As Austin gears up for a long Labor Day weekend, craft beer fans first have another holiday to celebrate. Starting Sunday, September 1, Texas production breweries will now be able to sell 288 fluid ounces of beer (the equivalent of a case) directly to guests.
The new law allows breweries to sell directly to consumers, something wineries, distilleries, and breweries with brewpub licenses have previously been able to do. This lack of uniform regulation has long created confusion in the marketplace and inevitably irritated tourists.
But there’s no reason to dwell on the past. Kickoff the new era by spending Sunday partying at these area breweries. Then grab a six pack, growler, or crowler (a canned growler, get it?) for happy drinking in the week to come.
4th Tap Brewing Co-op
This North Austin outfit is marking the big day by selling two versions of its acclaimed Brut of All Evil IPA. For a Monday brunch, skip the Prosecco and make a beermosa out of the crisp orange version. Or soak in the last few days of summer with a growler of the strawberry watermelon. Who are we kidding? Those flavors will hold straight until the first cold snap makes everyone mad for pumpkin spice.
Known for its sharply designed cans and approachable sippers like Pearl Snap, this North Austin brewery is also the hallowed space where the beer-to-go bill was signed into law on June 15. Mark the momentous occasion by pedaling along with a bike crawl starting at 10 am on September 1, or just stop by the taproom to grab weekend supplies. In addition to selling crowlers, ABW will be filling clean growlers. Hazing Saddles, the brewery’s take on uber-popular hazy IPAs, will make a grilled vegetarian spread sing.
Hops & Grain Brewing
Give this east side brewery’s founder a big thank you. As the chair of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, Josh Hare was one of the leading voices advocating for the new law. Better yet, show appreciation by taking home a six pack, bomber, growler, or crowler home. For a porch slammer, it’s hard to beat the clean River Beer lager, but the newish Lupulin Rodeo IPA is perfect if the Labor Day menu calls for fajitas.
Live Oak Brewing Company
A pioneer in the Central Texas craft brewing scene, this brand is known for its superlative German beers. Eventually, it will start selling small batch and taproom exclusive beers in six packs, but for now Austinites will have to make do with its core lineup. Mix and match to build a case, but make sure one sixer is devoted to the award-winning hefeweizen. It’s a natural companion to a variety of summer seafood, from plank-smoked salmon to lobster rolls.
St. Elmo Brewing Company
This South Austin hangout has always been able to sell beer to-go, but it is joining the rest of the industry in partying. From 10 am to 8 pm on September 1, enjoy live music and free screen printing (bring your own T-shirt). Those who are planning a backyard barbecue the next day will want to take advantage of a special deal on St. Elmo’s core four beers: a kolsch, a pale ale, a stout, and an American IPA. A three-pack of crowlers will be available for $18.