Austin Trip Inquiry

Discussion in 'Southwest' started by jhavs, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. jhavs

    jhavs Meyvn (1,357) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader


    I will be in Austin for a Thursday-Monday in mid April. I have looked through the BA Austin Beer Guide as well as some local Texas and Austin craft beer websites and have a pretty good idea of places I should check out.

    I am starting this thread to see if there are any suggestions that may not be as obvious if I am just going by what I can see online.

    We will be staying in the South Congress section of the city and will have a rental car. Any pubs, bars, restaurants, breweries that are definitely "can't miss"? Also interested in activities suggestions outside of the beer world.

  2. Bigrock

    Bigrock Initiate (126) Feb 4, 2013 Texas

    Drop by the Continental Club on South Congress. Dale Watson is there on the 17th. That's about as Austin as you can get.

    If you enjoy nature, head out to the LadyBird Johnson Wildflower Center for a tour. If you really enjoy nature, head out to Hippie Hollow Park for a dip in the lake.
  3. jhavs

    jhavs Meyvn (1,357) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    Great, thanks!
    Reginleif likes this.
  4. aschwab

    aschwab Zealot (577) Mar 3, 2009 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Overall, a good resource for all of Texas brewery hours and a map that is mostly up to date is here.

    Quick PSA to those visiting - in Texas, there is a distinction between brewery and brewpub that is often meaningless as to what the brewery looks like. Brewpubs allow for them to brew beer, sales to go, to drink on site, and to sell other people's beer. Breweries can sell beer to drink on site but never to go. For a shortened version of why places have a brewery license is often due to barrel limits, distribution constraints, and zoning. Brewpub license holders can be straight forward breweries (like Jester King) or more of the traditional brewpub like Pinthouse Pizza. Some have food, others don't. Some are just taprooms like you would expect a normal brewery to be. So, that is why some places can sell to go, and others cannot.

    Austin, Texas
    Must Hits

    • Pinthouse Pizza - Known for their IPAs and barrel aged goodness. Two locations (north and south).

    • Jester King - Farmhouse and sours. Probably the most widely know Austin brewery.

    • Austin Beerworks - Wide range of craft beer with a heavily rotating tap list

    • Hops and Grain - Another Austin staple with a good rotation of taps.

    • Live Oak - German focused, one of the oldest (if not the oldest) craft brewery in Austin.
    Now, there is no perfect list here, but those would be a great start if you have limited time in Austin. All of them (minus Jester King) are open 7 days a week and make a wide range of beer.

    Austin has over 60 breweries currently making beer in the greater Austin area. Wherever you are, you likely are not that far from a brewery. It may be easier to break down breweries by areas of town. They often are in clusters due to zoning laws, so, if you are at one, you may be around many more.

    East Side - This is generally any place east of downtown that is relatively close to downtown still.

    Zilker Brewing - going east out of downtown on 6th Street, this is the first place you'll hit. Their Coffee Milk Stout is probably one of their best core beers.

    Lazarus Brewing - Basically a block further down 6th, they opened in December of 2016. This brewpub has a great interior, great tacos, and good coffee. Their beers are nothing to laugh at either.

    Hops & Grain - Another mile or so down 6th, you run into H&G. It is listed above as what their focus is. Definitely more of a industrial taproom feel.

    Blue Owl - South a couple of blocks, Blue Owl's sole focus is kettled sours.

    Friends & Allies - Brand new brewery that opened this week, should have 4 or so beers on tap, likely more by the time you show up.

    Oddwood Ales - Not quite open yet, but in the spring/summer of 2017, they should be.a good choice for some farmhouse style beers. All on site.

    Airport Area - This is sorta East Side, but further east. If you are leaving the airport, there are two breweries right outside of it (like 2 minutes from the exit).

    Live Oak - German focused, great outdoor beer garden, and beautiful building.

    Hi Sign - Recently opened, so I cannot say much about them. They do want to get quite a few IPAs on tap, so there is that.

    North Side - If you are staying downtown, there is a commuter train that can drop you off right near these breweries. Otherwise, uber/lyft equivalents. This area is actually really good to hit up 5 or so at once as they are all walking distance to each other.

