Beer Battered and Brewed

Foodie retreat #2 of my beach summer vacation was at a long-established eatery, the island’s only microbrewery that doubles as a family restaurant. The two-story brewery house lies on the island’s main strip, with a wooden upper and lower deck hugging its front as you drive in. Inside, the tables and chairs were of dark, glazed wood and the dining rooms were alight with an ideal mixture of artificial and natural light. My boyfriend and I were escorted to the second story dining area where the atmosphere was cozy and laid-back. We were greeted by an excellent view of the outside’s upper deck and the setting sun beyond it, with access to a fully stocked bar near our table. Oh, the temptation. Our bright-eyed and perky waitress was quick to serve us with a sampler platter of their freshly-brewed beer. At just $6.75, the sampler was quite varied in color and flavor, and it proved to be enough beer for both of us.

  • South Padre Island Blonde
  • Padre Island Pale Ale
  • Tidal Wave Wheat
  • Speckled Trout Stout
  • Raspberry Wheat

Now, I’m unfamiliar with beer-tasting etiquette. I don’t know the first thing about it, and no movie or TV show I’ve seen has prepared me for the art of beer tasting. So, I stared at the tray not knowing which glass to savor or how to go about it. Is it like wine tasting? Should I smell it? Should I take a sip and let it rest on my tongue for a second? I sat conflicted, unsure where to start when my boyfriend picked up a glass and gulped down a mouthful of pale ale. I heard his mutter of approval and took that as queue to take a sip. The Padre Island Pale Ale and Raspberry Wheat were, hands down, my absolute favorites. I’m itching to take a trip to the beach soon for another shot of those two, for work-related purposes of course. The Tidal Wave Wheat, garnished with a slice of lemon, was too grainy for my taste and the stout took some getting used to with its heavy coffee flavor. Both were enjoyable to savor, but the blonde I simply had no liking for and left it to my boyfriend. Not bad for my first bout of beer tasting, I’d say.

As we sampled the beers, the waitress took our order for Beer Battered Stuffed Mushrooms, a basket of shrimp and fish and their Award Winning Pizza. Our appetizer was served promptly. Let me add, stuffed mushrooms are one of my favorite foods, so I had high expectations when ordering them. These little crab-stuffed balls of fried bread were incredibly savory, even more so when dipped in ranch or the restaurant’s citrus tartar sauce. The beer-battered texture was pleasantly different. I felt it softly crumble in my mouth at the first bite; the light beer taste mixed pleasantly with flavors of earth and sea.

The pizza was a simple pepperoni and cheese with fresh tomato sauce on a hand-tossed crust. It looked and smelled heavenly, as if someone at the brewery house mastered not only the art of making beer, but making pizza as well. The cheesy pie was riddled with perfectly rounded pepperoni slices. Each was carefully placed in an intricate pattern amongst a sea of cheese baked to perfection. It felt like someone gave a good deal of attention to our little pizza, and that detail was reflected in the taste. A rush of Italian herbs tickled my tongue, along with some secret flavor I couldn’t quite pinpoint. Our regular battered seafood platter, served with coleslaw and ranchero beans, was also original in flavor. Though, I recommend trying the beer-battered platter as I enjoyed the flavor and texture much more.

The restaurant’s Award Winning Pizza was an unexpected win in my book. For a brewery on an island filled with seafood restaurants, pizza was the last dish I’d expect to love. The food, drinks, service and atmosphere were all great. Overall, the Padre Island Brewing Company is a must-try during your trip to the beach, whether you’re with family or friends.

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JoAnn is a graduate of the University of Texas-Pan American where she obtained a Bachelor’s in Mass Communication with a minor in English. She is an inquisitive, ambitious and lively person with an undeniable passion for the written word.