, but can often still be quite special. We are proud of the one we’ve created and hope it stands among the other great ones available today. Check out the video below for a more detailed look at the development and production of this beer.

As for the release:

In addition to this weekend’s release, Local Coffee Stout will be distributed throughout San Antonio in limited quantities. We will release 30 cases (360 bottles) this Saturday starting at 1:30pm. In Freetail tradition, we also invite folks to enjoy a bottleshare prior to the release starting at 10am. Important details:

  • LOCATION: The new brewery, 2000 S Presa St, San Antonio, TX 78210
  • 360 bottles
  • $9/bottle
  • Limit to be determined based on number of people in attendance at 12:30. We will have a wristband system in place
  • Bottleshare beginning at 10am
  • All bottles from the bottleshare will be picked up at 1:25pm in preparation of Open For Business at 2pm.

If you have any other questions, please find us on our company Facebook, or you can ask me on twitter @beermonkey. (The comments section of our blog gets spammed too heavily for us to really be able to respond to comments, unfortunately)

Cheers,

Scott.

 

 

‘Tis the Season

As I am sure many people do, I find myself in a reflective mood as the year winds down and we gather with family and friends to celebrate the holidays. 2014 was a year of achievement for Freetail. We finished the completion of our new brewery, began distribution, find ourselves already in 150+ off-premise and 100+ on-premise accounts around San Antonio, and are already having to plan for expansion.

For me though, the proudest achievement is the continued growth and development of our team. For the first time, we actually have people in critical functions who actually know what they are doing, as opposed to me faking it. Instead of handful of folks wearing hundreds of hats at once, we have sharp folks in key positions to help drive our company forward. I’m forever thankful for all the folks who made getting to this point possible, and I’m thankful to have built a team now that will take us to the next level. When we relaunch our website in 2015, we plan to feature profiles of our employees as they are truly the heart and soul of our company, even moreso than our beer.

Short and sweet: thank you all for your continued support and allowing us to have dream jobs. We couldn’t do it with you! Happy Holidays!

-Scott

 

 

Easy Parts & Hard Parts

What a whirlwind.

All of it. The production, the events, the promotion, the sales, the distributor relations, the branding, the media requests, the social interaction. The all of it.

Some of it is easy, most of it is fun. Some of it is hard, a very small portion of it really sucks. None of this is groundbreaking. Thousands of breweries before us, and thousands more after us, all with the same stories to tell. Very few of us were raised with beer in our blood. The vast majority of breweries in the United States are owned and operated by first-generation brewers, all of us learning on the fly.

Wait, not just learning on the fly… writing the textbook on the fly.

I’ve spent the last year serving on the Brewers Association Board of Directors with many of my heroes. The people who wrote the first chapters of the modern brewing industry textbook.  When Freetail opened 6 years ago, I was assured that this textbook was sound and solid, and I’m just as sure today. But what I know now that I didn’t know then… is that all of us who came after aren’t just footnotes tucked back in unfurled pages. No, we are writing the next chapters in the book. Further, our heroes are welcoming of the new additions and are avid readers of our work. They read intently, and not in some perverse schadenfreude sort of way. They are truly curious, and inquisitive, and more than anything else, proud. (And anyone who ever questions the motives of these folks, you’ll have to take my word for it when I tell you that these are folks who twist themselves into knots to represent the smallest of us, even if it isn’t even in their best interest)

There are easy parts… and there are hard parts. Some parts I used to think were easy, are harder now. And a lot of parts I used to think are hard, are a lot easier than I ever. Easiest among those things: never forgetting those who wrote the chapters ahead of us, and fostering those who will write the chapters after.

To pioneers and future innovators a like, cheers!

-Scott

PS: Over the years, I’ve received a countless number of requests of folks starting breweries who just want an hour of time. To pick my brain, to throw their ideas at me, etc. Out of necessity I’ve turned down a lot of these requests, but I’ve always told folks to email me your questions and I will do my best to answer them for you in time. That offer still stands for anyone trying to get into this crazy business, but I now also preface my responses with, “these are just my opinions, and a lot of really successful breweries have started after me who have business models I thought were crazy!”. The point there being, none of us know anything about the future. We may have opinions about what you’re doing, but they are just our opinions, and we can easily be wrong! Don’t be afraid if your chapter in the textbook of the future is of a different form of prose or is in a completely different language. Be the one to prove everyone wrong!

