Dripping Springs proudly advertises itself as the Gateway to the Hill Country, but these days what was once a sleepy ATX commuter-village is now a bustling thoroughfare of antique stores, wineries, distilleries and yup, plenty of brewery taprooms. Nonetheless, finding a brewery out in this most Texan of countryside spots that specialises in British-style beers was an unexpected but happy surprise, as that is indeed what’s going on at Acopon.
We had visited Acopon a couple of years ago, soon after its opening, and our brief trip to their rather chilly taproom hadn’t made a great impression. However, on returning to their lovely new wood-panelled space in the heart of Old Dripping Springs such as it is, we found it cosy and inviting. T’was also very lively on a bright, autumnal Wednesday evening, exuding that air of friendly bustle that spills out of a good local pub come five pm.
Our delight at discovering not one but two cask pumps, including a Premium Bitter, was sadly mitigated as neither beer was available during our visit, but this does incentivise us to return, especially as our hankering for those dark, warming beers grows as the nights start to draw in. Our disappointment did not last long once we started tucking into an excellent English Mild, the Homunculus, with lovely smooth bitter-chocolatey notes. In fact, it was so tasty I went back for seconds – and at only 3.9% it was more than suitable for Acopon’s 20oz pint servings – an especially British touch. I was also very impressed with the worryingly gluggable Killicrankie Wee Heavy – a sweet, malty boozy delight that hid it’s 11% well enough for me to have a second helping of that too – I was counting on the Mild to balance it out! The Norweigian Juice Kveik IPA was nicely dry and tart and the Festbier was well-balanced and not too sweet. I really should have tried a few more of the 9 beers available but it was hard to tear myself away from the two I liked best, plus I am confident we’ll be finding our way back there again in the forseeable.
We had a great time chatting away with Acopon regulars and enjoying the Hill Country ambience while quaffing on some very nicely delivered tastes of home. Acopon’s embrace of cask and British styles gives them a pretty cool niche, as most of the now-numerous Hill Country breweries have a defining beer style or brewing method but no one else (to my knowledge) has taken inspiration from home. While they do serve other styles, including a Porter, APA and Blonde, we’ll be going back for a regular fix of the styles that we miss.