A recent Saturday scenic drive around the region took us to historic Fort Stockton, with a pit-stop on the way back home at Marathon’s Brick Vault. We’d been watching the construction of the property for a while and wanted to check out the finished space, which opened this past spring. Barbecue sounded pretty good, too.
The Gage Hotel owns the Brick Vault Brewery & Barbecue, just a stroll from the hotel and its famous White Buffalo Restaurant and Bar. Brick Vault sits on what was the town’s mercantile back in 1886, and later became a bank, with the bank vault still intact. The building had different uses over the last 130-or-so years, and was a Gulf Gas Station in the 1930s. It spent some time as the Famous Burro bar until a few years ago, when it was sold to the hotel’s owner. Gulf décor can be found inside, paying homage to what once was.
Brewmaster Brodie Pierce uses locally grown hops from the Ruach Farm in Alpine for his brews, all brewed on-site in the back room. Never bottled or canned, the beer is brewed by the barrel and served in the restaurant. You can see the brewpub action through a wall of windows behind the shuffleboard table.
Pitmaster Adam Molina smokes all of the meats on-site daily, and sells it by the pound and by the plates until it’s sold out. While we didn’t sample any of the beer made on site in their brewery, we did enjoy their barbecue.
My husband ordered sliced brisket and housemade jalapeno cheddar sausage with a side of coleslaw. I ordered the smoked turkey, pulled pork and borracho beans. I had every intention of sharing mine but ended up eating it all myself, once I got a taste of the housemade barbecue sauces.
If there’s pulled pork or smoked turkey on the menu, there’s about a 99% chance that I’m going to order it. My husband typically orders brisket, lean. The smoked turkey was flavorful and tender, and the same goes for the pulled pork. I liked the “original” barbecue sauce with my turkey, and the “tangy” sweeter sauce with my pulled pork. My husband’s brisket and sausage were very tasty, too.
No leftovers to take home, yet we were stuffed. I don’t think I could’ve eaten a banana pudding or a bite of peach cobbler if I’d wanted to. We discussed on the drive that it was a little odd not to get pickles and onions with our barbecue, and when I later went on their social media, found that the plates were all served with pickled onion, pickled jalapenos, and pickles. Maybe you have to ask for them? I probably could’ve found room for the pickled goods with my smoked meats.
The patio seating is the perfect spot to sit back with a plate of barbecue, a cold pint of local brew (or iced tea, or cocktail from the full bar), and enjoy a West Texas afternoon. Located at 102 NW 1st St (Highway 90 W.) in Marathon, they are open Thursday 4-10 p.m., Friday 4-10 p.m., Saturday noon-10 p.m. and Sunday 12-5 p.m. Credit cards are accepted, and it appears that well-mannered dogs are welcome on the patio.
Slow-Cooker Borracho Beans
1/2 pound bacon
1 pound dry pinto beans
4 cups water
2 cups beef broth
6 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh jalapeno (seeds & membranes removed), diced, optional
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 (15-ounce) can Rotel (diced tomatoes & green chiles)
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Place beans in a colander, rinse well, and remove any stones or shriveled beans.
Cook bacon until just crispy. Drain, chop, and set aside.
Pour beans into slow cooker. Cover with water and beef broth. Add chopped bacon, garlic, jalapeño (if using), cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or until almost done. Stir in Rotel and chopped cilantro, cover, and cook for an additional hour or until tender (total cooking time will probably be between 8 to 10 hours). When beans are done, season with salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste (I add 1/2 teaspoon of salt at a time, tasting in between).
Printed with permission of the Alpine Avalanche.