Texas Hill Country’s Jester King Brewery

This is a post that Sher wrote back in February, 2020 just before we cut short our time as Winter Texans and headed back to Indiana before COVID struck. We just found this and somehow it never got published. So…Here it is.

It was a special treat for us to visit Jester King Brewery while we were in Austin, TX because our last name is Jester.  So, of course we had to buy some beer with our name in it!

Enjoying our beer under one of the heaters

It is located at a beautiful 165 acre ranch in the Texas Hill Country.  It is so welcoming and a fun place for all ages.  Since we are retired we were able to visit when it opened at 4pm, so they weren’t super busy.  We had had a late lunch, so we weren’t hungry but their pizza looked delicious and by the looks of people ordering it I think it was a favorite.  We were there on Maj’s birthday and  we already had reservations in town with our family in Austin, or I would have suggested we have dinner there.

The kitchen/food bar

The spacious and comfortable seating area

 

 

 

 

 

They had many choices of beer, but it was easy for us to choose one we wanted try, the Jester-King one!  We, also, bought a bottle to bring home.  How we could we turn down a beer with our name on it?

Had to have it!

We had fun and it is on our recommended places to visit.  The bartenders were exceptionally nice and so friendly and helpful in answering our questions.  They have an outdoor covered area for seating with heaters, and a bonfire outside when we were there.

This is a favorite place and we’ll definitely  be going back the next time we are in Austin.  And, getting pizza!

Remember the Alamo

“Remember the Alamo” echoes across history

The battle of the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar took place for 13 days, February 23 to March 6, 1836. The siege of the mission by Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna ended with the defenders being wiped out. The Alamo remains one of the most revered historic sites in Texas. We’ve visited a couple of times, and you can feel the history there.

Special event to support Texas craft breweries

Yesterday Sher and I went with our son to the Austin Beerworks to enjoy local beers, some great food, and at the same time we supported Small Business Saturday. Sponsored by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, this event featured 80 small Texas breweries and retailers all over the state celebrating this year’s theme: “Here’s to Gettin’ Back Out There”.

The running can is the ABW logo, on the back of the jacket.

All over the state Texas Craft Brewers Guild encouraged patronizing these small businesses. Each location had really nice beer glasses for purchase. According to the Guild website “$1+ of every glass supports the association of craft brewers advancing the industry through advocacy and education.” We had a fun afternoon at the ABW taproom. And as the picture shows we supported the event by adding glasses to our collection, Maj got a nice jacket, and of course some beers to go. We always enjoy a win-win.

Austin Beerworks Taproom and Brewery

Today was a great day to visit the Austin Beerworks Taproom. Today was a special event put on by the Texas Craft Brewer’s Guild. The Austin Beerworks was one of many Texas breweries celebrating “Here’s to Gettin’ Back Out There” as the pandemic conditions begin to get better.

Many brews on tap

The Taproom is a fun place to enjoy all of the many craft beers brewed by the Austin Beerworks. There are many varieties on tap, and you can get flights of four to sample or by the glass. In addition to beers, some cider and wine, food is also available. The food is great, reasonably priced, and yes, from a food truck that is a permanently parked on the property.

The flight of four

Cheeseburger, top, and loaded fries, bottom

Brewery machinery and taproom seating

Lots of cool ABW merchandise

We had a most enjoyable time today at the ABW taproom. The beers in our flights were excellent, and Sher and I had a glass of our favorite to finish off the afternoon. Oh, I bought a really cool hooded, zipper front jacket with the ABW logo and name.. We helped support the Brewer’s Guild by buying a couple of glasses, too.

The Hula Hut on the water in Austin

They serve good Margaritas

The Hula Hut is a Tex-Mex restaurant with, as their website states, a Hawaiian twist. For 25 years it has served delicious meals offering an “island feel” with thatched roofs, bamboo walls and outdoor decks overlooking Lake Austin.

