The Austin beer scene has been exploding for years, and there’s no sign of it slowing down. Over 30 breweries make their home in the greater Austin area. It seems like a new one opens every month.
As a result, it’s not enough to visit one brewery. These days, you can make a day trip out of it. With four breweries in close proximity to each other, it’s possible to take a beer-drinking day trip to beautiful Dripping Springs, TX. Trekking around the Hill Country while sampling a wide variety of Texas brews? Your ticket to a perfect afternoon.
NOTE: Since many of these beers pack an alcoholic punch, be sure to bring a designated driver if you plan on visiting all four in one day. These aren’t your typical Lone Stars!
Thirsty Planet Brewing Company
The first stop on our Dripping Springs brewery tour is right off 290, at the edge of Austin proper. One of the area’s most recognizable brands, Thirsty Planet is a great place to start your trip.
Their spacious tap room provides ample indoor and outdoor space to enjoy the tap list. Most commonly known for the malty Thirsty Goat Amber and the strong, funky Buckethead IPA, Thirsty Planet also offers great seasonals. Be sure to try the smoother, boozier Double IPA version of the Buckethead and the Black Bucket, a rock solid black IPA (when available).
The brewery also comes with a built-in souvenir. Instead of going to the bar and getting a drink, you buy a pint glass to take home, and get drink tickets for whatever you want to try. Drinking beer while building up your barware is a win-win!
Jester King Brewery
After you’ve primed your liver with Thirsty Planet, swing over to one of Austin’s most nationally-recognized breweries. Sitting on over 200 acres of gorgeous Hill County land, Jester King offers some of the most fun you can have at any ATX brewery.
Unlike most breweries in town, Jester King specializes in wild- and farmhouse-style ales. These beers are tart, sour and full of complex fruit notes. Newbies to the style should try the dry, slightly sour Le Petite Prince or the Mad Meg, while beer geeks should pick up any one of Jester King’s special releases. Be sure to get there early if you plan to get the latter. Many limited releases sell out within hours.
As you’re enjoying your beer, the kids will be having a blast, too. With sand pits, toys and ample room to run amok, you can rest easy as the little ones burn off energy.
Jester King is also attached to Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza. I highly recommend the Willie (BBQ sauce, brisket, red onion, jalapenos and two types of cheese), with a side of sensational garlic knots. Lunch, child activities and world class beer. What’s not to love?
Last Stand Brewing Company
Only a mile up the road from Jester King is a newbie to the Austin scene. With a small, homey feel and an ever-expanding list of seasonal styles, Last Stand Brewing Company is the perfect third stop on this Dripping Springs tour.
Last Stand features four year-round offerings and four seasonals. Both their Belgian Pale Ale (bitter and bready with hints of banana) and their Coffee Porter are worth a try. And while they don’t offer food, they encourage guests to bring picnic baskets. This gives the relatively small operation the vibe of a chilled-out backyard.
Lawn chairs, benches and giant tables dot the outside, while a small corner stage provides live music on the weekends. Try to get there in time for dusk, and you’ll find a beautiful spot to rest and refresh for the last leg of the journey.
Twisted X Brewing Company
The final stop on our whirlwind tour is another Austin original. Twisted X has been pumping out quality craft beer since 2009, and is a fantastic place to finish up your beer-soaked day.
Twisted X specializes in “Tex-Mex” beer. Each of their five flagship styles offer a different spin to the tried and true. Their Fuego pilsner combines a clean, crisp finish with jalapeño heat, while the Senor Viejo (an imperial black lager), is aged in Garrison Brothers’ whiskey barrels, providing an extra boozy kick of sweetness to the roasty brew.
The tap room is more like a bar than a brewery storefront. TVs dot the interior; bands can be found on a small corner stage; and food trucks regularly appear on weekends. Twisted X also offers flights with 4.5 ounce samples priced around $2-3 each. Perfect if you’re in a group and want to try some of their “brewery-only” beers.
As the sun sinks low beneath the Hill Country tree line, you’ll think back to your beer-centric day with a smile on your face. Mixing beautiful views, fun atmospheres and some of the best brew the Austin area has to offer, consider Dripping Springs the next time you undergo a boozy adventure.
@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:
What is your favorite brewery in Dripping Springs, TX?
Highlighting Dripping Springs’ best breweries on KXAN’s Studio512: