Inspiration truly is wherever you find it, and for Marco Ortega, that inspiration was found in the San Antonio's ever-burgeoning craft beer scene. Driven by his own interest in home brewing, Ortega, a professional videographer and filmmaker, decided to capture what is happening in the city on film in a forthcoming documentary entitled Brewed in the 210.
"I got into craft beer toward the tail end of college and I really got hooked when I started homebrewing about four or five years ago," he explained. "It really took hold of me, and I thought it would be great to be able to tell the story of homebrewing and how interesting it is to create something like this from scratch. I wanted to learn more about the brewing process, so I reached out to the folks at Branchline Brewing and, from there, the idea evolved."
This idea, much like the almighty yeast, which gives life to beer, germinated for several years as micro-brewing was still in its nascent stages with only a smattering of daredevil brewers in town. As the San Anto-centric beer movement grew, so did Ortega's desire to document it.
"Last year, I knew I was going to have some time to do some work on a project, so I circled back to this one," he said. "I started writing out the story that I wanted to tell. I thought about the different breweries, and I began reaching out to folks in town. I wanted to keep it in the 210 and San Antonio proper."
What initially started out as a 20- to 30-minute short film has bloomed into a full-fledged hour-long documentary chronicling the stories and behind-the-scenes folks who have revolutionized the local beer industry. More importantly, it highlights "why" these men and women are so passionate about brewing.
"The story really is about how, at one point in time, San Antonio was a very, very big beer town. It was the beer mecca of Texas a long time ago with a lot of breweries here," Ortega said. "It just died away as big beer moved in and started buying things out. The story is the re-emergence of craft beer in San Antonio and how these brewers, these owners and these entrepreneurs had a passion about beer and wanted to bring something artisan into this community. They wanted to make San Antonio a big beer town again."
The usual suspects are all featured in the film: Branchline, Freetail Brewing Company, Blue Star Brewing Company, Alamo Beer Company, Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery, Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling, Granary 'Cue & Brew, Mad Pecker Brewing and Busted Sandal Brewing Company. The film will be unveiled during San Antonio Beer Week (April 2-10) with a main showing and then subsequent showings at several bars and pubs around town.
"I think San Antonio is one of those cities where the people living here can really get behind something and get really passionate about it," he said. "We're passionate about our basketball team. We're passionate about things like H-E-B and Fiesta. We're very passionate about things that are homegrown. I think a lot of people from here have been wanting good beer for a long time and that's why you've seen craft beer take off like it has."
For more info, follow Ortega on Twitter (@brewedinthe210) and on Facebook.