Down next to Fort Davis and Alpine, and all around that intersection of art and culture that the city of Marfa has become, James Bailey knew there was something special worth sharing.
So he was glad to help welcome visitors earlier this year, and to show off some of the sights and sounds of the area — and a taste of it, too.
Bailey and other Big Bend homebrewers are set to be featured on the newest episode of Beerland, the series that proclaims to be part travel show and part brewing competition, airing on Vice media’s TV channel Viceland.
The new episode centered on the show’s visit to Marfa and surrounding far West Texas is set to air Tuesday night at 10 p.m., and will be streaming on Viceland’s website after.
The show has traveled to as far as Hawaii and New York, and this season, made stops in New Orleans and in Pittsburgh before making it to the Big Bend area.
“We’re very excited when anyone wants to showcase West Texas, especially this part of West Texas,” said Bailey, one of the brewers featured in the new episode.
Bailey, who lives and works in Marfa, collaborated with his business partner Tatanka Guerrero to put together a homebrewed beer for the show, which is compared with a beer brewed by a group in the Davis Mountains area.
At the end of each season, the show invites chosen brewers to Los Angeles for the finale, where a winner’s beer is picked to be distributed by Golden Road Brewing, which was founded by show host Meg Gill.
“We care a lot about the community of Marfa and we wanted to showcase the community and the people that make things happen here,” Bailey said over the phone last week, talking about the West Texas episode. Bailey is the culinary director at Al Campo restaurant in Marfa, which is owned by Guerrero.
“We wanted to really showcase the sense of community, and the food that we do have here in particular at the restaurant, and some of the history of West Texas,” Bailey added.
Bailey said the show put out casting calls for the area a few months before filming, when Bailey and Guerrero decided to reach out.
Guerrero opened Al Campo about a year ago, before Bailey joined the business about six months ago, Bailey said. Their collaboration in the kettle reflects their work there, he said.
“A lot of our episode is more about a lot of the farm-to-table mentality and sourcing locally, and trying to build culture,” Bailey said. “That’s kind of where our story lies — and the combination of food and beer.
“Our beer that we made was aimed toward something that you would want to drink and eat with.”
Of course, it’s that kind of homespun focus on food, art and culture that’s made Marfa famous in recent years — and it’s probably why show producers chose to head to the tiny West Texas area among visits to major cities across the country, and probably why they’re coming back.
Golden Road is hosting a viewing party for the new episode of Beerland at Railroad Blues in Alpine on Tuesday.
“One of the main goals of Beerland is to examine the unique and diverse cultures that have grown up around homebrewing across the country,” show host Gill said in a statement about the West Texas episode. “Marfa is nothing if not unique, there’s no place else like it.
“It’s bursting with creative, talented, and innovative homebrewers and I had to come see it for myself,” she said.
Bailey said he thinks viewers who tune in to the episode should be able to see some of that for themselves.
“I think maybe Marfa, for a lot of people in the area, has this reputation as kind of a stuck-up, artist, kind of cliquish community,” Bailey said. “Maybe some people will realize that there’s people here that are real down to earth, doing good, awesome, fun things.
“We just want people to come here and have a good time. Nothing else really matters to us, as long as you have a good time while you’re here.”