Do you love craft beer? If so, there are several destinations in the United States that should be on your bucket list for the beer scene alone. Colorado, Vermont, Boston, Seattle, both Portlands, and Philadelphia all quickly come to mind when making a list of these beer-loving cities and states, but there’s one very southern city that you may not think of at first, too: Austin.
Austin, Texas is now home to nearly 60 breweries, and the craft beer scene there is always growing and improving. There are so many innovative brewers in this uniquely progressive Texas city. It’s amazing how quickly the Austin craft beer scene has established itself as one of the most notable and most promising in the entire country.
So, check out this list of the best breweries in Austin that we’ve put together for you! There are far too many craft breweries to visit in a day in Austin, let alone in a week or even a month, so use this helpful list to guide yourself and your companions to the best of the best. Enjoy!
1. Zilker Brewing Company and Taproom
Address: 1701 E 6th Street
Anyone who loves good beer will love Zilker Brewing Company and Taproom. This East Austin brewery is right in the middle of everything on bustling East 6th Street.
The taproom here is medium-sized and industrial, but you’ll find the beer warm and welcoming. The outdoor seating space is inviting with picnic tables and umbrellas galore.
This is one of the best breweries in Austin by anyone’s standards. Zilker offers five mainstay brews: tropical and citrusy Marco IPA, hazy Heavenly Daze, light, and bright Parks & Rec, refreshing Icy Boys lager, and a thick, creamy, robust Coffee Milk Stout.
All are available in the taproom or in 12oz six-packs to go. Further, Zilker offers a rotating selection of seasonal beers that get you into the whatever-season-it-is spirit. If you’re hungry, you can hit up the Spicy Boys Chicken food truck, which is always parked outside.
2. Hold Out Brewing
Address: 1208 W 4th Street
Hold Out Brewing opened just a little over two years ago just as the COVID-19 pandemic got rolling in May of 2020. However, despite the many obstacles This Little Brewery That Could faced, its upward trajectory has been impressive to watch. It’s quickly become a favorite in the Austin beer scene, and it has made its way onto the international beer radar as well.
And it’s no wonder. This brewery focuses on hoppy beers and uses primarily local ingredients, both of which are big draws for people who love both very traditional beer and the Lone Star State. There are thirteen beers on draft here and six of them are available in to-go versions as well. If you bring friends along who aren’t beer lovers, they offer some wines and ciders, too.
The food at Hold Out is excellent as well. Hold Out makes great burgers, wings, salads, chicken sandwiches, and more most days. The weekend brunch menu is also tasty; it offers dishes that are unusual in the best possible way. When you’re away from Hold Out, you’ll find that you crave the food just as much as you crave the beer.
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3. Jester King
Address: 13187 Fitzhugh Road
Jester King is not in central Austin, but it’s so good that we’re including it on this list anyway, and it’s close enough at thirty minutes southwest of downtown – a distance that certainly counts as “nearby” in Texas. This brewery, located on a one hundred sixty-five acre ranch in the central Texas hill country near Dripping Springs, has been serving up brews and grub since 2010.
Jester King’s beer is now famous nationwide and people come from all over to be first in line to buy new releases. The most popular beers are the farmhouse ales; there are over two dozen from which to choose.
Once you’ve tried them all, move on to their lagers, IPAs, and stouts, and then try the ciders and wines – everything at Jester King is good. Did we mention the food?
And, not only is this brewery pleasant and tasty, but it’s educational, too. You can take tours of the brewhouse daily and learn about how the beer is made, or you can take a farm tour and see how the hops for beer and grapes for wine are grown right there on the ranch.
Since this brewery is a bit outside of town, you might want to stay nearby. If so, The Alexander at Creek Road is a fantastic option to consider. This small, independent boutique hotel is lovely and will help you feel like you’re getting away from it all.