    Austin Beerworks - Again, listed above. Get Sputnik if it is around.

    Adelbert's - Probably a 10 minute walk from Austin Beerworks (longest walk of this section), they are focused on Belgian influenced beers.

    Celis - 5 minute walk from Adelbert's, the rebirth of the Austin classic. It is not open at the time of writing this, but they will be by May of 2017.

    Oskar Blues - 5 minute walk from Celis, it's Oskar Blues. Not much needed here.

    4th Tap - 3 minute walk from OB, they do a lot of traditional American styles with slight twists on them. Nice taproom and A/C for those here in summer.

    Circle - 7-10 minute walk from 4th Tap, they mainly have lower ABV beers. It also has a train stop right near them to start this tour if you want to do it backwards.

    NXNW - Not walkable anymore, but a restaurant that has really started putting out better beers lately. The restaurant is a little more upscale, but there is a bar to sit in.

    Black Star Co-op - Basically on a train stop one down from the rest of them (just off the platform), this member owned coop has great food and beer.

    Pinthouse Pizza (North) - again, not walkable to the others, but you can catch an rideshare back to downtown from Austin Beerworks and stop by this place.

    Draughthouse - More beer bar than brewery, they do have a great tap list and a couple of their own beers. 10-15 minute walk from Pinthouse.

    South (in the city still)

    The ABGB - brewpub, pizza, and a large outdoor area. They won the brewpub of the year from the GABF in 2016.

    Pinthouse Pizza (South) - further down the road, this one generally has more beer on tap of their own than the north location.

    St. Elmo - New brewpub with a great foodtruck outside. Beers are nothing to laugh at either.

    South Austin Brewery - They exist. Right next to St. Elmo.

    Independence - Another older brewery, but they have expanded their pilot system lately and extended their hours.

    512 - An Austin classic with their Pecan Porter.

    Orf - Opening soon but no real details yet.

    Austin to Dripping Springs

    Jester King - it can be 20 minutes to 45 minutes south of town depending on traffic. But it is worth it for their sour program. It is also on a large piece of land to relax on.

    Last Stand - located 1 mile down the road from JK, I think this is one of the more underrated places in Austin for beer.

    Treaty Oaks - distillery turned brewery as well, they only have limited beers at the time of this. But, like JK, have a beautiful space.

    Twisted X - Located in Dripping Springs, they apparently have been starting to rotate taps more as well. Another great venue.

    Barber Shop/Acopon Brewing - Barber Shop currently is brewing but it is moving 2 doors down to their new facility. It is yet to open, so I can't say what they will do with their beer.

    Northern Suburbs

    Whitestone - Brewpub in a strip mall but solid setup and usually some food trucks

    Thousand Oaks - Tiny operation located in what is almost a storage facility

    Red Horn Coffeehouse and Brewery - Coffeeshop and brewery. What more can I say?

    Bluebonnet - Small operation again

    Rentsch - Way north in Georgetown, focused mostly on German beers

    Flix Brewhouse - Movie theater and brewery

    Flying Man - not quite open yet but should be in May 2017.


    Oasis Brewing - The best brewery views in Texas bar none. Located high above Lake Travis, you can get some spectacular sunsets with some great (mostly) session beers. Not to be confused with Oasis Restaurant in the same complex. You can skip the restaurant and eat at the brewery for cheaper and better food.

    Strangeland - Small brewery that focuses on more old world styles

    Infamous - Expanding taplist in their smaller taproom. Some outdoor seating. Now also houses another brewery called Destination Brewery contract brewing there.

    Bottle Shops

    Whichcraft - Best in town. Two locations, one just south of downtown, one sorta north (but this one has 40 taps as well).

    East 1st Grocery - east of downtown, a gas station bottle shop. Solid selection.

    Sunrise Minimart - another gas station bottle shop but you have to go to the Anderson Ln location.

    Any Whole Foods - downtown location is best if you are staying downtown

    Beer Bars

    Craft Pride - 60ish taps of Texas only beer on Rainey St.

