The 20 Most Essential Craft Breweries in Austin

IPA-crazed staples, sour-obsessed newcomers, and laid-back lager slingers.

One of the best things about Austin is how the whole city is local-business forward. We mean, even our airport is all local companies—except for that one Starbucks you are legally obligated as a city resident to glare at as you exit TSA. So it only makes sense that the best place to grab a beer in Austin is at one of the city’s many hometown breweries, because nothing makes for a better beverage than Texas water and Lone Star grit. If you don’t believe us, check out the list below and be prepared to take an Uber home.

Oddwood Brewing
Oddwood Brewing

Oddwood Brewing

Manor
There’s a coziness about Oddwood that is completely unique—the laid-back atmosphere and
decor makes it feel like you’ve walked into the house of your oldest friend, as opposed to
an industrial brewery. However, with a rotating assortment of country-inspired ales, hazy IPAs, and tart sours, the delicious drafts certainly top whatever random assortment of White Claws you’d find in your pal’s fridge. Stand-out selections like Wolfmobile, an India Pale Lager made in collaboration with Zilker Brewing Company, are so dangerously drinkable you might not realize you’re on your third pint until you try to stand up. As such, make short work of their kitchen’s thin crust pizzas and Italian-influenced snackables like a caprese bruschetta that combines two classic appetizers into one savory bite.
Key Beers: Wolfmobile Hoppy Oat Lager, Asleep in the Deep Munich-style Helles

Hold Out Brewing
Hold Out Brewing

Hold Out Brewing

West Fifth
Tucked away beside the equally superb hang-out Better Half, Hold Out Brewing may at first appear unassuming—but, just like that aloof co-worker who becomes your office bestie after a single happy hour, initial impressions can be deceiving. This place packs a seriously hoppy punch, from their super knowledgeable and helpful beertenders to their classic bar food with a twist (think spinach and artichoke pimento dip), to the brews themselves, which are as enticing as Hold Out’s chill atmosphere. The spacious patio has such a relaxed vibe, you’d be equally at home bringing a book to read solo, brunching with your mother, or even seeing that ex you really shouldn’t be meeting up with (lose their number already!). Regardless of the scenario, drinking a glass of the What a Weather, a light, sessionable IPA with a touch of citrus, is bound to make you feel at ease.
Key Beers: What a Weather hazy pale ale, Thumb Pincher Pale Ale

The Brewtorium
Photo courtesy of The Brewtorium

The Brewtorium

Skyview
The name “Brewtorium” probably conjures up Willy Wonka-like images of rooms filled with hop-laced bubbles and experimental pastry stout rivers. And, while this German-influenced beer garden and restaurant may not have snozzberry on tap, they do bring enough colorful creations to the table to make Grandpa Joe proud. Every pint brims with a distinctive yum-factor, like Dry Hopped Goldspur, a Belgian Blonde Ale with hints of cantaloupe, orange rind, and wildflower honey. The grub also lives up to the fanciful hype—burgers topped with candied pork belly and nachos piled high with crumbled bratwurst, for two, not to mention enough inside and patio space for you to do a series of somersaults—or, you know, just down a few pitchers with the whole crew.
Key Beers: Dry Hopped Goldspur Belgian Blonde ale, Flamingo Bomb Hazy IPA

Meanwhile Brewing Company
Meanwhile Brewing Company

Meanwhile Brewing

Southeast Austin
Celebrating a birthday, an engagement, or simply having made it through another workweek? There’s no better place to grab a beer with a crowd of friends—or strangers that will soon be friends a few pints in—than Meanwhile Brewing. This place has got the space, literally: We’re taking an airy indoor stretch with gorgeous green wood-paneling, a string-lit outdoor space complete with a stage and an actual soccer field. On any given night, you can enjoy one of their Disco in the Panic Room Northwest IPAs while attending riveting events from film screenings to musical acts. Throw in grub from two of Austin’s best food trucks—AKA pizza-slingers Dough Boys and BBQ game-changers Distant Relatives—and it's a party every day that ends in “-y.”
Key Beers: Disco in the Panic Room Northwest IPA. Tender Robot hazy IPA

St Elmo Brewing Company
St Elmo Brewing Company

St Elmo Brewing

South Austin
The St. Elmo development is anchored by booze, and alongside Austin Winery and Still Austin Whiskey you’ll find this highly (and deservedly so) popular brewing company. The seating inside is community-style, with views of the inner workings of the brewery, and the dog-friendly yard plays host to Trivia Tuesdays and live music on Grassy Thursdays. The beers here are named like so many favorite children—take a turn with a classy Slater American IPA, be bold with a Rosa Raspberry Sour, or drown out the sorrows of the world with a Chico Pale Ale. On a hot day, Austinites can’t do much better than pairing a frosty Carl Kolsch and some fried chicken delights from on-site food truck Spicy Boys.
Key Beers: Carl Kolsch, Chico Pale Ale

