William A. Menger's Western Brewery (1855-78), located on Alamo Square in San Antonio, is usually considered the first commercial Texas brewery. By its last year of business in 1878, it was the largest operating brewery in Texas. In 1859, Menger also opened a very popular hotel next to his brewery. The Menger Hotel still contains the large cellar, constructed of three-foot-thick stone walls, that was used to chill the beer produced by the brewery. The cellars were cooled by the Alamo Madre ditch that flowed through what is now the patio of the hotel. Menger hired Charles Degen as his brewmaster.