A Bucket List Trip to Real Ale Brewing Company
Surrounded by majestic live oak trees, we found a spot with plenty of shade. We arrived a little early, but music was already emanating from the stage. We grabbed some beers and settled into a different shady spot around the fire pit. There was no fire going – the Texas summer sun provided the heat. Even though the temperature was in the 90s, we were comfortable in the shade of the live oaks. Our dog, Sammy, made himself comfortable on top of the fire pit.
Visiting Real Ale Brewing has been on our bucket list for years, so when we heard that Antonio Alacrán, aka @beerpedaler, aka Tony Drewry, was performing there, we jumped at the opportunity. It was time for a road trip to the hill country!
Real Ale Brewing Company
Real Ale is located in Blanco, Texas, and it has been around since 1996. It is the oldest brewery in the Austin area. Real Ale started out in the basement of Cranberry’s Antiques in downtown Blanco and was there for 11 years. All of the beer brewed at Real Ale is unfiltered and unpasteurized to preserve the full taste of the beers. And you won’t find Real Ale outside of Texas. They vow to distribute only in Texas to preserve the quality of the beer.
What started out in a basement, has grown to a 120 bbl brewhouse and a spacious Beer Garden. When we visited, the taproom was converted to a merchandise store/storage because of COVID, but now their taproom is open.
Real Ale Beers
While lounging in the shade of the live oaks and listening to Alacrán’s performance, we tasted some delicious new beers and some old favorites.
Cosmic Prairie – I chose this one because I saw their post about it on Facebook, and it looked so good. It is a wheat beer brewed with Kveik yeast and fresh pineapple. It had a nice creamy mouthfeel and did not disappoint.
Name Changer – I chose this one because I had never heard of it before. It is a Tropical Citrus Pale Ale. And it was tropical. And refreshing!
Hans’ Pils – This one is an old favorite. It’s crisp and hoppy. It’s a German-style pilsner, and it’s named after the brewery’s dog.
Axis IPA – Leo started off with an old favorite. Whenever he sees Axis IPA on draft, he’s got to have some. It is one of the best IPAs in the state of Texas.
Crispy Business – This one lives up to its name. It is super crispy and super crushable with grassy notes on the back end. It’s a Helles Lager, perfect for Texas summer.
Boombox Double IPA – It has tropical fruit flavors, with a tiny bit of coconut flavor. It has an array of hops: El Dorado, Amarillo, Idaho 7, and Strata.
Real Ale also has a distillery, so they also serve cocktails. We visited the weekend of the Blanco Lavender Festival, and they even had a special lavender cocktail. The taproom was closed, but they had a nice selection of beers and cocktails in the Beer Garden. They were also sampling their new seltzers called REAL Premium Hard Seltzer. They are actually really good. They have more flavor than some of the popular hard seltzers on the market. The Peach Pomegranate and the Melon Cucumber were especially tasty.
The Beer Garden
The Beer Garden forms a beautiful circle of live oaks surrounding a stage. But this is no ordinary stage. The stage was brought over from the original Threadgill’s in Austin. The same stage that held Janis Joplin!
There are picnic tables and chairs in different sections of the circle. It was a great place for our dog, Sammy, who gets nervous around other dogs, because there was plenty of room for us to find a spot away from other dogs. We chose to sit around the fire pit. There was ample seating when we visited, but pack chairs with you just in case. Also, pack something to eat. They do not have a restaurant or a food truck. Just don’t bring in any outside alcohol. You’ll have plenty of beverages to choose from anyway.
Visiting Real Ale
The weekend of the Lavender Festival is a great time to visit Blanco and the brewery. There’s so much going on that you’ll want to stay the weekend. You can hear speakers present, and you can enjoy some live music. You can attend the market, and you can explore downtown. They ask that you do not bring your dogs to the festival.
This year Real Ale Brewing Company turns 25! They’re having a big bash on September 18th, 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm.
Follow Real Ale so you can watch out for more information and a link to buy tickets.
We had such a great time visiting Real Ale. The live oaks will live on in my memory, and Alacrán’s blend of stories and song was comfort food for the soul. He was hilarious. If you get a chance, go see him perform. He is a gifted storyteller.
When you’re ready for a road trip to the hill country, stop by Real Ale for a fun, relaxing experience.
Their Beer Garden is open Thursday – Sunday, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm.