One thing is immediately clear about the new Driftwood property Vista Brewing, opening next weekend — it is much more than just a brewery.
The scenic 21-acre site will debut on April 20 with seasonal on-site fare, scenic event spaces, a farm and apiary, and walking trails throughout, in addition to a menu of beers that will eventually run the gamut in styles.
Married couple Kent and Karen Killough created Vista Brewing after being inspired by their time abroad, "exploring pubs in the English countryside," according to a press release. They wanted a space that would show off the Hill Country’s own beauty — as well as a skilled brewer to help bring their vision to life.
To that end, they have enlisted the former brewmaster of nationally lauded Brasserie Saint James, Josh Watterson, to make three different kinds of beers: what they call beer garden brews ("approachable and low ABV like their Adair Kolsch and Shallow Roots Table Pilsner"), barrel-aged brews using wine barrels from neighboring Hill Country wineries, and collaboration brews like the Merriwether Foraged Brett IPA.
The latter was made in the 5,000 sq. ft. brewery using foraged items from the property with assistance from the Texas Forager, according to the release. It’s a seasonal hoppy ale featuring wood sorrel, agarita and dewberry blossoms.
Plus, Watterson’s barrel program is already off to a strong start, thanks to his wrangling of 50 barrels from local wineries that are housing the likes of two Belgian-style lambics for up to 18 months. He will also create the Commencement Barrel-Aged Brett Ale, aging it in Bending Branch Winery barrels that will be available on opening day.RELATED:Unaffected by Harvey, Texas’ 2017 wine grape harvest ‘probably the best’ ever
But like we said — the beer, though integral, is not all there is at Vista Brewing.
A weekly changing food menu from Chef Andrew Stiver offers "modern Texas-American fare and is based on seasonably grown vegetables from the Vista farm, locally sourced proteins and well-balanced plates to pair with Vista brews," according to the release. (Plus, if you don’t like beer, the taproom carries a hardy wine list and nonalcoholic beverages.)
Stiver, formerly of the now-defunct fine dining gem Restaurant Jezebel, is working in an outdoor kitchen built among the 641 oak and elm trees the Killoughs kept during construction.
There’s also a pretty special piece of Texas history attached to the property: Vista sits in the center of the original 1830s land grant belonging to one of the heroes of the Texas Revolution, William Barret Travis.
Future phases on the acreage include an eco-friendly tiny home hotel, event pavilion and barrel house — but a dry-stacked limestone wall built in the 1840s, following Travis’ death, will be preserved as best as it can be no matter what else is added.
Once Vista Brewing opens officially on April 20, the brewery at 13551 FM 150 W. will have the hours of 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays (with early events including a couple of foraging walks with the Texas Forager). For more information, visit vistabrewingtx.com.
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