4. Pinthouse Pizza
Address: 4729 Burnet Road & 2201 E Ben White Blvd & 4236 S Lamar Blvd
Lots of people are thrown by the fact that this place has “pizza” in its name. Many believe this four-location brewpub (three in Austin, one in Round Rock) is just a pizza place that serves beer. They’re partially right, but more accurately, this is a brewery that also serves pizza, and it’s great at both things.
Pinthouse’s beer is award-winning and it has an impressive list of medals and trophies from national and international beer competitions like the Great American Beer Festival, the World Beer Cup, and the L.A. International Beer Competition to name a few.
This brewery features three popular and enjoyable mainstays: Electric Jellyfish IPA, Old Beluga amber ale, and Bearded Seal dry Irish stout, as well as numerous seasonal brews that beer snobs will just love.
Furthermore, all the food is made in-house and Pinthouse uses local, organic ingredients whenever possible with sustainability in mind. You can’t go wrong with Pinthouse!
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5. Austin Beerworks
Address: 3001 Industrial Terrace
Austin Beerworks is on the north side of town in North Austin and it’s a great place to go if you have a lot of people and are looking for a spacious indoor space or outdoor beer garden to have some fun.
This place is huge but often packed, which points to its immense popularity. The staff is friendly and there’s always something fun happening around you while you drink, and dogs and kids are welcome outside.
Fire Eagle IPA is their flagship brew but it’s only one of many great options at Austin Beerworks. You’ll probably like their Pearl Snap Pilsner, their hoppy Flavor Country pale ale, and their Amber Vision amber ale as well. Their seasonal beers change monthly so there’s always something new and exciting to try.
6. Live Oak Brewing Company
Address: 1615 Crozier Lane, Del Valle
This is one of those Austin breweries that is a bit outside of central Austin but it’s right by the airport if you’re trying to hit one more craft brewery before you leave town.
Live Oak takes European-style brewing seriously and you’ll feel like you have one foot in Germany when you step into this place. Their line of core beers is superb. You’ll love this brewery’s lagers, hefeweizens, and rauchbiers, and you’ll find all of them to be refreshing, well-balanced, and tasty. Start with the famous Live Oak Hefe, the brewery’s most well-known and most popular, and then move on down the list.
The taproom here is spacious and pleasant and was designed to look and feel like a German beer hall. Don’t be surprised if there’s a band playing when you arrive. If you’d rather spend time outdoors, you can take advantage of the on-site 12-hole disc golf course between pints.
If you have an early flight, you might as well move to a hotel by the airport so you don’t have to rush in the morning. This way, you can have drinks at Live Oak Brewing and then walk back to your hotel for a great night’s sleep.
A great option, should you choose to do exactly that, is the Hilton Austin Airport – it’s right across the street.
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7. Meanwhile Brewing
Address: 3901 Promontory Point Drive
Meanwhile Brewing is yet another of the best breweries in Austin. This spot in southeast Austin just opened in the Fall of 2020 but it’s become quite popular in a short time. The reason for that is that it has everything you would want in a craft beer brewery!
The taproom is huge and seats over 250 people so even on busy nights you and your friends will have plenty of room. The four-acre backyard beer garden area is also fantastic and encourages activities like kicking a soccer ball around, dancing to live music coming from the event stage, and buying food from one of the four food trucks parked there all day (even at breakfast!).
The many beers this place offers are refreshing and varied; try the Tender Robot Hazy IPA, the Little Sweet Tooth brown ale, and the It’s Not Even That Far Czech-style Pilsner to start, and then move on from there. You’ll love this brewery’s fun and adventurous beer selection.
There are several other breweries near Meanwhile Brewing including some on this list and some other great ones that we didn’t have room to include, and fortunately, due to their proximity to the airport, there are almost two dozen hotels within walking distance so you can do your own little beer crawl without having to drive.
8. The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company (The ABGB)
Address: 1305 West Oltorf St
The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company is very special and it’s not just Austinites that think so! In fact, this enchanting spot won the Great American Beer Festivals Best Brewpub Award in 2016, 2017, and 2018 and it’s easy to see why.
