As part of the twentieth edition of our Where to Eat Now package, which looks at our favorite to-go dishes from restaurants that opened in 2020, we’ve paired it with a look at a few great new offerings (or in one case, a wider release) from Texas breweries, wineries, and distilleries.
Real Ale Boombox Double IPA
$9.99 per six-pack
If heavy IPAs are not your thing, never fear. This new offering from Blanco’s Real Ale Brewing Co. weighs in at only 8.1 percent alcohol, which is fairly low for a double IPA these days. But it’s loaded with four varieties of hops and still packs a punch.
Saint Arnold H-Town Pils
$9.99 per six-pack
This new Bohemian-style pilsner is available only in Saint Arnold Brewing Company’s hometown of Houston, for now. It’s wonderfully biscuity and crispy, two attributes that are hallmarks of this style, which originated in the Czech Republic and is darker than German pilsners.
Oddwood Brewing Magic Dance
$16 per 750-ml bottle
This selection from a rustic Austin brewpub is a wood-aged saison, refermented with sauvignon blanc grape juice. It’s dry and complex, a perfect beer to hold on to for a special occasion (who needs champagne?) or to pop open with almost any dinner.
2017 Burklee Hill Vineyards Malbec
An excellent red for pairing with Texas barbecue, this full-bodied malbec from the High Plains offers tart cherry notes and aromas of rich black plum, dusty earth, and baking spice, with a touch of smoke on the finish.
2018 Texas Heritage Vineyard Estate Malbec
Another sensational malbec, this wine could easily be mistaken for one of its Argentine cousins. Aromas of violets and blackberry cordial give way to notes with an earthy complexity and an elegant, fruity mid-palate that finishes with well-integrated tannins.
2019 Grower Project Petite Sirah
The festive label tempts you to taste this fresh and fruity red from Bear Vineyards, in San Saba County. It features notes of fruit punch and pepper and is juicy and playful on the palate. Enjoy slightly chilled with something from the grill.
2019 French Connection Picpoul Blanc
This is a perfectly refreshing white from the High Plains to lead into the warmer Texas months, with notes of white flowers, tropical fruit, salty sea spray, and a lemony finish.
2019 Ron Yates Winery Carignan
Though this red grape is typically used to blend with other Rhône varieties in Southern France, it masterfully takes center stage with this wine. Notes of pomegranate and tart cherry are framed by baking spice and dried savory herbs. The palate is fresh with pleasant juiciness—a perfect wine for the warmer months of spring.
Balcones Texas Pot Still Bourbon
Smooth and nutty with a toffee-like sweetness, this straight bourbon from Balcones Distilling, in Waco, was crafted in copper pot stills and aged more than two years in barrels, marrying an all-American spirit with traditional old-world whiskey heritage.
Violet Crown Spirits Midnight Marigold Bitter Cordial
Bastrop’s Violet Crown Spirits, the state’s first absinthe producer, offers a winning line of Texas-inspired liqueurs, including this floral and earthy version of amaro. Made in partnership with Austin’s celebrated Midnight Cowboy bar, it has a bittersweetness and an exotic spice that add another dimension when subbed for Campari in the classic Negroni.
Ironroot Republic Distilling Texas Drought Gin
Noted for its bourbons and whiskeys, this Denison-based distillery also produces a stunning London-style dry gin, which is now more widely available. It features notes of juniper and coriander, along with Texas pecan, ginger peel, and lemongrass.
Kooper Family Barrel Reserve Rye
Texans may have a thing for bourbon, but it’s time rye received a little love. This blend of straight rye whiskies aged four and six years from Ledbetter’s Kooper Family is just the place to start. With notes of dried cherry, caramel, and aniseed, the palate is smooth and creamy with a long cinnamon and black pepper finish.
Andalusia Whiskey Company Bottled in Bond Single Malt
This limited-release whiskey from Andalusia, in Blanco, is particularly unique with its bottled-in-bond status, a pre-Prohibition standard that requires the whiskey to be distilled in one season, by one master distiller, in a single distillery. (It can’t be a blend of whiskeys.) It must also be aged for four years in a new charred American oak barrel in a bonded warehouse. This 100 percent malted barley offering is rich with notes of sweet red fruit, milk chocolate, and nutty toffee.
This article originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “Where to Eat Now’.” Subscribe today