Austin, Texas is known for many things - live music, great barbecue, creamy queso, and being generally weird, to name a few. In recent years, just like in many cities across the United States, Austin has also given birth to a slew of craft breweries. Whether located right downtown or out in Hill Country, there are a plethora of options when it comes to a fine glass of fermented grains, hops, yeast, and water. Most of the breweries can make for a great afternoon spent with friend, but if you aren't feeling up for an adventure off of your front porch, here are a few of our favorite packaged beers that you can order for delivery!
In a city known for innovating and getting weird, it's no wonder that Austin Beerworks has become a mainstay in this town of oddities. Well known for their whimsical attitudes and that one time that they sold a 99 pack of beer, they also continue to make some of the most solid beer in Travis County - one such example being their delightful German-style pilsner known as Pearl Snap. Enjoyed fresh, this beer can be wonderfully hoppy, glistening with those earthy hop flavors that the Germans are known for, balanced with a clean malt note and a moderate carbonation that just rounds things out perfectly.
We can't make a list of best beers without a couple of our favorite IPAs and it's quite honestly hard to beat this flagship beer from Zilker. Of course the colorful can that reminds us of a vintage ski sweater drew us in at first, but it's the stellar American IPA quality that brings us back again and again. Not steering towards the modern trends of hazy or brut, this is a beer about balance. Lightly caramelized malt lends a sweetness that is balanced by bright, zingy hop character that leaves your mouth with just a touch of bitterness, excited for more and more and then more. Enjoy a can with your favorite slice of pizza topped with a dash of hot sauce.
We couldn't go without an IPA and we certainly can't go without a great take on a double IPA. Hops & Grain, one of the mainstains in the Austin scene, brews up some truly fabulous hoppy beers. Their rotating Dispensary Series produces some big winners, but their always available double IPA known as Haze County is perfection. It's a bigger guy at 8.2% IPA, but the clever combination of late addition hops bring forth huge notes of juicy peaches and fresh citrus peel for an easy to drink and dangerously delicious answer for those in love with hops.
Okay okay, just one more hop bomb, this time a lower alcohol session IPA from relative newcomers Friends & Allies. The brewers out there in east Austin managed to create a recipe for a 100+ IBU beer with five different hop varietals that comes in at just 4.7% ABV, ideal for the Austin summer, which tends to last for about half of the year. Light, but with notes of tangerine skins and lemon rinds, this is an ideal beverage to start a long day of fun. Being a so-called “session" beer, it's meant for those occasions where you might find yourself having more than just one beverage, like the days when the Longhorns are in town or your friends are meeting for an epic day of brunching.
Appropriately named, Jester King is the royalty of the Austin beer scene. Located a bit out of town, down in Dripping Springs, they specialize in making true farmhouse beers. Open ferments and flavored with foraged herbs and spices, you never really know what you're going to get next from Jester King, but one thing that does remain the same is their table beer - Le Petit Prince. Brewed with the most simplistic of farmhouse ingredients, this low alcohol beer is something not often seen in the US as we tend to favor the big and the bold, but the nuance of the well water, local grain, and European hops, is a delight. It's called a table beer as it is something to be placed on a long table for all to share over a long lunch or late night dinner.
Live Oak Brewing is extremely popular around Austin and for good reason. They have been making fantastic old world beers for a long time and one of their absolute bests is their Hefeweizen. Brewed in the true Bavarian style, showcasing hints of banana and clove from their use of the unique German yeast, this is a beer that can refresh even the driest mouth on one of Austin's hottest days. Pure and simple with low bitterness, but a heap of flavor, this is a great beer to pair with your favorite plate of BBQ as the sweetness will play along with the sauce, but the hint of bitterness in the finish can cut through the fat.
Blue Owl specializes in sour beers, and by specialize, we mean that it's all that they make. Some of their beers are out there concepts like Sour IPAs, but Van Dayum is their take on the traditional Belgian-style Flanders Red Ale. Not taken to the Belgian extreme of aging for years in oversized oak foudres, this is a more modern take on the concept, using a similarly sweet malt backbone, but a quicker souring process and a tad more hops in the finish. The result is something very approachable to those uninitiated in the world of sours, but complex enough for the expert of funk to enjoy. Pair this with a sous vide duck leg and a salad speckled with candied walnuts and goat cheese, or if not being so fancy, it is quite divine with a slice of cheesecake.
Another item on the list when trying to keep Austin weird, this Hibiscus Saison can't be missed. Brewed with citra hops that are known for their powerful grapefruit quality in addition to Hibiscus flowers, the finished product is a burst of fruity flavor, but balanced nicely with a dry malt character and just a hint of bitterness. The bright pink beverage inspired Adelbert's to donate a portion of sales to breast cancer research, so you can feel double good when enjoying a pint. Be sure to enjoy it out of a glass if you have the option as the color is a part of the experience, and pair it with a sweet kolache of your choosing, because why not?