While one of the things I love most about Austin is the concentration of high quality brewery taprooms within the (relatively) bar-hoppable city limits, it’s also true that I am a massive fan of heading out into the Texas Hill Country on a brewery-visit expedition. Situated about 20 minutes from New Braunfels, 5 Stones Brewery moved from their original home is Cibolo, TX in 2017 and now have a gloriously rustic, scenic taproom that feels more like you’re visiting a family homestead than a commercial enterprise. Amid the sound of chirping cicadas and buzzing hummingbirds, and the slow creak of rocking chairs on the porch, you’ll also find some superb, intriguing, diverse and delicious brews.
5 Stones are nothing if not eclectic, and their willingness to experiment more than pays off. While a lot of craft breweries in Texas choose to focus on one or two styles, 5 Stones brew a diverse range of styles and experiment with varied, exciting ingredients, including plenty of local produce. Far from leading to a patchy or inconsistent standard of output, careful attention to detail has resulted in overwhelmingly high quality output across the board. Diversity could almost be considered the key to success at 5 Stones, as whether they are making a BBA Imperial Stout (the magnificent 14% BBFB), a fabulously flavoured Golden Ale (the Aloha Pina, brewed with pineapple and roasted jalapeno, and recipient of a GABF silver medal), or their moreishly dry-hopped Citra-Mosaic American IPA (Shepherd Warrior), there is a precision to the complexity that leaves you feeling you’ve had something pretty special. Other highlights for me have been the smoky-tropical-liquorice Lightning Bug Cascadian Black IPA, TDH Abisai brewed with local honey and the peppery-leathery DDH Jashobeam, to name just a few. With 4oz pours available (and priced) individually, you can explore the menu and give your tastebuds a good ol workout while you relax in the serene beer garden or grab a rocker and sway away in the shade. There is also live music and food on offer at the weekends (check their Facebook for details).
I’ve enjoyed chatting beer with the excellent 5 Stones bartenders who were forthcoming, knowledgeable and enthusiastic on both our visits, exactly what you want when you visit a brewery taproom. There are also plenty of beers available to take away in both cans and bottles, and if you can’t make it out to New Braunfels, look out for their beer in both supermarkets and dedicated craft beer outlets, although the taproom experience is most certainly worth the drive. Oh, and their branding is awesome too. Just saying!