Sunday’s walks will take you through The Pearl, one of the trendiest spots in San Antonio. We’ve scheduled the start times so that you will hit it about the time the farmer’s market opens: 10AM-2PM, rain or shine.
This is a producers-only farmer’s market. All Pearl Farmer’s Market vendors are located within 150 mile radius of San Antonio and provide fresh, local, and seasonal products that they themselves planted, raised, and harvested. You can also breakfast on prepared foods: crepes and gluten-free pastries from CrepeLandia; gluten and sugar-free pastries from Grain Free Haven; Mexican baked goods from Sol y Luna Baking Company or Empanadas from Yapa Artisan Empanadas. There are some tables where you can sit, sip a cup of coffee, tea, kombucha or a fermented yogurt, listen to music and people watch.
You’ll quickly figure out that The Pearl was once the Pearl Brewery, which was bought by Pabst and ceased operation there in 2001. Beer drinkers should note that Pearl beer was formulated and first brewed in Bremen, Germany, by the Kaiser–Beck Brewery, which produces Beck’s beer. Pearl beer’s name came from Kaiser–Beck’s brewmeister, who thought the foamy bubbles in a freshly poured glass of the brew resembled sparkling pearls. In Germany, the brew was called “Perle”. When brought to the United States, the spelling was changed to English: Pearl. In 1886, the first bottles and wooden kegs of American Pearl beer rolled off the line and into local tap rooms. It’s still being made: in Fort Worth.
In 2002 the 23-acre site was purchased by Kit Goldsbury’s Silver Ventures (he was the CEO of Pace Picante Sauce and made a bundle when it was sold to Campbell’s.) The transformation of the abandoned brewery into one of the hippest spots in town has won international accolades. Best of all, it’s green. Pearl is registered with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system – one of the most stringent measures of sustainability in the world – and achieved Gold Level certification for the Full Goods and CIA Buildings. In the breezeway of the The Full Goods Building there is a learning lab for environmental initiatives which includes a 200-kilowatt solar installation, generating one-fourth of the building’s energy and rainwater collected and stored in recycled beer cisterns to supplement irrigation of the environmentally responsible, natural, low water use landscape.
The Pearl rightly bills itself as a culinary destination. It’s home to the third U.S. campus (along with Hyde Park, New York and Napa Valley, California) of The Culinary Institute of America (our campus concentrates on the food traditions of Central and South America.) There are a dozen or so very, very good restaurants and a similar number of cafes and bars. Local Coffee has fantastic brew; so does Southerleigh, a brew PUB. You can get Mexican street food at La Gloria, vegetarian food at Green, or hand-crafted cured foods, from charcuterie to pickles, at Cured. If you have a hankering for Peruvian-Asian fusion, try Botika; or treat yourself to breakfast at Supper, the restaurant in the trés posh Hotel Emma. There is also fine shopping, and some very nifty apartments. It’s a very cultured Pearl.