The Austin Brewery Guide

 
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 is booming 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, boring taprooms, and all are worth visiting (because, at the very least … beer). Here are a bunch of our local favorites:
 

“East on Sixth Street,” reads the Hops & Grain website, “when it ends you’re there.” Open seven days a week, sample some award winning drafts from this sustainable brewery. Constantly evolving, beers like the Green House IPA are made with different hops every month, so that you’re not always drinking the same beer. The taproom is humans-only, but the patio outside is a perfect place for a pour and a 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 not yet available even in the taproom.

Recommended beer to try: The One They Call Zoe, an American pale lager.

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 to Zilker, as they sit at a custom, handcrafted bar in the center of the room. Zilker became an East Side hotspot almost as soon as it opened, its beautiful can art is now iconic. You’ll recognize the look of the Marco IPA right away. There’s great people watching here if you sit out on the patio in front of the store.

Recommended beer to try: Coffee Milk Stout, a coffee milk stout.

The canned beer revolution in Austin seems to have started at Austin Beerworks. Now, it seems like every local beer comes canned-only, but in May of 2011, these curious white, blue, brown, and green cans starting cropping up all over Central Texas. Take a trip to the tap room, where you can sample from ABW’s “core four,” though I 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.

Recommended beer to try: Heavy Machinery, a double IPA.

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 unique 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.

Recommended beer to try: Atrial Rubicite, a barrel-aged sour.

St. Elmo was founded by two guys who espouse the belief that, “every style of beer has its special place in life.” They drive this home again and again and it’s the philosophy behind this brewery that opened in 2016 and is named after the street it sits on in East Austin. Seriously, they like ALL THE BEER. This bar, beer hall, and beer garden is open six days a week and has a super delish resident food truck called Soursop that serves up Asian drinking food.

Recommended beer to try: Wendy, a summer ale.

Adelbert’s Brewery has been around since 2011 and in addition to a bunch of awards, they can boast about using non-GMO Bohemian floor malted barley, Noble hops, and fresh yeast propagated right on the premises. In short, they take beer very very seriously and their taproom offers tastings and tours to help you get up to speed on the latest and greatest in microbrew-ology. This one is located up north, on Rutland Dr., right off of Burnet Road. Bring your dogs and kids to the picnic tables outside and waste away a solid afternoon.

Recommended beer to try: Black Rhino, an earthy ale with hints of coffee and cocoa.

Pinthouse Pizza (and craft brewpub!) has two locations in Austin, one on Lamar and one on Burnet. They’ve got a long list of mainstay and seasonal options you need to drink. The operation focuses on quality ingredients and sustainable business practices, which makes them an ideal fit for this city. And it doesn’t hurt that the beer chases down the cheesy goodness of their artisan-style pizza menu beautifully. Order a “Cannonball” pie and you’ll be so happy. Their website even has a live feed of the tap menu at both locations so you don’t have to get off the couch until your beer is calling.

Recommended beer to try: Old Beluga, an amber ale.

Last, but certainly not least, we have the ABGB (which stands for Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co., but no one calls it that). This place has become a fixture of good times and good atmosphere on Oltorf down south. We’re so glad this brewery/restaurant/temple of fun was brought into the world five years ago. It’s been an awesome local addition. The owners believe, “beer has the power to make everything better” and we heartily agree. It’s kind of why we went to the trouble of putting this list together! In addition to great beer, they have a full menu with great pizzas and lots of live music.

Recommended beer to try: Rocket 100, a pre-prohibition-style pilsner.