Texas is fast becoming a beer lover’s paradise, with some amazing craft breweries popping up all over the state. Touring breweries is a great way to spend a weekend. So grab your hops-drinking friends, designate a driver and set out for a day of brews with buds. Today, we’ll focus on Austin.
The award-winning Hops & Grain Brewing prides itself on being a frontrunner when it comes to sustainability. They serve you in a can, as aluminum is a recyclable material that produces less carbon emissions than glass. Employees get reimbursed the price of a gallon of gas a day for not driving to work, and 1% of annual revenue goes to local environmental nonprofits.
Beer-wise, “The One They Call Zoe” is a top-selling pale lager with notes of floral and citrus. And the “Porter Culture” pours dark with chocolate and raisin flavors. Hops & Grain brews are available in stores and in the taproom, where small-batch experimental brews are also poured.
The WhichCraft Beer Store is Austin’s lovingly curated bottle store. The shelves are stacked with the finest craft beers around, organized by region and style.
At one of their frequent free tastings, the beer-tender opens several bottles to get a sense of what customers like best. Take the opportunity to explore by trying a Meridian Hive mead from Austin or Revolver Brewing’s Blood & Honey, made with Texas honey and blood oranges. Or taste Dallas-based Community Brewing’s Mosaic IPA with citrus and floral flavors, or San Antonio’s Ranger Creek Bourbon, aged in oak barrels.
Strange Land Brewery creates beers of the past with a modern flavor. The brew team manages their own yeasts and loves to experiment. The brewery opened to the public last year after tapping the Westlake location back in October 2014. Kegs are available across the state with bottles coming soon. And in the tasting room, guests can savor a range of offerings from a ginger beer with a low alcohol content to a small batch reserve Dewi Sant Braggot-style beer at a hefty 13.5%. You’ll find more than a dozen of their flagship beers on tap in the tasting room.
Banger’s on Rainey Street has mastered the art of beer and sausage. In the mood for some good ‘ole Southern appetizers like boiled peanuts, fried pickles and maybe a Canadian appetizer of poutine? Follow that bellyful with a thirst-quenching beer from the tap. Favorites are the Green Flash Soul Style IPA and the Middleton Bobcat Red. You can’t go wrong pairing beer with delectable sausage plates like Bangers & Mash, the Cajun Boudin Plate or Currywurst.
Independence Brewing concocts handcrafted beer sold in graphically eye-catching cans. The brewery is open for tours and drinking in the recently upgraded tasting room. Their White Rabbit is a medium-bodied white ale with a slightly fruity, refreshing tang and a clean, zesty finish. The brewery’s Austin Amber (a top seller) and Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout (8+%) are also not to be missed. Seasonal offerings include “Oklahoma Suks,” available around the Texas-OU football game.