All photography by Big World, Small Girl
Let’s talk about how amazing Austin is. In addition to being the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin has an incredible restaurant, bar, and beer scene. We’re all about the local craft beer and love our local Austin breweries.
I’m no beer expert so I reached out to my gal, Caitlin of Big World, Small Girl. Caitlin knows the local Austin brewery scene like the back of her hand so she’s sharing her top 12 best Austin breweries for craft beer!
Hi there! My name is Caitlin, and I’ve been living in Austin, Texas for a few years now. By day, I’m a content marketer, and by night I keep busy following the local craft beer and beverage scene, writing about it for my blog, Big World, Small Girl.
What I love about craft beer is the community it builds and how it always keeps me learning something new. When I’m not traveling to new breweries or sampling beautiful cocktails, I’m most likely playing down at Auditorium Shores with Landon, my Border Collie mix.
Austin Beerworks’ vibrantly colored cans are available everywhere in Austin, but a visit to their recently expanded taproom is a must. With the recent expansion, the brewery is now able to produce more seasonals to go alongside their four classic core beers. The colorful tap room offers plenty of bench seating, inside and out, making it a perfect place to enjoy local beer with a group of your hippest friends.
Must Try Beer: The winter seasonal Sputnik, which is a Russian imperial coffee oatmeal stout brewed with Austin’s Cuvee Coffee.
3001 Industrial Terrace, austinbeerworks.com
Austin Beer Garden and Brewery (The ABGB)
Austin Beer Garden and Brewery, just off South Lamar, has literally everything you could want in a brewpub. And that’s exactly why they continue to win awards that acknowledge them as one of the best brewpubs in the country. Here you’re treated to spectacular live music on a stage that beautifully shows off the brewing equipment. Order some of the delicious pizza and salad to pair with The ABGB’s numerous award-winning beers.
Must Try Beer: 3-time Great American Beer Festival Winner, Rocket 100, a pre-Prohibition-style Pilsner.
1305 W Oltorf St, theabgb.com
Blue Owl Brewing
This East Austin brewery is dedicated to the art of sour-mashing the most beloved beer styles. With three options for flights: four pours in a five, eight, or 12-ounce glass, you can pick the flight that fits your mood. Or bring your growler, and grab some of their beer to-go!
Blue Owl’s completely dog-friendly taproom is open daily except for Mondays and Tuesdays. If you’re looking to learn more about the sour-mashing process though, you should grab yourself a spot on one of the weekend brewery tours.
Must Try Beer: If it’s your first time visiting Blue Owl, make sure to order Professor Black, a cherry sour stout. It will be like nothing you have ever had!
2400 E Cesar Chavez St #300, blueowlbrewing.com
Celis Brewery made its return to Austin in 2017, but the original founder, Pierre Celis first started brewing beers for Austin in the early nineties. Now, it’s his daughter, Christine and his granddaughter, Daytona that are carrying on the family tradition.
The 22,000 square foot brewery is located in the heart of north Austin’s “brewery district”. Stocked with highly-advanced brewing equipment, Christine has brought together an intelligent team of brewers that are bringing her father’s beers back to life while also experimenting with new styles.
Must Try Beer: The one that started it all, and very well should be on every beer drinker’s bucket list, the Celis White.
One of Austin’s older breweries, Circle Brewing has had a huge impact in the local craft beer community since first opening in 2010. Their taproom is industrial, but friendly and cozy. There’s a large chalkboard that details all the upcoming events and current beer offerings. If Circle’s beer selection feels a bit overwhelming, ask the friendly staff for guidance in making a beer choice. Either way, it’d be hard to go wrong with any of their brews.
Must Try Beer: The Party Pig imperial porter is the latest (and a very yummy) addition to Circle’s lineup of beers.
Hi Sign Brewing
Hi Sign Brewing is just a stone’s throw from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Their shaded outdoor space has picnic tables and hammocks that are made for watching the planes flying overhead. While this is one of Austin’s newer breweries, Hi Sign has grown their lineup of core beers into an expansive menu that continues to offer more unique variants on classic styles.
Must Try Beer: Hi Sign’s Shamus the Fiddle, a beautiful and classic Irish red.
Hops & Grain Brewing
Hops & Grain is most recognized for their pioneering experimentation with hops and their devotion to sustainability. Inside their East Austin taproom, they have plenty of seating for large groups. Outside, under the shaded dog-friendly area is where most of the action happens, and you can’t miss taking a picture of your beer in front of the brewery’s Instagram-worthy wall art.
Must Try Beer: The One They Call Zoe, pale lager.
Friends and Allies Brewing Company
This Austin brewery has been around for awhile, but up until recently, Friends & Allies were without a taproom. Now, they’re situated right in the growing Springdale Station area of East Austin, with a bright taproom and plenty of room to expand brewing operations. Having their core beers down pat, Friends & Allies has been making use of the space experimenting with more styles and local collaborations.
Friends & Allies Brewing is open Wednesday through Sundays. Feel free to bring your dog and hang out on their friendly porch. Inside, there’s board games and plenty of room for all of your friends!
Must Try Beer: One of the originals, Noisy Cricket, an easy drinking IPA.
Jester King Brewery
As an authentic farmhouse brewery, Jester King has become known for their mixed culture and spontaneous fermentation programs. With brewers that are masters at incorporating the natural surroundings and agriculture into their brews, they uniquely tie their beers to “a time, place, and people.”
Jester King’s taproom is a short drive out to Texas Hill Country, but it sits on a spot of land that will be the prettiest you ever see. If you’re hungry, there’s Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza on-site, which has built its own reputation of being some of the best pizza around.
Must Try Beer: Figlet, a farmhouse ale fermented with Texas figs that were smoked in Aaron Franklin’s smokers.
Lazarus Brewing Company
Lazarus Brewing Company is right in the middle of East Austin’s popular Sixth Street district; but you’ll be able to spot the brewery by its bright teal exterior. Lazarus Brewing is constantly experimenting and brewing the most-underrepresented styles of beer. You might hear that often, but really, this is a brewery that will make you excited about craft beer. Lazarus opens early every morning for coffee and breakfast tacos and stays open late for craft beer and more tacos.
Must Try Beer: Jolted Phoenix, an irresistible coffee-infused golden ale.
Southern Heights Brewing Company
One of Austin’s newer brewery, Southern Heights is colorful and open, plenty of room for groups or to find a quiet spot and curl up with a beer and a book. Additionally, the brewery is dog-friendly inside and out, and comes with a staff that’s equal parts knowledgeable and friendly. Overall, the beer selection is quite small, but is continuing to grow and evolve in a way that will keep you excited to come back for more.
Must Try Beer: Where’s My Flannel, an English pub ale that is simple but impressive.
St. Elmo Brewing Company
St Elmo Brewing is down south in The Yard, sharing a block with boozy neighbors that include Still Austin Whiskey and The Austin Winery. In the brewery’s early days, the founders, Bryan Winslow and Tim Bullock, focused on mastering their three, year-round beers. Just barely a year later, and they’ve greatly expanded to offer plenty of variety and styles you might not have had before.
The indoor taproom is small and cozy, but the outdoor space has a stage for live music and comes with corn hole boards, a staple of any respected brewery. Come hungry, because this Austin brewery also hosts Soursop, an Indian-inspired food truck that has become a favorite around town.
Must Try Beer: Slater, American IPA is juicy, tropical, and fabulous to pair with eats from Soursop.