Austinites are discerning beer drinkers, and they are fiercely loyal to these local institutions. In 2013, Texas beer laws were changed to allow more breweries to sell beer that could be consumed on site. Previously, many of them could only sell beer to go. Now, more breweries are popping up every day to meet the ever-increasing demand. A fun way to see several breweries in one day is to book a visit through Austin Brewery Tours. The company will pick up your crew at Craft Pride and take you on a day-long beer adventure.
While the pizza is good, it’s the beer that is winning prestigious national awards for Pinthouse Pizza. At the 2017 Great American Beer Festival, Pinthouse earned a gold medal for its Bearded Seal Dry Irish Stout. At the 2015 Los Angeles Beer Competition, Pinthouse took gold for its Jaguar Shark Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout. The bar has a few mainstays, as well as a rotating menu of newly released beers.
A low-key brewery with surprisingly good food, ABGB serves great pizza and fresh sandwiches. The Bavarian lager and pale ale earn consistently high praise from regulars. The tree-shaded outdoor area is a relaxing spot to wind down with a brew and some friends after a long day. Plus, there is live music from local and regional bands Wednesday through Saturday.
If you prefer drinking in an upscale setting, head to North by Northwest Restaurant & Brewery. The food is above-average American fare but nothing spectacular. As for the beers, try the Black Ale if you like creamy dark beer. Lighter options include the Northern Light and Jingo Pale Ale. You can also purchase beer to go.
Have a seat at a long bench and enjoy a flight of well-made beers. Many of the selections here are hoppy, but there’s enough variety to suit almost any taste. And if you decide to stick around for a while, there are board games available to play. In case you were looking for one more reason to love this place, the brewery sells Brew Biscuits, dog snacks made from grains left over during the brewing process.
Adventurous beer lovers will appreciate this quirky brewery in far southwest Austin. Traditionalists may balk at some of the flavors, which range from tart to minty. Serious beer nerds will enjoy learning about the unique fermenting techniques and ancient recipes used for some of the brews. Situated amid rolling hills, the brewery is a great spot for a quick Saturday getaway. The place is dog- and kid-friendly, and the wood-fired pizza will keep the little ones busy as you enjoy the beer.
Located in a semi-rural part of Dripping Springs, Last Stand Brewing is a friendly little spot perfect for whiling away a Saturday afternoon while sipping some fresh brews. The coffee porter consistently earns rave reviews, and there’s always a nice selection of ales and IPAs. A large outdoor seating area adds to the homey atmosphere.
The Parks & Rec seasonal pale ale is one of the brewery’s most popular beers, along with the Coffee Milk Stout. The tap room is surrounded by tanks, making you feel as though you’re truly immersed in the brewing process.
A neighborhood pub, Draught House is known for its eclectic crowd and huge selection of beers on tap. Pint nights on Tuesdays can get a little crowded, but it’s a friendly mob. The pub features local brews and beers from all over the world. There’s a sprawling outdoor area, and food trucks are usually parked nearby.
The brewery hosts tours and tastings on Fridays and Saturdays and often features live bands also. Tucked away in an industrial park, the place can be a little tough to find, but it’s worth the effort. The Black Rhino and Naked Nun are two of the most popular Belgian-style brews.
Focusing on sour beers, Blue Owl is clearly a niche brewery that’s not for everyone. If you’re feeling adventurous, though, the brewery has several variations on the sour beer theme, so they might just turn you into a fan before the visit is over. Plus, the tap room is dog-friendly.
A bit off the beaten path in north Austin, 4th Tap Brewing Co-Op is adventurous about trying unusual ingredients. You may be served a beer with hints of tamarind, rosemary or cumin, for example. Have a seat at a picnic table, order a flight, and play some board games.
Although the location has been described as a “formerly industrial area” in south Austin, it’s still an industrial area. St. Elmo Brewing is part of The Yard development that is also home to the Austin Winery and Still Whiskey Co. On the way in, though, you will drive by several metal fabrication businesses, welding shops and mysteriously unlabeled warehouses. That’s part of the charm of The Yard, though. They want to ensure that this area is still involved in making stuff from scratch. St. Elmo produces an impressive variety of beers, including pale ales, IPAs and barleywine. The simple descriptions on the menu are helpful for beer novices. The brewery has a dog-friendly patio as well as an intimate indoor area. Live music is often featured on the patio, and the adjoining Soursop food truck earns almost as many kudos as the beer. Grassy Thursday features up-and-coming bluegrass bands from Austin and Central Texas.
Although there’s no bar on site, the brewery hosts regular tours and tastings on weekends. The facility makes small batches of English- and Belgian-style beers, which are also available at several area restaurants. Don’t miss the Pecan Porter, when available.