The so-called “beer garden beers” are dry and drinkable, made to be enjoyed outside on a warm fall afternoon—try the Belgian-style tripel, the brewery’s “tribute to the Trappist monks and to Vista’s pure, limestone-filtered water.” But it’s the barrel-aged beer program that sets Vista apart from the rest. Featuring brews made with Hill Country ingredients—like honey, persimmons, agarita, and juniper—and fermented in freshly emptied red wine barrels, these beers offer a wine-like complexity and depth.
The Rosanna Barrel-Aged Brett Ale is a Lambic-style beer brewed with a Brettanomyces strain of yeast called Lambicus and aged in barrels from Bending Branch Winery in Comfort, Texas. To highlight the distinct transformations enabled by different grape varietals, Watterson decided to age the base beer in four batches, using barrels that once contained aglianico, tannat, petite sirah, and tempranillo grapes. “I literally pick up the barrels the day the winery is bottling, and barrel down the beer the next day,” he says. Try all four and note the nuanced shift in flavors—and then wander outside to enjoy the brewery’s scenic vistas.