Wandering Westward Tour

Wandering Westward Tour

July 27th, 2019 - Silver Grizzly, Cedar Creek, ETX, Loco Meaux, Oil Horse

**The tour is not all inclusive. Please read below for what is included**

9:15 AM Morning Coffee at Silver Grizzly Espresso (100 W Tyler Street)

- Included in the price of your ticket

Silver Grizzly Espresso

Who needs the mega-corporate mechanizations of StarBigBucks when you can get far more superior product, but much cheaper in price, at Silver Grizzly Espresso here in beeeeeeeee-you-tee-full downtown Longview! Silver Grizzly Espresso is locally owned; it’s unassuming with no la-dee-da pretensions whatsoever; and it’s just a downright cool place to gather with friends and enjoy a wide-ranging variety of beverages and the inspiring spirit of community. Coffees of every variety under the sun, yummy-dang-doodle-delicious pastries that’ll smack your kisser giddy, and an amazingly courteous and down-to-earth staff all do the heart and mind good! Oh, and a stellar selection of beers on tap is available for consumption on premises or to-go in growlers of 32 and 64 ounces. In fact, I often visit Silver Grizzly Espresso to purchase just such a growler of sudsy merriment, because I enjoy supporting local businesses while refusing to be a slave to corporate banality. I invite you to do the same!

10:00 AM Leave Longview

11:45 AM Cedar Creek Brewery

- Cedar Creek is providing all Aleways passengers a SURPRISE! We don't even know what it is!!

Cedar Creek Brewery

Cedar Creek Brewery with its invitingly quaint, cozy, and family-friendly environment is the type of brewing facility of which I always feel right at home and never want to leave. It’s located in an old honky-tonk just up the road from Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points out in the middle of nowhere. The ambience is laidback rusticity with a rural beer hall vibe indoors and a lively biergarten climate outdoors, both of which promote the festive smile-inducing spirit of brew-inspired camaraderie permeating the entire place (perhaps also partially due to the amiable, good-humored Parrothead personalities roaming the premises!). Jim Elliott, Cedar Creek Brewery’s owner, is the nicest most pleasant soul you’ll ever have the supreme pleasure of meeting, and he treats each of his patrons like his best friend, no matter how brief the encounter might be. Oh, but what about the brews? Stellar sudsy magnificence through and through! During our visit, I dreamily downed the sweet and hoppy tropical paradise known as Dankosaurus Mango Tango IPA and the refreshingly soothing Good Intentions Helles (I grabbed a sixer each of the Lake Lager and Weize Ass Hefeweizen on the way out for consumption at home). Since we were visiting Cedar Creek Brewery during lunchtime, we decided to partake in some of the palate-caressing culinary delights of Plowboy’s Café onsite, serving the tastiest dang vittles this side of anywhere. We shared a basket of Fried Fried (macaroni and cheese bites, pickle fries, and fried green beans), and then my taste buds excitedly tangoed with the deliciously spectacular Patty Wagon Burger (a slab of Texas-raised Wagyu beef topped with grilled onions, melted Swiss cheese, and a dollop of Thousand Island dressing between two thick slices of Texas toast) and a side of perfectly crisp waffle fries. Gluttony at its best! I done died and gone to hog heaven, I tell ya!

