Taste of the big benD
1 / BIG BEND BREWing Co.
West Texans have always been known for doing things our own way, and the beer from out here is no exception.
In 2012, Brewmaster Steve Anderson and a small team founded Big Bend Brewing Co. with a vision to develop beers inspired by the people, climate and spirit of West Texas. Steve, considered a founding father of Texas Craft beer, was soon joined by German-trained Brewmaster Henryk Orlik. They are supported by a dynamic collection of crafts-men and -women who take extraordinary care in making sure no detail is missed, pouring decades of knowledge, skill and the West Texas way of life into each and every can.
Big Bend Brewing Co. has etched five year-round flavors from the Trans Pecos landscape. Tejas Lager, Terlingua Gold, Big Bend Hefeweizen, La Frontera IPA and #22 Porter are not just fun names, they tell the stories of this region. These beers are true to classic styles while highlighting individual characteristics that make Big Bend Brewing’s offerings unique, like the people who sparked their creation.
When visiting West Texas, be sure to pack your sense of adventure. Stop by the brewery, taste a little liquid Texas, and say hello to Anderson and crew. The brewery hosts tours year-round, Wednesday through Saturday, and an Open House on the first Saturday of each month. Visit bigbendbrewing.com for tour times, special events, and a list of area retailers and holes-in-the-wall where you can find the beer from out here.
2 / Mesa Vineyards
Mesa Vineyards is located 30 miles east of Fort Stockton in the Escondido Valley, which has a surprisingly ideal grape-growing climate. The vineyard's founders planted their first vines in 1981. Today they have over 500 acres and are the largest vineyard in Texas.
Their success is partly due to the temperate climate. The bright West Texas sun nourishes the vines by day, and the gentle drop in temperature at night enables the grapes to mature at a slower-than-normal rate and produces a greater variety of flavors to achieve an exquisite balance.
The vineyard also benefits from the mineral-rich topsoil and excellent drainage. These natural features allow the wine makers to precisely measure the water intake of individual vines, which increases the quality and abundance of grapes they produce.
Visit Mesa Vineyards' tasting room at The Grey Mule Saloon in Fort Stockton. The historic saloon at 101 E. Callaghan is open Wednesday - Saturday from 1:30 pm to 7 pm. For information and appointments, call (432) 336-9463 or visit SteGenWines.com.
3 / Big bend COFFEE
Joe Williams, founder of Big Bend Coffee Roasters, likes his coffee smooth. "I don't want my espressos bitter," he says. That's why the company manually roasts their beans to have low acidity for a smooth, flavorful cup.
Big Bend Coffee Roasters' advertising is almost exclusively word-of-mouth between satisfied customers. If you're a coffee drinker, it's impossible to live in the Big Bend area and not have a cup brewed with beans from BBCR. Their 100% organic and fair-trade coffee can be found at almost any retailer in the region.
It didn't take long for their beans to impress more than just locals. "Marfa is the best exposure," explained Williams. Visitors from all over the country filter through Marfa and the surrounding area every year, taste the coffee, and want to take it back with them.
Even though Big Bend Coffee Roasters ships beans around the country, they are heavily involved in their own community through their give-back programs. The staff selects different types of coffee and donates a percentage of its sales to a variety of community organizations.
Big Bend Coffee Roasters is bound to impress you with their exceptional coffee. Arrange for a tour of their Marfa roasting facility, or visit bigbendcoffee.com for shipping and wholesale information.
4 / DAVIS MOUNTAINS NUT COMPANY
Gus and David Billing started the Davis Mountains Nut Company in their home kitchen over 18 years ago. Today, they're still hand-making what they claim to be the best-tasting pecans in the world (they'll send you samples to prove it).
The Billing's pecans are unique. Marinating the pecans in different syrups before any roasting occurs creates a delicious flavor you won't find anywhere else. After roasting, the brothers lightly coat small batches of pecans with their signature toppings. This process of moderation prevents the nuts from being drowned in excessive flavoring and preserves the taste and texture of the original nut.
Cinnamon, Chocolate, Key-Lime, and their original Vanilla-Almond are just some of the addicting varieties. Visit their website at allpecans.com or enjoy free samples at their retail store in Fort Davis, open Monday - Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm.
5 / MARFA MAID DAIRY
Several years ago Malinda Beeman and Allan McClane started the Marfa Maid Dairy and began producing delicious goat cheese. All the milk comes from goats they raise themselves to make aged and semi-soft cheeses.
Cheese-making classes are available at the dairy. In a day-long class, you could learn to make several types of cheese from different kinds of milk. After your hard work, there's a cheese tasting.
Marfa Maid Dairy offers a one-hour tour on Tuesdays or Saturdays at 2 p.m. Visitors have an opportunity to sample fresh goat cheese, meet the dairy goats and do a little milking. Go to bookeo.com/marfamaid for reservations.
For information or a schedule of upcoming classes, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit marfamaid.com, or call (432) 729-3987.