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Boerne Is For Beer

In Five Local Breweries, We Found Something for Everyone

Article by Miguel Encino and Cris Valladares

Photography by Miguel Encino and Cris Valladares

Originally published in Boerne Lifestyle

Boerne’s emerging beer scene is catching up with the town’s German heritage. Several local establishments are brewing a wide range and style of beers onsite. Some could stand toe-to-toe with their old-world European counterparts, while others are exploring the possibilities of modern craft brewing. Boerne now boasts four - and soon to be five - breweries within walking distance in the heart of town. One brewer told us that this gives Boerne the densest square mile of breweries in Texas, and second in the country to Boulder! Boerne's local brewers are friends rather than competitors, sharing notes and building up a local beer culture together - making Boerne a beer destination.

The Dodging Duck Brewhaus & Restaurant

Our tour started at the Dodging Duck, the O.G. of the Boerne beer scene. The Duck celebrated its 20-year anniversary in August, making it one of the oldest micro-breweries in Texas. The Dodging Duck brews a wide mix of beers on their 10-barrel brewing system. The "Duck Juice" New England IPA was smooth and fruit-forward initially with a smooth finish. The "Artful Dodger" IPA had a light floral aroma with heavy hops on the front but with a nice west coast style that doesn't overpower. Overall, the Duck offers a solid and diverse selection of beer and food along with a great view of River Road Park and her many ducks.

Barrelman Brewing Company

On the opposite end of the spectrum from Dodging Duck is Barrelman Brewing Company, which is set in the back of a nondescript business park near IH-10 and John’s Road. Utilitarian and unpretentious, with no-frills bar food and consistently good music, this is a place to hang out with friends. Barrelman's focus is on nano-batch craft beers. The beer selection is limited by their smaller brewing system, though they bring in a few guest beers to diversify the selection. We liked their "So Hazy" New England IPA, which seemed to us like an East/West Coast composite boasting fruit and floral aromas up front like an East Coast IPA, with a West Coast bite at the end.

Free Roam Brewing Company 

The newest brewery on the scene is Free Roam. Co-founder Jeremy Affeldt, former MLB pitcher and three-time World Champion with the San Francisco Giants, wanted to bring world-class craft beer home to Texas. You will see the homages to baseball - as well buffaloes, the brewery’s “spirit animal” - throughout. We loved "Bluff on the River", a rich and clear golden stout with hints of vanilla and tobacco and a smooth caramel finish. Their "Quick Clouds" Hazy IPA was also a standout, hoppy but not overpowering, with heavy citrus notes and a hint of passion fruit. The "Mike Mike" Texas Bock was smooth and well-balanced in a malty amber/bock style. 

Cibolo Creek Brewing Company

Across from Free Roam is the bustling Cibolo Creek Brewing Company. It has outdoor seating and a backyard Biergarten with live music. A foodie-friendly menu boasting locally-sourced ingredients reflects a creative flair that we also saw in their beers.  Among an interesting mix of small batch beers, we liked the Weiss's Blackberry Wheat: light on fruit and carbonation on the front with a berry punch at the end - tart without being sour. The Black Lager mixes big flavors like coffee, chocolate and cigar with a light body that was easy going down. Their "Beachside" IPL was a lightly hoppy lager that was "reminiscent of the last days of summer," as one of our drinking companions poetically put it. 

Tusculum Brewing Company

Owners Tripp and Paige Mathews opened the brewery in the historic H.O. Adler building, spreading out across the 3-acre site that includes a Biergarten and brew house out back. Tripp - a trained chemist - sticks close to traditional brewing guidelines, mixing old-world techniques and ingredients like German malts and hops. From our view, this leads to very solid outcomes. Tusculum offers several light options, including the Radler and Tusculum Lite. The Marzen-style Oktoberfest was caramel-colored with a smooth, lingering finish. The clear golden "Chicago Typewriter" Pre-Prohibition Lager was smooth and crisp up front with a small hop bite that was easy to drink. We also enjoyed the creative Big Tex Belgian wheat beer, with hints of banana and citrus.

  • Barrelman Brewing Company
  • The Dodging Duck Brewhaus & Restaurant
  • Cibolo Creek Brewing Company
  • Cibolo Creek Brewing Company
  • Free Roam Brewing Company
  • Tusculum Brewing Company