Texas has become a major contender in the food arena over the past few years, as up-and-coming chefs make their names in a diverse range of restaurants and cuisines. The Lone Star State is also getting recognition for its beer and wine production. If you haven’t made your way to some of the wineries and breweries across our great state, then now is the time! To get you started, let’s check out ten of the top wineries and breweries in Texas.
In my opinion, the Texas Hill Country wine trails represent the top destination in Texas for wine. Deemed the “Wine Country of Texas”, the Hill Country offers a number of self-guided driving tours to wineries offering special tastings of newly released wines, demonstrations, and tours.
Most wineries charge for their tastings, so be sure to check in advance to see their cost per tasting. However, the tasting fee is often waived if you purchase a bottle of wine. The most popular wine trail within the Hill Country is right outside of Fredericksburg along Highway 290. Some key wineries to visit along that “trail” are:
- Becker Vineyards: This Texas staple won 8 medals in the 2015 Houston Livestock and Rodeo International Wine Competition. It has a beautiful tasting area, and you can occasionally listen to live music while enjoying a nice glass of their estate wine.
- Messina Hoff: Winners of three awardsin that same wine competition, these folks have three locations you can visit – Fredericksburg, Bryan, and Grapevine.
Some wineries off the 290 wine trail definitely worth mentioning are:
- Flat Creek Estate: Located in Marble Falls, Flat Creek won five awards at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and its grounds also offers beautiful scenery. After the tasting, you can stay and have a delicious lunch at The Bistro located on site.
- Spicewood Vineyard: This Texas winery tops my personal list. The wines are consistently good, and their 2011 and 2012 Texas Tempranillo made the top of Texas Monthly’s top 10 wines of 2013 and 2014.
- Singing Water Vineyardsand Bending Branch Winery: Both located in Comfort (about 45 miles from Fredericksburg) come to enjoy great wines and beautiful scenery.
Texas is home to a fairly recent wave of breweries that have opened within the last decade. In fact, the Lone Star State is experiencing some of the fastest growth in the craft beer industry (goodbullhunting). Needless to say, picking the top five Texas breweries was harder than you think.
- Saint Arnold Brewing Company: Located in Houston, this is Texas’ oldest craft brewery. And it’s their consistency across offerings that’s helped them last so long. They have a great variety of year-round beers, and they also get beer-lovers moving with tasty seasonal offerings and special releases like the “Divine Reserve” line.
- Karbach Brewing Co: Also based in Houston, Karbach is one of the fastest growing breweries in Texas (and the nation, according to some reports). They provide creative seasonal beers along with strong all-year brews, ranging from a variety of IPAs to lagers and specialty saisons. You’re sure to find something you like.
- Austin Beerworks: Located in Austin, they offer excellent year-round varieties, but they really hit it out of the park with their seasonal IPA series called Heavy Machinery. The seIPAs are served in big cans, and the brewery comes out with a new batch every other month.
- Jester King Brewery: Based in west Austin (off 290), this brewery is tops in Texas among many beer critics. According to com, Jester King “continually produces the best farmhouse and wild ales in Texas” including the “best limited release beers in Texas as well.”
- Freetail Brewing Co: This San Antonio brewer offers multiple different styles of beer along with one of the best lines of sour beers in Texas.
At the end of the day, whether you prefer wine or beer or both, it’s nice to know you can enjoy a wonderful beverage made here from the best state in America. Cheers!