Before moving to the Texas Hill Country, I never would have guessed that my family would often be found at an outdoor brewery on a weekend evening. It didn’t occur to me that an establishment earning an income on alcoholic beverages would be family-friendly. However, when we visit our favorites below, we get to linger for hours, slowly savoring craft brews with friends or family, and we also get to enjoy our children playing in a beautiful, relaxed, screen-free environment.
Craft beers are what the cool kids drink, and I can’t think of anyone cooler than exhausted parents. We spend our days holding babies, holding everyone’s trash, holding it together, and holding in swear words. By the time happy hour hits, we deserve to be holding a delicious, full-bodied beer, cider, or local wine. I am thankful that many craft brewers in Dripping Springs and Austin recognize this fact of life.
Many of these visionaries bought up acres of ranch land. They built pavilions and barns. They invested in huge brew kettles. They developed yummy farm to table menus and set out dozens of picnic tables under majestic oak trees to draw in the crowds. But most importantly, they also devoted part of their property to a play space for kids!
Here’s my list of the top 6 family-friendly breweries in the Dripping Springs area, as well as a bucket list of places we hope to try soon. If you’re not a beer fan, don’t fret; all of these cool spots offer wine, cider, and/or non-alcoholic options.
1. Jester King Brewery & Kitchen
Pizza, beer, an epic sand box, and baby goats are just a few of the reasons we can spend hours at Jester King. Our kids absolutely love playing on this 165 acre property made up of a vineyard, oak grove, beer garden, pasture, farm trail, and goat pen, and we adults love the food and relaxed atmosphere. While I’m not personally a fan of their home-crafted brews, although I know many are, I appreciate that the restaurant offers guest beer and wine. (Currently open by reservation only.)
2. Treaty Oak Distilling
Yes, Treaty Oak is primarily a distillery, but they also brew a few beers, which are delicious, so I think it fair that this super cool family-owned business makes the list. Treaty Oak has a gorgeous property that includes several shaded seating areas, a restaurant with mouth-watering barbecue, a garden, an open-aired event center, and a distillery open for tours. But it tops my kids’ list because of the natural playground that’s always full of familiar faces. (Open Wed – Sun, no reservations needed)
3. Family Business Beer Co.
The tap room, brewery, and outdoor space at Family Beer Business are the epitome of cool. The playground is large and fenced-in, with tables available nearby to monitor the kids. Added bonus: my children claim it has the fastest slide in town! There’s a large variety of tasty beer on the menu and interesting merch available in the small shop or at one of their regular artisan markets (pre/post-covid). Sitting on the tap room porch, listening to live music waft through the open doors, while staring out at the grove of oaks, instantly transports you to the tranquility of the Texas Hill Country. (Currently open Wed-Sun, reservations requested but not required.)
4. 12 Fox Beer Co.
With a motto of “Family. Country. Great Beer.”, you know exactly what you’ll get from this brewery that was founded by combat engineers who fell in love with European craft beer while stationed in Germany. It’s a great story with an even better destination. The playground is an awesome replication of a castle, and the biergarten is pretty and intimate. (Now open Wed through Sat with live music and nightly food trucks.) This playground also made it onto our Top 10 Playgrounds In and Around Dripping Springs list!
5. Fitzhugh Brewing
Delicious, unique food accompanied by yummy craft brews and happy, playful kiddos is a recipe for a fantastic afternoon in the Hill Country. There are three separate areas to gather – under the oaks, on the covered patio, or inside the farmhouse style restaurant/brewery. With an awesome playground, baby swings in the trees, and room to roam, this family-friendly brewery is a win-win for parents and kids alike. You can bring your furry kiddos too. (Currently open Thursday-Sunday, no reservations necessary)
6. Vista Brewing
What’s not to love? With a laid back vibe, outstanding beer, shaded beer garden, cool playground, live music, tree swings, interesting menu, acres of beauty, and trails through the farm, Vista has become our go-to. I highly recommend their Dark Skies Pilsner with its hints of coffee and roasted marshmallows. Yum! It pairs perfectly with muddy children and recalling embarrassing stories with old friends.
A friendly face behind the bar, a very knowledgeable brew master, and some of the tastiest beer I’ve ever tried makes this brewery very worthy of a pop in. There’s no playground or open green space, but it’s located in the heart of downtown Dripping Springs, near shops and a secret hiking trail. (Currently offering beer and merch to-go, including the coolest masks with their plague doctor logo on them.)
On my bucket list…
I’ve heard often that the pizza is reason enough to go, but the beer is definitely the featured attraction. This nano-brewery is kid- and pet-friendly, offering events such as “kids eat free” and trivia night on different days of the week. (Currently open afternoons/evenings Wed-Sun.)
Twisted X Brewing Co.
I’ve seen the beer in the stores. I’ve driven by the lively patio. I’ve even chatted with one of their loyal employees. But for some reason, I haven’t stopped in yet. This one is definitely on our list to try out a flight and enjoy some porch-sitting. (Currently open Thurs – Sun with to-go pizza and pint specials.)
This new brewery is so much more than just beer and bites. The owners have committed to creating a zero solid and liquid waste facility that provides its own energy and water. There is a focus on hyper-local ingredients, and the brewmasters use rainwater collection tanks, practice ethical harvesting, study herbalism, and raise bees on the property in their apiary. I’m excited to not only try their beers but also check out this unique property with my family. (Currently open by reservation Thurs – Sun with limited food menu.)
While kid-friendly and beer may not typically belong in the same sentence together, these family-focused breweries recognize the unique opportunity for every member of the family to enjoy a night out together.
Please drink responsibly, especially if you’re planning to get behind the wheel after visiting the establishments listed. It’s important to remember that many craft beers have a higher ABV than other beers on the market. Usually, when my husband and I take the kids to a local brewery, we either split a pint, share a flight, or take turns on who gets to do the tasting on nights out.
If you’re interested in finding more family-friendly activities in the Dripping Springs and Austin area, check out my summer bucket list.