    Bangers - Over 100 taps right up the road from Craft Pride

    Wright Bros Brew and Brew - just east of downtwon, this coffee shop and beer bar always has a great taplist

    Draugthouse - listed above

    Pinthouse Pizza - also, listed above. They both have a bunch of other taps other than their own

    Hopfields - Campus area French inspired food with a good taplist

    Waller Creek Public House - best place on "dirty" 6th for beer. Otherwise, get far away from "dirty" 6th. (Dirty 6th being between I-35 and Congress on 6th St. It is the college party street). If you go east of I35, it becomes more divey and there are some solid taps over there.
  5. jhavs

    jhavs Meyvn (1,357) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    This is awesome! Thanks!
  6. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Initiate (196) Nov 6, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I'm surprised that you list the Draughthouse with the North Side breweries. It is 6 miles from Austin Beerworks (the southmost brewery in the Loop 1/183 corner cluster of breweries).
    But it is 5.5 miles from Zilker Brewing on the East 7th section.

    Its location of course doesn't fit lumped in with the East Side breweries. But I really don't think it fits lumped in with the North Side ones either... Granted it is much closer to Pinthouse Pizza... But both of those are far away from the other breweries in the cluster.

    They are more of Central Austin brewpubs/gastropubs...

    Coming from someone who was born and raised in North Austin I would have never considered the numbered streets as "north side". Granted I lived in far north Austin... Parmer Ln/Mopac area so even the Adelberts-Austin Beerworks cluster is a drive south when visiting the parents... But then Austin Beerworks is around a 5 mile drive compared to the ~11 mile drive to Draughthouse.
  7. aschwab

    aschwab Zealot (577) Mar 3, 2009 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I mean, I guess i could do a "center-northish area" which would include Black Star, PHP, and Draughthouse.

    But, it just seemed to make sense to have it as north, since it is north of downtown...but, I will take that as a good sign if that is the feedback that I am getting from the list.
    jhavs likes this.
  8. aschwab

    aschwab Zealot (577) Mar 3, 2009 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Also realized I missed Uncle Billy's on the list. But, I can't edit it anymore.
    jhavs likes this.
  9. Bryan12345

    Bryan12345 Disciple (358) Mar 17, 2016 Texas

    I guarantee this - you'll have a great time drinking beer in Texas. Chat up the fella next to you or challenge someone to a friendly game of cornhole. Nothing like a brew or two to bring out the best of the folks in the lone star state :slight_smile:
    JJFoodie and jhavs like this.
  10. jhavs

    jhavs Meyvn (1,357) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    Yeah, can't wait! I got to choose a trip for my 40th Bday. Always have wanted to check Austin out.
  11. aschwab

    aschwab Zealot (577) Mar 3, 2009 Texas
    Beer Trader

    As long as you aren't telling people you are thinking of moving here, the locals will be nice.:grinning:
  12. jhavs

    jhavs Meyvn (1,357) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    No plans for that! Is it getting overcrowded or something?
  13. aschwab

    aschwab Zealot (577) Mar 3, 2009 Texas
    Beer Trader

    In short, yes. Mainly due to infrastructure (no real usable public transport), lack of solid highways to move around (I-35 is basically a parking lot), and not enough housing being built fast enough. And then you have the Cali people moving here with money that raise prices on everything for everyone (not their fault, just realty is cheaper here than Cali, so it goes further...for now).

    It really isn't as bad as locals make it though. Due to this, there are so many restaurants, bars, breweries, coffee shops, etc opening all over town. The food and drink scene here has grown so damn much in the last 3-4 years that it feels like a different city.

    Just rent and traffic are terrible.
    mig100, chrismann65 and jhavs like this.
  14. aschwab

    aschwab Zealot (577) Mar 3, 2009 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Oh, and if you are looking on where to stay, I would highly recommend east of downtown in an AirBNB. Somewhere between Cesar Chavez and 10th St, east of I-35, and not really further east than where Hops and Grain is.

    (I thought of this because I am currently looking at AIrBNBs in Cincinnati for a quick beer getaway weekend).
    JJFoodie, frognot and jhavs like this.
  15. jhavs

    jhavs Meyvn (1,357) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    About 10 years ago I lived in an area with a similar issue (in NY). Can make it tough for people just trying to live their lives.

