The concept behind Maverick Distillery is hard not to get excited about. Kenneth Maverick is a direct descendant of Sam Maverick, defender of The Alamo, signatory of the Texas Declaration of Independence and mayor of San Antonio, among many, many other things, and he has opened his distillery and brewery dedicated to Sam on the corner of the original Maverick homestead, just a few streets from The Alamo. Wow, yeah?
Not only is this a working distillery and brewery in a beautifully restored historic building in the heart of downtown San Antonio, it’s also an homage to the Maverick family and Texas history, the interior a fabulous recreation of days gone by, replete with plenty of leather and cowhide. There’s an old-style bar in the main upstairs taproom where you can look down on the whiskey stills hard at working using a traditional Maverick family recipe. Of course they are. This project has clearly been an immense labour of love, and sitting in the perfectly-evoked old-world atmosphere of the Maverick Distillery, you feel like a proper Texan – bloody well done Kenneth.
I must confess that during our early-afternoon visit, I abstained from tasting any spirits, but a four-pour flight will set you back a very reasonable $12, and that will be top of my agenda next time. Instead, I went straight in for the beer. Although newly opened, there were seven beers available when we visited and they have already brewed 20 beers in less than two months – more reasons to get back there sharpish. Maverick are, indeed, living up to their name when it comes to brewing. When our helpful, friendly bartender offered me a Hot Chicken beer I thought she was having me on. But no, this really is a beer brewed with roast chicken cooked in Nashville hot spices, marinated in wine and then chucked into the beer, and my god it tasted absolutely amazing. I’ve never had anything like it and I absolutely salute Maverick for both the sheer audacity of brewing a spicy chicken beer and for making it completely work. This was one of the best beers I had in 2019, and is worth a trip to San Antonio all on its own. The Roggenbier was also delicious – firm, full-bodied and warmly malty, and the Belgian Strong Ale was nicely sweet and boozy. While the Wild Rice Pilsner wasn’t for me, the inventiveness was positively noted.
If you’re able to get to Maverick during happy hour, don’t miss out on the $5 appetisers which are really tasty and generously portioned. The smoked redfish was especially delicious. I’m looking forward to returning to Maverick, checking out the spirits, drinking more beer and feeling fully immersed in revolutionary Texas. This has to be the best quality, most atmospheric spot to drink in downtown San Antonio and was, at least on our visit, blissfully free of tourists. Go drink some spicy chicken!
NB Maverick is closed on Sundays and Mondays.