Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Cool Spot to Visit - Eola School Brewery, Eola, Texas…

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Midland TX 002Our last day in San Angelo, Texas the weather had changed a bit as there was a 40% chance of rain and they could really use any rain  they can muster here. Since we had done most of what we wanted to do in the area we decided to make a road trip over to Eola, Texas. Why Eola? When we were driving to San Angelo we passed a sign on the highway advertising the Eola School Brewery. I commented to Sharon that I couldn’t imagine a brewery out in the middle of nowhere like this.

When we settled in at our site in Midland we read about it and decided we should backtrack over there in the CRV for a road trip to check it out. Driving east from Midland we drove past vast fields of wheat ready for harvest. When we pulled up to the old school house, it instantly reminded us of the many McMenamins Pubs in Oregon. McMenamins is a chain of 65 brewpubs/breweries housed in old run down historic buildings brought back to life by these brothers.

Midland TX 029Midland TX 031As we got out of the car a fellow was working on the front door and it turned out to be the owner/brew master of Eola School Brewery, James “Mark” Cannon. He asked if we were here to sample some of the beers or to eat (he has a restaurant here as well as the brewery). Since we were here to sample his beers he escorted into the old school building and down a hall to the tasting room.

Now before I go any further let me describe this place… It is a old run down school building that Mark bought and decided to turn into a restaurant/brewery. Mark is the only guy working here with no other employees and as he told us in his southern Arkansas drawl he works 16 hours a day with most of his time spent renovating this somewhat dilapidated building. After chatting with him a bit he told us he lived in Portland Oregon for ten years and it was the McMenamins Pubs that inspired him to convert this old school house into a brewery. Wow that confirmed our initial feelings about this place…

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In looking around the room it felt like we were back in school as the menu was written in chalk on the old blackboard and the old wooden school chairs were scattered about little tables. We almost expected to hear the school bell ring to tell us to move on to our next class… As we looked up we noticed he had painted a large state flag of Texas on the corrugated tin ceiling. Moving outside we noticed how much work has been accomplished and yet still needs to be done. Mark even described to us how he learned to cut glass and has replaced all the glass in the arched windows in the picture below…

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We sampled his three beers on tap – the Farm Ale, his IPA and a nice a silky smooth Stout beer all of which were very fine brews. Now one oddity here is that beer is served in a Styrofoam cup…. yes I said a Styrofoam cup! So if you want a cold beer in a glass you better bring your own!

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We spent a couple hours talking with Mark and touring the building seeing the work he has done as well as hearing his future plans for his place.It is definitely a major work in progress so if you are inclined not to want to visit a place still undergoing major renovations then this won’t be the place for you. However, if you want a unique experience and a chance to see a one man operation brewing up some tasty beverages then by all means make the trip on over to Eola School Brewery. You will be greeted by brew master himself, the owner James “Mark” Cannon and what a friendly, interesting fellow he is…

The next morning we headed a little further west and north to land in Midland, Texas at the Midland RV Park where we will stay for a few days before moving on down the road of retirement…


  1. Now that brewery sounds like a place we would really enjoy.
    Awe Midland Texas, we know the Walmart there very well. Were stranded there last Dec 3rd in the parking lot for 3 nights due to sleet, freezing rain, snow and black ice. Really got to know the Walmart staff quite well.

  2. After breweries in a church and then a school, what will you find next?

    We are looking forward to the breweries of Oregon.

  3. Boy would David love to go with you on your brewery tours.

  4. That is definitely going on our list.

  5. You guys find the best spots. We will have to check that out next time in the area.

  6. On our list! This looks like our kind of place. Fun.