In 1847, William Rahr brought his passion for beer from Rhineland, Germany—where his ancestors had been stirring hops for years—to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, where he opened his own brewery and, later, a malt house. William's passion passed through the generations, eventually inspiring his great-great-grandson Fritz Rahr to open his own brewery with his wife, Erin, in 2004.
Today Rahr & Sons Brewing Company—whose Iron Thistle brew was named a National Grand Champion at the United States Beer Tasting Championships in 2009—pours more than 5,000 barrels each year. Encompassing amber lagers, bocks, IPAs, and more, Rahr's lineup of year-round and seasonal brews take their names from weather systems, homely dogs, buffalo hindquarters, and the storm clouds William saw on his voyage to America. The 20,000-square-foot facility welcomes visitors on popular Saturday and Wednesday tours, where fans can watch grain swirl and bob before it ships off to local farms and bakeries as a special treat for cattle and unique ingredient in artisanal bread.
Located on Main Street of Grapevine, Texas, D'Vine Wine treats visitors to countless varieties of wine paired with savory cheese and charcuterie plates. In the tasting and dining area, honeycombed wine racks and wooden barrels line the earth-toned walls, allowing visitors to imagine they've been swept away to the rustic cottage of a Tuscan vintner or the panic room of a billionaire. Guests sip house-made sauvignon blanc, malbec, and fruit-infused wine, while customers consult with sommeliers to custom-make a batch of their own wine, replete with one-of-a-kind labels.
Featuring an extensive menu of creative American food—including The Reuben 1976, born on the restaurant and brewery's opening day—Humperdink's has served the mertroplex area for 36 years. Humperdink's boasts menu items such as barbecue ribs, sustainable seafood, steaks, gourmet burgers, and original buffalo hot wings, along with a number of award-winning microbrews crafted on the premises and served on tap.
Wine Down calls on local producers to help the wine bistro satiate patrons with artisan cheeses, a frequently changing menu of paninis and full-fledged entrees, and an extensive liquids list. Pair the sherry-vinegar-sauce-splashed bacon-wrapped quail ($14) or wild-mushroom mac 'n' cheese ($10) with a drink, or erect a grilled cheese sandwich using an arsenal of raw materials, including bread, cheese, toppings, heavy-duty locking C-clamps, and spread ($5+). For lighter noshing, a cheese plate presents a choice of three artisan cheeses and an accompaniment of either fruit and nuts or salami and olives (up to $24.99)
Gene Estes suspects that growing up in the 'dry' precinct of Abilene, Texas may have inspired his alcohol-based ingenuity; he crafted his first batch of wine from Concord grape juice when he was just 23. Years later, after holding various pharmaceutical jobs and putting to use his Masters in Microbiology, Estes' interest in wine re-emerged with a full and passionate force. Today, as the president and vintner of Lost Oak Winery, Gene works alongside resident winemaker Jim Evans to craft a host of award-winning wines. Among them is the 2012 Viognier, which scored a double gold in the renowned San Francisco Chronicle International Wine competition—meaning all five judges awarded the varietal with top scores before gilding the bottle twice in molten gold.
The winery itself offers both guided and self-guided tours, offering visitors a glimpse into the wine-making process complete with samples straight from oak barrels. Additionally, special events draw guests to the lush grounds for live music, wine club events, and the pre-Christmas holiday open house, where they can place preemptive wine orders with Santa.
When Birgit and Bruce Anderson first purchased their 2-acre property in Burleson, Texas, the new surroundings where they grew vegetables and raised farm animals reminded them of the then-popular television show Little House on the Prairie. The couple—who originally trained as a tax agent and sociology professor—and their daughters farmed the land for several years before a 1995 trip to Napa Valley seduced them into the vineyard lifestyle. After 10 years of studying grape-growing and winemaking, the Andersons opened Sunset Winery, which they've nicknamed and trademarked "The Best Little Wine House in Texas."
Since opening, the late-blooming winemakers have established themselves by winning multiple prizes for their wines and drawing a steady stream of visitors each year. Sunset's lauded bottles include Moon Glow merlot and Twilight Tango malbec, the latter of which won top accolades at the 2009 GrapeFest People's Choice Wine Tasting Classic, edging out other malbecs and a chagrined Susan Lucci.