5 Austin Breweries to Visit

Take a swig of Austin’s craft beer scene at these local breweries.

By Mandy Ellis, ContributorJuly 21, 2017
By Mandy Ellis, ContributorJuly 21, 2017, at 9:00 a.m.
U.S. News & World Report

5 Austin Breweries to Visit

Variety of beers in a pub.

Enjoy an ice-cold ale or IPA at one of these spots.(Getty Images)

Austin may be known more for brisket than brews, but the emerging craft beer scene has exploded in Texas' capital. Visitors looking to taste some local flavors will find plenty of beers from Texas and Austin, in addition to delicious international styles, at several of the city’s breweries and taprooms. To figure out where to snag an ice-cold ale or IPA, U.S. News spoke with several local experts who know where the suds are worth sipping.

Jester King Brewery

Jester King Brewery is a fantastic [brewery] that’s south of the downtown area,” says Tony Ingargiola, concierge at the Four Seasons Hotel Austin. Farmhouse ales and a large beer garden reign at Jester King, which is about a 30-minute drive from downtown in unincorporated Austin.

Founded in 2010, Jester King has brewed about 80 different beers over the past seven years. The beautiful landscape and the brewery's proximity to Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza, a favorite among visitors, make Jester King ideal for a day trip.

David Scheffke, front office manager at the Hotel Ella, says Jester King "is really well-known and a cool spot – a little bit more of a day trip, but a good place to check out."

Spring and summer tasting room hours are Friday from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. Free brewery tours are available Friday at 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 1, 3 and 5 p.m.

Austin Beerworks

Austin Beerworks.(Courtesy of Chase Daniel)

Tucked away in the North Burnet neighborhood, Austin Beerworks opened in 2011 with its "core four" beers, brewed year-round: Fire Eagle American IPA, Black Thunder German-Style Schwarzbier, Peacemaker Anytime Ale and Pearl-Snap German-Style Pils. Rotating selections of seasonal beers are also available.

The brewery's “hell-bent on excellence” philosophy draws in both locals and travelers looking to taste unique flavors packaged in colorful cans. Ample outdoor space on the property is perfect for enjoying a round with friends, playing board games and sampling fare from food trucks – like East Side King, Kebabalicious and Dock & Roll Diner – that roll through the grounds.

You can visit the taproom Monday through Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m. Free brewery tours are also available Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Live Oak Brewing Co.

Lagers and ales are the crafts of choice at Live Oak Brewing Co., which was established in 1997. Across the highway from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Del Valle, Live Oak sits right on the Colorado River with plenty of shady outdoor space and a nine-hole disc golf course. Snacks from Flying Pig Provision Co. are available at the bar, and onsite food trailer The Black Forest serves German cuisine Thursday through Sunday.

Year-round beers include the HefeWeizen, Pilz and Liberation IPA, and seasonal and limited varieties like Primus Weizenbock, Oaktoberfest and Helles are available as well. It's also known for smoked beers like Schwarzer Rauch, which uses beechwood-smoked malt, and Grodziskie, with its oak-smoked malt.

There are no brewery tours at Live Oak, but the taproom is open Sunday through Thursday from noon to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from noon to 10 p.m.

Independence Brewing Co.

Touting a 2016 World Beer Cup gold award for its Power & Light Pale, Independence Brewing Co. is a must-visit in Southeast Austin. Since 2004, Independence’s popularity has grown steadily, thanks to its top-notch beers, chill vibe and events that feature live music and food. Its eclectic warehouse is home to choice picks like the Stash IPA and Convict Hill Stout, plus seasonals White Rabbit and Cucumber Redbud.

Brewery tours are available, and taproom hours are Thursday and Friday from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 1 to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 8 p.m.

Blue Owl Brewing

Blue Owl Brewing.(Courtesy of Springbox)

Blue Owl Brewing is in a cool area in East Austin, and they have a bunch of different sour mash beers,” Scheffke says. Founded in 2015, Blue Owl is entirely focused on producing sour mash beers, referring to a process that makes the beers tarter. Blue Owl's brews range from Scotch ales to stouts to session wheat varieties. Visiting the brewery gives you access to taproom exclusives that take a twist on its standard and seasonal beers. The exclusives are only available on-site.

You can take a $15 self-guided sensory tour, which comes with a tour sheet, a branded glass and four 12-ounce pours. The $20 brewery tour allows you to take a trek through the facility and includes a branded glass, a tasting sheet, four 12-ounce pours and games.

Tasting room hours are Wednesday through Friday from 3 to 10 p.m., Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Brewery tours in the summer take place on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. When the weather gets cooler, the brewery offers tours at 3 and 4:30 p.m. on the weekends. You can either join the tour on your visit, if there are spots available, or make a reservation ahead of time.

To experience more of what Austin has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.

Mandy Ellis, Contributor

Mandy Ellis is an Austin-based freelance writer who has contributed to the real estate, travel ...  Read more


The 21 Most Beautiful Waterfalls to See Around the World

Discover which stunning falls offer once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences.

April 25, 2019

The 20 Best Michigan State Parks

Two peninsulas, four Great Lakes and innumerable natural highlights elevate Michigan's state parks.

April 18, 2019

50 Awesome Vacation Ideas for Every Type of Traveler

Consider these vacation ideas for your next getaway.

April 11, 2019

The 13 Best National Parks in California

You won't regret adding one of these national parks to your California itinerary.

April 10, 2019

10 Beautiful Places to Visit in the South of France

Plan a getaway to these special destinations to soak up culture, cuisine and quaint atmospheres.

April 8, 2019

Best Carry-on Luggage of 2019

U.S. News rated the best carry-on luggage, considering recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerApril 3, 2019

The 11 Best Utah National Parks to Visit

From birding to bouldering to boating, Utah's national parks have it all.

April 2, 2019

The 30 Best Zoos in the U.S.

Get an up-close look at wild creatures in natural settings at America's top animal parks.

March 28, 2019

15 Scenic Train Rides

Climb aboard these locomotives for jaw-dropping views.

March 26, 2019

13 Top Places to Visit in Tuscany, Italy

Ditch the crowded streets of Rome or Milan and head to Italy's picturesque countryside.

March 25, 2019