Big Bend Real Estate Guide August 2022 - Page 18

Chisos Brewing Co . lead brewer Tim Fielder offers samples at the Spirits of the West Wine & Beef Fest in Alpine .
Some of the ingredients used in the recent batches of homebrew .
Continued from page 14 .
Tim is very interested in community feedback , and any time he offers samples , he also requests it . He wants to make a product that people are happy to drink , and he takes all comments into consideration . But some recipes he makes just for the fun of it , like his recent batch of milk stout . He wanted to make something inspired by Mexican hot chocolate , so he added cocoa and cinnamon sticks to the post fermentation phase . The result was a unique and flavorful dessert beer .
The taproom promises to be welldesigned , but above all , it ’ s a family business . Guy emphasizes that it will be a family-friendly place for the community to gather .
The Chisos Brewing Company taproom will have a variety of spaces , including a meeting room , a small event space , indoor and outdoor seating and a sunset viewing deck .
The Fielders are most inspired by the intimacy of brewpubs in London . London is a place where housing is in short supply and living quarters are often cramped apartments . The brewpubs offer a place outside of home where people can socialize , and their intimate scale means that people are often socializing with neighbors .
To help design the project , the family has hired multiple consultants , including a brewery wastewater expert , to insure the highest standards of functionality .
Another special connection is with the taproom ’ s design firm , Branch , owned by Alpine daughter Abbey Branch . Abbey brings a raw and humble exuberance to the table . She ’ s creative , eclectic , and loves the diversity of the Big Bend , from the barrios , to the distinct architectural and artistic draw of Marfa , to the cowboy cool of Fort Davis . On a recent outing with a different set of clients , Abbey played tourist guide , taking her friends to each village in the Big
Tim Fielder making homebrew .
Bend . She was struck by what they had to say about Alpine . They said that each town had a distinct vibe and personality and that Alpine was by far the most beautiful of them all – BUT – Alpine didn ’ t seem to know who it was and was missing out on opportunities . That broke Abbey ’ s heart – she grew up in Alpine , but like many of her generation , she was encouraged to leave the area to build her career . Now she thinks it ’ s time to come back and focus on her hometown . She ’ s a cheerleader for Alpine ’ s unique position in the Big Bend .
She came across an old magazine clipping that dubbed Alpine “ the rooftop garden of Texas .” With a little more self-awareness and confidence , Alpine could bring back the bustling businesses and active civics life of yesteryear . Abbey wants to see her beautiful hometown experience a renaissance of pride and self-realized activity — a type of success that reflects its unique place in the world , culturally , geologically , and historically . “ There are so many ways Alpine can develop our identity by just being authentic ,” she says . Thanks to the Fielders ’ vision , Abbey has an opportunity to design an establishment that will reflect Alpine ’ s beauty and hopefully inspire its residents .
Abbey ’ s design features will include homages to Alpine ’ s railroad history , geologic context , cultural setting within the southside barrio , and its place within the International Dark Sky Reserve . She will incorporate as many natural materials as she can get her hands on , and is working with Marble Mountain , an ambiguous geologic feature which Abbey says was once a source of marble . She envisions an interior with geodes , agates , sparkling stars , railroad ties , handsome old-west style bars , seating as comfy as the clouds , and an exterior that matches the local adobe and desert aesthetic .
“ Alpine deserves something nice ,” she says .
For now , the site of the taproom sits on an
empty field on Murphy Avenue , but soon , construction will begin , and the Fielder family dream will take root .
Will it bring people together ? That ’ s the sincere hope of those working on the project , although the idea of a brewery on Alpine ’ s southside has been met with some hesitation .
There were concerns about the increase in traffic it may bring ( the taproom will bring in less heavy traffic than most of the neighboring businesses bring in ). There were concerns about the water usage ( the Fielder hired consultants to streamline and manage water usage very carefully ). There were concerns about what it would look like and the height of the building ( it isn ’ t taller than any of the other buildings in the same area ). But more frightening than any of that , is the sense that some have that this is going to be the beginning of the end for the southside barrio lifestyle .
The barrio neighborhoods of Alpine ’ s southside have a very special history , full of pride and perseverance through many generations . Residents do not want to lose their heritage and the idea that the southside could attract more attention and generate outside growth means for some that the very face of the southside is in danger of changing . That issue is much larger than one family owned and operated taproom , though . A critical look around Alpine — southside and beyond — reveals abandoned homes and businesses , dilapidated buildings , and few options , if any , for what to do on a Friday night . Murphy Avenue , dubbed Murphy Street some years ago , has long been the focus of business rejuvenation efforts . It currently boasts a wine bar , a restaurant , a plant and gift shop , a general store , an overnight rental , a coin-operated adult game room , a recently built law office and Saturday ’ s farmer ’ s market .
The taproom will be the first largescale new build the street has seen in a long time , though , and that is scary . But if the Fielders can pull off their dream , they will have built a place that nurtures local identities rather than destroys them . �
Continued on page 18 .
18 Big Bend Real Estate Guide • August 2022