The Ginger Man
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Taps: 81 / Bottles: 66
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 88 | Reviews: 65 | Display Reviews Only:
4.4/5 rDev +3.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | $$
The Ginger Man beer bar in Austin has a huge number of taps (about 80) against a copper backsplash extending across the back wall of its single long wooden bar. More than half the taps are dedicated to US micros with good representation from local SE TX area brewers (St. Arnold, Live Oak, Independence, and Real Ale). Belgian, German and UK beers make up most of the rest of the draft beer offerings. In addition, there are about 100 bottled beers offered with a large majority being either US or Belgian, and the remainder being mostly German, British, Canadian and Mexican.
You'll waste more time trying to find parking on the street than it's worth, and I would recommend simply pulling into one of the public lots or garages in the area. I stopped by late on a Sunday night and was greeted by a live version of Talking Heads' "Stop Making Sense" as I walked in the door. The music was loud, but not in any way annoying. I suspected, and later confirmed, that the music was being driven from a jukebox.
The place is bigger than my initial impression led me to believe. Dart boards up front, a pool table in the back and a single TV above one end of the bar. The place is nicely laid out to accommodate small groups looking to hang out in what is, no doubt, a very crowded place during peak hours. But if you get there early enough you can probably score one of the small nooks furnished to make you feel like you're hanging in a friend's den or basement. Add in some quality beer, a game of darts or pool, and this is about as good of a hang out bar as it gets.
I started with a half pint draft of Old Stock Ale, blackboard listed as a new arrival. This was followed by a pint of the Collaboration not Litigation Ale. Both beers were $4.75. The CnLA is a spicy amber Belgian-style strong ale with tremendous lacing and a creamy smooth mouthfeel.
The clientele is mixed, but mostly a crowd of 20-30 somethings. The barmaid is quick, attentive and easy on the eyes. A raspy voice adds to her overall allure, but it's her genuinely pleasant nature and disarming smile that makes me feel warm inside when I order a beer from her... OK, maybe it's the high abv beers getting to me, but one should never let realty interfere with a warming sense of delusion.
The last draft I ordered was the Full Moon Pale Rye from Real Ale. It's a local TX brew I've never had, but it was fresh and I really enjoyed it.
Across the States you'll find a number of bars with a large number of draft beers on tap. What makes the Austin Ginger Man a cut above the rest is its well thought out selection (both on tap and in bottles).
03-27-2008 22:52:56 | More by 86sportster883
4.33/5 rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I brought my family on a business trip to Austin and last night for Valentine's Day we managed to get a coworker to watch my son and we headed to downtown Austin. I sought this place out for drinks prior to dinner after reading about it here on BA. Once I walked in I realized I had been in this place once before during a recruiting trip 8 or 9 years ago, but that's another story. One note to consider - the parking area adjacent to the building was a private lot charging 7 bucks to park. Not knowing what else was available in the area we went ahead and paid, but you may want to look for on street parking elsewhere if you want more money for brews.
This is the type of place I would love to live near. I don't know what it's like late night, but early evening it had the laid back atmosphere of a coffee shop combined with wonderful beer, authentic (non electronic) dart boards, and a lounge area.
We happened to get there during their "Thursday Thirsty Thirty Minutes" where from 6-6:30 ALL draughts were $3.00. Belgians too. During our visit I worked on brews not available in my neck of the woods: Maredsous #8, Lagunitas IPA, Stone IPA, and a cask conditioned St. Arnold's Elissa.
Selection was great, and service was good. My only complaint was that with such a wide selection of beers and a handy up to date list there was no listing of ABV, and the bartender I spoke to had no idea what the ABV on the Maredsous was. I think it's kind of important to have that info available to aid in responsible drinking. Also, I saw lots of people drinking from authentic glassware - Duvel tulips and other varieties, but all of my orders were served to me in standard shaker pints. Not sure whether the glassware is bring your own or on request.
All in all a very enjoyable experience and I will definitely return next time I find myself in Austin.
02-15-2008 16:11:44 | More by kcillini77
4.58/5 rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $
Mellow yet lively atmosphere to contrast the madhouse on 6th Street after midnight on a Thursday night in Austin. Big, big bar with a long long row of taps - excellent! Service was very friendly and willing to add color around some of the local taps I hadn't tried before; made best efforts to sample the Texas stuff I can't get at home. Excellent varied selection up and down the spectrum; very good pours all around. Music was unobtrusive - crowd was pleasant. A good place to enjoy high-quality stuff in moderation. Very reasonable - a good value. Would highly recommend.
