Bear Creek Spirits & Wine breathes life into stale shindigs with a bountiful selection of snacks, mixers, glassware, and celebratory cigars. Cocktails can be deliciously blended using muddlers, shakers, and strainers with nonalcoholic mixers by Mr & Mrs T, including the classic bloody-mary mix ($5.99 for 64 oz. bottle), the tangy margarita mix ($4.49 for 1 L.), and the thick accents of a white russian. Chips and snacks ($0.99+) savor the flavor of any party table and can also become a strategic moat when placed around a wall of coolers. Liquid takes a distinct shape when bordered by exotic glassware, including the stocky Lolita Birthday shot glass ($12), the full-bodied BFF wine glass ($25), and the top-heavy Beach Diva martini glass ($25). Care for your bottles with aerators and foil cutters, or use cork cages to keep your souvenir stoppers from flying away. Smugly infiltrating the store with sweet aromas, an army of cigars including Cohibo Toro ($16.99), Ashton Churchill ($10.99), and Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story ($7.99), file into the in-store humidor and brag about whose leaves are the most desired.
Brenden "Stubby" Stubblefield, a Texas Tech University scholar studying animal science, bent his head intently over his latest lab project: home-brewed beer. After an exercise with yeast sparked Stubblefield's interest, he taught himself to brew beer to suit his own tastes. As he learned, he noticed the lack of a home-brewing supply store in the area and resolved to start his own with the help of his family. Stubblefield says that he loves his career because, "I get to talk about beer all day. It's like a dream job to me." Other staff members are just as passionate about home brewing, talking with customers and answering questions about introductory home-brewing kits and high-end brewing equipment, some of which the store manufactures.
In addition to equipment, the store carries brewing ingredients such as hops, grains, and a selection of 85 different malts in its own room. Stubblefield also leads home-brewing classes complete with a brief history of beer and a brewing demonstration for students who wish to buy their own supplies and continue the beer-creation process at home. Along with bolstering beer-brewing hobbies, Stubby's Texas Brewing carries hundreds of wine kits and high-end wine making equipment for those who prefer to grapes over grains.
More than 65 vivid clan tents cover the grounds at each year’s Texas Scottish festival, where Scots strut proudly around, wearing kilts and displaying their clan tartans. The notes of bagpipes float through the air, blasted from the lungs of talented soloists or from the year’s featured pipe-and-drum band. Market stalls show off Scottish and Celtic wares, from kilts and tartans to artisan Celtic jewelry and art. Competition flourishes amid Scot-descended attendees and curious festgoers at professional or amateur athletics as well as in an all-Scottish-breed dog show. While multitudes of Scottish beers wet whistles and fortify bagpiping or kilt-twirling courage, food vendors sell American fair food alongside traditional Scottish sundries that include meat pies, Scotch eggs, and haggis—chopped meat cured in a sheep’s stomach to the sound of Highland lullabies.
The chefs at La Buena Vida Vineyards orchestrate symphonies of cheeses, vegetables, and spreads to create four varieties of thematic appetizer boards. Munch on complimentary crackers and tuck grapes into cheeks before nibbling on the tuscan board's genoa salami, manchego cheese, and spinach-parmesan dip. Or, opt for the veggie board, which offers an edible constellation of grilled artichoke hearts, cheese-stuffed red peppers, and a mozzarella that has been marinated in a spice blend whose recipe is heavily guarded, much like the final resting place of George Washington's axe. The strong flavors of olives compliment the subtle flavors of the mediterranean board's all-natural hummus, which steadies palates in preparation for soft, creamy Boursin cheese.