Art galleries, high-end boutique shopping, historic buildings, elevated dining, and a creekside trail fill The Hill Country Mile, the downtown area of Boerne, Texas. But perhaps the main attractions of this charming town, settled in 1849 by German immigrants, are its top-tier microbreweries. Hey, a German town has to have great beer, right?
Today, Boerne (pronounced “Bernie”) has a population of about 18,000 and is popular with those traveling through the rolling hills of Central Texas, looking for a quintessential small-town feel and excellent craft brews. Among its six microbreweries, four are within walking distance of each other downtown.
Get to know Boerne’s brewing scene on a walking tour, then grab a bottle or two of your favorites and take a stroll along the Cibolo Trail, which follows nearby Cibolo Creek, before sunset.
Texas Tidbit: In Boerne, it’s perfectly acceptable to get a drink to-go and walk around the Hill Country Mile with an open container.
Tusculum Brewing Company
The owners of Tusculum Brewing Company, who are all friends and family, came from backgrounds in geology, engineering, and geography, but decided to make their passion for craft beer a reality. The brewery, housed in the historic H.O. Adler Building on Main Street in the heart of Boerne, cranks out a wide array of styles, including German classics such as a kolsch, a pilsner, and a berliner.
For easy sipping, try the Back Porch Berliner – a tart and slightly sour Berliner weisse beer. And for something a bit brighter and more hoppy, try the Hazed and Confuzzled New England IPA, which has notes of mango and pineapple with a crispy finish.
Texas Tidbit: Tusculum Brewing has a rotating barrel-aged beer menu. Ask your bartender about the latest creation.
Free Roam Brewing Company
Take a 1-minute walk down Main Street from Tusculum Brewing Company, and you’ll find Free Roam Brewing Company, Boerne’s newest downtown brewery specializing in ales and lagers. Established in 2021 by three friends including Jeremy Affeldt, a three-time world championship pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, Free Roam Brewing Company is also known for its commitment to the community.
Food trucks provide the grub here, while brews such as That May Be a Balk bock and the I-10 West IPA are just a couple of hits from an ever-evolving beer list. Free Roam also hosts trivia nights, live music, and even yoga sessions.
Cibolo Creek Brewing Company
Also on Main Street, Cibolo Creek Brewing Company has a stable of mainstay beers that it keeps on tap year-round, such as the Boerne Blonde, an easy-to-drink, balanced beer, and Creekside IPA, a hoppy draft with citrus and pine notes.
Seasonal beers rotate throughout the year, including Postman’s Pale Ale, which is a light beer, and 48’ers Porter, a darker and stronger beer for colder months. The brewery also creates small-batch brews, including imperial stouts, saisons, sours, and double IPAs, which rotate every few weeks.
Be sure to grab a bite to eat here as well – Cibolo Creek Brewing uses sustainable proteins, dairy products, and produce from local farms.
Dodging Duck Brewhaus
Dodging Duck Brewhaus on River Road has been serving craft beer in Boerne since 2002. Overlooking Cibolo Creek, “The Duck” offers indoor seating in a renovated turn-of-the-century home, and outside seating on a patio and heated decks.
The beer is brewed in a 10-barrel system, and up to 20 different beers a year rotate through the menu. The Pico de Pato Mexican Lager has a slight hint of lime, due to the use of dried limes in the boil kettle, and Duck and the Giant Peach is a lively wheat ale packed with peach flavor.
An eclectic food menu accompanies the beer here. Don’t miss the Hill Country Poutine (French fries topped with beer cheese and beer chili), the Philly cheesesteak, or the bratwurst served with sauerkraut and a jumbo pretzel.
Texas Tidbit: “Ducky Hour” is Monday through Friday from 3pm - 6pm, and includes discounted beers, wines, and appetizers.
Barrelman Brewing Company
About 2.5 miles west of downtown, Barrelman Brewing is named after a popular souvenir from the Philippines depicting a wooden figurine of a male covered by a barrel. Barrelmen have a prominent role in Filipino culture, and owners Fred and Andrea Locke wanted to honor their roots in the Philippines.
Barrelman Brewing focuses on small batches of craft beer and a family-friendly atmosphere, served with a variety of food items such as Hawaiian musubi, lumpia (Filipino-style spring rolls), and smashburgers, made by smashing the burger down on a super-hot grill. Grab a Boxers Blessing, a red ale with a nutty flavor, or the Chasing Waterfalls IPA, and take a seat in the tap room for a relaxing evening – you might even catch some live music on Saturdays.
Kinematic Brewing Company
Fifteen minutes northwest of town, Kinematic Brewing Company is a nano-brewery plus tasting room and bottle shop where patrons are encouraged to grab a brew, relax, and enjoy the atmosphere. The brewery’s outdoor area looks out across the oh-so-Texas fields, with adirondack chairs and rockers perfect for lounging. Plus, local food trucks (including outstanding Texas barbecue) and live musical acts are regular attractions.
Beers rotate regularly, so check the website for up-to-date brews. Some favorites are the Lagniappe, a beignet and cafe au lait stout, and Galileo’s Revenge, a dark ale barrel-aged in bourbon barrels.
More to see, and where to stay
In addition to its microbreweries, Boerne is full of other attractions. The Old Jail Museum on the Hill Country Mile is open on Saturdays and includes historic county artifacts plus four operable, original jail cells. There’s also a free historic walking tour that includes information and sites from Boerne’s most storied places. To learn more about Boerne’s German heritage, visit the Kuhlmann-King Historical Complex, which is open every second and fourth Saturday for tours. Or stop in at the Visitors Center for help planning your perfect Boerne excursion.
On the Hill Country Mile, The Kendall and The William are both spectacular boutique hotels that position you right in the heart of Boerne. The Kendall opened in 1859 and is a great spot to anchor for downtown celebrations. The William overlooks downtown Boerne as well, putting you steps away from all the action. For something a bit more private, the town has an assortment of rental cottages within walking distance to downtown, as well as traditional hotels in close proximity to the Hill Country Mile.