Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Happy Cow, Hunter, Texas

After my nephew's graduation last Friday, three cars' worth of friends and relatives went with him to Happy Cow in "Downtown Hunter, Texas," which is a few miles north of New Braunfels. Actually, Happy Cow, which is a Hill Country watering hole, seems to be much of downtown Hunter.

Hunter used to be much larger than it is now -- population 200, as opposed to 30 -- and in 1890, it included "two saloons, a barbershop, a blacksmith, a wagonmaker, a meat market, and a gin and gristmill," according to the Handbook of Texas Online. It still has the two saloons, if you count Happy Cow and Riley's Tavern, which is just down the road. I also spotted a concrete products facility not far away.

Dees and his band play at Happy Cow sometimes. The place is a steel building with a concrete floor, a bar, a few tables and games, a stage, some neon beer ads, and a larger-than-life portrait of Nolan Ryan. We came for lunch, which was bar food. The cheeseburger was mighty tasty, and a Shiner beer was just the thing to go with it. Those unfamiliar with Shiner beer, a Texas institution, should look here. These days, it's actually available in most of the states, but I wouldn't think of ordering one anywhere but in Texas, preferably at a Hill Country watering hole.

Even better, one that has belt sander racing sometimes.

We weren't there for the races, but this is the age of YouTube, so it's easy to get a sense of them. Even if it looks like whoever was holding the camera had had a good many Shiners before the races.

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