As of 2018, Austin had 37 of the 257 breweries in Texas. More recent sources put Austin’s total nearer to 60, an exciting sign that the beer culture in this thriving, eclectic city is alive and well. Though we’re obviously spoiled for choice, we managed to narrow down our list of favorites to these 9 spots that showcase the variety, atmosphere, and brew talent Austin is known for.
Note: Due to restrictions associated with COVID-19, some businesses may be operating differently from normal. Please call breweries directly to confirm hours of operation and what requirements they have regarding reservations, social distancing on-site, menu changes, and PPE.
The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.
Affectionately called The ABGB by locals, The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. is a charming spot with a big reputation. They won Great American Beer Festival Brewpub of the Year threes in a row, and once you taste tap mainstays like Hell Yes and Big Mama Red, you’ll totally understand why. Picnic on their patio (you can bring your pup) and enjoy a tasting alongside specialty pizzas like a pie with everything from prosciutto, figs, peaches, burrata, and lavender honey and a plate of savory crawfish tacos.
Oz. Tap House
It’s PYOB (pour your own beer) at Oz. Tap House. This beer bar houses a state-of-the-art dispensing machine for a cutting-edge way to get your brews on. Grab your RFID card from staff, eat, drink, and be merry, then at the end of the night you’re charged for whatever you swiped. Enjoy the farm-to-table fare with a Billy Jenkins Bock or Tripel B, then treat yourself to a Coffee Milk Stout for dessert.
Zilker Brewing Co.
Long-time friends Forrest and Patrick Clark and Marco Rodriguez opened Zilker Brewing in 2015 inside a converted mechanics’ garage. The rolltop door remains, which suits the overall industrial vibe just fine. The menu includes mainstays like their Marco IPA and a hazy Heavenly Daze, plus seasonal offerings like the summer ready Parks & Rec, a bright and citrus-forward ale that’s perfect for sipping on the patio. If you get hungry, Zilker has an on-site food truck called Spicy Boys Chicken that’s ready to serve.
Hops & Grain Brewing
Community and sustainability aren’t just buzzwords at Hops & Grains. The staff is very connected to other business and non-profits in the area and emphasizes eco-friendly practices by using recycled packaging and turning their spent brewing grains into dog treats. The calendar is typically packed with fun events like Pints & Poses yoga, art shows, trivia nights, and live music — all fun stuff that gets even more enjoyable accompanied by a six-hop Lupulin Rodeo IPA or the subtly sweet Texas Honey.
Jester King Brewery
House on a sprawling 165-acre ranch, Jester King is so much more than a brewery. It’s a farm, a restaurant, and an event hall, all providing incredible hospitality with a distinctly Austin flair. Seasonal beers get downright wild; Mr. Mingo is a hibiscus saison that rotates through other flavors like strawberry with allspice and vanilla while Bug Farm is an herbal powerhouse with lavender, rosemary, and spearmint plus a fermented watermelon base. Take a farm tour, enjoy food made from local products, or book a private event.
While some breweries offer a little bit of everything, Oddwood Ales is laser focused on wild ales, hoppy pale ales, and lagers. Pair tasty styles like the Yuki-onna, a Japanese-style rice lager, or the hazy Slanted & Enchanted with thin-crust bar pizzas. They also have Italian wines behind the bar, just in case someone in your group isn’t in the mood for a brew. It’s a great example of doing just a few things very right.
St. Elmo Brewing Company
What started as a three-beer brewery is now a bustling space with several dozen rotating beers available by tap and in handy growlers. Choices range from a dark and creamy Angus Stout to Splitz, a malt liquor, to the pucker-worthy Penelope Passionfruit Sour. The food is another interesting perk; all eats come courtesy of Soursop, a food truck serving Indian-inspired goodies. Drink in the taproom or set up outside where there are corn hole boards and plenty of space for live music.
Blue Owl Brewing
Blue Owl Brewing is all about sour beer. Their offerings range from newbie-friendly low sours to absolutely pucker-inducing options that are remarkably tart yet still deliciously balanced. Look out for fun seasonal brews like the 2020 fall flavor Plum de Plume, a plum jam and orange marmalade sour. The tasting system is fun, too: buy a glass, and you get four tastings included. Grab a spot indoors or outdoors (both dog friendly), set up one of the board games available for play, and get your sour on.
Live Oak Brewing Company
One look at the towering oaks scattered around the outside of Live Oak Brewing Company and it’s easy to see where the brand gets its name. Alongside the more expected hefeweizen and pilsners, Live Oak makes smoked beers that will blow your taste buds as well as your mind. Roasted malt gives beers like the Schwarzer Rauch a smoky, complex flavor profile. Live Oak’s 22-acre property includes shaded biergartens, a nice taproom, and a 9-hole disc golf course