Review: S.A.’s newest brewpub pours frosty mugs, warm vibe
Note: This is a Just a Taste review, which the Express-News does soon after a restaurant or bar opens to give our first impressions.
San Antonio’s beer enthusiasts have something to toast just a few blocks from the Alamo with the recent opening of Roadmap Brewing Co.
Owners Dustin and Hannah Baker are newcomers to the professional brewing business, and their youthful energy fits well with a stretch of Alamo Street that’s also seen a Crossfit gym and boxing club open recently. Inside the brewpub, guests will find a space Dustin Baker has described as an “air-conditioned beer garden,” equipped with cornhole boards, a giant Jenga game and other amusements — not to mention a decent lineup of suds.
On the menu: Dustin Baker, who serves as Roadmap’s head brewer — brings several years of homebrewing experience to the new operation. Consequently, some of Roadmap’s initial offerings reflect the usual learning curve — mainly in the form of heads that quickly fell flat and a slight haze to some of the brews — that comes with upgrading to a full-on professional outfit.
That said, Roadmap’s quartet of flagship beers — an India pale ale dubbed Mama Dukes, a Kölsch called Obligatory, a coffee milk stout billed as Wake Up Call and the Say What?! saison — demonstrated a confident and distinct point of view.
All four are fairly easy sippers in the 4- to 6-percent alcohol by volume range well suited to a hot and sunny San Antonio afternoon. The saison was my favorite of the bunch, with a creamy texture and pleasant nose of pineapple and citrus courtesy of the Mosaic hops variety. The IPA will no doubt make San Antonio’s hops heads happy, but I found the lingering resinous Christmas tree flavor and aroma overwhelming.
Roadmap’s pricing structure, with 5-, 10- and 16-ounce pours starting at $3 and capped at $6, is a friendly format that encourages wide sampling across the menu without getting knocked to the floor two beers in.
With its more experimental brews, Roadmap takes a path less traveled. The brewery’s staple milk stout is the base for two drinks: The very likable Wake Up Call that gets is buzz going with the addition of coffee, and then the Ja-Lop-Ah-No that gets a spicy boost from an infusion of roasted jalapeño.
Smucker’s Night Out isn’t Roadmap’s prettiest pour, with looks more akin to milky grapefruit juice than beer, but it did deliver one of the brewery’s more interesting flavors. The beer began life as a Belgian-style saison, then Dustin Baker dropped in more than 120 pounds of ripe raspberries. All that extra fruit gave the beer’s yeast even more sugar to feed on during fermentation for results that cross the 9-percent ABV mark but that remain surprisingly sippable and refreshing.
It’s a new business with a new brewer at the helm, but Roadmap’s debut was a polished one, and I look forward to watching (and sipping) along as the Bakers continue to chart their course.
Location: 723 N. Alamo St., 210-254-9962, roadmapbrewing.com, Facebook: @RoadmapBrewing.
Hours: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight Friday, noon to midnight Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Paul Stephen is a staff writer in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read him on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | email@example.com | Twitter: @pjbites | Instagram: @pjstephen