A little less than 24 hours after arriving in the West Texas trifecta of Marfa, Alpine and Fort Davis, we made sure to drop into Big Bend Brewing just on the outskirts of Alpine. Stopping into breweries when traveling is always on the short list of activities. Big Bend Brewing has long been a place I’ve wanted check out. Their popularity in West Texas is unrivaled and their presence on the shelves and taps in Austin is welcome and consistent. What struck me on this taproom tour was something worth mentioning as it’s what separates breweries from other drinking establishments. 15 minutes after sitting down and breaking out a deck of cards, in strolled 2 Austin friends some 400 miles from our normal hangouts. What I find interesting is it wasn’t surprising.
Breweries can be like sirens calling those searching for authentic spaces that still offer something familiar when out exploring. With flights only found in the tasting room, they offer a chance to push the limits of flavor beyond the craft mainstream. We get to share in the mad science experiments. Meanwhile they embody the community spirit. They are local even when their reach is halfway across Texas.
With the popularity of breweries nationwide, it’s an enjoyable dynamic knowing that hanging out with some of your favorite brands simultaneously creates opportunities for new interactions with friends who enjoy shared interests. Tasting rooms offer something that our communities have lacked. Coffee shops are great. Bars are fun. But tasting rooms truly are special as they continue to bring us all together because we truly do appreciate the craft and their efforts.