    We booked an AirBnB in the Travis Heights area, looks like about 1/4 mile from South Congress. We will have a rental car with a DD, but would be nice if there was public transport or Uber.
    Bigrock likes this.
  16. aschwab

    aschwab Zealot (577) Mar 3, 2009 Texas
    Beer Trader

    That is a good area as well (lots of restaurants and such nearby). Likely, ABGB is the closest brewery to you there, or maybe Uncle Billy's.

    As far as Uber goes, there are 3 different companies that fill the void - Ride, Fasten, and Fare. They all work the same, just ATX oriented. They are not as good as Uber/Lyft (IMO), but they do the same thing and they can be a little pricier. I do hope we get Uber/Lyft back in the near future, though.
    ATA1K and jhavs like this.
  17. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,276) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    That is the area we have stayed the last two times.

    Cincinnati, I hope you plan on checking out Rhinegeist, I like it a lot.
    jhavs likes this.
  18. aschwab

    aschwab Zealot (577) Mar 3, 2009 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Yup, that is on the list. Probably Over-the-Rhine area for us.
    jhavs likes this.
  19. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,276) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Haven't been to Taft ale house in OtR, friends say it is good.

    Over-the-Rhine is a transition neighborhood. There is a new street car line that runs from the stadiums on the river all the way to Rhinegeist. There is a stop at Rhinegeist.

    Moerlein has a brewery near OtR, and the Lager House by the ballpark.

    Other than that, I have got too far.

    Edit - back on track - will use your list in Austin early next month.
    aschwab likes this.
  20. Rajaholick

    Rajaholick Initiate (157) Jan 9, 2011 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Any shops in downtown that sell singles? Anywhere I can find jester King in downtown?
    East1stgrocery and jhavs like this.
  21. Atx_pig

    Atx_pig Initiate (140) Jan 8, 2016 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Whole Foods downtown probably has some JK singles.
    Rajaholick and jhavs like this.
  22. mig100

    mig100 Crusader (789) Aug 3, 2014 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Yea, Whole Foods Lamar sells singles, you can break anything out of a 6/4-pack too, as long as it's not a closed box.
    Rajaholick likes this.
  23. aschwab

    aschwab Zealot (577) Mar 3, 2009 Texas
    Beer Trader

    East 1st, Whole Foods and WhichCraft will all have JK. Just depends what they send out to distro.

    If you want actual singles of local beers, WhichCraft has a whole wall dedicated to that.
    Rajaholick, East1stgrocery and jhavs like this.
  24. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,276) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    We stopped at ABGB today. I tried the American Pilsner (pre-pro Pilsner type), the Industry German Pilsner, and the Helles. Those were all excellent lagers worthy of the awards they have won. Some of the better made beers I have had on this trip.
    jhavs likes this.
  25. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Initiate (196) Nov 6, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    ABGB was definitely good the only time I've been able to go there. When I visit Austin I'm up north with family and it's hard to go anywhere down south. But a few years back I did go there with my wife, and Ron Extract from Jester King.

    I would love to hear about what else you try on this trip. It's always interesting getting an outside perspective on the breweries around here.
    jhavs and aschwab like this.
  26. aschwab

    aschwab Zealot (577) Mar 3, 2009 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I am always curious about an outside perspective as well. I suggest breweries that I always go to but I do not know if outsiders feel the same about those.
    jhavs likes this.
  27. jhavs

    jhavs Meyvn (1,357) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    We plan on hitting a lot of the options. I'll definitely post my perspective and will review many of the places on BA.

    ABGB was on my radar, but I think I will make it a definite stop now.

    I'll be there a week from today!
    aschwab likes this.
  28. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,276) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    We stopped at Pinthouse Pizza north the first night. It was really enjoyable, after trying to find a parking space. The beers we had, IPA and Session IPA, were well made, but not exceptional. I did have two IPAs, which means it held my attention enough to not stray to the guest taps. The pizza was really good.

    One other comment on ABGB, I used to live in Germany and get back often, so the lagers were that good. I homebrew Pre Pro Pilsners often, and the Rocket 100 was an excellent example.
    jhavs likes this.
  29. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Initiate (196) Nov 6, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Do you have any guess what hops were used in the Rocket 100? The description on their website talks about german brewers coming to the US and then using indigenous ingredients. The only US hop I've heard of being available prior to prohibition was Cluster... But I personally don't think that hop tastes good and I know there are other people who do too.

