Tucked along the Hill Country Wine Trail, down the road from some of the best-known barbecue in the country at the Salt Lick, you’ll find a Driftwood establishment called Vista Brewing.
Although Vista Brewing is new on the scene for 2018, it bears deep roots as it sits on land originally granted to Texas war hero William B Travis. Here you will find award-winning beers and freshly prepared foods, harvested from Vista’s own sustainable farm.
Owners Karen and Kent Killough have created a true destination brewery, right in Austin’s backyard. The Killoughs have developed a concept that focuses not only on producing small amounts of high quality microbrew, but also incorporating native and seasonal crops into special culinary events such as their monthly Supper Club. Native Texan Chef Andrew Stiver creates a menu of locally farmed foods, paired with Vista Beers for a truly memorable dining experience.
Recently, Vista Brewing hosted their first ticketed event, the Outside the City Limits Festival. Attendees enjoyed a day of live music, freshly prepared foods, local Austin culinary vendors, and craft beer creations by Vista’s own Brewmaster Josh Watterson. Educated and trained in Germany, Watterson brings his traditional style of European beer making to Vista. Everything in Watterson’s beers comes right from the land, with the water playing a pivotal role in his product.
Sitting below limestone, Vista’s aquifers supply mineral-rich water that provides the ideal foundation for yeasts to grow, creating an elegant foundation for the beer. Watterson has dedicated his career to the meticulous development of a quality product that reflects his background with not only Belgian and German styles of brew, but also new signature Texas-bred selections found only at Vista, or in select local restaurant establishments.
We particularly enjoyed two unique and distinct offerings on the tasting menu. Rosanna is a Brett (the type of yeast) ale comprised of ingredients found on the Vista property. The flavors reflect the terroir of the land and the cherry-pie aroma found in the walls of the wine barrel where the beer is aged. With Watterson’s experience in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, it’s no surprise he has launched and embraced this wine barrel program with his own brews. Dark Skies is a black pilsner, a German specialty malt, reminiscent of the more traditional breweries of Bavaria.
Amazing ales are just one part of what makes Vista brewing a great destination. Chef Stiver’s fresh and delicious creations complement all that fills your glass. Vista even harvests their own honey from the sixteen beehives on the property. A kitchen staple, the honey is a key ingredient in some of the beers and menu items such as their candied pecans. Other standouts on the Outside the City Limits dinner buffet were the zucchini and okra, along with the savory grilled pork tenderloin.
Next year, Vista Brewing will add overnight lodging to their list of amenities. With 21 acres of rolling Hill Country, how can you not want to soak up these views and brews, where the beer and cuisine are as fresh as the rural air, and this little piece of Texas beckons you to return and bring a few guests.
Cover photo Peary Photography
Dana Kent and Brian Maass are Round Rock residents and engaged to be married in 2019. They like to spend time together in the fall months enjoying the great outdoors, watching college football, traveling on weekend excursions, exploring the Hill Country and reporting about their adventures.