Friends and Allies

East Austin
Friends and Allies were brewing top notch beer even before they had a taproom to serve them in. Their Noisy Cricket IPA garnered a cult following pretty quickly, so once their space in Springdale Station opened, it was an immediate hit. This sunny spot with big windows and a modern aesthetic is a frequent destination for fans of the Austin Bouldering Project (next door), as well as for east side dwellers looking to do their drinking a little closer to home. In addition to the core lineup, Friends and Allies features six rotating seasonal options on tap, ensuring variety even for regular patrons. Plus, like many of their brewing brethren, they offer a host of games to play while tipping back a pint of Springdale White Ale.
Key Beers: Noisy Cricket IPA, Fresh Coast IPA

Southern Heights Brewing Co
Southern Heights Brewing Co

Southern Heights Brewing Company

East Austin
Southern Heights might be Austin’s easternmost brewery and while it’s a little tricky to find, the ping pong table, dog-friendly space, board games, free WiFi, and rotating taps mean you’ll likely become a regular. Breweries can sometimes feel somewhat sterile, but that’s not the case with Southern Heights, where the taproom is playfully furnished with bright colors, a funky wall of magazine covers, and the piece de resistance, a real-deal VW bus. Beer-wise, they stock a little something for everyone, but hopheads will especially dig their extensive juicy IPA selection.
Key Beers: Tahitian Dreaming IPA, Where’s My Flannel English Mild Ale

Texas Beer Company

Taylor
Though Ausin’s undoubtedly flooded with quality beer, malt aficionados know that sudsy gold lies in them thar hills—and anyway, you’re not truly Texan unless you love a good road trip. Make the scenic drive from Austin to Taylor (or take the $8 train) to visit the compellingly named Texas Beer Co. They’ve been a huge part of making Taylor a tourist destination, partnering with the city to host regular events and working to energize the city’s Downtown. Their taproom is a sight to see, complemented by highly drinkable brews like the pristinely balanced Hoppy Duck IPA and refreshing Local Blonde lLger. All this, plus barbecue and live music? Yeah, you’re going to want to start packing up the car.
Key Beers: Hoppy Duck IPA, Pecos Amber Lager

Pinthouse Brewing
Pinthouse Brewing

Pinthouse Pizza

Multiple locations
Newcomers could be forgiven for thinking this mini-chain is merely a group of pizza joints—after all, the $10 lunch special is pretty fantastic and their pizzas are made with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. But there’s so much more to Pinthouse than meets the eye. Namely, the housebrewed beer, which has picked up over 20 awards and accolades spanning both “Austin’s Best” and national achievements. The standout Electric Jellyfish is one of the most intriguingly named (and best-tasting) beers in the city, and they host regular charity events where 25% of sales benefit a monthly partner organization (with over $100K raised to date). And with their recently opened Penthouse Brewing taproom, they now have a dedicated location to all things liquid. Pro-tip: If you want to know what they’re serving, hit up their tap schedule.
Key Beers: Electric Jellyfish IPA, Old Beluga Amber Ale

Jester King Brewery
Jester King Brewery

Jester King

Dripping Springs
It should come as no surprise that Jester King earned a spot on this esteemed list. This civic-minded stalwart has grown by leaps and bounds in just a few short years—you could even argue they’re the reason Dripping Springs has become a go-to for breweries, distilleries, and other boozy adventures. The focus here centers on farmhouse and barrel-aged wild ales, and they aren’t afraid to experiment, as evidenced by a recent foray into wine and cider. The brewery itself is massive, with tons of communal space for people to sip suds and hang out plus Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza slinging pies, regular public events, and goat yoga. Yep, goat yoga.
Key Beers: Grim Harvest Farmhouse Ale, Real Science Hazy DIPA

Lazarus Brewing

East 6th
The “Cool Store” was a staple of East 6th street for years before Lazarus Brewing moved in, and though we were sad to see an OG east sider fall by the wayside, Lazarus has more than made up for the loss. Friendly and inviting with fairy lights, comfy furniture, and an outdoor patio, the operation’s loyal patrons espouse the virtues of the fantastic food (get the queso fundido), craft coffee, and of course, their wide range of beer. The Prodigal Pils and 40 Days & 40 Nights American IPA are both crowd favorites, but the Amandus Belgian Strong Ale, which was a Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal-winner, is a must-try for any suds fan.
Key Beers: Amandus Belgian Strong Ale, 40 Days & 40 Nights IPA

Oasis Texas Brewing Company
Oasis Texas Brewing Company

Oasis Texas Brewing Company

Comanche Canyon Ranch
The Oasis is famously known for its breathtaking views and lackluster food, and though it’s located within the complex, Oasis Brewing maintains a totally separate identity—so don’t get it twisted. And with crafty beers and tasty eats, this brewery has practically resurrected the entire area. Bar games, a dog- and kid-friendly patio, and live music events are some of the draws, along with gorgeous sunset panoramas, of course. The menu spans elevated pub fare, with everything from wagyu burgers to truffle-fried mushrooms, and the beers have garnered multiple big-name awards. Luchesa lager gets a lot of love, but the smart move is to opt for a $10 flight before settling on a full pour.
Key Beers: Luchesa Lager, Metamodern Session IPA

