Even for the non-beer drinkers, it’s hard to miss the craft beer frenzy that has spread across the nation over the last few years. For me, hopping on the bandwagon a few years back has opened my eyes to a delicious new world of gastro-pubs, breweries and more.
On a work trip to San Antonio, I was lucky enough to hop on a tour of the Southerleigh Brewery that resides in the historic Pearl Brewery. The Pearl Brewery has transformed into a gorgeous center that houses restaurants, shops, a farmers market, and it looked to be in the process of expansion when I visited. Such a unique area that I must return to in the very near future! The Pearl has such an interesting history… from the many owners to the beautiful hotel next door, it’s definitely a must-see if you find yourself in San Antonio.
Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery is as stunning as you’d expect since it’s housed in a building that was built in 1894! The restaurant itself is in the main Pearl Brewery building and the high ceilings have exposed piping and equipment from the old brewery. Some of the walls and main structure seemed to be from the original building and you truly felt like you were transported to a speakeasy in the prohibition era when you step inside.
The brewery itself is housed upstairs in a fairly small second floor area, but it’s awesome to see how the master brewer and his team make the best use of the space to make some pretty playful beer. We were able to taste a number of their most popular beers, but they boast a large menu of “experimental” beers, if you will, on tap. With names ranging from Downtown Mrs. Brown to Godzilla Go Juice, the brewers have created an exciting range of brews to choose from. I was happily wading through a sea of beer and I wish I tried more!
The tour included beer samplings paired with small bites, which proved to be just an appetizer for us and we decided to grab a table in the main dining area to indulge on their full menu. The service was wonderful and after looking through the menu, I couldn’t pass up on the fried snapper throats. After a few awesome experiences with hamachi kama at Japanese restaurants across the city, I had to try out Southerleigh’s version of the dish.
Southerleigh did not disappoint! I was a kid in a candy store when the server brought out a huge tray that was piled high with 3, maybe even 4, large, crispy snapper jaws, complete with fins reaching for the sky. The pepper aioli and the remoulade sauce were both delicious and complemented the snapper perfectly. My only complaint was that I didn’t have enough room in my stomach to sufficiently eat every last morsel off of the bones. Such an awesome presentation and an even better main dish for one hungry foodie.
All in all, Southerleigh’s team has created something special in San Antonio… I bow down to the culinary and brewing genius and needless to say, I’m dazzled and ready for round 2.