In Travel

On The Craft Beer Trail In Austin, Texas

They say everything is bigger in Texas, which is certainly the case for the craft beer scene in Austin. Love beer? Here’s why Austin should be on your travel wish list.

Even if you only have a few days to spend in this rockin’ capital city, experiencing its craft beer scene is a must. Over the last few years, Austin’s craft brewing scene has been booming, so you’d be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed by the wealth of fermented offerings.

To see a variety of great breweries without navigating your own way through the city, jump on board one of the many craft beer tours the city offers. AXT Excursions has a few options. Expert guides will talk you through some of their favourite spots.

Alternatively, to create your own Austin craft beer trail, here are a few suggested stops. From Mexican-style lagers matched to your Tex-Mex fare to a fresh IPA, the city has you covered. And with many of these places also offering free beer samples, it’s the perfect way to try out new flavours you might not normally consider.

Begin with Texan barbecue lunch

While Franklin Barbecue’s Texan brisket isn’t the prettiest dish to plate up, it’s the real deal. Image: Eric Ellis / Visit Austin Texas

You’ll want to start your day with some solid eats to sustain you. Hop in the queue at Franklin Barbecue for an early lunch of traditional Texan barbecue. While their Texan brisket certainly isn’t the prettiest dish to plate up, it’s the real deal.

Since the eatery’s humble beginnings serving from a trailer in 2009, it now regularly sells out of its smoked meat. The establishment has appeared on Anthony Bourdin’s No Reservations and in the 2014 film Chef. It was also named one of the 50 Best BBQ Joints in the World by Texas Monthly. And, when former US President Barack Obama visited the state, he dropped by and bought lunch for those queued up behind him.


A popular smokehouse brisket lunch option is Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden. Image: Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden

For another smokehouse brisket lunch option, head to Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden. Pair your brisket with your choice of over 100 beers on tap and an additional 50 in bottles and cans. The restaurant has the 3rd largest draft system in the state of Texas. Enjoy your meal while listening to live music.

Spend the afternoon at a brewery

Austin offers many craft beer tours, or you can do-it-yourself. Image: M Nall for Visit Austin

You can’t visit Austin without spending an afternoon at one of their best brewpubs. The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co ­– affectionally referred to as the ABGB – offers a solid pizza menu and accompanying craft beer list with no less than six choices on the menu as well as additional seasonal brews.

Take the time to lock in a brewery tour to taste everything from pilsners to pale ales, and plenty in between. Free brewery tours are also available at Jester King Brewery. Learn about the famed farmhouse brewery’s wild ales and spontaneously-fermented beers. Remember to wear closed toed shoes for any brewery tours.

Alternatively, head to Central Austin’s Hopfields where you can treat your taste buds to French-inspired fare and 44 brews on tap. You’ll likely need to make reservations.

Tour Austin city

While wandering the city, stop at South Congress Avenue. Image: Visit Austin

While you’re wandering the city, take some time to browse the shops along South Congress Avenue. Don’t forget to snap a pic of the Willie Nelson statue out front of the Moody Theater. Locals and tourist gather here around sunset to watch the largest bat population in North America migrate during the summer months. Congress Avenue Bridge offers the best views of the 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats pass overhead.

From here, stroll over to German-inspired beer garden Easy Tiger. Spend your night playing ping-pong and sampling delicious dishes such as the pretzel and beer cheese.

Alternatively, watch the sun go down from the shade of oak trees with a pint in hand at Live Oak Brewing Co. The menu here is also German-inspired. If you’re lucky, you might find yourself here when a food truck festival, beer release party, art market, or trivia night is on.

End your day with comfort food

Stay Gold is a long-time favourite, known for its craft beer, cocktails and comfort food. Image: Geoff Duncan / Visit Austin

After dark, head to Stay Gold. A long-time favourite not just for its selection of craft beer but also for its great cocktails and late-night comfort food from a toaster-style food truck, the venue stays open until 2am. You won’t miss it with its Western-rope themed blinking sign out front. Live music and DJs are on every night of the week.

(Lead image: Hopfields in Central Austin has 44 brews on tap and French-inspired fare, image: Hopfields)

Published 29 March, 2019