Hill Country Hot Spots
Distilling is a 24/7 kind of job, but on the rare occasions that we find some free time in our schedule, we know we don’t have to go far to find a good time. That’s the benefit of living in the Texas Hill Country, a place that’s full of well-kept secret spots. From watering holes and hiking trails to some of the best food you can find in the state, the Hill Country is always ready to make our R&R time worthwhile. Below, you can find some of our favorite Hill Country Hot Spots. Just don’t tell anyone — we don’t want them to get too touristy.
Guadalupe River State Park
The Hill Country is full of Texas state parks like Pedernales Falls and (ahem) Enchanted Rock, but when we need a quick getaway, we’re at Guadalupe River State Park. After getting in our steps on the Bamberger Trail, it’s time to get down to the water for some fishing and floating. This is the Hill Country’s simplest pleasures and it’s only 22 minutes from our distillery. (Yes, we timed it.)
The Leaning Pear in Wimberley
When we were kids, we used to go on long Sunday drives with our parents and grandparents through the Hill Country to have lunch at a diner in Fredericksburg or a restaurant in New Braunfels. Today, we like to keep that tradition alive with a trip to The Leaning Pear in Wimberley. Their brunch menu has things that’ll make you feel right at home while also adding a twist, like Fried Chicken & Biscuits with spinach and kimchi or the Ancho Chicken Tamales with house-made masa. A table on the patio overlooking Cypress Creek makes for the ideal Sunday with family.
Whitewater on the Horseshoe
At Whitewater in New Braunfels, you’ll find the quintessential Hill Country experience of floating, biergartens and live Texas country like Willie Nelson & Kacey Musgraves. And that’s not a hypothetical; those two played together here in 2017. Located right on the Guadalupe, Whitewater’s covered amphitheater is set in front of the cliffs and Cypress trees that give the Hill Country much of its character.
Louie Mueller Barbecue
Is Taylor, Texas part of the Hill Country? Maybe. But for something as incredible as Louie Mueller Barbecue, we’ll push the boundaries. There are many barbecue joints around Texas — because we’re the best at it — but for us, it’s worth the drive to get a beef rib and some brisket (fatty, of course) at this old-school spot that’s been smoking since 1949. Beyond founding the joint that inspired Aaron Franklin to open his own place, the Mueller clan has gone on to make barbecue at spots like JMueller and La Barbecue as well. This is the OG though, and it’s important to respect your elders.
Live at Floore’s
Since 1942, country musicians have been cutting their teeth at John T. Floore’s place in Helotes. You might’ve heard of it in Willie Nelson’s “Shotgun Willie.” (Funny how that guy keeps coming up when talking about the Hill Country, huh?) Nowadays, you’ll find acts like Randy Rogers and Turnpike Troubadours taking the stage at this classic honky tonk, but just like it was over 75 years ago, you’re still expected to know how to two-step.
The Barber Shop in Dripping Springs
While we’re partial to whiskey and vodka, there are days when a good beer is all we need. At the Barber Shop on Mercer Street in Dripping Springs, we know that we’ll be treated to a whole bunch of the Hill Country’s best brews. This tiny stone building dates back nearly 100 years and is lined with beer cans nearly as old, providing for a beer history lesson to go with your Thirsty Goat Amber. It doesn’t matter if you’re a regular or just stopping in for a drink, the Barber Shop feels like home.
Now these aren’t all of our favorite places to hit in the Hill Country, because it would be awfully foolish to spill all of our secrets. But who knows, after a glass or two of Texas Ranger Whiskey, maybe we’ll tell y’all a few more. You’re pouring, right?