ATXGuide

The Best Breweries In Austin

Where to drink hazy IPAs, pilsners, and sours next to giant steel tanks.
The Best Breweries In Austin image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

The big craft beer boom of the early 2010s may have come and gone as fast as your cousin’s interest in crypto, but it left behind some great spots to hang out and grab a pint of something local. But visiting an Austin brewery means more than just drinking good beer—it's about having a good time and eating well, too. And because Austin is at its best outdoors, it’s also about enjoying some tree-shaded patios, massive backyards, and live music. From pizza shops with great beer to sprawling farms out in the Hill Country, these are the best breweries in Austin. 

THE SPOTS

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Brewery

Hill Country

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If you’re a beer nerd, you already know about Jester King. And if you’re not, we’ll give a little background—Jester King brews most of its beers with wild yeast from the 165-acre farm out in the Hill Country that it’s set on. As a result, no two batches are ever the same, and many of them are about as tart as a pack of Sour Patch Kids. Beyond the beer, it’s worth a visit for the patio, the walking trails around the farm, and the free-roaming goats that maintain the grass in a much cuter way than lawnmowers ever could. There’s also an on-site kitchen with great pizza

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Live Oak is one of Austin’s oldest breweries and probably best known for its hefeweizens and pilsners. It’s set on a massive lot out near the airport, complete with a 13-hole disc golf course and a German food truck—if you want a pint and a schnitzel sandwich, this is a lot closer than a trip to Fredericksburg. Stop here the next time you’re flying out of Austin, but be careful that two beers doesn’t turn into “Hi, I missed my flight and I need to book the next one out.” 

In addition to offering up some pretty great pizza, Pinthouse operates as a brewery, now with four locations around Austin. The spots are all pretty similar, but if you want to see where it all started, head to the original on Burnet Road. They brew a variety of styles, but are probably best known for the Electric Jellyfish—a hazy, NEIPA that’s become a staple at bars all across the city. We’re waiting for the day they decide to brew a pizza-flavored beer, but until then we’ll just have to settle for creating our own carb-on-carb pairings. 

Meanwhile Brewing is a large brewery off of Ben White that takes the outdoors seriously. There’s a stage for live music, a playground (for kids), a soccer field (for adults), and a large patio that feels like an enchanted forest full of trees. We like the German- and Italian-style pilsners here, but you’ll also find every variety of IPA imaginable, stouts, sours, and a helles that we like a lot. And if all that wasn’t enough, it’s home to Distant Relatives (a barbecue favorite), Side Eye Pie (a pizza favorite), Pueblo Viejo (a breakfast taco favorite), and Bésame (an ice cream favorite). If you’re counting, that’s four favorites, and more than enough reasons to head to Meanwhile Brewing.  

During the day, Lazarus is a great spot to grab a shot of espresso and a couple of tacos. And by night, it’s a great spot to grab a pint of beer and a couple of tacos. We like most of the core beers here, but the rotational releases are what keep us coming back. They’re also what allows you to pair those carnitas tacos with everything from Belgian barleywines to black rice lagers. There’s a covered patio for Austin’s many warmer months, and even a cozy fireplace surrounded by couches on the second floor for our brief few days of winter. 

You’ll likely find at least one of Austin Beerworks’ core beers in nearly any bar in town. They’re simple and clean versions of a lot of classic styles—pale ales, IPAs, and pilsners, in particular. But head to the big taproom in Sprinkle Valley and you’ll have access to about a dozen different core and seasonal beers, all set on 64 acres. There’s disc golf and board games if you need something to do with your hands, and excellent smoked meat tacos from Yellow Bell if you need something to do with your mouth. There’s also another taproom in North Austin with the same beers, and about 63 fewer acres. 

The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company—better known as ABGB—puts out consistently high-quality beers out of South Austin. With a massive patio, live music most nights, and a pretty big menu of pizzas, salads, and sandwiches, this is where you head when you have a big group and want to make sure nobody leaves disappointed. You can get a lot of great beers here, but our favorites are the Rocket 100 Pilsner and the Hell Yes Helles. They’re clean, refreshing, and well-suited to combating the Texas sun. 

St. Elmo Brewing is home to our favorite smashburger in Austin at Patty Palace, and that alone should be enough reason to head to this South Austin brewery. And if you need another reason, the clean and crisp Carl kolsch would like a word. You can get a lot of different styles on any given day, but we’re partial to the kolsch, IPAs, and kettle sours here. There’s also a pretty large, dog-friendly patio with live music and lots of shaded picnic tables. 

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches serves, well, craft beer and kolaches. And sometimes they even offer a beer brewed with kolaches. You’ll find a lot of styles represented here, but we tend to gravitate towards the imperial stouts and sours—that tends to be where the more experimental stuff happens. It doubles as a coffee shop during the day and is set in a small, cozy house with a large backyard that has plenty of tables and a small bocce ball court (BYO-bocce balls though). 

Hold Out Brewing is home to some of the best burgers and wings in town, making this one of the strongest food-and-beer combos in the whole city. Throw in a huge patio with lots of dogs and it’s not hard to see why we like this spot so much. We're fans of the west coast IPAs and NEIPAs here, but they also brew a great mild ale that’s a little better suited to spending the entire afternoon on the patio without an overwhelming desire to take a nap under a tree somewhere. 

When the weather gets warm, there are very few combinations in Austin as satisfying as a Spicy Boys sandwich and an Icy Boy—Zilker Brewing’s rice lager. The fried chicken sandwiches from the on-site food truck are some of our favorites in town, and Icy Boys is the poster child for crisp, clean, and refreshing beers. But Zilker Brewing is a lot more than just rice lagers—you can also get some great hazy IPAs and fruited kettle sours. And it’s right next to all the bars on East 6th Street if you want to turn an afternoon hangout into an all-night hang. 

Independence Brewing might have a footprint barely bigger than an actual footprint, but this small brewery and taproom in South Austin makes some of our favorite imperial IPAs and oatmeal stouts in town. And it feels more like an active brewery than some of the others on this list that are 95% patio. Don’t be surprised if you see beers getting canned and labeled in the background while you sip on your Stash IPA from the bar counter. 

Oddwood Brewing is home to KG BBQ—an Egyptian-Barbecue fusion spot that’s one of the best restaurants in the whole city—and that alone makes it worth a visit. But you’ll also be able to get some excellent saisons, hoppy pale ales, and lagers that go just as well with that barbecue as they do with Oddwood’s small menu of the best bar pizza in Austin. The inside feels very homey, with lots of wood and cozy lighting, and even a room full of old video games to help you decompress a bit. 

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