    I wonder if the Rocket 100 uses more noble hops, or cluster, or american hops that were developed after prohibition.
    jhavs likes this.
  30. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,276) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    I talked to Amos for a little bit. Said I didn't pick up any Cluter. He said it was Hallertau and Saaz. Cluster is good if you get it fresh, and does lend a certain flavor that is authentic to me, it tastes like the sips of grandpa's beer I would steal as a kid. I use Cluter and Saaz in my homebrewer versions.Edit - they use corn, I didn't pick up any 6-row flavor, those were the 2 ingredients used by the 19th century German immigrants. Cluster was used, imported noble hops were too.

    Above you said you had been to ABGB when you were "up north in Austin". The only time I hear that is when I am visiting inlaws in the Valley.
  31. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Initiate (196) Nov 6, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I was trying to say that I normally don't get down to South Austin because my parents live in far North Austin (almost Round Rock).

    There was one time when my friend took my wife and I to entreat Jester King to sell a keg to her bar (They didn't want to because they didn't like how their beer conditioned in kegs). After the JK taproom closed Ron invited us to go to ABGB...

    I knew that Cluster was imported heavily to the UK and I thought I've seen also to Germany for use as bittering additions for beer. I knew that noble hops were imported to the US back in the 19th century, but I have always thought of Cluster for versions of old American beers because it was so much cheaper back then than the alternatives...
    hopfenunmaltz likes this.
  32. jrstar96

    jrstar96 Initiate (31) Jan 14, 2016 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Put Pint House Pizza on your must to do list. They release two IPAs this week. Fingers crossed they last until you get here (just depends on how many kegs)
    jhavs likes this.
  33. jhavs

    jhavs Meyvn (1,357) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    Yep, had them on there already!
  34. aschwab

    aschwab Zealot (577) Mar 3, 2009 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I think the biggest issue with PHP is that I do not really like the north one there. It seems like they have almost forgotten about the beer program up there and are on cruise control with the same releases. I walked in there a couple weeks ago and just left after nothing really appealed to me (and it was packed).

    The south PHP is where you go for beer.
    jhavs likes this.
  35. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,276) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Good to know, I will file that away for next time.

    We will be one the North side for two nights, as I am judging first round NHC.
  36. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,276) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Had lunch at Black Star, as the niece works within walking distance, and it was good to visit with her. Beer and food were fine.

    Made a drive out to Live Oak for one. They do a great job on the beer, my only disappointment was that the Pils was not on tap, but the Rauchbier was good.

    Today a friend has a tour of Real Ale lined up, so I get to see the big one in the area.
  37. aschwab

    aschwab Zealot (577) Mar 3, 2009 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Real Ale is a ways out there. You will likely drive by Pieous (Pastrami/Pizza place) that is worth a stop for lunch/dinner. Also, that is the same road that has Jester King and Last Stand just off of it (obviously, closer to Austin).
    jhavs likes this.
  38. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,276) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    The last four nights were in Drippin'. Matt is picking us up. Been to Blanco before.

    Edit - have had some of the Last Stand beers, pretty good. Had those at the Barber Shop.
    #38 hopfenunmaltz, Apr 7, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017
  39. MajorBuckeye

    MajorBuckeye Aspirant (289) Jan 8, 2012 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Funny thread, as I'm in Cincy a bunch and heading down to Austin/Dallas this week. My buddy is a (very) minority owner of Lazarus, so we're heading there for sure. I'd love to hear any feedback anyone has on them to share with him.

    Make it to Cincy yet?

    We checked out new-ish brewery Woodburn and Taft's for the first time a few weeks ago. Between the two, I thought Woodburn knocked it out of the park beer-wise, while Taft's underwhelmed (which was disappointing as I had high hopes).
  40. MajorBuckeye

    MajorBuckeye Aspirant (289) Jan 8, 2012 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    If any of these offer discounted first rides/referral codes like Uber/Lyft, send my way. Depending on how things go we may use one.
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