Central TX (Austin, San Antonio)
Last update: August 2016
Public transportation is a joke in Austin. A car helps out a ton, but Fare/Fasten works great in the city.
- Jester King Brewery Texas' beer nerd destination has lots of wide open outdoor space, plenty of tables, and the gorgeous Hill Country backdrop is vastly different compared to a typical brewery's industrial park location. Well known for spontaneously fermented beer, especially barrel-aged wild ales with varying seasonal fruit. Stanley's Farmhouse Pizza next door is not a bad option for convenient food, but I prefer picking up some bagels at Lox, Box, and Barrel as fuel for the lengthy wait during releases, or a pizza at Pieous to beat the heat afterwards. Tap list includes guest taps and changes on a weekly basis. A visit to the brewery is required in order to pick up fruited sour bottles.
Public hours are Thursday-Sunday!!!
Notable beers: fruited sours such as Atrial Rubicite, Nocturn Chrysalis, Aurelian Lure, Cerveza De Tempranillo, Biere De Blanc Du Bois, Biere De Syrah, Omniscience & Proselytism, Montmorency vs. Balaton
- Live Oak Brewing Company Took these guys long enough to build a new brewery and get going on canning! Mostly focuses on German beer styles. They have a fancy new facility near the airport selling generous 500mL pours in the taproom for $5.
Notable beers: Hefeweizen (#2 for the style in the world on RB/BA), Berliner Weisse, Big Bark Amber
- Pinthouse Pizza Reliable, family-friendly (VERY LOUD with lots of children at peak hours) brewpub with two locations in North Central/South Austin. The South location is worth visiting for one of the brewpub's flagships: Electric Jellyfish is a locally brewed take on the "New England style" juicy/hazy IPA.
Notable beers: Electric Jellyfish, Nomura Imperial Jellyfish, Jaguar Shark
- Freetail Brewing Company Think modern sports bar vibe (with typical pub fare), but with house brewed beer and a few guest taps (always ask if there's sours available). They have a location convenient for visitors in the Riverwalk/downtown area, but a trip to the original brewpub is well worth the time and effort.
Notable beers: the sours - Ananke, Yo Soy Un Berliner, Pechecus
If you have time
- Real Ale Brewing Company Blanco isn't exactly convenient to anything, but these guys have excellent history of making solid beer in Texas. Look out for the Mysterium Verum series beers, which truly showcase their brewing talent.
Notable beers: Four-Squared, Sisyphus, the Mysterium Verum series - Benedictum, Scots Gone Wild, Codex Triplex
- Austin Beerworks They took off since they were one of the first Austin breweries to can, and now they're one of the big fish locally. Brewery will triple in size after upcoming expansion. Also doing some excellent one-off/seasonal beers.
Notable beers: Einhorn, Heisenberg, Sputnik, Heavy Machinery IPA series
- Hops and Grain Brewing Once considered a creative, under-the-radar brewery, they are now one of the big dogs in the area as they've massively expanded their canning output/distribution, including a second location opening in San Marcos. Cozy vibe and an excellent choice in the east side since it's all indoors.
Notable beers: Whatever sours they have at the taproom, A Pale Mosaic IPA, the Greenhouse IPA series, The One They Call Zoe
- (512) Brewing Company A longtime player in Central TX craft beer, other breweries have eclipsed what they make, but they're still solid. Tours require an advance purchase here
Notable beers: IPA, Pecan Porter, Whiskey Barrel Double Pecan Porter
- Oskar Blues Well they aren't actually open to the public yet... the new location looks like it has pristine new equipment and there are Cigar City beers being canned in Austin.
- Blue Owl Brewing All sour brewery on the east side.
- Zilker Brewing Seems to be going for consistent production and distribution to the local area. Solid stop on the east side.
Notable beers: Marco IPA, Coffee Milk Stout
- Oasis Texas Brewing Company Do you like session beers? Do you like pretty lake views? Before this brewery opened, most locals would never recommend going to the Oasis, which is an overpriced tourist trap, but they make solid beer and it's a nice view. Fun place to bring a tourist and watch the sunset.
Notable beers: Metamodern Session IPA, one-off sours in the taproom
Others (aka I don't know much about them/haven't been)
- 4th Tap
- Circle Brewing
- Last Stand
- Strange Land Brewing
- Kamala Gardens New project from the guy at Whip-In.
- Draughthouse The reliable old school waterin' hole. A simple, unpretentious space with 30 well-curated and constantly rotating taps.
- Craft Pride One of two reasons to go to Rainey Street. All Texas craft beer selection and reasonably priced.
- Bangers The other reason to go to Rainey Street. One of the best curated bars in the city and they are known for having world class taplists for their anniversary parties.
- Waller Creek Pub House They've dethroned Easy Tiger as the destination bar on Dirty 6th for tourists/visitors since their tap selection focuses more towards local beer.
- Growlers USA 100 taps in a casual setting right by the UT campus. Gets some interesting limited release taps and service is phenomenal; everyone on staff is at least L1 Cicerone certified and they are legit beer nerds.
- Wright Bros Brew & Brew Texas craft beer and coffee given equal attention in the east side.
Not bad, could do better
- Quickie Pickie An Austin institution that updated into a hipster bodega/cafe/bar to keep up with the rapidly gentrifying east side. Two locations with solid selections of reasonably priced seasonal/local taps. (aka air's stumbling distance bar)
- Whip-In The "original" convenience store with craft beer, but now with Indian food! Fallen from glory now that Dipak is mostly focused on Kamala Gardens.
- Easy Tiger Bake shop with a great beer selection on Dirty 6th. Not a first pick since selection skews towards West Coast/Colorado beer with questionable freshness.
- Opal Divines
- Gingerman Convenient location downtown.
- Freetail (see above)
- Flying Saucer SA and Austin locations both suck ass.
- East 1st Grocery
- Sunrise Mini-Mart (on Burnet)
- Whole Foods Lamar
- Central Market
Bottle Shops with on-premise/growlers
These get a special section since they can fill growlers! Have a pint while you are shopping!!!
- Whole Foods The one on Lamar is the flagship store.
- Cuvee Coffee Crowlers are currently in limbo :(
I have one day...
- Brewery: Jester King is usually the correct answer here, but decide based on location... north: Austin Beerworks, Pinthouse, east side: Hops and Grain, Blue Owl, Zilker, south: Pinthouse
- Bar: Draughthouse, Craft Pride, or Pinthouse Pizza
- Shop: East 1st Grocery or Sunrise
- Need a growler: Growlers USA