Dripping Springs, about a 90-minute drive northeast of San Antonio, bills itself as the Wedding Capital of Texas, complete with a trademark on the phrase. The growing community near Austin also brags about its official International Dark Sky designation, a draw for stargazers. While there may be no official recognition for an abundance of wineries, distilleries, and breweries — trust us — this area has boozy bona fides.
As summer fades into fall (yes, please!), here are three distilleries and three breweries in Dripping Springs offering plenty of reasons to stop by.
Desert Door Distillery
Sotol is tequila’s smoother cousin. This distillery makes it from sotol plants wild-harvested in West Texas and uses it to make ranch water, margaritas, and bespoke cocktails. A covered outdoor seating area with misting fans is kid- and dog-friendly. Enjoy live music, limited editions of sotol, and farm-to-table inspired dishes from the Eden West food truck, open Thursday 4-8 pm, Friday and Saturday noon-8 pm, and Sunday noon-6 pm. Distillery hours are Thursday 3:30-8 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am-8 pm, and Sunday noon-6. 211 Darden Hill Rd., 512-829-6129.
Dripping Springs Distilling
In 2005, the Kelleher brothers built the first distillery in the Texas Hill Country and in 2007, sold their first bottle of Dripping Springs Vodka. The venture became Dripping Springs Distilling in 2018, offering vodka, gin, bourbon, tequila, and other spirits. A new location with a bar; visitors center; event venue; and spacious, oak-studded grounds, complete with a kids’ play area and water bowls for the pups, opened in August. After a pandemic-related hiatus, distillery tours and tastings are back by reservation or walk-up ($21.65 per person). Venue operations manager Kristi Quick reports plans for Sunday tours with Austin Tour Company, featuring this and two other area stops. The distillery plans to roll out fall cocktails in October, with seasonal touches such as warming spices and hot drinks. Also in the works: Sunday brunch. The distillery is open Thursday through Sunday 10:30 am-5 pm. 5330 Bell Springs Rd., 512-858-1199.
Treaty Oak Distilling
On 28 shady acres, tour the production facility, dine at Alice’s Restaurant, sip cocktails, or sample spirits in the Rickhouse Bar or tasting room, or grab a picnic table under the oaks. Bring the dog and the kids (there’s a play area for the little ones). A $25, 45-minute guided tour and tasting includes $5 off any bottle, up to two bottles. Tours run Saturday noon-5 pm every hour. Live music happens on Friday and Saturday. Nab one of 10 spots in the Single Barrel Select program that includes behind-the-scenes tasting and barrel samples, a personalized bottle of cask-strength Ghost Hill Texas Bourbon, a barbecue plate, and a 40 percent discount on food, beverages, and merchandise all day. The entire facility is open Friday and Saturday noon-9 pm, and Sunday noon-6 pm. 16604 Fitzhugh Rd., 512-400-4023.
Hops don’t grow well in Texas, but Beerburg sources all its other brewing ingredients from the state, with a Wildcraft Series featuring Texas-foraged plants. Seasonal offerings for fall include a mesquite bean and pecan brown ale. Taqueria la Violeta offers a variety of regional Mexican street food, including tacos and house-made ice creams. Enjoy it all on a large deck and tree-shaded beer garden. Live music jams every Friday and Sunday, and local artwork is on view in the lounge. Beerburg is open Thursday and Friday 3-8 pm, and Saturday and Sunday noon-8 pm. 13476 Fitzhugh Rd., 512-265-0543.
Here, the possibilities abound. Choose to spend your day in an expansive indoor space, on the covered patio, or in the large outdoor beer garden with shaded picnic tables, a playscape, and a stage. Co-owner Kerbey Smith and brewer Nathan Rice make beers for everyone, not just aficionados. Rice brews styles from Barbados to Belgium, all piped straight to the bar taps. (It doesn’t get fresher than that!) Food by PEJ Kitchens (the sister company of longtime Austin smokehouse Pok-e-Jo’s) features tender riffs on barbecue, from smokehouse nachos to burnt ends, pork ribs, and sausage — and one of Austin’s most inventive charcuterie boards. Events range from those featuring baby goats to kids’ nights, four-course dinner and beer pairings, and a one-year anniversary party planned for October 16 that will include music, raffles, and bottle releases. Fitzhugh is open Thursday and Friday 4-8 pm, Saturday 11 am-9 pm, and Sunday noon-7 pm. 15435 Fitzhugh Rd., 512-648-0653.
The picnic tables in the pole barn, beer garden, pasture, canopy, goat barn, and grotto are first-come, first-served here, but there are a lot of them and most offer glorious shade. In addition to a rotating cast of unique beers, including one brewed with 100 percent Texas ingredients (very impressive since Texas-grown hops are a challenge), Jester King makes wine and cider using its own groundwater and Texas grapes and fruit for wine and Texas apples for cider. Food options include fresh-made pizzas, barbecue, and sides. Walk the mile-plus nature trail and the grounds on your own, or reserve a Goat Experience or Goat Walk with the herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats ($10 per person) or a tour ($5 per person). Jester King is open Wednesday and Thursday 3-9 pm, Friday 3-10 pm, Saturday noon-10 pm, and Sunday noon-9 pm. Reservations are encouraged. 13187 Fitzhugh Rd., 512-661-8736.
Find even more Dripping Springs options here.