Trip Date 11/28/2017
Posted On 05/02/2018 14:50:39
Destinations | Drive | Texas | Brenham | Blue Bell | Blue Bell Factory | Ice Cream Parlor | Bluebell | Factory Tour | Blue Bell Tour
In the 20+ years that I traveled between Austin and Houston to visit family, I always wanted to join a tour of Blue Bell Creameries. As tours were typically not offered on weekends when I was usually driving through Brenham, Texas, I never had the opportunity. Although the $6.00 per person tours are no longer offered, we decided to take the short detour to see what we could see (and, of course, get a sample scoop)!
If you find yourself traveling on US Highway 290 near Brenham and have an hour or two to spare, stop by the little creamery - even if just for a cheap sample scoop of ice cream.
Blue Bell Creamery Visitors CenterWe made our way to the Visitors Center located at 1101 South Blue Bell Road where we roamed around looking at the various exhibits. At the suggestion of the friendly employee who greeted us and was available to answer questions (as well as take a photo), I paused long enough to watch two of the short videos, the first followed Blue Bell's ice cream making process and the second described the research and development behind new flavor creations.
It was fun reminiscing about some of the slogans that the "little creamery" became famous for including:
- "We eat all we can and sell the rest."
- "Blue Bell's better by a country smile."
- "Have yourself a Blue Bell country day."
- "Blue Bell tastes just like the good old days."
Before leaving the Visitors Center, we took the opportunity to see the antique Blue Bell Ford truck that was parked in the outdoor courtyard.
Blue Bell Observation Deck and Ice Cream ParlorWe spent a few minutes in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame & Museum before heading up to the Observation Deck, store and Ice Cream Parlor.
Once upstairs, our first stop was at the Observation Deck (which opened in June of this year), a self-guided area where visitors can see ice cream being made through windows above the production area (no photos allowed). There was a young lady
available to answer very basic questions about the equipment and the ice cream making process. I can certainly understand why, for sanitary reasons, guests are no longer permitted on the production floor, however I wish that there was a guide who
gave a tour from above as it is difficult to ask questions when you don't really know what is going on. It seems like it would be really easy for a knowledgeable guide to point out the equipment from above and talk through the various steps in ice cream
making - and make for a more enjoyable and educational experience for visitors. As it was, all that I learned from the young lady escorting us was the three best selling Blue Bell ice cream flavors:
1. Homemade Vanilla
2. Dutch Chocolate
3. Cookies and Cream
After taking a quick spin through the Country Store, we headed straight for the Ice Cream Parlor where we had a choice of sixteen different flavors for only $1.00 per scoop, tax included.
Scott quickly chose Milk & Cookies (chocolate chip cookies "dipped" in milk), which, along with Cotton Candy and Peachy Peach, were offered in the parlor but not currently sold in stores. After narrowing my choices down, I finally selected Moo-llennium Crunch (vanilla ice cream with dark chocolate and caramel chunks combined with roasted pecans, chopped almonds and walnut pieces).
As we sat at our table enjoying our generous sized scoops of ice cream and admiring the art work on the walls, we realized that Blue Bell celebrated 110 years in business this year.
While the staff was still in process of decorating the Ice Cream Parlor for the holidays, there was one Christmas tree decked out with "cartons" of Peppermint Bark, one of Blue Bell's seasonal flavors.
The Grounds at Blue Bell CreameryBefore proceeding on our way back to Austin, we spent our final few minutes exploring the outside grounds in front of the little creamery which included some trees, covered picnic benches and statues.
The caption below the statue which depicted members of the Kruse family who managed the business beginning in 1919 read:
"Since the early days of the creamery, E. F. Kruse (right) and sons Ed (center) and Howard (left) have guided the company with hard work and a common sense approach to management. Today, their basic values and principles are still found throughout Blue Bell and provide a solid foundation for doing business the old fashioned way."
I would definitely stop at Blue Bell Creameries again, with hopes that they eventually add either some commentary or signage describing the ice cream making process visible from the Observation Deck ... and, of course, to enjoy another scoop of delicious ice cream!
Tip for a Visit to Blue Bell CreameryIf you plan to visit, it's best to give them a call at (800) 327-8135 to confirm that the Observation Deck will be open during the usual 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM timeframe (8:00 AM - 5:00 PM for the visitor center, store and ice cream parlor) during your visit as their hours are subject to change.
Factory TourWhat's the best "factory tour" that you have ever taken?
Total Fitbit steps today: 5,270
Blue Bell Creameries, Brenham, TX, United States
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