Alpine Texas – There Aint Nuthin Out There
And I quote “There ain’t nuthin’ out there!”
That’s what we were told each time we asked about what to do in Alpine. We arrived in Alpine, Texas with only a few hours of daylight on a Monday expecting, well…”nuthin” (we spent most of our day in Marfa, TX). What we found instead was a little microcosm of awesomeness, and we’ve just barely scratched the surface!
We parked the RV in the middle of town on the main highway, unhooked the Smart car and headed into the visitor center.
The lady offered up a suggestion for a pizza joint and a sandwich shop for restaurants, followed by a short hike behind the college for a decent view of the city. We walk out and Nikki say’s “yep it’s going to be one of those places”.
I assured her that we’d make the best of it, and then I hinted that I noticed a brewery on the edge of town as we drove in. “Things might start lookin’ up…if you’re willing to come off our low carb stint”
We pulled up to the Big Bend Brewing Company and found the manager Richard just finishing up another tour.
We were greeted by a tiny storefront with branded swag and unopened boxes everywhere and Richard asking us to “come on back, but be careful they’re still workin.” Jam packed into the tiniest warehouse building is the entire brewery. Richard tells us they could only get funding for a small building at first, but the BBBC has only been open for about a year and they’re ‘adding on’ in a big way to meet the demand.
He was happy to answer all our nerdy beer questions, and slowly we made our way to the tasting wall. We started with the limited release Valentine’s Day beer called Corozon, a perfectly sweet and tangy prickly pear infused beer. We moved through the ranks with TEXAS SIZED tasting pours(no complaints here); the hefeweitzen tastes like ripe bananas, the IPA has a floral bouquet yet it’s easy on the bitterness, and our favorite of the bunch, the stout, was ever so smooth.
Richard ushered us over to one of the finishing tanks and he poured the spankin’ new imperial stout; impressively smooth with robust flavors, the best of all the beers with an ABV in the double digits…just our style of sipper. Of course our dreams were crushed by his next statement “We’ll bottle this next week, and unfortunately we don’t distribute as far East as you’re heading.” We asked if we could buy a growler now, but apparently TABC laws restrict the on-site purchase of beer directly from the brewery…bummer!
After all this beer why not go back to the RV and get some work done?!? A local business in town has setup a wireless network that’s free for all to use! We sat in the RV, tapped into the surprisingly fast n’ free WiFi network, and knocked out a bunch of online work (our next was stop was Big Bend NP so we weren’t expecting to have internet for several days).
In what seemed like a blink of an eye the sun was setting and our tummies were growling. We’d heard from Richard about this place called The Saddle Club and we just happened to be parked directly outside the entrance. We came in looking for the specialty, Rio Grande Oyster Rockafeller, but instead we found it’s Sushi Monday!
You’re probably thinking what we were thinking “Sushi, in the middle of the desert, on a Monday?!? Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.” Come to find out the chef is a ‘classically trained french chef’ and he’s very talented. According to a fellow diner at the bar we’re actually lucky to be here on Sushi Monday as “it only happens two times per month, and when it’s gone, it’s gone.” So we order a few rolls and chow down…when in Rome, right?!? A tasty, unique, desert dining experience for sure.
Oh, and I almost forgot: When you’re in town make sure you order a drink with Sotol. Its liquor distilled from the Sotol plant, similar to tequila but more smooth. We had never heard of this liquor before, so the mixologist was nice enough to pour us a free taster shot…very yummy indeed (and yes we did order a Sotol cocktail in the name of research!).
Wish we hadn’t listened to the naysayers about Alpine, otherwise we would have planned a full day or more to explore this small Texas town. Of course, on that note we missed many other great stops in west Texas including Terlingua, Fort Davis, and Marathon to name a few; but next time someone tells us “There ain’t nuthin’ out there!” I think we’ll point the RV in that direction and drive!
Have you been to far west Texas? Tell us what we missed and your favorite spots so we can add it to our bucket list…and don’t rub it in too much, we know we missed some killer spots!