We were shocked when we realized that we had never brought you a destination article about the Hill Country town of Kerrville, which sits only about a half hour from my hometown Bandera. It has moved from a quiet retirement community into a hip, bustling town that features culinary gems, wineries, breweries and loads to do.
Start With Lunch
Start your day in Kerrville with lunch and a beer flight at Pint & Plow Brewing Company, who coined the phrase “Kerrville is the new Kerrville.” Their delicious craft beers on tap include the lager San Y’Bon, an American IPA, the Tchoupitoulas (my favorite), and a brown porter, La Madruga.
Their food menu (most breweries just have a food truck but they have a full kitchen) includes yummy choices such as the Deconstructed Falafel Salad, their Super Fresh Sandwich with cucumber and tomato with a dill cream cheese, a Green House veggie pizza (our fave), and a huge, warm, soft Bavarian-style pretzel (perfect with a cold beer). Be sure to check out the murals in and around the brewery, they are truly Instagram worthy! If you’re feeling like a pick-me-up, they also serve coffee and locally made desserts.
Moving & Shaking at Kerrville Hills Winery
Kerrville Hills Winery was established in 2008 and was bought by the current owner in 2019. Kerrville Hills Winery owner/winemaker John Rivenburgh is quite a mover and shaker in the Texas wine community, as a consultant to 17 wineries, president of Hill Country Wineries and a co-founder of Bending Branch Winery that started in 2008. He knows the ins and outs of the Texas wine industry and has worked on legislation, as a mentor, and leads a group very passionate about wines. I
n 2006, there were 30 acres on which to plant vines, the tasting room was added in 2008, and they now host a tasting menu of six of their wines ($16 pp). The wines include the 2019 Semillon made from grapes grown in Stonewall, which has won a platinum award voted on by master sommeliers for its structure in depth. You can also taste the 2016 Picpoul Blanc, planted in 2008, which loves the Texas heat. From a French grape, it is unfiltered and known as “a white wine for red wine drinkers.” Other favorites are their Petite Sirah, made from grapes from nearby Comfort’s Newsom Vineyards, a dry red best enjoyed with the steak. Or, try their Sunkissed, a white wine made from an orange muscat grape.
Kerrville History Walking Tour
If you’re a history buff, you want to take part in the Kerrville Legends and Lore guided downtown walking tour ($10 pp) to hear Kerrville‘s unique story. Your tour guide will walk you through the downtown area, pointing out interesting tidbits, starting from the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, which was originally the town post office. She’ll tell you facts such as Kerrville is where jeweler James Avery got his start and showcases the Arcadia Theater that once was a movie theater and now is a nonprofit music venue which boasts local musician Robert Earl Keen (our original cover man) on its board.
The tour guide talks about how Kerrville was founded in 1846 by Joshua Brown among the cypress trees. There was a courthouse, jail and school all together. Other notables from Kerrville‘s history are Captain Charles Schreiner who built his mansion in 1869, started the Schreiner Goods store and even built tunnels underground. You’ll also learn that there are more Texas Rangers buried in Kerrville than anywhere else; and most Texans’ favorite grocer, H-E-B, started growing from the first store built in Kerrville in 1905. Now many of us shop at H-E-B stores around the Lone Star State.
Beers in the Basement
Basement Brewery opened four years ago in a former produce market, now over 100 years old. It’s a microbrewery, meaning they brew only one barrel (30 gallons) at a time. Their beers rotate quickly and they’re known for being very local centric, community first, hosting special events for police, the fire department, teachers and veterans.
Turtle Creek Olives and Vines has an adorable tasting room in the heart of downtown Kerrville. Their winery sits right outside of town where they have two Airbnb lodging options. Enjoy the eclectic tasting room for a wine and food pairing. Try the 100% Texas wine tasting for 4 one-ounce pours, ($20 pp) which includes their white, rosé, red blend NV and red blend 2017. Have a taste of their signature charcuterie board or their hummus trio with pita and pretzel chips. If you’re feeling the need to cool down, take advantage of getting a scoop of their house made gelato.
Local Foodie Favorite
Grape Juice Restaurant is a longtime local fan favorite that will not disappoint. Featuring a very large selection of tap craft and bottled beers, and of course wines by the glass or the bottle, many customers come in extra early to enjoy a few drinks before dinner. Do make sure to get a reservation as they fill up, especially on the weekends.
The menu is varied, offering a twist on basic favorites like the Antelope Nachos or what they call “Crackeroni” which is essentially macaroni and cheese. There are four different types, ranging from smoked gouda, tomatoes, onion and ham, to the Chupacabra, which features slow roasted barbecue pulled pork, slaw and lime chipotle sauce.
If you’re looking for a healthier option, you might go for their Buddha Bowl, which has seared yellowfin tuna, brown rice, romaine, pineapple, red onion and bell pepper with avocado and a wasabi vinaigrette. They also put their gourmet spin on tacos, burritos, burgers and sandwiches. But let’s back up… make sure you start with their Brussels Sprouts topped with bacon, feta and a sweet soy drizzle.
Rest Your Head
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Cover photo courtesy Pint and Plow Brewing Company
Marika Flatt, who grew up 30 minutes from Kerrville, is the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine and was named “Outstanding Austin Communicator” 2021 by Women Communicators of Austin. Flatt has been the voice of the Weekend Trip Tips on NPR’s Texas Standard for nearly five years and is a regular travel contributor to TV shows across the state.