Table Talk: Checking what's on tap with Idle Brewing's Brandon Pettit

Idle Beer Hall & Brewery will soon make its debut at food hall Make Ready Market.

click to enlarge Before Idle Brewing, Brandon Pettit worked for Alamo Beer Co. and Altstadt Brewery. - Courtesy Photo / Idle Beer Hall & Brewery
Courtesy Photo / Idle Beer Hall & Brewery
Before Idle Brewing, Brandon Pettit worked for Alamo Beer Co. and Altstadt Brewery.

Name:  Brandon Pettit

Age: 31

Birthplace: San Antonio

Title: Head Brewer at Idle Brewing

Previous brewing jobs: Alamo Beer Co. (San Antonio) and Altstadt Brewery (Fredericksburg)

Favorite food: "My favorite recent meal is my wife's homemade ramen."

Movie choice: Zoolander and anything comedy

Where to find his brews: Idle Beer is available at Make Ready Market, 711 Broadway

Idle was among the initial tenants to secure a spot at Make Ready Market, a highly anticipated food hall in San Antonio's River North. The brewery is a branch of Pouring With Heart, a company based in Los Angeles that operates comparable establishments in Austin, Denver and Southern California. All are recognized for their appreciation of artisanal beers.

While it sounds like a safe assumption that the person heading Pouring With Heart's Alamo City brewery would be a lifelong beer enthusiast, not so with Idle head brewmaster Brandon Pettit.

For much of his life, Pettit didn't find beer appealing. It wasn't until seven years ago that an ice-cold Shiner Bock after a bike ride sent him down a beer-obsessed rabbit hole and led him to his current position as head brewmaster at Idle Brewing. During a talk with the Current, Pettit spoke about beer from both a brewer's and layperson's perspective.

How did you get your start brewing beer?

Funny enough. I didn't even drink beer. [I didn't like it], for the longest time. Me and [a friend] went on a 14-mile bike ride at McAllister Park — we're just mountain biking on trails and the only thing I wanted was a beer. I was like, "I just want a beer." It was the weirdest thing. I've never really had a beer and my first beer ended up being a Shiner Bock. It's a good memory. ... It was just downhill from there.

Did that Shiner Bock influence the beers you brew now?

Not necessarily, Shiner is great. But I learned the German style by [former Alamo Beer brewmaster] James Hudec. He was a very German Brewer who didn't like IPAs. [He liked] a good lager, a good clean Amber lager, you know, that kind of stuff. And so that I feel like it influenced my kind of style.

This West Coast IPA that we're producing is the first West Coast I've ever brewed. You know, if you read about it, you can learn so much. Until you brew it you don't really know, so this was the first one that I ever had. And so it was a really interesting experiment of sorts, right?

Beer makers are chemists to some degree. Were you ever interested in chemistry as a kid? Or did it come much later?

I was the kid sitting in chemistry, biology and math class, wondering, "When the hell am I ever going to use this in my future?" Now I'm using every single one of them every day, multiple times a day. Going back and going through all my notes and trying to figure out how things work. It's a funny turn of events.

What's something that's misconstrued about beer?

Well, one of the big ones is that ales are dark and lagers are light. That one's a funny one to me. You can have a dark ale. Stouts, porters, those are ales. Then you have a blonde ale, right, which is light and pale. And then your lagers, you've got bocks, double bocks, those are dark lagers. And then you got your helles and pilsner. Those are light lagers. So, you know, people kind of misconstrued that, 'Oh, it's an ale. It's really heavy." There's all sorts of little nuances — people that still think bottles are better than cans. You know, things like that are a very old world way of thinking.

What's the theme that ties together Idle's beers?

Oh, that's a tough one. I would say, just keeping it classy. Keeping it traditional. Obviously, we'll have some twists and stuff. We're talking about doing golden stout, so basically, a stout with all the roasted malts. We will have coffee, vanilla and cinnamon in it, kind of a fall drink. This is way outside of what I am used to ... but now I can play around and add stuff. We are having a kolsch and a peach kolsch ... . There is all sorts of stuff I can do now.

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