A new brewery in town has crafted a German style beer that is not only award-winning but winning the hearts of San Martians.
Altmeyer & Lewis Brewery competed in the Best of Craft Beer Awards Jan. 26-28 and won a silver medal for one of their special brews. The brewing competition is the third largest in the U.S. and takes place in Bend, Oregon. This year the competition hosted more than 2,000 entries and 100 different styles of brews.
Stewart Altmeyer and Byron Lewis opened A&L a year ago to make their dreams of owning a business a reality.
Altmeyer was a home brewer before A&L and got the idea to create a brewery in 2012, but did not know who to go into business with. His wife’s sister married Lewis a few years prior, and Altmeyer knew Bryon had some experience brewing. From that moment forward, A&L Brewery was born.
A&L won the silver medal for their Hefeweizen, a German wheat style brew. The brew is made from half wheat malt and half barley, making it a tedious process.
“I take seeds, sprout them, kill them, put them in hot water, make sugar tea out of them and add flowers and feed that to yeast and hope it all works out,” Altmeyer said.
The Hefeweizen poses more than just a few challenges in the brewing process but is also rather time-consuming.
“I want it to be a certain temperature for a half hour, then another temperature for 30 minutes, then at the final temperature for an hour or two hours,” Altmeyer said. “If I hit those numbers, it’ll be a good beer.”
Entries can be made for any category of brew, so long as the competitors have a brewing license. The Beer Judge Certification program outlines the different styles, the percentage of alcohol, color and bitterness they look for in the beer. The brews are then judged in two categories.
“The first is the categories of beer and the second is the off-flavor, so what is wrong with the beer and if the beer fits a certain style of criteria,” Lewis said.
After the initial round of competitors are weeded out, Stewart said the judges look at the color, flavor and how the beer feels in your mouth.
The Best of Craft Beer Awards are a big deal and a few local bars are taking notice of the award. One place on the Square has recently begun selling the award-winning beer.
Roxanne Dunaway, co-manager at Taproom, said she is happy to support a local brewery and that the award-winning brew has left an impression on her.
“I love Hefeweizen,” Dunaway said. “I like the citrus from it and how it almost tastes creamy with a little hint of banana in it.”
A&L Brewery may have just started out, but they are ready to take on the business and join the San Marcos brewing community.