Waco-based Balcones Distilling continues to reap rewards for its contributions to the craft of producing fine whiskey.
At the 2016 International Whisky Competition held in Chicago, Balcones’ “1” Texas Single Malt received a gold medal for Best Texas Whisky and a bronze medal for Best Single Malt. Judges for the competition included whiskey, spirit, beer and wine experts, each performing a blind tasting.
“The ‘1’ Texas Single Malt whiskey is made with very flavorful and traditional Scottish barley, but the way we age it gives it a more American wood profile. And our climate adds Texan terroir,” said head distiller Jared Himstedt, who added this was the first time Balcones participated in the International Whisky awards.
“Balcones Distillery really caught our eye with their authentic ‘1’ Texas Single Malt craft whiskey. This product embodies every aspect of what we look for in our competitive Best of Texas Whisky category,” said Sylvain Allard, managing director at International Whisky Competition, in a prepared statement.
Meanwhile, after a year of sampling southern foods and beverages, Southern Living magazine included Balcones’ Rumble in its 2016 Food Awards. It commended the whiskey as a “favorite spirit and mixer pick” and said it delivered a “deep honey and fig-fueled sweetness.”
“Rumble is a curious twist on spirit styles from around the world,” Himstedt said in a prepared statement. “Fermented with Texas wildflower honey, it is twice distilled in traditional copper pot stills before maturation in bespoke oak casks. We are honored to have a product that we love dearly recognized in such a high-tier publication.”
Balcones was founded in 2008 under a bridge on the edge of downtown Waco and has won 160 awards and accolades since 2009, 50 awards last year alone.
The company has relocated to 225 S. 11th St., the former Texas Fireproof Storage building, and has spent $15 million on renovations and new equipment.
Those concerned about the closing of the Taco Bell at 1101 Hewitt Drive can relax.
The shuttering is temporary as renovations continue until mid-June, Taco Bell officials tell the Tribune-Herald.
Judging by the number of email messages the Tribune-Herald has received from people concerned about the closing, the restaurant apparently is very popular.
In other restaurant news:
A second Waco-area Marco’s Pizza has opened, this one at 10330-A China Spring Highway, creating about 30 new jobs. Owner Bob Mock, who previously opened a Marco’s Pizza on Midway Center Drive in Woodway, reportedly has two more locations in the pipeline for Greater Waco.
To celebrate the grand opening of the China Spring location, a party will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. June 5, with pizza tasting, music and entertainment for children.
The Secret Chef location has closed in the shopping center at Franklin Avenue and New Road, leaving one to operate at 7723 Central Park Drive.
A new Bush’s Chicken has opened at 100 Interstate 35 Frontage Road in Lorena, replacing a Bush’s at that site destroyed by fire.
Texas Moxie seasoning
Gary Vogel, who operates Vogel Financial Group, has been experimenting with spices for 30 years, trying to perfect a dry application for steaks, ribs and even vegetables. He has come up with a finished product, and it has hit the shelves of several locations around Greater Waco.
It is called Texas Moxie All-Purpose Seasoning, and it is carried by The Findery, a new gift and novelty shop at Fifth Street and Webster Avenue; The Dr Pepper Museum; The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum; The Bar None Country Store at 7991 N. State Highway 6; Slovacek’s in West; and Read’s Food Store in Mart.
“I’m hoping to get into H-E-B at some time, and I’m pursuing other locations,” said Vogel, who estimates his secret-recipe spice has been shaken over more than 15,000 steaks over the years. Word spread about the unique taste of what became Texas Moxie, as Vogel showed up at parties and special events to apply his magic.
“I hate to brag, but it really is very good,” Vogel said by phone. “I’ve had people tell me it creates the best ribs they’ve ever eaten.”
Sometimes local businesses call on Vogel to spread his product over steaks, barbecue or chicken they serve to employees on special occasions.
“People have been asking me for years to market it, and I always said I would someday. Well, I finally decided to do it,” he said.
Besides steaks, ribs and chicken, his website says, Texas Moxie is great on pork, fish, game meats, soups, chili and a variety of vegetables.
Vogel said he sells his spice wholesale to those wishing to carry it, and they determine their retail price.
His website posts prices of $10.49 for a 14-ounce container and $5.99 for a 7.5-ounce bottle.
More information is available at www.texasmoxiespices.com.
Bare Arms marks 1st year
Bare Arms Brewing, 2515 LaSalle Ave. on Waco’s traffic circle, is celebrating one year of brewing craft beer with a party Saturday at the brewpub.
Owner Keith Collier said he will serve 12 styles of beer outside, with a tent for shade, seating for convenience and a bounce house for the kids.
Food will be sold by The Running Horse and Pokey O’s Cookies and Ice Cream food trucks, and the band Married with Sea Monsters will play.
The event is scheduled from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday, with the brewpub open until 10 p.m. The band will start at 6:30 p.m.
Entry costs $15 and will include a “Year One” commemorative pint glass and tickets for three pints of ale.
Additional pint tickets may be purchased, and commemorative crowlers also will be available.
Real estate agent honored
Roman Novian, with Coldwell Banker Jim Stewart Realtors, has been named by Realtor Magazine as one of the best sales associates in the country under age 30.
Novian was among nearly 400 applicants for the award, then made the list of 50 finalists. He was featured in the publication’s May/June 2016 issue with the other winners nationwide of the “30 Under 30” contest, according to Kathy Schroeder, vice president of residential services at Coldwell Banker Jim Stewart Realtors.
Realtor Magazine is the official publication of the National Association of Realtors.
“We are proud of Roman and all that he has accomplished at such a young age. If he is the future of our real estate industry, then the future is going to be bright,” said Earl Patrick, president and CEO of Coldwell Banker locally.
Novian is a longtime resident of Waco who graduated from University High School in 2007 and attended McLennan Community College.