Title puns are clearly click-bait and we’re ok with that here at Beerventurers. So now that we have your slightly divided attention, let’s discuss the hill country breweries just west of Austin. There are several options for beer out in hill country, and we hit many of the best, but we unfortunately did miss a few. If you have enough time in Austin, you really need to plan a trip out into the hills.
Jester King Brewery
Going to Austin, we weren’t familiar with many breweries but have heard great things about Jester King so we were excited to add this to our itinerary. Out in the hill country, about 30 minutes from downtown Austin, we attempted to visit twice on our trip and failed twice. First attempt was our fault- always remember to double check times before showing up. In this case Google and Facebook conflicted with their websites hours and we didn’t check their website.
Second attempt- we did not have a reservation. Now we only wanted quick drinks instead of food so maybe a misunderstanding on our part but when we arrived at 3 the host said they would know if they had an opening around 7pm. So needless to say, we didn’t get any beer. But the grounds are lovely and there is a nature trail and goats. So hopefully after Covid settles down this is an easier stop to visit.
Beerburg Brewing Co.
Despite our failings at Jester King, there is no lack of breweries in hill country. Practically across the street from Jester is Beerburg Brewing Co. Like several breweries in Texas, their large space was perfectly able to accommodate us as we enjoyed a flight and some live music! Our wonderful flight consisted of Pre-Pro Lager, their Black is Beautiful variant, Roggenbier and SMASH DIPA. My favorite was the lager and Andrew’s was obviously the IPA.
Just down the road from Beerburg and Jester is Fitzhugh Brewing in Dripping Springs, TX. Originally Fitzhugh was a potential bonus stop if time allowed and as it turned out, this brewery became one of our favorite surprises of the trip! They have this wonderful and worldly brewing strategy to make unusual and distinct beers from various eras around the world. Our flight at Fitzhugh included the Austrian Broyhan, the Japanese Happoshu, a Barbados Stout and an Irish Red. The Happoshu was certainly the more interesting brew here as the Happoshu (“Sparkling Alcoholic Beverage” in English) is traditionally made with less than 67% malt. Unfortunately in several of (if not all) the states, 51% of a beer must be malt based; this resulted in a 49% Jasmine rice blend. Fitzhugh then fermented the beer with Sake yeast.
Acopon Brewing Co.
Our next hill country brewery was Acopon Brewing Co. This brewery was the most dive bar-esque local hangout brewery we visited on the trip (in the best possible way). We split another flight consisting of Merrie-go-Down IPA, Casca Rubus Wild Ale, Homunculus English mild and the Pound Town Malt Liquor. Apparently, the area Acopon resides in is referred to as Pound Town USA; which naturally amused crap out of Andrew. For the record: Dr. Joseph M. Pound was one of the area’s earliest residents, so get your mind out of the gutter! If you like great beers and dive bars, a stop at Acopon should be on your hill country itinerary.
Twisted X Brewing Company
One of the more well known breweries in Austin, Twisted X Brewing in Dripping Springs has several flagships that can be snagged at practically any bar in Austin. The McConauhaze IPA is a standard NEIPA to someone from the North East but has high praises in Austin and it’s almost on par with the Electric Jellyfish. One beer you probably won’t be able to get at every bar in Austin is the Fuego Jalapeno Pilsner; crisp, clean and oh – fuego on the backend. It wasn’t an unruly fuego but it was certainly enough to say “hi!”.
Ghost Note Brewing
A relative baby in the Austin brewery gang, Ghost Note was one of the lucky breweries to open during Covid. We’re sure that the all outdoor tasting area helped matters but definitely a hard way to start a business! They opened in January 2021 and we would not have guessed they were that new! Our flight from Ghost Note consisted of Crazberry Dreamin’ sour, That Tracks (IPA), Amarillo By Morning (Blonde ale), and their version of Black is Beautiful. The brewery has some covered tables and lots more outdoor space to spread out and enjoy some delicious beers! Unfortunately, the day we visited most of the Hill Country was rainy so we didn’t get to enjoy the beautiful outdoor spaces!
Vista Brewing – Bee Cave Outpost
Vista Brewing of Driftwood, Texas was unfortunately too far off for us to hit their last call of the day but their outpost in Bee Cave (yes, that’s an actual town name) is on Highway 71 and just a short trip away from Lake Travis making it an ideal stop for us. The Bee Cave location isn’t technically a brewery, but this large taproom space with outdoor seating has beers flowing – so close enough. Three of our four beers scored average on untapped with the favorite being number four, the Grato Italian plum Lambic; we scored that well above average. Per their description, you should probably be aging this beer in a cellar but because we’re ‘carry on’ people we enjoyed Grato fresh and have zero complaints.
We recommend that you check out the actual location, which isn’t too far from Ghost Note and Twisted X.
Suds Monkey Brewery + Kitchen
The last brewery we visited in Dripping Springs was Suds Monkey Brewing Company which had just recently relocated to an awesome new space! As this was our last stop of the day, we may have pulled one of our “we want a small pour of everything on the menu.” But how could we not with a name like Suds Monkey?! The result was 6 half-pours and 1 victor – the Punk Monkey Porter. Punk Monkey Porter was a creamy chocolate delight in the glass. If we had one recommendation for Suds Monkey, it would be to add a banana garnish to the Punk Monkey Porter pour.
Links to the rest of our Texas Beerventure
Waffle House, Live Oak + Hi Sign Brewing
Meanwhile + Pinehouse Brewing – Watch out for Electric Jellyfish!
Central District, Zilker + Lazarus Brewing – Plus a Zoo!
Hill Country – Just West of Austin!
Pour Your Own Beer in Austin! – Also, other places too.
Top 5 Breweries of San Antonio!