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A Brew With a View

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Pull up a seat at Vista Brewing, the newest destination pub in Driftwood, Texas. 

Story and photo by Nick Barancyk

Balmy Sundays and strolls along the River Thames: These are just a couple fond memories engineer turned marketer Karen Killough treasures from her years spent living in England. But her most vivid recollections are of the destination brewpubs.

These all-day outings to rural pubs required a tromp through buttercups and green grasses to be treated with home-style fare and fresh, crisp beer.

It’s this idyll that Killough and her husband, Kent, wanted to replicate with Vista Brewing, an experience that’s as much about the atmosphere as it is about the brew, a place where families and friends can gather and enjoy the outdoors. When the couple returned to Austin in 2014, they saw the development of wineries and the untapped potential of burgeoning tourism.

“We wanted to create a place that fits into that wine-road ecosystem, but centered around beer,” Karen Killough says.

A closer look

The Killoughs didn’t want to just fit in. They wanted to form a symbiotic relationship with their neighbors and natural surroundings.

“We wanted the buildings to feel like they just appeared,” Karen Killough says.

This mentality is highlighted in the construction of the buildings, for which only 14 of the more than 600 live oaks and elms living on the property were removed. When combined with the rustic yet modern finishings in the pub itself, this gives the impression of an age that betrays Vista Brewing’s one-year build time.

From the sliding glass wall in the tasting room to the outdoor eatery, this space is all about connecting the inside with the out. A one-beer walking path beckons visitors across the property, with benches aplenty to sit, sip and enjoy the view. There’s even a playground and wooden swings scattered about for family outings.

By the pint

This philosophy of integrating the surrounding nature with the pub is epitomized in Vista Brewing’s suds. The Killoughs use pristine water from the Middle Trinity Aquifer for all their beers, employ wine barrels from surrounding vineyards to age it and even incorporate on-property flora into their recipes. Agarita berries, wood sorrel and honey from their own beehives will soon make their way into the brewery’s vats.

The beers at Vista Brewing are light, clean, beer-garden brews: kolsch, pilsners and lagers. However, the barrel program also opens Vista Brewing up to the world of more wine-like beers like lambics and aged ales.

Gather your family and friends and join the Killoughs for their pub’s grand opening Mother’s Day weekend.

To learn more about Vista Brewing, visit vistabrewingtx.com.

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