The Austin Brewery Tour

Austin is famous for a lot of things. Live music, world-class barbecue, and hippies notwithstanding, the city is now a brewery mecca. In the past five years, the craft beer industry has boomed in the Capital City, thanks to a dozen or so very dedicated brewers cropping up in the area. None of them are run-of-the-mill taprooms, and all are worth visiting (because, at the very least … beer). Here are four of our local favorites:

Hops-&-Grain_Thomas-Winslow

“East on Sixth Street,” reads the Hops & Grain website, “when it ends you’re there.” Sample some of the award-winning drafts from this sustainable brewery, which is thankfully open seven days a week. Constantly evolving, beers like the Green House IPA are made with different hops every month, so you’re not always drinking the same beer. The taproom is humans-only, but the patio outside is a perfect place for a pint with your pup, and make sure to grab a bag of Brew Biscuits to go, made from malted grains left over from the brewing process. Take the tour, where you might get to try something before it’s released.

Try this beer: The One They Call Zoe, an American pale lager

Hours: Mon – Sun: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Tours start at 5 p.m. Tuesdays – Fridays and 1, 3, and 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

For a truly unique brewery experience, check out the other taproom on East Sixth, Zilker Brewing Co. Every aspect of the brewing process is on display for visitors at Zilker, as they sit at a custom, handcrafted bar in the center of the room. One of the newer spots in Austin, Zilker is fast becoming an East Side hotspot.

Try this beer: Coffee Milk Stout, a coffee milk stout

Hours: Wed – Thu: 4 – 10 p.m.; Fri: 2 p.m – 12 a.m.; Sat: noon – 12 a.m.; Sun: noon – 8 p.m.

Austin-Beerwors

The canned beer revolution in Austin all began at Austin Beerworks. These days it seems like every local beer only comes in cans, but when those curious white, blue, brown, and green cans starting cropping up all over Central Texas in 2011, it was a novel idea. Take a trip to the tap room, where you can sample the beers known as ABW’s core four, though we recommend tasting something from their “exclusives” list, which is where the brewery gets really experimental. Right now, ABW is pouring an IPA made with blood oranges, for example. There’s also a rotating schedule of offerings from some of Austin’s tastiest food trucks, like Evil Weiner and Texas Chili Queens.

Try this beer: Heavy Machinery, a double IPA

Hours: Thu: 5 – 9 p.m.; Fri: 5 – 11 p.m.; Sat – Sun: 1 – 7 p.m.

If you’re willing to go for a bit of a drive, it’s imperative you make it out to Jester King Brewery, a farmhouse brewery on a huge plot that is family (and dog!) friendly. Featuring some truly amazing sour beers, farmhouse ales, and imperial stouts, Jester King is a different experience than the others on this list, but no less important. Also of note: You can purchase to-go bottles of Jester King’s own suds, or from a remarkable list of beers that the brewery distributes. As a bonus, Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza is located on the property, featuring delicious pizza and pints of some of the best non-Jester King beers available in Texas, like Lone Pint’s incomparable Yellow Rose IPA.

Try this beer: Atrial Rubicite, a barrel-aged sour

Hours: Fri: 4 – 10 p.m.; Sat: noon – 10 p.m; Sun: noon – 9 p.m.

Tours start at 6 p.m. Fridays and 1, 3, and 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.