Texas Hill Country is a world unto itself. From scenic rolling hills to charming rural hamlets, at times it feels like a cross between Napa Valley and inland Hawaii (the latter of which I was fortunate enough to live in for several years). Everything seems to move at a slower pace here, so when me and my 11-month-old son Bruce were driving through we decided to take a slight detour and spend an afternoon visiting a winery and a brewery, just a few miles apart from each other.
First up, Driftwood Estate Winery.
This place was stunning from the minute we got out of the car and walked into the winery, where there was a group of young ladies having a fabulous "Girls Day Out".
I suggest going in for a tasting and then buying a bottle or two and drinking it out here on the patio, where you'll get a breathtaking view of the countryside. There's also a picnic area and you're dog is even invited to join you.
My son Bruce was quite the hit with the ladies...
This was my first winery and wine tasting with my son Bruce. I was bit reluctant at first, I was nervous people may be judgemental about bringing a little one into a wine tasting. But, we were welcomed and felt incredibly comfortable. Just because you're traveling with kids, doesn't mean you can't enjoy a nice afternoon at a vineyard.
We even went home with half a dozen bottles. That should last us for a few days.
Next we headed down the road to Dripping Springs and visited Twisted X Brewing Company, which is basically craft beer Hill Country heaven.
Jim Sampson, Shane Bordeau and Ted Stewart are the beer barons behind the Twisted X craft microbrewery. Sampson's been brewing since the 90s, he hooked up with Bordeau to bring to life Mexican-style beers that would be "brewed in Texas by Texans." Once Stewart came aboard in 2012 Twisted X started to come to life.
The result is Tex Mex Beer. I visited the brewery fresh off a wine buzz from Driftwood Estates and definitely in the mood for some good craft brew.
I sampled the Twisted X, described as a full-flavored dark lager, the Cow Creek, which was a pilsner infused with jalapeno, and as an added bonus, I got to try the Senor Viejo. This was incredible. It's an "Imperial Black Lager" that's been aged in Republic Tequila. It was clearly my favorite.
The Chupahopra ("an Amarillo dry-hopped IPA) and the Siesta ("a Prickly Pear Lager") were also out-of-this-world. The only thing that sucks is that you can't get a Tex Mex beer outside of Texas. But, I also respect the fact that these guys are so passionate about beer that they don't want to see their brews next to your run-of-the-mill Bud Lights.
The craft beer market is an ever-expanding one, and Tex Mex beer is absolutely a cut above the rest. Take it from a girl who really, really, really likes beer. Hell, Roadtrippers is headquartered in an abandoned brewery!
Again, don't be afraid to have "adult" adventures with a kid in tow. Remember that he's getting to experience something too. Just be responsible and have a good time. For the record, the two aren't mutually-exclusive (regardless of what my 25-year-old self once thought).
So, there you have it. This was my perfect day in Texas Hill Country. A boozy afternoon of wine and beer...and a bit of tequila.