If you had told me two years ago that I’d be hanging out in Dripping Springs on the weekends, I would have scoffed at you. Lo’ and behold, my brother-in-law's brewery, Twisted X Brewing Company, moves out there and now I’m a regular. This once sleepy town at the footsteps of the Hill Country, around 25 miles west of Austin, has become a hub for more than a dozen breweries, distilleries and wineries — in addition to its burgeoning food scene.
Taking 290 West from Austin, you encounter the first stop-worthy spots off of Circle Drive and Fitzhugh Road. Thirsty Planet Brewing, award-winning Jester King Brewery and Argus Cidery anchor this enclave, offering tours and tastings over the weekends (Argus tastings are by reservation only). Make sure to make a pit stop at Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza, which shares the Ceres Park Ranch property with Jester King Brewery and serves up a fine wood-fired pie.
With a business friendly attitude and plenty of open spaces, Dripping Springs is staking its claim as a foodie hot spot worth the trip.
Further down Fitzhugh Road is Revolution Spirits, a distillery that will soon be serving up its very own artisan gin. A short drive down 290 lands you at the doorstep of Pieous, a pizza and sandwich shop garnering abundant praise from the Austin food crowd. The pastrami sandwich alone is worth the drive and the lengthy list of craft beers adds extra motivation.
Smoke ‘n Hops, a new beer and barbecue joint featuring live music, boasts another Texas craft beer heavy drink list including a collaboration beer created with The Barber Shop, a local brew pub in, you guessed it, an old barber shop. Twisted X, specializing in Mexican style craft beer, opened just outside the city at the intersection of Ranch Roads 12 and 150.
Not a beer drinker? Dripping Springs has plenty of wineries and distilleries to quench your thirst. Solaro Estate Winery and West Cave Cellars offer public tastings of local vintages, while Hawk’s Shadow Vineyard accepts visitors by appointment only.
The eponymous Dripping Springs Vodka is located in town, but, sadly, does not offer public tastings or tours. Soon to join the fray, Treaty Oak Distilling, maker of Treaty Oak Rum, Waterloo Gin, Starlite Vodka and other labels, is currently building a large facility with a tasting room in the area.
Dripping Springs offers plenty to satisfy the appetite. Celtic Seafare, producer of artisan cold- and hot-smoked salmon products recently added a weekend tasting room. For Southern fare made with Texas ingredients, Homespun Kitchen and Bar can satisfy your cravings. Creek Road Café and Bourdeaux’s Prime Steakhouse, which recently relocated from Kyle to Dripping Springs, are perfect when you want a higher-end experience with a local touch.
A short drive to Driftwood offers a few more delights. Following Ranch Road 150, a stop at Duchman Family Winery and Trattoria Lisina is a must, and it’s just a short hop from there to Salt Lick Cellars, the winery from the family that’s been inspiring Central Texans to journey to Driftwood for decades. On the other side of town, taking the Ranch Road 12 route, Driftwood Estate Winery offers daily wine tastings with a breathtaking view of the Hill Country.
If you want to make a weekend of it, Sage Hill Inn (formerly the Inn Above Onion Creek) is an ideal getaway and offers several pre-packaged food and beverage tours. Montesino Ranch, 15 minutes from Driftwood, rents four cozy studios nestled on its working farm and ranch. Wake up with the rooster and get an early start on your tasty tour.
With so many choices, it’s just a matter of time before the food and booze tour buses start queuing up. With its business-friendly attitude and plenty of open spaces, Dripping Springs is staking its claim as a foodie hot spot worth the trip.