From a Dream to Big River Brewery
PHARR – A local man turned a hobby of making his own beer into opening his own mini-brewery.
Steve Padilla is the man behind the dream. He started Big River Brewery in Pharr about three months ago.
“Several of years ago, I was at a bookstore and I came across a book about home brewing and it came complete with a (starter’s) kit. So, I took that book home and completed the steps to make my first beer,” Padilla said.
The more he studied the book, the more his interest grew.
The hobby turned serious and he bought better brewing equipment, letting him master all the steps.
He explained the process of coming up with different types of beer, “A combination of these malted barleys will provide different styles of beer. Some lighter, some darker.”
“So, you can see all the starch is here. All the powder. Once we’re at that it turns into sugary water and that is what the yeast is going to eat,” Padilla continued. “From brewing to fermentation it takes about, anywhere between two weeks to 21 weeks, more or less. Two weeks to three weeks,” he said.
There is a sit-down area where customers can enjoy a glass or two. It has become a family business with his wife, his daughter and his son helping to run it.
Padilla expressed his appreciation for his family, “They’re very supportive and they really enjoy working here, spending time here and getting to know different people.”
He shared how he came up with some of the names of his beers, “Each of our beers is named after something special. For example, our most popular beer is the ‘Cha-Cha Blonde,’ and that’s named after my mother-in-law. The Walter Whyte, that was one of my favorite T.V. shows, ‘Breaking Bad.’ ‘Sal del Rey’ of course, is a beer named after a lake north of Edinburg. ‘Midnight Magic,’ our stout, was named after the B-104 radio hour. At midnight you would call in and make a dedication.”
The Big River Brewery is located just west of the expressway on Nolana, and it all started from reading a book.