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.
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.
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.
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.
Nestled among the wooden corrals and brick façades of the historic Fort Worth Stockyards district, Cowtown Winery pairs meats and cheeses with red, white, semisweet, and dessert wines handcrafted by an in-house vintner. Amid shelves stocked with emerald rows of bottles, the winery’s tasting bar hosts daily samplings of four premium wines such as the tart Silver Spur red and a pinot grigio with subtle aromas of apple, pear, and aged stetson hat. Handmade gifts crafted by Texan artists portray an array of southwestern motifs, and live acoustic music on the weekends helps to inspire first-time winemakers as they consult with vintners to design custom labels and concoct up to 29 bottles of their own signature wine.
More than 325 bottles of international wine fill Zambrano Wine Cellar’s shelves and its climate-controlled wine cellar, arranged by chef, wine enthusiast, and owner Cef Zambrano. When not hobnobbing with celebrities such as Harrison Ford, Nolan Ryan, and Katie Couric, Zambrano coordinates a menu of bistro fare to harmonize with his library of wine selections, which received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2009. Zambrano presents updated takes on Mediterranean favorites, crafting small plates of escargot broiled in garlic butter and shallots, as well as four types of bruschetta topped with tomato, chicken, duck, or fillet tips. Diners can dive into shared nibbles with custom plates of international meats and cheeses or pizzas topped margherita-style or with signature spanish ham.
Zambrano’s prized glass wine cellar sits behind a smooth stone bar, inlaid with variegated amethyst that glows as it catches the light better than an outfielder with a magnifying glass. While perched at its high-backed leather banquettes, diners can sip from the 50-plus list of wines by the glass while gazing at a flat-screen TV in the corner or admiring the custom art on the dining room’s exposed-brick walls. In the front of the dining room, gauzy orange curtains frame sheets of sunlight that illuminate simple wooden tables, each adorned with a single flower that provides color and an amuse-bouche for hungrier guests. A sidewalk patio offers al fresco dining and bustling sights of Sundance Square.