Monday, April 4, 2016

Austin Weekend: Jester King Brewery and Salt Lick BBQ

As those of you who read my blog may know, I travel quite a bit for work.  One of the perks is being able to leverage things like airline miles... so Dan and I decided in January to book a 4-day weekend in Austin, Texas!

One of the things Dan was looking most forward to was visiting Jester King Brewery and his friend Jeff, who started the brewery.  So we didn't waste any time, hopping into a Car2Go (more on that in another post) and driving straight there from the airport!

It couldn't have been a more perfect day to visit the brewery.

The place has grown a ton since Dan's first visit there, and it was packed!  Lines to get beer were long, but everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time.  Being in the Texas Hill Country was definitely beautiful, and the whole place reminded me more of a country winery than any other brewery I've been to... and I mean that in a complimentary way!  I loved it out there.

We were able to join one of Jeff's tours to see the inside of the brewery space; Dan loves seeing how different and unique breweries are doing things!

(left) Jeff and (right) Happy Dan

Another perk?  Fresh off seeing them in February on my San Antonio trip, my friend JC and her daughter M made the drive to see us for the day too!  M loved the ice in our beer bucket.  We sampled a bunch of beers, including some of the many offered at Jester King that are from other breweries, wineries, and cideries.

But drinking beer makes me hungry!  So we headed about twenty minutes south to another crowded venue: Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood.  Dan joked that I jammed his two must-haves for Austin into one day, but it made sense since we were already out in Hill Country.  The parking lot was packed, and the line just to check in was long...  we were given a 90-120 minute wait time, but we were seated more around 60 minutes after we arrived.  You can also order food "to go", which was a 45 minute wait, which I noticed a lot of families did.  (Everything is cash only, FYI.)  There's a children's play area with tons of tables, so people brought their food out there.

The long wait didn't deter us (although JC and Dan will tell you I did devolve into a hangry state for a bit).  We took M to the playground (she loved doing the slide over and over!) and I got to see if the Doctor was in his TARDIS... he must have been eating ribs.

Once we were seated, we ordered right away to chow down!  All of us adults indulged in Thurman's Choice plates with brisket, pork ribs, and sausage.  I had a double helping of the potato salad (one scoop substituted for slaw, which isn't my thing) and they bring you pickles and bread if you ask.  I'd eaten at the Salt Lick in Round Rock on a visit back in 2011, so I was excited to eat at the original.  The brisket was outstanding as I remembered, and the potato salad doesn't have mayonnaise from what I can tell; it's more of their yellow BBQ sauce than anything.  But I think this trip my favorite was the sausage!  I couldn't get enough of it.

Dan watched M while JC and I went to check out their big open pit.  LOOK AT THE MEAT.  I mean, hello.  Amazing.  Welcome to Texas.  Thank you, ma'am.

Me and JC

What better way to start our Austin vacation?

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