Update: Back in town March 24-25, confirming notes above. Prices seem even more reasonable than before, even if it's contrast from recent travels. Very much enjoyed $3 Texas Tuesday with many local selections, including St. Arnold's, Real Ale and Live Oak. St. Arnold's Elissa IPA still on cask and becoming a staple of visits here. Enjoy!
02-03-2008 12:55:12 | More by IBUnit63
4.78/5 rDev +12.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
A "must" stop if you are in Austin. I called my buddy, BJ, and he directed me to this place. The atmosphere is great. Everyone is drinking quality beer and enjoying it! Service was phenomenal, especially the bartender, Ben, who is well versed on beer styles and how different people would like those styles. He knew the intraciate details of each beer. Impressive. Selection was great. Definitely the best that I saw in Austin. I've seen better in the US, but this was still among the best. Their food offering is a little meager (sandwiches, slices of pizza, empanadas, pretzels), but the place is about beer, not food. Still, I ate a sandwich and it hit the spot. Great value.
I will gladly go back to this place, as beer lovers flock to the Ginger Man.
01-26-2008 06:18:22 | More by wardough
4.5/5 rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
The overall feel of this place is what makes this a must stop for better beer while in Austin. Above and beyond the 100's of options and beer styles what seemed to set it apart is that the bartender knows beer. He was very friendly and you could sense that he just enjoyed the beer culture. I was there 11/1/07 and they had the current Beeradvocate magazine with Michael Jackson's visage prominently displayed behind the bar which was a nice touch. I sampled some local Live Oak oaktoberfest and a Saint Arnold IPA on cask both very nice. They had just gotten a few Lagunitas offerings on tap which is something I haven't seen too many places outside of California. A must stop when in town.
11-05-2007 15:01:45 | More by veech
4.14/5 rDev -2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Spent 10/17 and 10/18 at the Ginger Man. Extensively reviewed here by others and I concur it is one of two "must go there" places to drink good beer in Austin. The other being the Draught House. They have 87 beers on tap and more than that in bottles. Extensive Belgian list, but to my dismay no first round choices available. The St Bernardus 12 was not on tap anymore! Replaced by a pumpkin ale of all things! For a Belgian Dark Strong Ale lover I settled for Maredsous #8 on tap and #10 in bottle to start. The usual Chimay's, out of Delirium Nocturnum and out of the Westmalle Dubbel. I get a little disturbed when a place is out of most of the beers I order. Never the less an extensive beer list that can keep one occupied for a day or two. Recommeded as the #2 stop while is Austin if you are a Belgian beer drinker. The Draught House had a better selection at this time and would be my #1 stop choice.
10-28-2007 03:35:14 | More by JJFlash
4.2/5 rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Of all of the bars that I visited while in Austin, I think I spent the most time at the Ginger Man. Not because they have a hundred taps or whatever, but because the people there seemed interested in beer! The servers were friendly and knew what they were talking about - not as much as me, but hey, who does? And at least they weren't just repeating a memorized list of beers on tap, or spouting off half-truths about the brewing process (as so many brewpub employees seem to do).
That said, the building is an interesting, beautiful old industrial brick A-frame on an odd street with no sidewalk. I'm sure there's some great history about that, but I don't know it. There's a small area out front though because of that, and I had a good time hanging at a table with a bunch of locals and Eddie Stoudt from PA one night.
Inside there's a blocky wood bar, wood floors, wood panel, black "industrial" lamps, dark leather chairs in cozy corners, tin-cut lights, and "Edison-reproduction" lightbulbs in minimalist retro chandeliers. Think Pottery Barn, but dark, and real. The little comfortable relaxation areas they have are very nice though. They have sofas and leather chairs and reading lamps. It's so much more welcoming than New York where I'd first seen this type of atmosphere, and that's Austin!
