The “Beer Badlands” Of West Texas
People who know or follow us, know that we enjoy drinking great beer at a good brewpub. Brewpubs generally have servers who are both knowledgeable & passionate about their products, and also tend to have excellent food. However, once you get past El Paso, good beer becomes hard to find. The “Beer Badlands” is how I now refer to this region of Texas.
Big Bend Brewing Goes Out Of Business
Fortunately, we were able to get to Big Bend Brewing before they went out of business on New Year’s Eve. In fact, Shawna & I were there on their final day in operation. The beer was quite good, and the people we met were friendly. All in all it was a good time, and we did our best to help them finish off their remaining stock. This is the last time we would be near any good beer for a good while.
Located in Alpine, Texas, this brewery was well on their way to making beer history before it all went wrong. They had a great staff, they were winning awards, and distribution was growing. They were booming so well that they decided to expand and open a second brewery in San Antonio. What could possibly go wrong?
If you get ripped off over a million dollars, it can mess you up. Big Bend Brewing paid Diversified Metal Engineering (DME), a Canadian brewing equipment manufacturer, in full for the equipment needed to open their second brewery. However, DME defaulted on their loans to the Royal Bank of Canada and went out of business after taking deposits from several US based brewing companies. Unfortunately, the loss was too much to overcome for Big Bend Brewing.
After leaving the brewery, I soon noticed that they gave me back someone else’s credit card. To their benefit the card looked very similar to mine, and coincidentally the card they gave me had a very similar last name as mine. We went back to fix the issue and found the people whose card got switched with ours, but the bartender had already called our bank to report the card lost. Believe me, getting a new card can be a real pain when you live as a digital nomad.
The good news is they refunded our tab for the evening so we drank for free. As an added bonus, a couple of these bartenders relocated 6 hours away to Real Ale Brewing & Distillery in Blanco, Texas, which is where we are currently staying. Five months later they recognized our crazy faces as soon as we walked in and gave us the first round of flights free. We all had a good laugh, and it was nice to make new friends as soon as we rolled in to Blanco.
Star Parties & Deer Galore
The stay at Marathon Motel & RV Park was super cool. This is nice peaceful rv park near Big Bend National Park. We had a full hook up RV spot until they were full and our reservation ran out, but then they allowed us to take a boondocking space for the tent price. Thanks to our solar panel (Affiliate Link) & generator (Affiliate link) that works great for our budget!
They are known for star gazing in Marathon. On the Bortle Light Pollution Scale Marathon is a Scale 1. That means it’s dark! As dark as it gets without going to space! Nearly every night they have star parties, where experts line up high powered telescopes and give you a private tour of the stars. It’s awesome! Go to Marathon Hotel & RV Park’s website to see some of their star photos as well as a live webcam of the skies from their property! They actually have some people that set up their telescopes here with remote controlled technology so they can control their telescopes from home.
No More Good Beer For Awhile
The only other small brewery in that area is at Brick Vault Brewery and Barbecue in Marathon, Texas. This little brewery had great BBQ and pretty good beer despite not having an IPA, however, you could never tell if they would be open or not. That seemed to be the case for most businesses around Marathon. Even though they had posted business hours, it would be a gamble if any given place would actually be open on any given day.
The other place we would recommend for food in Marathon is the Oasis Cafe. They have a good menu, good food & good prices. I had enchiladas & burgers while Shawna usually had the chicken strips. The local pizzeria was closed due to the family owners being on vacation.
No Starbucks around here, so it will be brew your own or V6 Coffee Bar.
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