Balcones Distilling: WAyCOol !

This first-hand review provides an in-depth look at acclaimed Texas distillery Balcones and their award-winning whiskey offerings. Learn about the Waco-based distillery's history, innovative production, top spirits like Baby Blue Corn Whiskey, and the Texan charm that makes Balcones a leader in unique, small-batch Texas spirits.
  • Ambiance
  • Spirit Selection and Quality
  • Price / Value
4.4/5Overall Score

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Distillery History and Facility
  • Spirit Highlights
  • Other Spirits
  • Clubs and Memberships
  • Conclusion
  • FAQ
  • About the Author


I recently visited Balcones Distilling in Waco, Texas. Known for their innovative approach to whiskey-making, Balcones has been producing award-winning spirits since 2008. In this review, I’ll provide an overview of Balcones Distilling, highlight some of their standout whiskeys, and share my perspective as a visitor. With their commitment to quality and Texas terroir, it’s no wonder Balcones has become a leader among Texas distilleries.

Distillery History and Facility

Balcones Distilling was founded in 2008 by Chip Tate in Waco, Texas. As the first distillery in Waco since Prohibition, Balcones helped put the city on the whiskey map. They use local Texas grains like corn and wheat to create their innovative whiskey recipes. The distillery features unique maturation techniques like the use of “blue corn” barrels, which impart a distinctive flavor.

During my tour of the facility, I was able to see the entire process from the masher and fermenters to the hand-made copper pot stills. The small batch distilling process and focus on quality is evident throughout the operation. The tasting room provides a laidback atmosphere to enjoy their award-winning whiskeys. It’s clear that Balcones has helped elevate the Texas whiskey scene with their charming distillery and exceptional spirits.

I really loved the ambiance and decor of the tasting room, which was originally a storage warehouse. There are lots of quirky rooms and nicknacks throughout the venue, and the staff was very helpful and friendly. The tasting room is not overly large, but that also give it a quaint feel.

Spirit Highlights

In the tasting room, I went for the tasting flight of three (3) whiskeys. The three I chose were: Baby Blue, Lineage, and Texas “1” Single Malt. Below I have outlined my experience with each of these three.

Baby Blue: This corn whiskey has a bright honey-gold color. On the nose, it has fragrant fruit notes of banana and mango. The palate delivers bold vanilla, caramel, and oak flavors with a peppery rye spice and smooth velvety finish. It’s bottled at 46% ABV. This was a close second for me with the Texas “1” Single Malt.

Lineage – A single malt Texas whiskey aged in oak and roasted at varying levels from light toast to heavy char. Complex fruit and oak notes. It’s bottled at 46% ABV. This captured my heart and my taste buds and took the number 1 spot of my 3 tastings.

Texas “1” Single Malt: A cask-strength version of their award-winning True Blue Corn Whiskey. It’s an unfiltered whiskey with notes of vanilla, peppery rye, and fruity apricot. On the palate, there are bold flavors of caramel, banana, coconut, and charred oak. It has a smooth velvety mouthfeel and sweet spicy finish. An incredibly tasty whiskey bottled at a whopping 53% ABV. This was a close second for me with the Baby Blue.

Other Spirits

In addition to the highlighted whiskeys, Balcones also produces an extensive portfolio of spirits:

  • Rumble – A wildflower honey spirit made from Texas blue corn and honey. Notes of fruit, honey, and corn sweetness. It is bottled at 43% ABV.
  • Brimstone: This smoked corn whiskey certainly makes a statement. The aroma offers intense smoky and barbecue flavors. On the tasting, it opens with smoked maple syrup, toasted corn, and charred oak. The finish is long and smoky with a hint of spice. Bottled at 53% ABV.
  • White Rum – A bold traditional rye whiskey made with heirloom Elbon rye and aged in charred oak barrels. Spicy and robust rye flavors. Bottled at 50% ABV.
  • Texas Pot Still Bourbon – A rich and sweet bourbon made from corn, wheat and malted barley and aged for over 2 years in charred new American oak casks. Bottled at 46% ABV.

This is just a portion of their offerings, as there are a handful of additional spirit offerings that I haven’t mentioned that you might like. However, I stuck with their forte’ which is single malts. With this range of inventive whiskeys, Balcones Distilling has certainly made its mark within the vibrant Texas distillery scene.

Oakmont Engraved Glencairn Glasses Pair (Personalized Gift)

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Did you say “Beer”?

I was surprised to also learn that Balcones Distilling produces beer as well as spirits. You will only find the beer at the distillery, or at a few select locations in Waco where they distribute kegs. There are only a few to choose from, but I went for an IPA they had on tap. The beer was pretty good but not up there with the best breweries in Texas. However, I think it is great they offer a beer option and are experimenting with different things.

Clubs and Memberships

There are no clubs or memberships available.


In conclusion, my visit to Balcones Distilling was a wonderful experience. As a fan of uniquely crafted Texas whiskey, I was thoroughly impressed with their innovative production methods and diverse whiskey offerings. They are known best for the single malt whiskeys, but also produce other spirits on the side, like their bourbon and rum.

The distillery itself provides a welcoming atmosphere to learn about their history, process, and award-winning spirits like Baby Blue corn whiskey and Brimstone smoked corn whiskey. Beyond these flagship bottles, Balcones produces an array of malts, ryes, bourbons, and more. The facility is very welcoming and cozy and a great place to spend a late afternoon sipping whiskey. Bring a date or your significant other as well!

With a passion for quality and Texas terroir, Balcones Distilling has rightfully earned its place as one of the top craft distilleries in Texas. I look forward to following their continued growth and tasting future releases.


Where is Balcones Distilling located? Balcones Distilling is located in Waco, Texas. Their distillery and tasting room are located at 225 S. 11th Street in downtown Waco.

When did Balcones start distilling whiskey? Balcones Distilling was founded in 2008, making it the first distillery in Waco since Prohibition. The first whiskey was released in 2010.

What grains does Balcones use in their whiskey? Balcones uses a variety of local Texas grains like corn, wheat, malted barley and rye. They are known for using an heirloom blue corn variety that gives some whiskeys a distinctive flavor.

Does Balcones Distilling offer tours? Yes, Balcones offers tours of their distillery in Waco. Tours run Wednesday through Saturday and need to be booked in advance through their website. The tour takes you through the production process and includes tastings of their whiskeys.

Where can I buy Balcones whiskey? Balcones Distilling spirits are sold at many liquor stores throughout Texas. Their whiskeys can also be found at specialty liquor stores throughout the US. Visit their website to find a retailer near you.

About the Author

A native of Texas, Ken “Texan” Pierce is a renowned alcohol aficionado with over 15 years of experience in the Texas wine, whiskey, and beer industry. With a vast number of alcohol production resources right in his back yard in the Texas Hill Country, Ken has made it his mission to promote and advance the Texas winemaking, distilling, and brewing industry across the country.  His uncanny ability to identify tasting notes and pairings makes him a respected authority within alcohol enthusiast circles. When he’s not reviewing the latest craft spirits, you can find Ken playing his guitar, trying to sing, and sipping on a Texas libation.

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