 

La Muerta VII Details and History (So Far)

It’s that time of year again! The weather is changing ever so slowly (highs forecast ONLY in the low 80s this week!), folks are starting to contemplate their holiday plans, and the Spurs get ready to make another run to the title.

This also marks Dia de La Muerta, and the annual repost of the history of La Muerta to go with it!

Before we dig into the history, here is a run-down of the release details this year:

And here are the details you need to know for how the release will work:

  • Bottle counts: 1,200 bottles. Please note, another 1,200 bottles will be hitting distribution the following week, and bottles will be available at the S Presa tasting room when we open to the public on November 7.
  • The bottle share will start on the patio at 7:30am. We request that no one come on the patio until this time, and there should definitely be NO ALCOHOL CONSUMED ON THE PATIO PRIOR TO THE OFFICIAL START OF THE BOTTLE SHARE. This is done for our safety and yours.
  • Dia de La Muerta tap list will be available when we open at 11am. Tap list will be posted on Thursday to this blog, Twitter and Facebook.
  • Upon the start of the bottle-share, numbered and color coded wristbands will be distributed from the outside entrance to the patio. Because of the volume of bottles produced, we do not anticipate a sell-out on the first day, but we cannot predict what the turnout will be. Wristbands will determine the order of purchasing.
  • Sales of bottles will begin at 9:30am and there will be two registers open to conduct transactions. Both registers will accept cash or credit cards, but we will state that cash is always appreciated and helps things move more smoothly.
  • Bottles will be $13.50/each + tax. Depending on the number of people who show up, we reserve the right to limit the number of bottles that can be purchased. If we do institute a limit, the lowest it will be is 4/bottles of each beer per person. Note: prices do not include sales tax, which will be added to your total.
  • At 10:35am we will make a 10 minute announcement and at 10:45am the bottle share will need to come to an end so that we may prepare for open of business at 11am.

If you have any questions, hit me on twitter at @beermonkey or @freetailbrewing

Thanks everyone. This is one of my favorite days for a lot of reasons, the biggest one being the organic way this event has grown up. I thank you from the bottom of my support over the years and I look forward to seeing and hanging out with you Saturday!

Read on for the history of La Muerta and details on this year’s liquid.

***Note, this is essentially a re-post of what I put together for the La Muerta V release in 2012. I’ve merely updated with new data.*** 

The seventh iteration of Dia de La Muerta day looms, and I thought it was a good time to reflect on and share how this all came to be.

When Freetail was still in its planning phases, we knew (like pretty much any brewery that opened since 2004 or so) we wanted to brew an imperial stout. A perfectly healthy admiration for skulls & Dia de los Muertos coupled with half of my DNA rooted in Mexican-American culture led me to a name for our imp-y before we had a recipe: La Muerta. I had grand ideas for a line of similarly named brews. Maybe El Muerto could be a supercharged version, a Double Imperial Stout, if you will. Muertito could be a smaller version, meant for more casual sipping by a winter fire. While these other ideas have not yet (and may never) come to fruition, La Muerta was a concept with legs.

Back then, head brewer Jason Davis and I used to have regular brainstorming sessions. What did we want to brew? What ideas toed the proverbial crazy line? Could we pull all that off or did we need more tanks? How the hell would yeast management work? While not every idea from those early meetings ever came into being (or are even stuck in our memories anywhere), they did go on to help mold the general direction of our brewing and how the brewery needed to be set up to supply such ambitions. It was in one of these meetings that I told Jason about La Muerta.