Lunch

One menu item is included in the price of your ticket

1:45 PM Leave Seven Points

3:00 PM Arrive ETX Brewing

- ETX Brewing will graciously be providing all Aleways passengers a pint

ETX Brewing Company

Located in what was previously a tire store near the heart of downtown Tyler, ETX Brewing Company is a dazzling modern facility with hip, visually stunning local artwork enhancing the wall space. Two bars and an abundance of tables and chairs are spread evenly and neatly throughout the spacious two-tiered digs, as well as a couple of pool tables and a cluster of arcade games. Of course there is outdoor seating, too, and an area where bands setup shop and sonically sway the night away. An onsite kitchen, The Porch, offers a lip-smacking smorgasbord of upscale pub fare (burgers, nachos, sliders, salads, fried delights, sandwiches, wraps, breakfast plates, and The Porch Farm Challenge monstrosity), but if you’re like me, beer is the name of the game! What a gloriously diverse selection of brews is to be had at ETX Brewing Company… twenty or so on tap, hot damn! I’ve immensely enjoyed several of them during my previous visits to ETX and also while dining at various restaurants in the region. On this occasion, I tickled my gustatory perception with the subtle cherry swagger of the Downtown Cherry Brown American Brown Ale and the seductive awe-inspiring creaminess of the Nitro MaGinnis Dry Stout (could it be the younger Texas cousin of Guinness? Why, yes, it very well could be!). I also purchased a 4-pack each of Yard Bird Lager and Beyond The Lights Double IPA for pure personal satisfaction at a later date. As an added bonus to what was already quickly becoming the perfect brewery visit, I found the ETX staff to be the truest epitome of friendliness, hospitality, and neighborly charm. I surely did not want to leave, but the glowing splendor of sunset was beckoning us eastward home for one last beer and the inevitable countdown to slumbers.

4:30 PM Leave Tyler

5:00 PM Arrive Loco Meaux Brew Pub

- Loco Meaux Brew Pub will graciously be providing all Aleways passengers a pint or a flight

Loco Meaux Brew Pub

Good news for those of us who live in East Texas (and for those of you who don’t, it’s assuredly worth a road trip): a new brewery / restaurant opened in Kilgore recently! Loco Meaux Brew Pub is located downtown a couple of blocks from the towering rows of old oil derricks known as the World’s Richest Acre. The Saturday after it opened, I visited Loco Meaux for an afternoon of pints, pizza pie, and people watching. It’s a cozy unassuming place with an impressive display of brewing vessels strutting their stuff a few feet behind the bar. I found the staff to be ultra-friendly, attentive, and just downright full of good ol’ East Texas hospitality as they enthusiastically catered to all of my beer and grub needs. The three brews I savored (the Fire Road Helles, the German Altbier, and the 717 Sober Town Lager) were obviously formulated with the utmost of pride and dedication to the craft in a distinctly traditional European style. They paired perfectly with the tropical sweetness of the Caribbean Pizza that smacked my kisser good with a spicy tangy sauce generously covered in cheese, pineapple, and grilled chicken. I was so mightily impressed with Loco Meaux Brew Pub I returned for another romp with gluttony the following Wednesday whereupon I chowed down on the cheesiest, most scrumptious pizza known to mankind (six different cheeses if I’m not mistaken)! I enthusiastically washed it all down with the I.P.L. and another round of the German Altbier, and then I was smiling contentedly done! Whew-doggy, I do believe I’ve found my new happy spot!

6:30 PM Leave Kilgore

6:45 PM Arrive Oil Horse Brewing Company

Oil Horse Brewing Company

Oil Horse Brewing Company in vibrantly revitalized downtown Longview is the perfect gathering place for music, games, camaraderie, and of course beer-inspired merriment. The environs are charmingly downhome and rustic with knowing nods to the oil and logging industries of thriving days past, and the scuffed worn hardwood floor dates back to the building’s original occupant in the late 1800s / early 1900s, the burgeoning community’s first hardware store. The Oil Horse staff can always be counted on to be hospitable, attentive, and just downright Southernfied friendly. On a recent visit, laughter and lively conversation filled the air as we plunged into one pint after another of such delectable palate-tickling Oil Horse brews as 1877 Irish Red Ale, Landman Brown IPA, Ossamus Saison, Big Inch Milk Stout, and, my personal favorite, The Doghouse Belgian Dark Strong Ale. One of the brewery owners sat at our table, and we talked excitedly about some upcoming Oil Horse releases and also discussed the history of various downtown buildings and the businesses that were long ago located within those landmarks of days gone by: The Record Shop, Right On Fashions, Longview Hardware, Brown’s Shoes, Martin’s, and Riff’s. Ah, the memories... when life was simpler, and the moon was made of cheese. It’s truly encouraging to witness the abundance of energy and vitality that has returned to the charming old buildings along Tyler Street. Drink local, dine local, and enjoy local indeed!