Brewpubs are never given the amount of credit they deserve.
I mean, it’s one thing to successfully open a restaurant with a delicious menu and kitchen staff that are kept busy. And it’s totally different brewing beers and creating a brand that cultivates diehard fans.
So to bring those two business goals together, under one roof, and to do it well is absolutely impressive.
Here in Austin, I consider us to be quite lucky for many reasons. One big reason is we have eight phenomenal brewpubs, with that number only continuing to grow. That’s not even mentioning the fact that the best brewpub in the country is right here in Austin, Texas!
Brewery vs Brewpub?
This is the point where snooty craft beer drinkers might be saying, “WELL ACTUALLY in Texas a brewpub doesn’t have to serve food….” Or if you’re new to craft beer, you might have always considered the two terms interchangeable. Either way, for the purpose of this brewpub guide, let’s all get on the same page:
By common industry definition from the Brewer’s Association, a brewpub is a restaurant that also brews beer on-site, and sells more than 25% of its beer on-site. In Texas, thanks to annoying/weird/complicated Texas Alcohol Beverage Consumption (TABC) regulations, a brewpub is defined with different logic.
The easiest way I’ll break it down for this article is TABC issues two types of permits for brewers: a Brewer’s Permit or a Brewpub Permit. The Brewer’s Permit falls on a manufacturing tier, while a Brewpub Permit falls on a retail tier. It boils down to on-site/self-distribution and how many barrels they can produce. Read more about the nitty gritty details over here.
Now for my brewpub guide, I’m keep it easy and including Austin’s top brewpubs that are not only brewing beer, but also making delicious food.
In Austin, Texas we’re blessed with several brewpubs pulling double-duty serving up magnificent dishes to pair with their delicious craft beers. Below, you’re gonna find details on each one and their can’t miss brews and bites, Plus, everything else you should know about each unique brewpub.
Austin Beer Garden and Brewery
This place is always packed, and nobody cares. That’s what happens when you brew delicious beer … In fact, The ABGB isn’t just one of Austin’s Best Brewpubs. It’s also been recognized for being a great brewpub on a national level! The ABGB team actually won Large Brewpub Of The Year & Large Brewpub Brewer Of The Year at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival.
The warehouse style beer garden is a perfect community gathering place to bring your friends and family. Expect to fill up on good brews and eats with music from some of Austin’s favorite artists.
- What to eat: Their Margherita pizza is not one to be missed!
- What to drink: ABGB is known for their trio of award-winning pilsners. While you can’t go wrong with any of them, starting with Rocket is a good way to go.
- Beer to go: Yes, growler fills, crowlers, and kegs.
- Dog-friendly: Yes, outside only, large outside beer garden that’s shaded.
- Family-friendly: Yes, this Austin brewpub has plenty of seating and space for large groups as well.
- Parking: Even though their lot is large, it can fill up pretty quick. If that’s the case, there are nearby options.
1305 W Oltorf Street, 78704 | Website
Black Star Co-op
Black Star Co-op prides itself on being the first cooperatively-owned and worker self-managed brewpub in the world. (A co-op, short for co-operative, is a business owned and run jointly by its members, who share the profits or benefits.)
Members of Black Star created their brewpub to be a democratic workplace, with livable wages for employees, while devoting themselves to using only the best local ingredients. FYI, The patio is dog-friendly and they’re fabulously located right at Austin’s Crestview Light Rail Station.
- What to eat: Definitely the fish and chips, these are some of the best in town.
- What to drink: Can’t Quit You series, a collaboration with Blue Owl.
- Beer to go: Yes, growler fills and crowlers
- Dog-friendly: Yes, outside, with a small covered area that provides plenty of shade in summer.
- Family-friendly: For the most part yes.
- Parking: The brewpub shares a parking lot with neighbors but it is also located perfectly at the Crestview Light Rail Station.
7020 Easy Wind Drive, 78752 | Website
As I write this brewpub guide, The Brewtorium is still in their soft opening, but I’m so thrilled to be able to include them this year. Home brewers Chris Rauschuber and Whitney Roberts just opened their brewpub in North Austin making small plates in-house to serve alongside German-style beers. (52 Brews will give you some more ideas about homebrewing.) These two have had plenty of practice brewing, so they’ve been able to open up to the public with a long list of knockouts. They’re just getting started, but this is one brewpub I’m excited to watch grow!
- What to eat: Pot stickers, pork and veggie options available.
- What to drink: Their Electric Lederhosen, a Vienna lager that will become your new favorite.
- Beer to go: Not sure?
- Dog-friendly: Yes, once the beer garden is open.
- Family-friendly: Yes, seems like it’s going to become an incredible neighborhood hangout.
