Austin's 7 best breweries keep the craft beers flowing
The craft beer movement has exploded in Austin, with new microbreweries and taprooms opening faster than we can keep up — but that doesn't stop us from trying. We fully recommend you follow your hoppy little hearts to any of these nominees for Brewery of the Year in our 2017 Tastemaker Awards.
(512) Brewing Company
This small batch brewery in the 78745 specializes in Old World English and Belgian-style beers, with four core offerings — including the signature Pecan Porter — and a plethora of seasonal brews in a variety of styles. Because they are tap-focused to emphasize freshness, the beer is only available on draft at local establishments, as well as at the brewery's Saturday open house.
More than a brewery, The ABGB is an homage to Old Austin, a place with no pretense where friends, families, and dogs can have a great time eating great pizza and drinking beer. Founded by a group of friends who enjoy dry, hoppy beers and German-style Pilsners, The ABGB offers six mainstay brews (we love the Hell Yes Helles) and a wide spectrum of seasonals including the APA! APA, whose proceeds benefit Austin Pets Alive! No wonder they were named Brewpub of the Year by the 2016 Great American Beer Festival.
Blue Owl Brewing
This East Austin newcomer hit the ground running with its unique sour-mash brewing style brought on by Jeff Young, formerly of Black Star Co-op. In a meteoric rise, the little brewery's popularity grew from experimental endeavor to six-packs of Spirit Animal everywhere in what seemed like a few months. Although their core brews are available at local retailers and tap bars, a visit to the brewery is recommended for taproom exclusives.
Hops & Grain Brewing
Since its humble beginnings in 2011, Hops & Grain continues practicing sustainability, including recycling the spent brewing grains to make dog treats and sourcing ingredients from local and green providers, while growing their business exponentially. While flagship brews The One They Call Zoe Pale Lager can be found just about anywhere in the state, they reserve special editions and unique experimental brews for visitors of their east side taproom.
Lazarus Brewing Company
In less than a year, this establishment has become an east side favorite, thanks to generous helpings of beer, coffee, tacos, and joy. Brewmaster Matt Couch (formerly of Victory Brewing) brews classics (pale ales, IPAs, ESBs, and stouts) but doesn't shy away from more esoteric offerings like goses and all sorts of seasonals, all served in a funky space that features an ample dog-friendly patio crowned with a church-like stained glass dome.
Real Ale Brewing Company
Celebrating its 21st year in business, Real Ale is the granddaddy of our local independent breweries. Still family-owned and based in Blanco, they now produce over 60 thousand barrels annually in a wide variety of styles, including 11 signature beers like Fireman’s #4, Hans’ Pils, and Lost Gold IPA, plus seasonal releases and award-winning experimental ales in the Mysterium Verum lineup. On top of that, the brewery is now distilling a handful of spirits.
Thirsty Planet Brewing Company
This environmentally-conscious brewery earned its spot on the map with its Thirsty Goat Amber which, by popular demand, is also available in six-pack bottles. Other year-round brews include Buckethead IPA and Yellow Armadillo Wheat, but they also offer a seasonal draft selection that rotates every few months. At the new 60,000-square-foot facility currently under construction on South Congress Avenue, they expect to increase production to 40,000 barrels a year to keep up with demand.