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2 S.A. breweries win medals at Great American Beer Festival

September 26, 2018

Two San Antonio breweries walked away with medals from the 2018 Great American Beer Festival last week in Denver. And true to the South Texas region, the award-winning beers were a chile beer category.

Künstler Brewing, located at 302 East LaChapelle, hasn’t even been in business for a year, but walked away with a silver medal for its Chamuco (which translates to “devil” in Spanish) beer. The beer was brewed with chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla, with a blend of chipotle, ancho and guajillo peppers.

Vera Deckard, Künstler’s head brewer, said the beer was originally inspired by her husband’s love of eating mole.

“I’ve been doing it for years as a home brewer,” Deckard said. “When you drink it, you pick up chocolate and cinnamon notes on the nose, but the peppers give more of a smoky flavor that’s light and drinkable.”

The beer isn’t currently on the Künstler tap line, but in recognition of the award, Deckard has moved it up on the brewing schedule and estimated that it should be available again Oct. 24.

“This is beyond anything I could have imagined,” Deckard said. “We thought this first year was more about getting settled in with our operations. So to get awarded now really puts us and our vision ahead of schedule.”

Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling, located at 4834 Whirlwind Drive, took the bronze medal with its San Antonio Hatch Lager. The beer was brewed with the peppers that are famously harvested in New Mexico, mixed with the formula used in Ranger Creek’s San Antonio Lager.

“It’s an easy-drinking, crisp beer that gives you a little pepper, but not too much heat,” said Holland Lawrence, Ranger Creek’s head brewer. “We got the chiles and just sort of started playing around with it.”

The beer is currently available in the Ranger Creek tap room, and Lawrence said that six-packs are still in stores throughout the San Antonio, although it will start going away soon for other seasonal varieties.

“This is the first medal I have won, and a first for Ranger Creek,” Lawrence said. “We’re pretty excited about it.”

Almost 8,500 beers competed in 102 categories at the Festival, including 96 alone in the chile beer category. Künstler and Ranger Creek joins Freetail Brewing Co., a 2017 gold medal winner, as the only San Antonio-based breweries to medal at the competition.

“San Antonio is going through an awesome beer renaissance,” said David Medlin, president of the San Antonio Cerveceros, a locally based organization of craft beer advocates. “I’m glad that we are getting to the point where we are not just known for tacos and the River Walk. The beer scene continues to evolve.”

Real Heavy, a beer brewed by the Blanco-based Real Ale Brewing Co., took home the gold medal in the Scotch ale category.

cblount@express-news.net

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