Breweries And Distilleries
Fredericksburg, Texas – like most other German settlements in Texas – has always had a good relationship with beer. Almost as soon as the settlers finished building their homes, their churches, and schools, they seemed to ask “Who brought beer?” In most communities, the first brewers were hoteliers.
Texas Brewery History
Nimitz Brewery – Captain Charles Nimitz was born in Bremen, Germany on November 9, 1826. At age 14 he served in the German Merchant Marine. He arrived in South Carolina in early 1844. His family operated a hotel near Fort Sumter at Charleston. In 1846, he found himself on one of the first wagon trains to Fredericksburg. In 1852, Nimitz began running a hotel in Fredericksburg, though he didn’t own the property until 1855. That is likely when he opened his brewery in the cellar under the saloon. The Civil War made getting ingredients difficult, and he closed his brewery shortly after the war started.
Assign/Probst Brewery – Dr. Adolph Assig owned a house on the North bank of Town Creek. In March 1857, he borrowed $850 from Frank van der Stucken to buy equipment for a wheat beer brewery. Assig’s wheat beer had a reputation for its quality and purity. Members of visiting singing societies who often visited Fredericksburg drank the beer as fast as they could tap it. In 1860, Frederick Probst worked at the brewery as a cooper, making barrels for Assig’s beer. In 1861, Assign moved to Blanco, leaving the brewery to Probst, who moved the brewery to West Austin Street. Probst brewed through the Civil War, barely surviving. After the war things improved until the big breweries in San Antonio arrived in town. Probst beer cost a dime in Fredericksburg’s saloons, while ice-cold Lone Star, Pearl, Schlitz, and Budweiser all cost a nickel. Probst closed his brewery in 1895.
Mauer Brewery – Henry and John Mauer opened a lager beer brewery in Fredericksburg in 1875, after brewing in Marlin, Texas, for a short time. In 1877, John Mauer was running the brewery on West Creek Street close to the Kuenemann Home. Henry left town, eventually working as a brewer in Seattle. John ran his brewery until 1884 when he presumably died. His wife was listed in the 1890 census as a widow living in El Paso. (Source: TexasBreweries.com)
Pedernales Brewing Company, 97 Hitchin Post Lane, was founded by Lee Hereford in 2012, who had the idea to brew classic beers. The company enjoyed statewide distribution for 5 and a half years, closing in late 2017.
Fredericksburg Breweries Today
After Prohibition ended, only the large breweries could reopen. In the early 1990s, Brew Pubs were legalized in Texas, and Fredericksburg Brewing Company, 245 East Main, was one of the first pubs to open and is the oldest brewpub in the state. The current brewmaster is Rick Green.
The latest brewery in Gillespie County is Altstadt Brewery, 6120 E US Highway 290, which started in March 2017. (You can purchase Altstadt beers at our office!)
There are other breweries within driving distance: Pint and Plow Brewing Company and Basement Brewers of Texas in Kerrville; Pecan Street Brewing, Old 290 Brewery and Reck ‘Em Right Brewing Company in Johnson City; Real Ale Brewing Company and Texas Cannon Brewing Company in Blanco; Rough Diamond Brewery in Spring Branch; Acopon Brewing, Family Business Beer Company, Suds Monkey Brewing Company, 12 Fox Beer Company, Hitmaker Brewing Company, Jester King, Twisted X Brewing Company, The Barber Shop, and Last Stand Brewing Company in the Dripping Springs area; and Double Horn Brewery, Bear King Brewing, and Save the World Brewing in Marble Falls.
Hill Country Distilleries
Dietz Distillery, 1434 S. U.S. Highway 87, offers Five Judges Gin, a London-style Gin with a Texas twist – named in honor of the five judges who have called the property home during the past century.
Elk Store Winery and Distillery, 327 East Main Street, make brandy, moonshine, and gin.
Garrison Brothers, 1827 Hye Albert Rd., Hye, Texas, offers tours 10:00, 12:00, 2:00, or 4:00 Wednesday through Sunday.
Note: Saturday tours are $20.00 and require a reservation (available on their website). Other tours are $10.00/person.
Hye Rum, 11247 Hwy. 290 West, makes three different rums for cocktails.
Iron Goat Distillery, began distributing in the Summer of 2018. 817 Usener Road, Fredericksburg, Texas 78624. There is no tasting room, but the spirits are available in local bars and liquor stores.
Coming soon is Spirited Oak Distillery.
Other Area Distilleries
- Hill Country Distilling in Comfort, Texas makes moonshine.
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