As much as I've explored Austin and the vicinity, finding new places to check out can be difficult. I've been asking around a lot lately for ideas on historical sites to visit and just plain old interesting places to explore. Last week my mom came to the rescue with a place she had actually mentioned before, Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery in La Grange, Texas.
Located about 60 miles south of Austin, it's the perfect distance for a day trip from Austin with the drive being just over an hour. The park houses two historical sites and several nature trails including one along a bluff overlooking the town of La Grange and the Colorado River.
While we didn't get to go on the tour of the Kreische homestead (we were too busy walking around the grounds and taking photos), I definitely want to go back and take advantage of their free tours. They have free daily tours of the home but apparently Saturdays from October through May are the only days they offer tours of the brewery ruins. So a Saturday return it will be! The brewery was actually one of Texas' first running from 1860 to 1879 and specializing in German lagers which weren't being brewed in Texas yet because of the heat. From the brief description we were given by the ranger, it sounded like a pretty interesting process using tunnels and natural spring water.
The land was purchased in 1849 by German immigrant Heinrich Kreische. Initially just the family home, barn and smokehouse were built. (Shown above) It wasn't until 1860 that the separate brewery was built, becoming one of the first commercial breweries in Texas and the families main source of income.
HOW TO GET THERE FROM AUSTIN
- Take TX-71 East about 50 miles (depending on where you get on)
- Take exit onto TX-71 Business
- In about 1.5 miles turn right onto Country Road 137
- Take another right onto Country Road 135
- In .5 miles keep left onto Park Dr.
- Drive about .5 mile and the entrance to Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery will be on the left
WHAT TO SEE NEARBY
- While I didn't make it this time around, the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center has a quaint and interesting little museum featuring the history of Czechs in Texas.
WHERE TO EAT ALONG THE WAY
- Weikel's Bakery in La Grange (I believe I've mentioned them before but that's how much I love this place! I've been getting kolaches here for the last 15 years, definitely a must if you've got a sweet tooth.)
- Hruska's is another great place for kolaches although it's a little farther down TX-71 in Ellinger.
Photos by Jade Tree Photography and Dalena Vintage
DV Field Trips is a mini series featuring the places I explore around Texas, both as part of the DV vintage hunt and for my own personal pleasure. While I'm hoping it'll be a place where folks can get inspired to get out and explore this great state, it's mostly just an outlet for me to share my passion for history, travel and small town Texas. Follow along here or if you're on Instagram travel with us by searching #DVFieldTrip. Is there a place in Texas you love or would like to know more about? Send us an email - we're always looking for places to explore! In the meantime, enjoy!