BRENHAM — There are some brands that personify Texas. Dr Pepper, Whataburger, Buc-ee’s, and my now personal favorite, Blue Bell Ice Cream. Having traveled all across the world in my Army career, I’m big on buying in and drinking the Kool Aid where ever I am at. But in Texas, Blue Bell Ice Cream came with a lot of hype from a loyal and devoted fan base. A hype that even I doubted. So, with July being National Ice Cream Month, my family and I piled into the car and headed to Brenham to the original Blue Bell Creamery for a tour and a taste.
After a two-hour drive southeast of Fort Hood on Highway 36 through some beautiful Texas countryside, we arrived at the creamery. In front of the creamery is a beautiful, well-kept garden with shade trees where we stretched our legs from the trip. In the middle of the garden is a large, life-sized statue of the iconic “the cow and the girl” that has represented the brand for so many years. A few yards away is one of the original delivery trucks used so many years ago. Also in the garden is a statue of the founders, E.F. Kruse, and sons Ed and Howard Kruse. I would have a stronger appreciation for these gentlemen after visiting the ice cream parlor. All of these places are great for family photos and selfies.
The inside of the museum includes some more interesting artifacts from the company’s early days, to include a horse-drawn buggy used to deliver butter and ice cream, one of the original ice cream freezers and more. They also have a ton of photos from the company’s founding to present day, showing how Blue Bell and the ice cream making process has evolved with new technologies.
This is all great, but where is the ice cream?
The observation deck, where you can see the ice cream being made, is unfortunately closed due to the ongoing pandemic, so with that in mind, we headed to the gift shop and ice cream parlor on the second floor of the building. The gift shop has tons of coffee cups, shirts, hats, and other knickknacks. I went ahead and bought a T-shirt to add to my Texas tee collection. And then, finally, hit the ice cream parlor.
My wife tried pistachio almond, my grandson tried rainbow sherbet (he was disappointed when there were no sprinkles), my granddaughter tried strawberry, and I tried southern blackberry cobbler.
Something you should know about me. I am cheap. On occasion, I will grab a tub of store brand ice cream from the local supermarket, I bring it home and no one complains. But I am here to tell you, I have been living my life wrong. I was able to taste all of these flavors, and I get the hype now. Texans proclamations of undying love for Blue Bell Ice Cream? I get it now friends. I understand. (It didn’t hurt that the large sized scoops were only a dollar.)
If you want to taste the hype for yourself and learn more about a Texas institution, the Blue Bell Creamery is located at 1101 South Blue Bell Road in Brenham. They are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. More information is available online at https://www.bluebell.com/the-little-creamery.