One of my favorite things about San Antonio is how gosh darn family-friendly it all is. I love that this city is bursting with festivals, museums, restaurants, shopping, and parks, and I appreciate that they all seem to come with a playground or sandbox and a kids’ menu. I love taking my kids out and about and getting to know them while I get to know the Alamo City. People don’t look at you sideways when you ask for a highchair, and although I am sure they exist somewhere, a bathroom without a changing table is hard to come by.
All this being said, for a recent wedding anniversary my husband and I decided to do something kid unfriendly—a throwback to the days when it was just us. And, instead of the usual evening date, we decided to do something during the day. It felt rather fancy to leave the kids with a babysitter while they were awake! And we looked forward to spending time together while we were still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
So, the task was upon us: having fun without children.
Our first stop was the Pearl Brewery Farmers Market. This is one of my favorite places to go in town. I love the food, the people-watching, and being outside in the morning while drinking a cup of coffee. We often do this with the girls, which always adds a certain amount of “cat herding” into the day, making sure everyone is eating and drinking and going potty and not getting kidnapped or falling in the River. So we thought it might be nice to try it sans bebes. And it was. We lingered over our coffee and held hands while browsing vegetables. But everyone else brought their kids, so there was still a lot of the family feeling going on. The adorable kids running around made me miss our girls, and with my hands free I kept feeling as though I had forgotten something…
For our next attempt at childless fun we went to Dave and Buster’s. When I was a younger gal, this was a place where grownups went to play games and drink adult beverages. Perfect! A quick look at the website showed pictures of good-looking adult people playing games and drinking things out of glasses, not sippy cups. What my quick look at the website did not reveal was the kids’ menu. While it wasn’t quite as bad as Chuck E. Cheese’s, there were kids all over that place. But we had fun, and I got to confirm that my Skee-Ball arm is still working.
OK, we love kids. But now it felt like a challenge to do something without them. Just for a few hours, before we would go back to being Mom and Dad.
So we went.
As it turns out, despite my previous lack of knowledge, this place is not a secret! The number of people who showed up was overwhelming. Maybe close to a hundred of us were split into two tour groups of 50 or so. But they had it totally under control. Our tour was led by Mark McDavid himself, the founder and director of sales and marketing for the brewstillery. This man not only knows what he’s talking about, but he was pretty good at communicating it too. I won’t spoil the tour by recounting all the information here, but just know that you will come away with more information than you had before you got there. For example, I now know how Texas bourbon differs from other bourbons. I learned how Ranger Creek, to the best of their ability, tries to use local ingredients and help out local farmers. I also now completely understand the relationship between beer and whiskey. Short version: it’s friendly.
And you get to absorb all the information and fun facts with a beer in your hand! The $10 tour fee includes two beers and then either a third beer or a whiskey sampling (that’s full beers, folks, unless you indicate otherwise, and this lightweight mom who never goes out drinking certainly requested those half-pours!).
If you are a whiskey drinker—and, gentle reader, I am—then you can select the whiskey tasting at the end of the tour. Mark also led the group though our initial encounter with the distilled spirit, describing the different ways to taste and enjoy whiskey.
Be sure to register ahead of time! You can do this easily through Ranger Creek’s website. You do not have to pay when you register, though; you may do that the day of the tour.
The facility is not overly large, hence the micro in microbrew, but I would recommend dressing comfortably, as you are on your feet for much of it.
There is an opportunity at the end of the tour to purchase Ranger Creek products, and my husband and I stocked up. What a uniquely Texan gift idea!
The tour runs from 2:00–4:00 P.M., which allows for a nice lunch beforehand or an early dinner after, and makes for a nice option for some quality time for two people who tend to get tired by 8:00 P.M. these days.
The folks at Ranger Creek seem to be doing things right. They make a good product and, in true Texas style, seem to be friendly as all get out about sharing it with everybody.
The Ranger Creek Brewstillery is located at 4834 Whirlwind Dr., San Antonio, Texas 78217. (Look for the windmill!)
For more info about Ranger Creek tours, tasting, and events, check out their website.
And I know you know, but PLEASE TAKE IT EASY AND/OR DESIGNATE A DRIVER! It’s fun to have fun, but everyone on the road is somebody’s baby. Drive safely!