It also continues to win awards year after year for its incredible brews that are loved by all who try them. Don’t miss the Rocket 100 pre-prohibition style Pilsner or the Hell Yes Helles, both have individually won more awards than you can shake a stick at.
This place is huge and spacious and you’ll love the wraparound bar. People are drawn here from miles around for ABGB events; the brewery’s Hell Yes Project gives 5% of event profits to local organizations in need.
On top of all that, you’ll also love the food here – the pizza, sandwiches, small plates, and salads all go great with the beer.
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9. St. Elmo Brewing
Address: 440 East St. Elmo Rd. G-2
This South Austin brewery is fun and welcoming for the whole family with a large outdoor beer garden that welcomes both dogs and children.
In addition to beer, St. Elmo offers live music on a regular basis, trivia nights once a week, and cornhole all the time. You’ll also find at least one food truck on-site at all times to fill your belly; in most cases, the food trucks that St. Elmo Brewing hosts have an Asian focus.
This is yet another of the best breweries in Austin and like the others on this list, the beers here have won numerous awards. The bar at St. Elmo is modern yet whimsical and will make you feel like you’re ordering a beer at an ice cream parlor.
The fact that almost all of the beers brewed here have the name of a person – like Carl, Terry, Mary, Chico, Angus, and Rosa – only makes this place more intriguing and even more fun.
10. Oddwood Brewing
Address: 3108 Manor Road
Oddwood Brewing feels more like a coffeehouse than a brewery, but that’s a refreshing change of scenery from many of the larger and more boisterous breweries on this list.\
Two brothers own and operate this bar so it should be no surprise that it feels a bit like home. Pull up a barstool and order a pint and you’ll be welcomed in a way that makes you feel like this spot has been your neighborhood bar all along. Kids are welcome and arcade games are on hand to keep them occupied, and they’ll love the pizza as much as you do.
This brewery’s draft lineup includes numerous ales with fun names like Cold Night for Alligators and Ethics & Standards as well as lagers like Pool Dad and Pro Tip. Sour beers are sometimes hard to find in Texas but you’ll love Oddwood’s Family Matters and Sunshine the Werewolf.
All draft beers are available in pitchers, too, so you can sit back, relax, and keep pouring for yourself all evening.
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11. Southern Heights Brewing Company
Address: 6041 Techni Center Drive
Southern Heights Brewing Company is on the far east side of Austin and some people feel that it’s a little challenging to find, but once you do locate it, you’ll be welcomed into a bright, open, and lively taproom that feels like home right away.
The broad space includes a ping pong table, board games, long tables, and comfortable seating, so you’ll want to relax and stay a while. Although Southern Heights is relatively new, it feels like it’s been here for years, and its nostalgic dedication to old-style craft brewing adds to that vibe even further.
The beers here are simple but worthwhile. Try the Where’s My Flannel “bodacious” pub ale or the Hoodie Weather Russian imperial stout on a cooler day, or the Tahitian Dreamin’ “lush topical” ale or Jam Session kettle sour with raspberry on a warm one.
Southern Heights also offers beer-to-go; pick up a four-pack or a 25 oz growler or get a growler refill and bring it along with you for later. Or, if you’re in a rush, they’ll meet you at the curb.
12. Friends & Allies
Address: 979 Springdale Road
This brewery has been brewing beer in Austin for a while but it only added a taproom recently. Not only does Friends & Allies make great beer, but it is beginning to experiment more and is becoming even more well known due to its many great collaborations with other local breweries.
This brewery’s most popular mainstay is probably The Noisy Cricket IPA but you’ll also love the Bearliner Blackberry Saison and the Springdale white ale as well. Try their seasonals to give your taste buds a bit of an extra adventure.
The taproom here is roomy and welcoming and you can bring your dog and relax on the porch. Play board games inside with all your own friends and allies or just sit back and relax with a draft. You’ll want to return to this spot time and time again.
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