Dripping Springs, the once-sleepy town at the footsteps of the Texas Hill Country about 215 miles southwest of Dallas, has become a hub for more than a dozen breweries (including my brother-in-law’s, Twisted X Brewing Company), distilleries and wineries. It also boasts a burgeoning food scene, which makes it a fun day trip from Austin should your Texas travels take you that way.
Taking 290 West from Austin, you encounter the first stop-worthy spots off 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 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 Texas foodie hot spot.
Further down Fitzhugh Road is Revolution Spirits, a distillery that will soon serve its 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 trip, and the lengthy list of craft beers adds extra motivation.
Smoke ’n Hops, a new beer and barbecue joint featuring live music, also boasts a heavy assortment of Texas craft beers, including a collaboration with the Barber Shop, a local brew pub in — you guessed it — an old barber shop. The aforementioned 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 in the area, complete with tasting room.
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 sate your cravings. Creek Road Cafe 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 Texas foodie hot spot.