Jason, the evil brewing genius he is, decided to venture slightly from what we were seeing on the national scene where imp-ys tended to be on the sweeter side, with alcohol content going up but apparent attenuation seemingly going down. Pulling ideas from a previous homebrew test batch, we would leave some sweetness, but focus more on the chocolate characteristics along with another that would be specific to our imperial stout–the addition of rauch malt which now makes up almost 20% of the grain bill. Over the years, my occasional glance at review websites reveals comments like “surprisingly smokey”. Well, I can say that it should no longer come as a surprise to anyone… there’s a whole lot of smoked malt in there!

Here is a brief history of La Muerta, both in pictures and narrative, including slight recipe changes over the years. I’m honored that this beer has become appreciated by so many, but also that Dia de La Muerta has become (in my completely biased opinion) one of the best regular beer events in the state of Texas. All of you, and the epic bottle share you have developed over the years, are responsible for this. The laws here in Texas are a little quirky  so we can’t really have things like Dark Lord Day, but I think Dia de La Muerta is the closest thing we have because of all you guys and gals who wake up early, drive across the state, and come hang out on the patio at 8am waiting to buy some bottles. 2013 Update: This statement is no long really true given the recent changes in beer laws, but the point remains the same. You guys have helped make our bottle releases awesome and until someone tells me otherwise I think Dia de La Muerta is the closest thing to Dark Lord Day in the state. A tip of the hat to my friends at Jester King, who are definitely keeping me on my toes with the great job they are doing. They are forcing (in a good way) me to continually try to up our game. Y’all are awesome! 2014 Update: Another tip of the hat to my friends at Jester King, who in my opinion have taken the bottle release/bottle share to the next level with their innovative beers and beautiful location in the Texas hill country. While I have a huge sense of pride for being one of the first to conduct these events in Texas, I have even more pride in our state’s beer culture for continually executing and supporting these kinds of events. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, Texas is a legit beer state!

La Muerta I. 10.2% ABV 50 IBU, 5.9 barrels produced. Brewed January 2, 2009, released on draft January 26, 2009. Approximately 100 bottles released on February 14, 2009. Most bottles had black wax. Bottles sold out in approximately 6 days. Original recipe was 11.4% rauch malt in grain bill.

Unused label concept for La Muerta, produced by The Mad House.

 

Unused label art concept for La Muerta, produced by The Mad House

 

Hand bottling first batch of La Muerta, circa Feb 2009

Wax dipping the first bottles of La Muerta, circa Feb 2009

La Muerta II. 11.2% ABV 50 IBU, 6.3 barrels produced. Brewed October 1, 2009. Released on draft November 1, 2009. Bottles released November 7, 2009. Some bottles black wax, some bottles gold wax. Approximately 250 bottles sold. Bottles sold out approximately 10pm on November 7. Recipe still unchanged from original.

La Muerta moves to its eventual normal release date of November 1 for draft, first Saturday of November for bottles (what we now call Dia de La Muerta).

Promotional photo for La Muerta

Bourbon Barrel La Muerta. La Muerta II aged in a Four Roses distillery barrel. Released on Draft January 6, 2010. Bottles release February 13, 2010. Red wax. 95 bottles sold, initial limit was 1/customer, “coupon” emailed out via newsletter on January 1, 2010. Sold out within 4 hours.

This was a very successful release that provided a very delicious beer, for some people. Some other people ended up with a sour, infected imperial stout that I personally despised. This constituted the end of bourbon barrel projects (with the exception of occasional 5 gallon bourbon barrels we get for draft only releases). After this, all barrel aging was done for our Wild Ale program. 2014 Update: Now that we’ve moved into our new S Presa brewery, there is a lot of whispers in the rafters about a bourbon barrel program returning. I can neither confirm or deny said rumors.

Terribly Photoshopped “coupon” emailed out. Required to get a bottle.

Bourbon Barrel La Muerta labels. Definitely the best part of this infected sour mess of a beer.

La Muerta III. 10.3% ABV 55 IBU, 10.0 barrels produced. Brewed September 30 and October 1, 2010. Released November 1, 2010 on draft, bottles November 6, 2010. Red wax. Approximately 450 bottles produced. Sold out in approximately 2 hours. Slight bump in the rauch malt to 12%, increase in IBUs to 55.

