Austin has to be the friendliest city we have been to yet. I travelled there recently on the occasion of my boyfriend’s birthday and who was a great stand-in for my sister of beer Annette, who was doing beer duty at home. With only six days to celebrate, we attempted to eat and drink our way through Austin. Here are some highlights.
Whole Foods on East 6th: Why? Because this 80,000 s.f. flagship store has everything one needs as a newcomer to the city: beer, food, and live music. It’s so good you can drink a beer in the store at their bar or get it to go and drink while you shop. Here we re-energized with Live Oak Pilz and Austin Beerworks Fire Eagle IPA and it made us better people John Yap!
Brewery Exchange: Buy low drink up. Where you can watch the prices fluctuate with the drinking demand. It was a bull market for South Austin Saison d’Austin and 512 IPA.
Scholz Garten: Austin’s oldest beer garden was a good place to try Live Oak Oaktoberfest Marzen. They have a great beer garden out back with fans blowing to keep you cool.
Easy Tiger: A bake shop and beer garden - the best of both worlds. Here we relished the house made breads and sausages with several of their 30 tap offerings: Sierra Nevada Ovila, Dogfish Head 60 min IPA on Randal (cascade & centennial), Stone 17th Anniversary Gotterdammerung, Ommegang Scythe & Sickle Harvest Ale, Dogfish Head Bitches Brew and Punkin.
Whip In: A gas station/convenience store come brew pub. Comfort food (Gujarati cuisine) paired with craft beer (guests and their own in-house) makes for a wonderfully unique experience. Here we enjoyed Brahmale post colonial IPA w/lemongrass & grapefruit (so unique and delicious) and Popperings Hommel Ale. Shame that Dogfish Head is giving them the gears for naming their beer Namaste.
Draughthouse: An Austin favourite with 75 taps. We should have lingered but only stayed for a Victory Prima Pils and 512 IPA on cask against a back drop of hops growing in the parking lot outside the patio.
Dog and Duck: A great British pub near the University with 42 taps of various Texas, American craft beer and beyond. We had 512 Wit, Founders all day IPA, Original Sin hard cider
Craft Pride: The best of Texas can be sampled through 54 taps and 2 casks representing 20 breweries. We marveled over the Austin Beerworks Heavy Machinery Wet Hopped IPA made with 200 lbs of centennial hops flown in from Oregon, we also had Thirsty Planet Bucket Head IPA, Infamous IPA on nitro, No Label Black Wit-O dark wheat w/anise & bourbon vanilla beans on cask. A bonus was the food truck parked permanently in the back garden where we ate on both occasions, VIA 313 Authentic Detroit style pizza which was unbelievable.
Lucy’s Fried Chicken (S. Congress): An amazing cozy diner with great food and beer set to your own theme songs playing from the juke box. Live Oak IPA paired with devilled fried eggs was crazy delicious. This place is the chicken’s ass!
Austin Beer Garden & Brewery: A brand new brewery in the soul of South Austin. Brewing 5 ‘always’ and 5 ‘sometimes’ beers, we celebrated Happy hour with Big Red (big malt character with a good sweetness and nice hop balance), Superliner IPA (funky and mildly hopped), and Muscles from Brussels (big Belgian IPA.) We chatted with a local beer lover, Bill, who introduced us to co-owner, Amos Lowe, who was taking a happy hour break too.
Horseshoe Lounge: Imagine a time before craft beer and where the bar is horseshoe shaped and where the service is as icy as the air con - this is Horseshoe. Killing time before Barleyswine we popped in to check it out and immediately left. Worth a look but not a drink!
Barleyswine: Small plates from local farmers and a great selection of craft beer and wine. An intimate 42-seat well-appointed establishment offering amazing cuisine by Chef Bryce Gilmore. Seven taps and 50 bottles on offer. Among our plates, the pulled pig face paired amazingly well with Duvel single Belgian ale on tap and Breckenridge 471 small batch IPA in a bottle. We also tasted an amazing dessert wine - Henri Giraud Ratafia de Champagne. We were in good company and chatted with regulars Becky and David and the amazing Manager, Jason.
Bangers Sausage House and Beer Garden: A thriving bar among many others on Rainey Street (quaint residential neighbourhood come bar/restaurant scene). Over 100 beers on tap, amazing sausage, great beer and a huge outdoor garden with lots of live music. In the evening heat we drank sweaty Real Ale Devil’s Backbone Tripel, Independence Stash iPA, Armadillo Ales Green Belt farmhouse ale (young and funky) paired with our banger wrapped in a bacon stuffed pancake with maple syrup and fried egg at midnight! God love Texas!
Stubbs BBQ: Go get yer gospel and brunch and beer on at 11am. So awesome to eat bbq and eggs and listen to the Gospel Silvertones.
Hops and Grain: A sustainable brewery with a handful of beers on offer. We visited the tap room to sample the Fresh hop Zoe (fresh and delicious), Red Rye (nice balance of rye and caramel malts), Pale Ale, and Sour Barleywine (tasty but trouble). We also sampled a number of greenhouse brews at the festival which were great.
Uncle Billy’s Brew and Que: Craft beer and slow-smoked bbq on Barton Springs Restaurant Row. Only had time for one Green Room IPA and I was good to go.
Austin Ale House: We tried Gingerman but it wasn’t open yet so our back up plan was here. Farm to table theme with a good selection of craft beer and cocktails. Grapefruit & lime margarita was refreshing.
Texas Craft Brewers Festival: A bonus to this trip was a craft beer festival tacked onto the end. This was a great way to sample our way through what Texas has to offer. Too much report here but highlights included Jester King El Cedro hoppy cedar-aged ale with brett (wood, pine, citrus and funk), Atrial Rubicite ale refermented in oak barrels with raspberries (velvety, tart, juicy with a touch of sour), Funk Metal sour barrel-aged stout (chocolate, caramel, stout and sour), Rahr & Sons Barrel Aged Oktoberfest (marzen style lager aged in bourbon barrels) and Hops and Grain Mosaic IPA (intensely hop-forward and delicious).
Our last evening was spent at the North Door drinking Live Oak Oaktoberfest and saying good-‘breaking bad’-bye to our good friends Jesse and Walt and several hundred others from Austin.
Many thanks to our great Austin beer friends Jenney and John (we met in Ghent, Belgium earlier this year), who toured us around to many great spots and to our friends Wendy and Wayne who travelled from Dallas to show us a good time on a 6th street Friday night!
Regrets: Black Star Coop, the Ginger Man, Pinthouse Pizza, Franklin BBQ, Chicago House, North by Northwest, and so much more!
Austin - it’s the place to go.
DoB - Cherryl