This is part two of my four part series on day trips from Austin, Texas – one from each direction: north, south, east, west. Last week I posted about driving south to New Braunfels and now we’re going west – towards breweries, distilleries, wineries, and wide open hill country views.
Pretty much every place mentioned below is dog friendly in the outdoor areas. If you’re planning to bring your dog, be aware that you might not be able to kick back inside with your furry friend so plan carefully if you’re making the trek in the heat of summer.
West of Austin: Breweries, Wineries, and Distillers, Oh My!
There are tons of worthwhile breweries, distilleries, and wineries to visit that are only about 30 minutes west of Austin off Highway 290. Many of these could be day trips unto themselves. I’ve already written a whole post about one of my favorites, Jester King.
Beers & Cider
Close to Jester King are several other breweries with taprooms and acres of outdoor space for hanging out. Start at Jester King and make your way down the road to Beerburg Brewing, then on to Argus Cidery and Last Stand Brewing.
Bourbon & Gin
When you’re tired of the “light stuff”, drive a little further down Fitzhugh road to Treaty Oak Distilling, for a tour and tasting of craft gin and bourbon. They also have a full restaurant on site serving up tex mex and bbq.
Wine & Olives
Your alcoholic journey wouldn’t be complete without a winery visit. Luckily Solaro Estate is just around the corner. This estate has been around since 1909, a fun contrast to the younger breweries in the area like Last Stand Brewing, which started in 2015.
If you are tired of drinking but don’t want the day to end, stop by Texas Hill Country Olive Co for some tasty olive oil and an orchard tour. They also have a gift shop carrying gourmet products and cooking accessories.
Okay – it’s not a brewery or anything of the sort but since you’re out here: around the corner from Jester King is Magic’s Theater and Museum. The museum is open for all ages by 24 hour advance reservation Tuesday through Thursday from 11am-3pm. The Saturday night magic show is open to all ages. On Friday nights, catch an adults only “table magic” show where a small audience gets to watch the sleight of hand up close. Both shows are by reservation only and wine and beer are byob. I haven’t been here yet but the Friday night close up show is definitely on my list. (Sadly, they’re closed right now due to CRAPVID-19)
There is a lot of wide open land spreading West toward the Texas hill country. Over the years a whole plethora of breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries have claimed their share of it. I’ve recommended a few above that are on a convenient route, but if you want to explore further afield there’s no shortage of places to visit.
Acopon Brewing – Located in downtown Dripping Springs, they specialize in English ales. Outside food is welcome.
Vista Brewing – Focused on a holistic approach to hyper-local food and drink, their beer is brewed with limestone-filtered water drawn from a well on site.
Twisted X Brewing Company – This small batch brewery offers a selection of special beers only available in their tasting room.
Family Business Beer Company – This family run brewery sits on 15 acres and they have a great playground for the kids!
Desert Door Distillery – Channeling a native, spiritual energy, this distillery produces a liquor made from wild harvested West Texas sotol shrubs. The sweet citrus and herbal flavor is reminiscent of desert gin crossed with a smooth sipping tequila.
Frog Pong Distillery – This small batch, family owned distillery produces gin and vodka. Kick back with a cocktail on their back porch.
Crowded Barrel Whiskey Co – Creative libations are made here by the world’s first crowdsourced whiskey distillery.
Deep Eddy Vodka Tasting Room – Vodka galore! Deep Eddy also offers a “Sunday Funday” tour that includes round trip transportation from downtown Austin.
Driftwood Estate Winery – Sip wines in their tasting room or in their bistro which features a nice outdoor deck. Note that no children or infants are allowed nor is smoking or vaping and they seem to be serious about these restrictions.
Bell Springs Winery – This cozy country winery has plenty of space to relax. Stay for a full meal or kick back with a glass in a rocking chair on the porch.
Duchman Family Winery – Italian inspired, from the wine style to the architecture. Taste wines in the Italian villa or enjoy them with a picnic on the manicured grounds.
I know I don’t need to tell you, but be sure to check websites before visiting any of these places as COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into ‘business as usual’ so hours of operation might be different.
Next up, we’re going the opposite direction (both literally and figuratively) working off the drinks with some hiking, swimming, and zip lining in a day trip East of Austin.