We significantly upped the production, “double-batching” La Muerta.

Dia de La Muerta 2010 t-shirts.

La Muerta IV. 9.3% ABV 50 IBU, 11.9 barrels produced. Brewed October 5 & 6, 2011. Release November 1, 2011 on draft, bottles November 5. Gold wax White wax [Edited on 10/31/2012]. Approximately 800 bottles produced. Sold out in approximately 1.5 hours. Recipe increases rauch mault to 18%, IBUs back down to 50.

Labels switch from vinyl “logo only” to wrap-around pressure sensitive labels with brew info (and Government Warning).

Promotional photo for La Muerta

La Muerta V. 9.1% ABV 50 IBU, 18.5 barrels produced. Brewed October 3 and 4, 2012. Draft release November 1, 2012. Bottles release November 3, 2012. No wax. 1,476 bottles sold. 1,074 bottles sold on Dia de La Muerta. Final bottle sold out on December 6. 2012 recipe 11.8% rauch malt and 7% oak smoked wheat malt.

Our first ever “triple batch” in order to try to keep up with demand. Also the first time La Muerta was not be bottled by hand and instead on our bottling line acquired at the end of 2011.

Labeling La Muerta V.

La Muerta VI. 9.2% ABV 50 IBU, 20.2 BBL produced. Brewed October 3 & 4, 2013. Draft release: November 1, 2013. Bottle release: November 2, 2013. Blue wax. 1,600 bottles available for sale. 2013 Recipe modifications: 12% rauch malt, 7% oak smoke wheat malt (so, a very minor increase in rauch versus 2012). Sold out our Anniversary Weekend (thanksgiving weekend)

 

Labeling La Muerta VI

La Muerta VII. 8.9% ABV 55 IBU, 33.4 BBL produced. Brewed October 2 & 3, 2014. Draft & Bottle release: November 1, 2014. Blueish/Gray/Metallic wax. 1,200 bottles available for sale at brewpub on 11/1/2014, 100 more cases hitting distribution on 11/4/2014. 50 cases for S Presa Tasting room when it opens on 11/7/2014. 2014 Recipe modifications: IBUs back up to 55. New label art for 2014. In all likelihood, we will do new label art every year going forward.

La Muerta VII (2014)

Where to get it (so far)

Hey everyone, we’ve been getting hammered with calls, emails, tweets, FB messages, Pony Express Messengers, mimes, and ravens asking WHERE DO I GET YOUR BEER?!?

First off, THANK YOU for your early embrace of us. Taking this step from brewpub to distributing brewery wasn’t a small one, and definitely made us a bit nervous. To see everyone sending us pics and asking where they can get our beer is a huge relief and we are so grateful for your willingness to take us in to be part of your beer-life. We couldn’t do any of this without all your support!

Second, I do want to mention that we are only in the San Antonio market for now. Eventually we hope to get to other parts of the state (or even the country) but for right now we are entirely focused on serving our hometown of San Antonio.

So without further ado, here is all the places that had received deliveries of Freetail beer as of yesterday. A lot more deliveries are going out today and next week, so if you don’t see your favorite place on the list, they may still be getting their delivery in. Cheers! [Note: sorry for the weird formatting, I'll try to work on that]

PLACES TO DRINK

FLYING SAUCER, THE                      11255 HUEBNER RD

WORLD OF BEER               22810 HWY 281 N. STE G1

THE LUXURY RESTAURANT            103 E JONES

THE FRIENDLY SPOT        943    S ALAMO

LONDON SUB & PUB                      8425 BANDERA RD

1919                       1420 S ALAMO STE 001

BIG HOPS GROWLER STATION    8313 BROADWAY

DRINK COFFEE & WINE BAR         200    NAVARRO

STELLA                                  1414 S ALAMO SUITE 101

B & D ICE HOUSE              1004 S ALAMO

ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE-STONEOAK           22806 HWY 281 NORTH

HILL COUNTRY BEV. INC.               314-18 E HOUSTON

HYATT REGENCY SAN ANTONIO 123    LOSOYA

FISH CITY GRILL                 18130 US 281 N.

THE ESQUIRE TAVERN                    155    E COMMERCE STREET

BIG HOPS GROWLER STATION    11224 HUEBNER RD STE 204

CLAUDE HOPPERS           19178 BLANCO RD STE. 205

MICHELINO’S                     521    RIVERWALK

THE COVE                           606    W CYPRESS

THE SANDBAR                   200    E GRAYSON #114

SERNA’S BACKYARD                        12023 POTRANCO ROAD

LEFTY’S DRAFT HOUSE                    15179 JUDSON ROAD ST. 101

LA BARRACA PAELLA BAR             1420 S ALAMO ST. STE. 101

BIG HOPS GASTROPUB                  22250 BULVERDE RD ST 106

HABANERO GRILL #3                      12234 NACOGDOCHES STE A

MIX, THE                              2423 N ST MARY’S

WURZBACH ICE HOUSE                 10141 WURZBACH RD

502                         502    EMBASSY OAKS #138

THE POINT PARK AND EATS         24188 BOERNE STAGE RD

FAUST TAVERN                  517 E WOODLAWN AVENUE

MEDIA LUNA BAR & LOUNGE     308    N PRESA

THE COOKHOUSE             720 E MISTLETOE

BITTER END                         903    E BITTERS #313

JOEY’S                                   2417 N. SAINT MARYS ST

JOE BLUE’S                          1420 S. ALAMO STREET

MOSES ROSE’S HIDEOUT               516    E HOUSTON STREET

E.R. BAR & GRILL              8647 WURZBACH ROAD BLD. N

GS1221                                 1221 BROADWAY SUITE 116

TBA                        2801 N SAINT MARYS STREET

 
PLACES TO PICK IT UP AND PLAY THE HOME GAME

SPEC’S WINES & SPIR #100           5219 DEZAVALA ROAD #100

GABRIEL’S LIQUOR & WINE          1309 LOOP 1604 NORTHWEST

TOTAL WINE SPIRITS BEER &       17530 LA CANTERA PKWY 103

H.E.B. #41/#85                  10718 POTRANCO RD.