Zilker Brewing Company
Zilker Brewing Company

Zilker Brewing Co

East 6th
Nestled in the heart of East 6th street, Zilker’s casual and inviting taproom is an ace spot for a post-work beer and bite. The space is large, with shared tables and plenty of opportunities to belly up to the bar, home to taps featuring Zilker’s own brews alongside a rotating selection of craft classics. If you’re in the market for food, Spicy Boys is onhand slinging five-piece drum and thigh perfection. As for libations, their latest release, a berry-inspired sour called Berry Fun, is just as puckery and adventurous as it sounds.
Key Beers: Marco IPA, Parks & Rec Pale Ale

(512) Brewing

South Austin
Self-distributed and draft-focused, this brewery is both prolific and wildly popular around the city. They focus on incorporating local and organic ingredients along with Austin water and music-lovers flock to their taproom for their (512) Cellar Sessions, where they host top-rate musicians in their intimate brewery setting. Can’t decide? The price for a flight is right—just $12 for your choice of six eight-ounce pours. Oh, and plan to get a Lyft home—that IPA will take you down for the count.
Key Beers: Pecan Porter, Mostly Sunny IPA

Austin Beer Garden Brewing

South Austin
Better known as the ABGB, this brewery is loaded down with medals, copping two golds at the Great American Beer Festival along with Large Brewpub of the Year and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year. Beer snobs love it, but so do families and folks just out for a good time. The beer garden features regular live music performances and the lovely, locally sourced food menu adjusts to the season. They’ve also pioneered the Hell Yes Project, teaming up with select nonprofits around Austin to channel 5% of event profits to those who need it most.
Key Beers: Big Mama Red IPA, Hell Yes Helles

Hops and Grain
Hops and Grain

Hops and Grain Brewing

East Austin
Stashed away in an industrial development, Hops and Grain has made a huge impact on the east side’s scene. Folks rave about The One They Call Zoe American Lager and Lupulin Rodeo IPA—especially when downing them during one of the brewery’s legendary Austin FC watch parties. Like all good Austin breweries, they’re heavily ingrained in the community, hosting tons of events with a soft spot for pet-focused nonprofits—they even upcycle their spent grains into dog treats.
Key Beers: The One They Call Zoe Lager, Lupulin Rodeo IPA

Live Oak

Del Valle
What were you doing in 1997? Because that’s when Live Oak Brewing made its grand debut—and though they’ve moved on from their OG East Austin digs, their dedication to the craft remains the same. Their current location can reasonably be described as a campus, with a huge, shady biergarten, an onsite food truck, and a full-on disc golf course. The Hefeweizen is a must-try—it’s gaine such a cult following in the Austin area, you can pop into any area watering hole, ask for a “Hefe,” and no bartender will question what you mean.
Key Beers: HefeWeizen, Big Bark Amber Lager

Celis Brewery
Celis Brewery

Celis Brewery

North Austin
Founded by Pierre Celis in 1992 and shuttered back in 2000, Austin’s original craft brewery was resurrected 17 years later by Christine Celis, the founder’s daughter and original partner. They still serve Belgian-style witbiers in their taproom anchored by a striking rotunda made from the original copper mash tuns. Taste Celis originals plus brews from Uncle Billy’s, and mix and match any of them into a $10 flight. Onsite food truck Backdraft Pizzeria dishes up plenty of carbs to soak up the pints, while board games and ping pong keep folks entertained. While you’re in the area, go for the triple-hit and stop by neighboring breweries Oskar Blues and 4th Tap.
Key Beers: Celis White Witbier, Beez Kneez Honey Blonde

Austin Beerworks

North Austin
Austin Beerworks is a serious heavy-hitter in the city’s beer scene. Their Pearl Snap Pilsner and Fire Eagle IPA are infinitely drinkable, the kind of beers you recommend to a friend that’s just dipping their toes into craft beer’s sudsy waters. They’ve also significantly leveled up their hosting game with a big, beautiful taproom designed to cater to the masses. You can buy many of their core beers elsewhere, but the taproom offers specialty drafts you can only get onsite. Stop by on a sunny day for $4 pints, a dog- and kid-friendly patio, and crave-worthy eats from Can-yina food truck.
Key Beers: Peacemaker Golden Ale, Pearl Snap Pilsner

Independence Brewing Co.
Independence Brewing Co.

Independence Brewing

Southeast Austin
Rob and Amy Cartwright launched Independence Brewing in 2004, and after years of going it alone, received a solid injection of capital from Lagunitas back in 2016. Since then, they’ve continued to produce reliable, playful beers with frequent references to Austin icons like the flagship Austin Amber as well as Redbud Berliner Weisse, a tart tribute to one of our favorite off-leash dog parks. Their Wednesday All Night Happy Hours are legendary, giving folks an excuse to celebrate hump day right with $1 off all drafts and $8 flights.
Key Beers: Stash IPA, Austin Amber

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Molly Moltzen is a contributor for Thrillist.
Kelly Stocker wasn't born in Austin, but she got here as fast as she could. If you want to follow her adventures around town, find her on Twitter and Instagram.