It was in the pages of this very mag two Augusts ago that Busted Sandal and 5 Stones breweries had their meet-cute with San Anto beer lovers. Their profiles have stayed distinct, but they've both parlayed those craft crushes into brew romance, with expanded facilities and extended menus in the works for each.
I caught up with Busted Sandal's Michael DiCicco and 5 Stones' Seth Weatherly last week to talk about upcoming collaborations, bigger barrel systems and what's in store for their biennial bashes.
Busted Sandal's second anniversary takes place from 1 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, August 15. DiCicco puts the guest list at around 800, with Busted Sandal fans driving in from all around the state. Head brewer Jeff Kuhle and his crew have prepped some special party favors, from a batch of Slippery Rock IPA that spent the past year in a wine barrel to the oak/rum/vanilla-aged ale Lafitte's Reserve (though the latter is reserved for those prudent souls who already purchased VIP tickets). Winner Winner Chicken Dinner and Perico's will be on hand to handle meals, with Kenny's Nuts and San Antonio Brinery holding it down for the peanuts and pickles.
Funk-focused cover band Finding Friday is the musical headliner and Busted Sandal will be previewing its forthcoming colla-beer-ation with the group, the aptly named Finding Friday Mexican Lager. The collab grew out of a longstanding relationship between band and brewery — guitarist James Garcia runs a music studio which neighbors Busted Sandal's brewing space — and though FFML won't be hitting draftlines until October, both the regular and a hibiscus-and-orange editions will be available for the night.
At 5 Stones you'll find a slightly smaller crowd of 300 to 400 camper-chair-toting revelers, but they've got equally killer plans. According to Weatherly, the shindig will feature a number of cask tappings and new releases, including his first foray into wild-sour territory. Slider Provider is driving up to cater and there's talk of procuring a big band to entice tipsy jitterbugs to dance. Though late-breaking logistical issues have pushed the date from August 9 to an undisclosed date in September, the party shall go on.
Like most 2-year-olds, both breweries have experienced growing pains. Busted Sandal hit capacity back in February, which prompted the purchase of nine additional 20-barrel fermenters and the expansion of about 1,900 square feet to the brewery itself. Outfitted with the extra tanks and a gleaming new canning line, DiCicco expects production to triple by the end of 2015. Weatherly, too, is looking to move to bigger digs by 5 Stones' next anniversary.
As River City's beer profile continues to rise, it's good to have guys like these to keep the love alive.
Stay faithful, SA.