H.E.B. #31/102                   8503 NW MILITARY

BROADWAY CENTRAL MKT CAFE               4821 BROADWAY

WFM BEVERAGE CORP. BLANCO               18403 BLANCO SPGS

H.E.B. #39/463                   1150 FM 1604 W NORTH SUIT

SPEC’S WINES & SPIR #113           11751 BANDERA ROAD

TOTAL WINE & SPIRITS BEER       125 LOOP 410 NW SUITE 260

H.E.B. #15/555                   910    KITTY HAWK

H.E.B. #45/108                   20935 HWY 281 NORTH

SPEC’S LIQUOR #69        14623 IH 35

H.E.B. #21/444                   3323 SE MILITARY DR

H.E.B. #32/623                   9238 W LOOP 1604 NORTH

H.E.B. #20/398                   2929 THOUSAND OAKS

H.E.B. #23/618                   5910 BABCOCK RD

H.E.B. #411 PLEASANTON             219    W OAKLAWN ROAD

H.E.B. #33/230                   14087 O’CONNOR

H.E.B. #46/658                   23635 WILDERNESS OAK

H.E.B. #35/164                   15000 SAN PEDRO

WHOLE FOOD MKT # 10075         255    E BASSE RD STE 130

PIG LIQUORS                     712    S SAINT MARYS ST

H.E.B. 19/294                      6580 FM RD 78

SIN CITY LIQOURS & MORE          8750 GRISSOM ROAD

BLUESHARKPC.COM                       1638 LOOP 410 NE STE 102

H.E.B. #30/262                    5601 BANDERA ROAD

H.E.B. #566 LEON SPRINGS          24165 IH 10 WEST SUITE300

H.E.B. #37/235                   9255 FM 471 WEST

H.E.B. #17/395                   12777 IH-10 WEST

H.E.B. #34/384                   6030 MONTGOMERY

S. PRESA FOOD MART                    1110 S PRESA

ALAMO DRUGS                 209    ALAMO PLAZA

MOLINAS                            700    N ALAMO STREET

OLD TYMER                        28295 IH 10 WEST

NORTHWEST FOOD MART            2395 N.W. MILITARY HWY

H.E.B. #44 /568                  12018 PERRIN BEITEL

LASSES FOOD MART                       2703 LASSES

H.E.B. #01/372                   1955 NACOGDOCHES

AMIGOS FUEL CENTER                   9977 IH 35 NORTH

ALAMO CITY LIQUOR INC             26108 OVERLOOK PKWY 1116

CANYON GOLF MARKET                26180 CANYON GOLF ROAD

ALAMO CITY LIQOUR                      2943 THOUSAND OAKS

WB LIQUORS & WINE                     3910 MCCULLOUGH STE 102-1

ALAMO FOOD MART                      1900 N ST. MARY’S ST

D. TREN INC.                      2707 NE LOOP 410

M N EXPRESS #1               2734 ROOSEVELT

HONDO SHELL                   1201 19TH STREET

OLMOS MART                   4302 MCCULLOUGH AVE

QUICK STUFF                     8558 HUEBNER RD #101

KWIK PANTRY #5107                       1116 HWY 90 WEST

BIG’S 103                             1000 COUNTRY LANE

NEW QUICK MART                          4058 NACO PERRIN

SHOP-N-SAVE                   1540 PLEASANTON

E Z BUY                                 13550 O’ CONNOR ROAD STE1

PLATINUM FOOD MART               14330 NACOGDOCHES ROAD

LIVE OAK WINE & SPIRITS             12107 TOEPPERWEIN RD.#6

RIVER CENTER DRUG STORE        849    E COMMERCE STE 383

PLEASANTON STOP                          1901 PLEASANTON ROAD

Thanks again for your support, and we will periodically update this list here!

Cheers,

Scott

Go Time.

Trust me, I know. It has felt like an eternity since we started the Freetail2 project. We officially revealed the S Presa location with an event honoring State Senator Leticia Van de Putte and State Rep Mike Villarreal on September 7, 2013 and there was months of legwork before then.

It was a long, stressful, an oftentimes all around disheartening journey, but we brewed our first batch at the new brewery on September 18, 2014. Appropriately, it was a batch of Freetail Original, an ode to the original version of Freetail Ale,  available on draft and in 22oz bombers. That brew on the 18th kicked off an exhausting stretch of brews that worked our team to the bone. 6 straight days of brews followed and we now have batches of Freetail Original, Soul Doubt IPA, Bat Outta Helles, OktoberFiesta, and Witicus being delivered to stores, restaurants and bars tomorrow morning.

Our awesome distributor, Silver Eagle, keeps saying if we can get it on a truck, then can sell it. We’ve taken that to heart and have continued brewing non-stop. If a tank is open, we’re putting wort into it. We’re close to packaging up the second batches of all the aforementioned beers, we’ve loaded up roughly 1,240 gallons worth of base beer into barrels to get our wild ale program started back up, and we’ll be packaging La Muerta next week for it’s annual release on November 1 (more on that later). A huge part of me wants to get a bunch of additional fermentation tanks on order as soon as I wake up tomorrow, but the financial security of our company would probably prefer I wait until we make a few more deliveries. Good things are happening, dreams are coming true, beer is being delivered!

We have a number of tap takeovers happening over the next two weeks to get this puppy launched, so without further ado, here’s what is happening in addition to deliveries to your local grocery and liquor stores:

Tuesday Oct 21: The Friendly Spot, 6pm
Wednesday Oct 22: World of Beer, 7pm
Thursday Oct 23: Flying Saucer, 6pm
Friday Oct 24: The Luxury
Tuesday Oct 28: Whole Foods, 5pm
Thursday Oct 30: Big Hops  Gastropub, 6pm
Friday Oct 31: Big Hops Growler Stations (Huebner & Broadway), 7pm

In addition to these events, we will be hosting samplings at various HEB’s and Total Wine. Stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter for more events.

