There aren’t many places in the Texas Hill Country where people can try an array of beers, wines, ciders and meads from multiple makers, but a new tasting room tucked off a main road in Driftwood aims to remedy that.
Married couple Lindsey and Adam Pierce opened the Driftwood Tasting Room in November with the goal of offering Texas-only fermented beverages. And not just any beers, wines, ciders and meads from around the state, but ones often from small-batch producers making drinks that are hard to find beyond their own tasting rooms.
“We wanted to do this because when we go on vacation, that’s what we look for. ‘Where’s a new brewery; what new thing can we find?’ We thought it would be cool for other people to enjoy that as well,” Lindsey Pierce said.
The opening menu of beers include about a half-dozen from behemoth Real Ale Brewing, but the most popular brews, she said, have been those from the teeny, tiny Orf Brewing in East Austin. The brewery is so small that owner Chris Orf can’t produce enough to get the beers into more than a handful of places around town, making them unknown still to many locals.
Go to the Driftwood Tasting Room, however, and you can try Orf’s entire lineup in a flight. That’s how the Pierces recommend you enjoy beverages at their bar: through ordering a flight of four beverages, whether beer, wine, cider or mead. Full glasses of each are available as well.
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At the moment, the menu has a total of 19 wines, 16 beers, seven meads and five ciders all from Austin or the surrounding Hill Country, although these will rotate out in the coming weeks to incorporate beverages from a different region of Texas — maybe San Antonio, Dallas or a town even smaller in the future.
That’s the goal of the Pierces: to showcase the boozy products from various parts of the state every two months or so. The couple, who live in Wimberley and have full-time jobs in Austin, want the experience their customers get at the Driftwood Tasting Room to mirror the sort the Pierces have when they travel, exploring new-to-them alcoholic beverages.
Part of that experience is making sure customers have as full of a range of a producer’s alcoholic offerings as possible. Orf isn’t the only beverage maker wholly represented on the menu — a whopping dozen wines hail from Burnet’s Torr Na Lochs Vineyard & Winery, which Lindsey Pierce said she likes because the wines don’t contain as many sulfites in them as others do.
In that way, Pierce doesn’t want to classify the Driftwood Tasting Room as a bar in the classic sense.
“We’re different from a bar because a bar would have a single beer from this guy, a cider from that guy,” she said. “We have every single Torr Na Lochs wine here. My thing is, you want to have all of their stuff because if you go to a bar and you have a beer and you don’t like it, you think, ‘Well, I guess I don’t like Real Ale.’ But it might’ve just been that one beer.”
To help them find “new places that people have never heard of,” she said she and her husband recently bought an RV. They’ll use it to transport back to Austin the small-batch beers, wines, ciders and meads they find to feature at the Driftwood Tasting Room, even if those products don’t distribute to Austin.
“We want to support people like Orf, doing it by himself. He’s like Superman,” Adam Pierce said.
He is the quieter of the two. Both are well-versed about everything on the menu, and Driftwood locals who frequent the tasting room on Thursdays and Fridays will find them behind the bar, making sure the glassware is clean and eager to help customers discover something delicious. On weekends, a couple of bartenders they’ve hired staff the place so the Pierces can have family time with their 12-year-old daughter.
So far, the tasting room has become a popular neighborhood hangout, and the Pierces hope that continues.
“All the neighbors are very receptive because there’s nothing close by that they can all — a husband and wife — can enjoy. We’ll have beer for him and wine for her, or whatever the case may be. So they both get to be happy and enjoy it,” Lindsey Pierce said.
The tasting room doesn’t have food, but visitors are welcome to stop at the nearby Salt Lick BBQ to pick up a picnic and bring it in, she said. She is also hoping they’ll be able to hire food trucks occasionally.
Driftwood Tasting Room is open at 18992 FM 150 W., Ste. 101, Driftwood, with the hours of 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, noon to 8 p.m. Saturdays, and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. For more information, visit driftwoodtastingroom.com.