Day Trips & Beyond: Mid-August Travel Updates

Foeder for thought and a beer for a good cause

August is really heating up, and following CDC guidelines is still the cool thing to do. Here’s some travel news from around the state and beyond.

A limited-edition brew, Good Grief is the collaboration of five craft brewers to be released this fall. (Photo courtesy Roughhouse Brewing)

Five area craft breweries have partnered to create a collaborative foeder (pronounced “FOOD-er”) beer with a portion of sales going to support first responders. Labeled “Good Grief,” the beer is a one-of-a-kind blend of foeder beers from Roughhouse Brewing of San Marcos, True Anomaly Brewing Company of Houston, Jester King Craft Brewery of Austin, Oddwood Ales of Austin, and Lazarus Brewing Company of Austin.

“The whole idea came about while we were sitting around during the shutdown,” says Alex Pasternak, co-founder of Roughhouse Brewing. “And we were thinking, is there something we can do with our friends to help out?”

The beer is on sale now for delivery sometime this fall. Pasternak says Good Grief will be a higher-gravity, dark, full-bodied, bourbon-barrel-aged beer with a fruit addition.

“We’re basically blending our foeder beers into kind of a megabeer,” she says.

Each brewery will distribute a limited number of 500-ml bottles at $15 each.

Foeder beers are fermented in a large oak vats rather than the traditional stainless steel tanks. Pasternak says Roughhouse beers are very yeast-forward instead of hops-focused, and the porousness of the wood helps the yeast cultures to continue from batch to batch.

Donations to First Responders First will provide help to frontline health workers with essential supplies, services, and resources for them, their families, and their patients.

If you’re out and about this Saturday, Aug. 15, on RR12 between San Marcos and Wimberley, stop by Roughhouse Brewery to sample their new summer witbier Modern Light. It will be available in bottles to go or on tap all day with free music from Much 2 Much from 3 to 6pm.

The Messina Hof Winery and their tasting rooms in Fredericksburg (pictured) and Grapevine are open with limited service including the introduction of a new line of wines. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

The award-winning Messina Hof Winery has launched Bonarrigo Family Wines, a new line of wines. Using Italian varietals grown in Texas, the first releases of the premium wines feature a dry red blend and a dry white blend. Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo were pioneers in the Texas wine industry, starting the Bryan winery more than 40 years ago that continued seven generations of winemaking in the family. The winery has added two other locations which reopened in early August. State rules require patrons to purchase food in order to purchase wine. The Estate Tasting Room in Bryan is open Thursday through Saturday noon to 8pm and Sunday noon to 6pm, with curbside service available daily from noon to 6pm. The Grapevine Winery in downtown Grapevine is open for on-premise purchase or consumption Thursday through Sunday noon to 7pm, with curbside pickup daily from noon to 6pm. Messina Hof’s Hill Country Winery on Highway 290 outside of Fredericksburg is open Saturday and Sunday noon to 6pm, with curbside service available daily from noon to 6pm.

Big Bend National Park reopened on Aug. 7 for day use only. Most paved roads within the park and trails are open to visitors. The Panther Junction store and gas station has reopened and the visitor center is staffed part time. Campgrounds, the Chisos Basin Lodge, backcountry trails, river access, and Boquillas Crossing continue to be closed. The gates were shuttered after residents of the park were diagnosed with COVID-19. The park and Brewster County fall under a mandatory mask order, plus a limit on group size to five individuals or persons in the same household. Keep in mind that temperatures in the park during the summer often exceed 100 degrees for most of the day.

As if the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t bad enough, Padre Island National Seashore was then hit by Hurricane Hanna. Repairs are underway and the park expects to open on a limited basis in late August. Public sea turtle hatchling releases have been suspended for the season. The park does not require reservations, but entry passes can be purchased online. Free entrance days are the National Park Service Anniversary on Aug. 25, National Public Lands Day on Sept. 26, and Veterans Day on Nov. 11. Nueces County placed all county beaches under a curfew and a prohibition of vehicles on the beach until Aug. 17, but that could be extended.

The organizers of MerleFest, the mega-cool bluegrass festival in Wilkesboro, N.C., announced the music will move to Sept. 16-19, 2021. Normally held the last weekend of April, the 2020 festival was rescheduled and then canceled because of the coronavirus epidemic. Officials said in a press release that the move to a fall date is for next year’s festival only. Plans are for the 2022 festival to return to the spring. MerleFest began in 1988 in memory of Eddy Merle Watson, the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson. The festival has grown to be a unique blend of Appalachian music, gospel, Americana, classic rock, and many other musical styles. One of the premier music festivals in the nation, MerleFest is the primary fundraiser for the Wilkes Community College Foundation.

Gerald McLeod has been traveling around Texas and beyond for his "Day Trips" column for more than 25 years. Keep up to date with his journeys on his archive page.

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Day Trips, COVID-19, coronavirus, travel, Roughhouse Brewing, Messina Hof Winery, Padre Island National Seashore, Merlefest, Big Bend National Park, True Anomaly Brewing, Lazarus Brewing, Jester King Craft Brewery, Oddwood Ales

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