We also want you to share with us your sightings of Freetail in the Wild! Post to our Facebook wall or tag us on Twitter or Instagram your pics of where you are finding Freetail with #FreetailLaunch

LA MUERTA 2014

As I mentioned earlier, we have La Muerta 2014 brewed at the new place and ready to go. Our tasting room won’t quite be open yet for a bottle release (more on that later), so… SUPER MEGA BONUS BOTTLE RELEASE at the brewpub! I know, we said the last bottle release was the last one. I’m pretty sure we said the one prior to that would be the last one too. But, we’re going to have another one, and this may not be the last one either!

So anyway, Dia de La Muerta 2014 at the brewpub. Normal bottle release rules apply (I’ll post more details the week of the release, which is like… next week). 1200 bottles at the brewpub. Bottle share encouraged!

The following week, bottles and kegs will go out to the market, but in fairly limited supply. More details later.

THE TASTING ROOM GRAND OPENING

The tasting room at the new brewery on S Presa will open to the public at 4pm on Friday, November 7. San Antonians, you probably know this is First Friday and what that entails. We fully intend on blowing this mofo out! We’ll have 3 food trucks, local artist Bruce Pena will be completing a mural on the front of our building live, and we will start what we are going to try to make a regular First Friday tradition: a limited edition t-shirt will be available. We plan on having a new artist-commissioned t-shirt available every First Friday in limited quantities, so arrive early and get one while you can.

After the opening, we will commence with regular Tasting Room Hours as follows: Thursday 4-9pm, Friday 4-9pm, Saturday 2-9pm.  We will stay open a little later on First Fridays. Every day that the tasting room is open, we will be conducting tours.

So that’s all I have for now. This is an exciting time. When we opened the brewpub in 2008, this was always our goal. My original business plan literally stated that we wanted to build a reputation with a brewpub, change the law, and then build a facility to distribute out of. Today, that dream is realized. Below is the official Press Release announcing this great moment for us.

Lastly, I want to dedicate this occasion to my mother, Margaret, who recently passed away after a long battle with brain cancer. My mother was my biggest advocate and was the first investor in Freetail Brewing Co when it was officially founded in January of 2007. Without her love and support, the brewery wouldn’t be celebrating this moment. This one is for you, mom.

Cheers,

Scott

————-

SILVER EAGLE DISTRIBUTORS TO BEGIN DISTRIBUTION OF FREETAIL BREWING CO. PRODUCTS THIS WEEK

 

(October 20, 2014) San Antonio, TX – Following the announcement last spring that Freetail Brewing Co. had signed a distribution partnership with Silver Eagle Distributors, the nation’s second largest beer distributor, the well-known San Antonio craft brewery has completed construction on its new brewery, located at 2000 S Presa St. in San Antonio. Now with the capacity to increase production of its products, mass distribution into the San Antonio market will begin this Tuesday, October 21, 2014.

The new 30,000 square foot brewery is set up to produce approximately 5,000 barrels or 68,850 cases per year currently, with expansion capabilities that would allow production to increase up to 40,000 barrels or 550,800 cases per year. “What makes this project so special is that it is a culmination of a vision developed well before we opened the original brewpub,” explains Freetail founder and CEO Scott Metzger. “It was in my original business plan to open a successful pub, build a reputation, work on changing the state’s laws in regards to brewpubs selling to wholesalers, and then open a facility that could produce for wholesale. It is particularly special to be taking this next step into mass distribution in San Antonio with Silver Eagle Distributors, a wholesaler that was a key supporter in our efforts to get the law changed.”

The initial roll out into the market will encompass the San Antonio-area only. Four core year-round brands plus a seasonal will be among the brands hitting bars, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores this week. Limited-edition varieties will also be on the schedule starting in November.  Beginning Tuesday, October 21, Bat Outta Helles, Oktoberfiesta (seasonal) and Soul Doubt will all be available on draft and in cans. Freetail Original and Witicus will be available in 22oz bombers and draft.

“We are thrilled to partner with Freetail as the official distributor of its products,” says John L. Nau, president and CEO, Silver Eagle Distributors. The day so many have waited for has

 

finally arrived, and now San Antonians have the option of enjoying Freetail at home or their favorite local bar.”

Freetail’s brewpub, located at the brewery’s original location at 4035 N. Loop 1604 W.   # 105 in San Antonio will remain in operation, serving as a research and development facility that will allow Freetail to experiment with new beers. The brewery will also stock experimental and pub exclusive beers there – some that may never see the outside of the brewpub, and others that just might become the brewery’s next big hit out in the market.

Promotional events to debut Freetail throughout the San Antonio community will be taking place at local bars all week. More information on these events can be found at: www.silvereagle.com/events or www.facebook.com/SABeerExperts.

 

About Freetail Brewing Co.

Freetail Brewing Co. was founded in 2008 on the pursuit of creating exciting, innovative and unique world class beer. We embrace the laid back and fun-loving Texas culture and set out to create products that mirror the lifestyle of our diverse and rapidly growing community. We believe in promoting an increased appreciation of craft products and their responsible enjoyment. For more information visit www.freetailbrewing.com.

 

About Silver Eagle Distributors

Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P. is the nation’s second largest beer distributor. The company employs approximately 1,400 employees that serve 16 counties in Texas through operations in Houston, San Antonio, Conroe, Cypress and Rosenberg. Silver Eagle distributes a broad selection of domestic and import brands, as well as microbrews and craft beers and several non-alcohol beverages and waters. For more information, visit www.silvereagle.com.

Super Mega Awesome Bottle Release Day 2014

It has come down to this. The last release of beers bottled at the original brewpub location. Every beer bottled after Makaria and Endymion will be done at the new production brewery on S Presa, it’s a bitter sweet moment, made slightly less bitter knowing that just because these are the last beers bottled, it won’t be the last bottle release at the pub. We still have to figure out exactly how we’ll make it work, but we’ll still have releases at the pub in the future. The next one will be La Muerta, which we will brew at S Presa but release at S Presa, 1604, and some retailers  in the San Antonio market. We’ll get those details out in October.

Here’s the tap list for this Saturday:

And here are the details you need to know for how the release will work:

  • Bottle counts: 700 of Makaria, 980 of Endymion
  • The bottle share will start on the patio at 7:30am. We request that no one come on the patio until this time, and there should definitely be NO ALCOHOL CONSUMED ON THE PATIO PRIOR TO THE OFFICIAL START OF THE BOTTLE SHARE. This is done for our safety and yours.
  • Doors to the pub open at 6:45 for EPL. You’re more than welcome to come for EPL. HOWEVER, the bottle share must remain on the patio (starting at 7:30am) and no bottle share beer can be brought into the pub. If you want to watch EPL and have a beer, we’ll have a standard tap list available (starting at 7am). Bring your own breakfast for EPL matches.
  • SMABRD tap list will be available when we open at 11am
  • Upon the start of the bottle-share, numbered and color coded wristbands will be distributed from the outside entrance to the patio. Because of the volume of bottles produced, we do not anticipate a sell-out on the first day, but we cannot predict what the turnout will be. Wristbands will determine the order of purchasing. If you are watching EPL inside, you will need to go to the outside patio entrance to get your wristband.
  • Sales of bottles will begin at 9:30am and there will be two registers open to conduct transactions. Both registers will accept cash or credit cards, but we will state that cash is always appreciated and helps things move more smoothly.
  • Bottles will be $12/each. Depending on the number of people who show up, we reserve the right to limit the number of bottles that can be purchased. If we do institute a limit, the lowest it will be is 4/bottles of each beer per person. Note: prices do not include sales tax, which will be added to your total.
  • At 10:35am we will make a 10 minute announcement and at 10:45am the bottle share will need to come to an end so that we may prepare for open of business at 11am.

If you have any questions, hit me on twitter at @beermonkey or @freetailbrewing

See you Saturday!

Scott