Easily one of the most exciting and rapidly growing cities in the nation, Austin prides itself on its vibrant food and beverage scene. An artisanal can-do attitude runs rampant through the Lone Star capital, and local chefs, distillers, and brewers channel that spirit and use it to fuel their culinary and booze-related pursuits. In the latter category, craft beer-making stands out as one of Austin’s most distinguishing charateristics; the city currently houses nearly 40 small-batch breweries, more than any other region of Texas.
Beer lovers can access a multitude of tasting rooms, brewery tours, and ice-cold pints while visiting Austin. If you’re looking for a solid ATX beer-crawl itinerary, we’ve got you covered with 10 can’t-miss breweries throughout the metro Austin area.
Live Oak Brewing
Our Austin brewery tour begins in the suburban community of Del Valle, located directly beside Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Here, you’ll find Live Oak Brewing, a highly acclaimed microbrewery specializing in European-inspired styles. Live Oak’s brewery offers guided tours of the facility, a taproom where you can try selections like HefeWeizen, Pilz pilsner, Grodziskie (a classic Polish beer), Berliner Weisse, and an assortment of seasonal specialties, along with a beautiful outdoor “biergarten” available for private-event rentals.
Friends & Allies
Next, we’ll move into the über-trendy neighborhood of East Austin, which also happens to be a craft-brewery nexus. Among the most widely beloved examples is Friends & Allies Brewing, a brewery located within an industrial nook of the neighborhood and offering a comfortable, highly hospitable environment for tasting and enjoying their beers. Friends & Allies produces a core group of beers that they offer year-round (including Noisy Cricket Session IPA, Urban Chicken Saison, Fresh Coast IPA, and Springdale White Ale), along with rotating seasonal varieties like Bravery Red IPA and Memory Jog Rosemary Pale Ale. In the outdoor beer garden space, you’ll find food trucks selling snacks and plenty of picnic tables ideal for groups.
Hops & Grain
A prime East Austin address certainly contributes to Hops & Grain’s local popularity. The brewery has a larger facility in the Austin suburb of San Marcos, but the Austin space includes an active brewing operation, along with a taproom serving fan-favorite beers like River Beer Lager, A Pale Mosaic IPA, and The One They Call Zoe Pale Lager. In addition to brewery tours and taproom tastings, Hops & Grain features a dog-friendly outdoor patio with food trucks.
Blue Owl Brewing
Blue Owl Brewing on East Cesar Chavez Street in East Austin specializes in one particular beer style: the sour. Their sour-mashing technique makes them local industry leaders, and visitors to their brewery can participate in guided tastings, sampling tangy brews like Spirit Animal Sour Pale Ale, Little Boss Sour Session Wheat, and Van Dayum! Sour Red Ale, along with limited-edition seasonal releases.
Zilker Brewing Co.
Just a fifteen-minute walk from East Side BBQ mecca Franklin Barbecue, Zilker Brewing Company offers a well-appointed refuge for beer lovers of all stripes. The gorgeously-designed taproom overlooks the brewing operation, allowing you to see exactly where your beer comes from as you sip a Marco IPA or a Parks & Rec Pale Ale. The taproom also offers free Wi-Fi for those who like to enjoy a cold brew while working remotely.
Lazarus Brewing Co.
An East Austin brewery with major community spirit, Lazarus Brewing Co. seeks to fill a larger role than that of a top-notch brewing operation (although it certainly succeeds on that front). Their space on East 6th Street provides a lively taproom serving drafts like Prodigal Pils Pilsner, Walks On Water American IPA, and Achilles Heel Dry Stout. However, Lazarus also has a full-service coffee bar on-site, along with an all-day kitchen serving up street tacos.
North Austin is an area on the rise, with abundant dining options, major shopping centers like The Domain, and more reasonably priced real estate than you’ll find in neighborhoods closer to downtown. The region also scores major points in the brewery department, thanks to flagship operations like Austin Beerworks. Brews from this brand can be found at bars, restaurants, and grocery stores throughout Central Texas, but if you want to get your suds directly at the source, head to the North Side brewery and taproom. Austin Beerworks serves their standard lineup at the brewery, including favorites like Peacemaker Ale, Pearl Snap Pilsner, and Fire Eagle IPA. However, you can also get pours of special-edition exclusives, like Sun Shovel Weissbier, Estel Dale Smoked Pale Ale, and Hazing Saddles Hazy IPA.
Sometimes, bigger isn’t necessarily better. A tiny microbrewery can make a major impression on a beer market, even one as competitive as Austin’s. Case in point? Adelbert’s Brewery, a small North Austin facility focused on Belgian-style beers. Adelbert’s dabbles in both classic Belgian brews (like their take on a Tripel) and intriguing flavor-infused varietals (like Hibiscus Saison and Mango Wit). The tasting room makes for a cozy hangout, stocked with board games and comfy seating, while the dog-friendly back garden is great for groups (especially those who enjoy a spirited round of cornhole).
St. Elmo Brewing
A trip to South Austin wouldn’t be complete without visiting the neighborhood’s most popular (and, arguably, most enjoyable) brewery: St. Elmo Brewing Company. The massive beer garden alongside the brewery regularly hosts trivia nights and live music performances, along with a highly acclaimed pan-Asian food truck, Soursop. Beer enthusiasts can partake of the brewery’s handiwork, including Carl Kolsch, Angus Stout, Slater IPA, and Mahalo Pineapple Pale Ale.
If you’re up for a beer-related mini road trip to the scenic Texas Hill Country, you’ll be in for a real treat in the form of celebrated brewery Jester King. Just a 45-minute drive will take you to Jester King’s stunning 165-acre property, where you can soak in some rural farmland vibes, feast on appetizers and pizzas made from locally sourced ingredients, and sample Jester King’s award-winning farmhouse ales, including Das Wunderkind dry-hopped culture ale, Le Petit Prince farmhouse table beer, and Moderne Dansk farmhouse ale infused with Danish cherry juice. (Also, if you’re looking for something a little harder, Desert Door Distillery is a short drive away.)
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