- Parking: So far, their large lot is getting the job done.
6015 Dillard Circle | Website
Lazarus Brewing Co.
Ok, I don’t have favorites, but this Austin brewpub is a knockout from top to bottom. Lazarus Brewing Company is right in the middle of East Austin’s popular Sixth Street district; you’ll spot the brewery its bright teal exterior.
For coffee lovers, you’ll love the cozy atmosphere and freshly roasted coffee. A perfect place overall to get some work done. For craft beer lovers though, this brewery will only leaving you craving more. The best part about Lazarus Brewing is they are constantly experimenting and brewing the most-underrepresented styles of beer so you’ll never get bored of their beer list.
- What to eat: The menu is mostly simple tacos and homemade salsas, that being said, their al Pastor taco is out-of-this-world delicious.
- What to drink: Amandus, their boozy and beautiful strong Belgian golden ale.
- Beer to go: Yes
- Dog-friendly: Yes, plenty of space outside.
- Family-friendly: Not too much…
- Parking: It’s right on East Sixth and they only have a small lot, you’re best off looking for a spot on the street nearby.
1902 E 6th Street, 78702 | Website
Read This: East Austin Brewery Guide
NXNW Restaurant & Brewery
North by Northwest is one of my favorite brewpubs simply because their delicious American fare goes so well with their craft beer. More notably, this brewpub is the city’s oldest and fanciest brewpub. NXNW has a huge range of beers at both locations to make sure everyone’s covered! Food wise, you can’t really go wrong, with a menu that features beloved American classics with a NXNW spin.
- What to eat: The Roasted Garlic Bulbs with goat cheese and black pepper crostinis.
- What to drink: The Red Zeppelin, an incredibly well-balanced red ale. (NXNW also has an incredible Happy Hour daily from 4-7pm!)
- Beer to go: Yes
- Dog-friendly: Yes, dog friendly outside in their pavilion area
- Family-friendly: Yes, though this is a more upscale place that’s not as ‘free range’ as other brewpubs
- Parking: One of the few places with great parking
Two Locations: Stonelake and Slaughter | Website
Oasis Texas Brewing Company
Possibly one of the greatest views in all of Austin and the surrounding areas is the one enjoyed with a cold beer in hand at Oasis Texas Brewing Company sitting 400 feet over Lake Travis. Their food menu is pretty small but many agree it’s some of the most delicious you’ll get at the Oasis docks.
- What to eat: Big appetite or not, their cheese and beer pairing board is a fun treat to share with friends!
- What to drink: Oasis is known for their sessionable beers and their London Homesick Ale, an English-style ale, is top notch.
- Beer to go: Yes
- Dog-friendly: Oasis, has a massive, dog-friendly outdoor patio with views of Lake Travis in every direction.
- Family-friendly: Yes
- Parking: Yes there’s a large lot that is for all the businesses at the docks.
6550 Comanche Trail #301, 78732 | Website
Pinthouse Pizza is equally adored for their pizza as they are for their IPAs and barrel-aged beer. For foodies, good luck trying to decide on just one of Pinthouse’s pizzas! I highly suggest getting pizza rolls regardless, you can thank me later. Right now there are two locations (South Lamar and Burnet) but a third location is opening soon in Round Rock.
- What to eat: Pizza rolls with queso dip
- What to drink: Old Beluga Amber Ale, but hop addicts will be very well taken care of at both locations.
- Beer to go: Yes
- Dog-friendly: North location has a smaller outdoor area that is not shaded, south’s location is roomier with more shade.
- Family-friendly: Yes, almost too much if you ask some people..
- Parking: South, no problem, north can be tricky but the brewpub has been expanding their lot.
North and South Locations | Website
Uncle Billy’s Brewery and Smokehouse
Founded in 2006, Uncle Billy’s Brewery and Smokehouse is a great combination of delicious beer and Texas BBQ for those down in the Barton Springs area. The spacious, dog-friendly, outside patio area is a great place to catch up with friends after a swim at Barton Springs, or even just for some happy hour after work.
- What to eat: Redneck Road Kill: housemade kettle chips, queso, meat, and a whole bunch of other great toppings.
- What to drink: Everything! The brewer’s here do an incredible job rotating brand new styles and beers on a frequent basis.
- Beer to go: Yes
- Dog-friendly: Very much so with a large and shaded patio.
- Family-friendly: Yes
- Parking: Great and free parking available in the parking garage behind the brewpub.
1530 Barton Springs Road, 78704 | Website
Read This: My Favorite Austin Breweries for Live Music
What’s your favorite brewpub? Do you go there for the food or brews? Disagree with my ranking? Let me know why in the comments! Cheers!