Brews and Bourbons in Blanco, TX
Credit: Courtesy of Real Ale Brewing Company

When passing through the Texas Hill Country on Route 281, Blanco seems like just another sleepy town with a stately square and a handful of stoplights. Still, weekenders drop by regularly by the busload in search of local beer and a chance to see the old courthouse, where the Cohen Brothers’ True Grit was filmed.

Garrison Brothers Distillery

Dan Garrison of Garrison Brothers Distillery attributes his whiskey’s superb taste to the organic wheat grown on his 213 acres as well as the area’s mineral-rich water. Just walking around the ranch’s rolling landscape is worth the trip outside of Blanco. Visits end with a tasting of the small-batch, 94-proof bourbon in a scenic barn lined with American oak barrels.

Old Blanco County Courthouse

This main square landmark, built in 1886, was mostly indistinguishable from other limestone courthouses that anchor small Texas towns until the Coen brothers chose it for their 2010 Academy Award-nominated film “True Grit.” The building retains some of that L.A. polish—the courthouse was cleaned top to bottom before the filming—and now houses a visitors’ center and hosts a monthly Market Day the third Saturday of every month.

Uptown Blanco Restaurant

Chef Nathan Stevens gave this main square restaurant, an airy space with pressed tin ceilings, a much-needed update. Stevens uses local produce whenever possible, as seen in his earthy beet salad topped with creamy goat cheese from nearby CKC Farms.

Songbird Meadows Bed & Breakfast

Bed down in one of three cabins—some with rustic wood paneled walls, four-poster beds, and kitchenettes—on this 18-acre B&B outside of Blanco. Gourmet breakfasts are delivered in a picnic basket.