Declaring which of Austin's many craft beers is the best is a bold move, but Livability.com has taken on the task with 99 Beers in 99 Cities. The report determines our standing as a beer city — and proclaims the best craft brew in town.
U.S. cities were ranked based on three must-have criteria: "They are good places to live, they are consumers of craft beer, and they are producers of the best beer around." While the attractiveness of each city was rated by Livability, the data on beer consumption was drawn from Esri, and the more subjective declaration of best beer came from the folks at RateBeer.com.
Austin ranks No. 42 on the list, due in part to the massive craft beer growth that we've experienced in the past few years. "A community motto for years is 'Keep Austin Weird' to promote the city's eccentricity and diversity, and more than 36 microbreweries are garnering success," says Livability.
These breweries range from quintessential establishments like Jester King Brewery to the new Blue Owl Brewing, the country's first sour-mash-only spot. However, the brewery that lays claims to the best Austin beer is Hops & Grain Brewing's The One They Call Zoe. The pale lager has a slightly citrus taste that is balanced by hoppier undertones.
RateBeer.com chose a brew to truly "represent" each city. Zoe's approachable, year-round attraction can be likened to Austin's mild seasons: The brew is easily enjoyed during the steamy summer months or now, with crisp winter temperatures. Add in the fact that Zoe the beer was named after Hops & Grain founder Josh Hare's cute pup, Zoe the dog, and you pretty much have Austin in a can.
The only other Texas city on the list is McKinney. Franconia Brewing Co. and Tupps Brewery are name-dropped as top breweries in the North Texas town.
Check out the rest of the national rankings at Livability.com.