We woke to a cold rain Wednesday morning and that managed to persuade us that this day would not be the day to go stand outside in a two-hour waiting line for Franklin Barbecue in Austin as we had planned. No, but there were other options – options that would use the change in weather to our advantage. We waited for the rain to pass then, dressed in our warmest clothes (which wasn’t much since we hadn’t considered the possibility of 50-degree weather), we drove out to Driftwood and The Salt Lick, one of our other very favorite Texas barbeque restaurants. The combination of the weather and late-afternoon time-of-day had the normally packed parking lot nearly empty so we were certain there would be no two-hour wait here today. Inside was just as empty as the parking lot but there was plenty of meat smoking over the open pit and that made it easy to decide on the all-you-can-eat family-style option. The first round of brisket (both lean and moist), ribs, sausage and burnt ends arrived soon and we quickly forgot about Franklin’s. The waitress would bring a plate loaded with meat like this three times before we hit the wall and said, “that’s enough!”. It’s a good thing that they let you take home what you don’t finish there. “A very good thing“, says Jake and Peggy.
Our favorite hill country brewery was not too many miles away so our next stop would be Middleton Brewing over in Wimberley. Dennis Middleton’s vast home brewing experience led him and his wife to start this brewery and tap room a couple of years ago and the effort he puts into every brew is evident in the quality that we’ve tasted in every one of his beers. Today we both had a pint of the British ESB (extra special bitter) and I followed that up with the Garnet Belgian Amber. After tasting the Pepperhead, an ale made with Jalepenos (no heat but a wonderful taste), I was tempted to have a pint but we had miles to drive to get home so I’ll look forward to that pint on our next visit. We also had a sample taste of their Pumpkinhead. Neither of us normally care for fruit or other flavored beers and we were told that Dennis doesn’t either. But this one had a very good spicy flavor and, again, you can actually taste the quality. On our last visit here back in April, Dennis told us that they were losing their lease on this space and he was probably going to just close it down as he was ready to retire. As disappointing as that news was I could certainly understand it. However, tonight we learned that they have bought a new place just a couple of miles down the road and will soon be expanding. That is great news for them, us and Central Texas!