• brandenfugate

Road Notes: Day 129

We are determined to stuff ourselves with as much barbecue as we can before we leave this state. We hit up County Line, a bbq place near our campsite, for lunch. It was a beautiful location right on the lake with a huge back deck. Everything was pretty good. Yet, the ribs certainly fell short compared to the heavenly rack we had last night. Damn. Those were good.

Not knowing much about Austin, we received a lot of recommendations from friends about where to go and what producers to check out. Everybody across the board recommended Jester King Brewery. We were told they specialize in sour ales, which is so hip and often times disappointing, so we initially wrote them off. After looking deeper into their philosophy, production, and product line up, we became enamored with them. We reached out earlier in the week to see if we could stop by for a tour/interview. The owner emailed us back immediately and we made arrangements to meet today.

We drove about 45 minutes outside of Austin to get to the Jester King estate (I don't know if they call it the estate, but they should). Just the drive there is part of the adventure. When you arrive, it feels like you are pulling up to a concert or festival of some sort. Cars are parked in rows in an open field. Kids pick flowers and play tag. People are eating the most delicious smelling pizzas. Everybody has dogs. Everybody. A chandelier hangs from a tree over outdoor picnic tables. And beer. So much beer. It was a beautiful sunny day when we arrived at the ranch (yes...it is an actual, functioning ranch). We didn’t know what to expect, but I certainly didn’t expect this.

We took a short tour, led by the Jeffrey (the owner). Afterwards, he grabbed us some beers (Colour Five, the sour beer refermented with blueberries which they just released yesterday) and we talk. We discussed how he got his start, his ethos for the company, and plans for the future. I love the way he talked about his product; he sounds like a winemaker from Burgundy. He explained that they make farmhouse ales (not just sours). The intent of a farmhouse ale is to connect a time and a place with the final product, which I truly feel like they achieve here. He started talking about plans for the future. They are planting a fruit orchard, berries, melons. We were able to walk out and see all of this, in it’s infancy. It is really exciting. Then we headed over to the barn. We were greeted by a pony (or is it a miniature horse? there was some debate on the topic). We climbed the latter to the loft to explore where they ‘floor age’ their hops. A cat won’t stop purring and rubbing against my leg. The sun starts to set as we walk back to the brewing facility, to the throngs of people enjoying their drinks, the company, and the perfect spring evening. We say our thank-yous and good-byes. Jeff loads us up with as much beer as we can carry. This place is truly magical. The highlight of my time in Austin.

After Jester King, tacos are in order. We hit up Tyson’s Tacos. Some were great, some were a miss. Overall, pretty good. Over dinner, we discuss how we plan to detox for the entire month of April because of Austin queso. The topic of “where will we go now” comes up. You see, we only reserved our camp spot until tomorrow morning. I was told we could stay an extra day, but when I went to pay this morning, the story changed. Everybody has to leave because they are repaving the RV campsites. Do we find another camp site in Austin, just for one day? Fuck it. Lets go somewhere else. What's between here and Taos, our next stop? Marfa. It’s decided.

My friend Alkan said that there is this weird putt putt golf place that has been in Austin since the 60s. They let you bring in outside alcohol. A long time ago, we had the idea to make Pedro Jimenez sherry into snow cones. It turns out that Peter Pan Golf sells snow cones. With sherry in our book bag, we go play some golf. Branden won. But really, if you are eating sherry snow cones, isn’t everybody winning?

Road Notes are timed entries—written in thirty minutes or less at the end of each day. Considerations are made for spelling/legibility but not for grammar. Deal with it.

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