Sher and I went to this establishment with our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter for a Friday night outing. The weather proved to be too cool and windy for an outside table, so we opted for a table inside.

The Hut has a festive atmosphere

Tortillas made fresh daily

 

 

 

 

 

Even the menu items have a flavor of Hawaii. Sher had the “Tubular” taco, vegetarian style. This thing was huge, flanked by black beans and rice. Our daughter-in-law and granddaughter had grilled Hawaiian chicken and grilled salmon, respectively. Our son and I both ordered Five-O Fajitas (get it?). He had the BBQ Tai and I had the Hawaiian beef and shrimp.

Veggie “Tubular” taco

Grilled salmon

Hawaiian beef and shrimp fajitas

Grilled Hawaiian chicken

The service was excellent, our waiter George really took good care of us. This is a very good restaurant, great atmosphere, service, and marvelous food. We all thoroughly enjoyed our choices and this most enjoyable evening out with family.

A fun luncheon with our granddaughter

Things worked out great for us to have a fun luncheon with our just turned ten year old granddaughter. As her school was out this week Sher and I could take her out to lunch. This has become somewhat of a tradition with her when we visit family in Austin.

Our daughter-in-law recommended that we dine at Mandola’s Italian Kitchen. There are several locations of this Texas original chain. We picked one reasonably close.  Our granddaughter had been there before, and approved of this choice for lunch.

Well stocked dessert counter, one of two!

Wine bar, vacant for the lunch crowd.

 

 

 

 

 

Not only is the food menu extensive, but in addition you’ll find wonderful desert counters and a well filled wine bar. You order your meal at the counter, pay there and get your order number sign. Drinks and tableware are self serve with plenty of take home containers also available. Once seated you are immediately served a traditional basket of fresh bread with olive oil sprinkled with spices for dipping.

Fresh warm bread with oil for dipping

That’s a lot for a kid’s meal!

Our meals were brought to our table in a very short time. The presentation was good and portion sizes were quite impressive. Our Granddaughter ordered the chicken fingers and fries. She got three huge “fingers” plus a stack of fries. There was enough there for an adult meal.

Loaded chopped Italian salad bowl

Gnocchi with meat sauce

Sher thoroughly enjoyed her Italian salad overflowing the bowl with greens, fresh mozzarella, green & black olives, and tons of other delectable veggies. I really liked the Gnocchi with meat sauce. (Little Italian dumplings with a tomato sauce of beef, pork , garlic and veggies).

Main dining area decorated with soccer club flags

While the meal was very good and filling, what made this lunch special was the fact that we could share it with our granddaughter. Time with family is so precious. When family is far away it makes time intervals between visits seem way to long! The pandemic sure messed up our travel plans, and hopefully we’ll be able to spend more time with our scattered out kids and grandkids even more in the upcoming months.

 

Austin’s Lady Bird Lake at night

The Colorado River runs through Austin’s vibrant downtown. Flanked by parks, bike and hiking trails and entertainment venues, the river also widens and slows, prompting the name Lady Bird Lake after LBJ’s First Lady.

Striking view at dusk

Groupon led us to Lone Star Riverboat cruises, offering a chance to enjoy a sunset cruise and beautiful views of the remarkable and interesting architecture of Austin’s skyline. Lone Star has both a double deck “paddle wheeler” style boat. Sher and I and our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter chose to ride the open air pontoon boat for our sunset cruise.

Center building is either an owl or a nose hair clipper: locals laugh about it

Curved building is the new Google Headquarters, far right is one that looks like a thumb drive

We thoroughly enjoyed our slow paced tour up and down the waters. Our Captain of the craft gave a most interesting running commentary of the sights seen from the vantage point of the water. One interesting anecdote concerned the heights of the buildings. Formerly no Austin building could be taller than the State Capitol. However, one rich Texan donated a building that would be taller. Money talked, and the impressive skyline continues to grow in height.

Our cruise was slightly over and hour, and was reasonably priced with special kid’s rates and a nice Senior discount as well.