What else? Oh, the beer, yes. They have a handpump that sees a lot of action! And a wall full of taps that seem to move quickly. The bottled beer selection is fairly average stuff, but they do cover the whole world with it (Red Stripe, Cooper's Sparkling Ale, McEwan's Scotch Ale, Tsingtao, Labatt's Blue). Some highlights from the draft selection during my visit: Grottenbier Brown, Live Oak Big Bark, St. Arnold Elissa IPA, Meantime IPA, New Belgium Mothership Wit, Blanche de Bruxelles.
They also have wine and cider, which can be good if there's someone in your group who's absolutely unwilling to try beer (think cratchety old grandmas); and a limited selection of foods (sandwiches, pizza, cheese plate).
So, in conclusion, I'd say that although it can sometimes get a bit of a college crowd (and anywhere in Austin will), if I only had time to visit one place I'd make the Ginger man my destination. Well worth a visit!
07-25-2007 23:06:15 | More by NeroFiddled
4.5/5 rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
Just got back from The Ginger Man, spent a few hours there tonight after dinner. Wasn't what I expected, but that doesn't mean a whole lot. I hear about a place with 80+ beers on tap and I'm thinking pearly gates, but it never shocks me when I walk into a very normal looking bar.
Atmosphere wise, this is nice laid back place. It looked about half empty, but a I overheard a regular comment on how busy it was and the bartender agreed. A little dark for my liking and only some juke box tunes playing despite an ample size for both music, TV, etc. Seemed like a really friendly environment with a lot of locals and regulars.
Service was good. I only had one question regarding "Lucifer" which I wasn't familiar with and was told that it was similar to Duvel. Good quality place, I mentioned to them about there recent appearance in BA magazine and the bartender wasn't aware of it (although he did mention that he thought something was coming since BA was around during a recent beer fest).
Selection can't hardly be beat. First time I got to wrap my palatte around an Arrogant Bastard so you know it was a good night for me. Sure wish the Tar Heel state could get some Stone in, cause the Bastard was A+. Finshed the night with a glass of Lindeman's Framboise, and was shocked at how little I spent. I spent more on the cab ride home then I did on top notch beers I enjoyed while there.
Overall, a really great place to go and have a beer. Doesn't seem busy during the week, won't be able to speculate as for the weekend. Surrounded by other pubs/beer bars with live entertainment if you are looking for that.
06-19-2007 04:59:03 | More by NCSUdo
4.47/5 rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3 | $$
Stopped here for a couple of hours on a Wednesday night while visiting Austin. I didn't count the taps but there were as many as I can ever recall seeing and all the ones I sampled seemed very fresh. I stuck with local brews of which there were many to choose. Bar tenders were very friendly and prompt. Quick to inform on every selection and accurate by my experience. The atmosphere is dark and relaxed but even on a Wednesday, which was not very busy, the clientele were generally buzzing and friendly. There was a pool table inside and a nice outside "beer garden". The juke box offered some decent blues & rock tunes with a good sound system. They apparently have bands there some nights, being downtown in Austin, but there was no entertainment that Wednesday. A few screens available for viewing sports, primarily from the bar. Decor was sort of old brick warehouse variety with some interesting beer items displayed. It's a fairly large place with a few coffee house type sitting areas (plush chairs and sofas) if you have a small group to be with, or a hot date perhaps. I didn't try any of their food but it did not seem to be a significant part of their business. Beer was the deal here and the varieties were really beautiful, a little of everything and many rare ones on tap to sample (cask ales, Imperial IPA's, etc., etc.). Only wish I could have stayed longer or come back again before leaving town. Take a taxi here and enjoy the beer. An excellent place to get your beer on!!
06-03-2007 02:15:21 | More by Durge
3.86/5 rDev -9.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Some friends and I stopped in on a cool Sunday evening for beers and some pool. I was impressed with the selection of taps - fifty or so - and the bartender's obvious knowledge of the individual beers. There was a nice mix of local brews, Belgian-style ales, and microbrews from across the country.
The decor was nice without trying to hard. There was a lot of dark wood and exposed brick inside, and nice wooden tables in the beer garden outside. Antique beer cans surrounded the Guinness mirror on the wall by the pool table.
The beer menu was well organized with lots of explanations for non-beer people. There were easily two dozen beers I wanted to try, but I had to save some for the next trip to Austin.
04-18-2007 23:38:33 | More by Mickelswit
The Ginger Man in Austin, TX
94 out of 100 based on 88 ratings.