No matter where you are in Texas, you’ve got a great craft brewery nearby. Here are some we’ll be hitting up for locally produced beer this fall — even if it has to be to-go.
Near the turn of the millennium, when Y2K fears were just subsiding, I made it to the life milestone of official drinking age. Back then, the number of craft brewers in Texas could probably be counted on two hands. Fast-forward two decades and there are nearly 350 craft breweries operating across the Lone Star State. The number of beer styles, the methods of purchasing them, and the amount of locally available brewing ingredients have all exploded. It has never been a better time to be a craft brew enthusiast, as high-quality, creative, and local brews are ubiquitous. According to the Brewers Association for Small and Independent Craft Brewers, Texas craft breweries produced 1.18 million barrels in 2019.
Now more than ever, your local craft brewer appreciates support now more than ever. The pandemic has caused numerous layoffs and many taprooms are struggling as they operate at less than 50 percent capacity. In fact, according to the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, two in three brewers say they may not make it to January 2021 if the current shutdown does not abate or new economic relief options are not put forward. This hits home for me, as the only brewery in my town of Buda—Two Wheel Brewing Company—has just shut its doors for good.
There is good news, however. Most local breweries currently offer limited-capacity taproom seating and, of course, beer pickup. And as we leave fall and its rich, seasonal Marzen-style (Oktoberfest), there is reason to get excited for your local offerings of spiced winter ales, cozy stouts, and zesty ciders. It’s nice to branch out with a seasonal style you’ve never heard of or to sample a micro-brew that piques your interest because of what it’s brewed with. Choices abound, so get out there and taste some of what local craft brewers work so hard to bring to you.
Here are some top-tier craft breweries throughout Texas to get you started.
Martin House Brewing – Fort Worth
Established in 2012, this brewery’s mascot is the purple martin and its motto is “Made in Texas by Texans.” Just east of downtown Fort Worth on the banks of the Trinity River, you can enjoy one of the year-round varieties or a taproom-only release.
Recommended: The Salty Lady Gose, Martin House Pils
Unique: Best Maid Sour Pickle Beer
Peticolas Brewing Company – Dallas
Located near the heart of downtown Dallas in the Design District, this unique tri-level warehouse has a lot to offer for thirsty taproom enthusiasts. As you sip one of their beers, check out the story behind their logo. Hint: It’s as carefully crafted as their beers.
Recommended: Velvet Hammer Imperial Red Ale, Golden Opportunity Kölsch
Unique: Wintervention Spiced Winter Ale
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company – Fort Worth
Rahr & Sons was founded on the south side of downtown Fort Worth by a family rich in German brewing experience and tradition. Grab a delicious brew and enjoy generations of beer craft. Fun fact: Rahr Malting Co. produces and supplies malt and industry-related brewing supplies to breweries across the United States.
Recommended: Rahr’s Blonde Helles Lager, Winter Warmer Dark Ale
Unique: Paleta de Mango Chile Beer
Four Corners Brewing – Dallas
Started in 2009, Four Corners Brewing is located in the Cedars district of downtown Dallas. Its founders took inspiration from neighborhood roots and created a place where local flavor could intersect craft brewing. The brewer offers a quenching selection of year-round and seasonal styles.
Recommended: El Grito Lager, El Chingon IPA
Unique: La Lechuza S’more Stout
Take in the eclectic mix of tech dreams and family scenes while you sip on a carefully crafted Pinthouse beer at one of three locations. Better yet, order up a delicious pizza to go with those suds. Their in-house mainstays and seasonal selections are supplemented by a huge selection of Texas-brewed “guest” taps.
Recommended: Burro’s Breakfast Mexican Lager, Electric Jellyfish IPA
Unique: Ancho Grande Chocolate Stout
Get out of the city and into the relaxing country setting that is Jester King Brewery. Friendly staff and plenty of space make good companions for tasting an open fermentation ale or sour-style beer. Stock up on limited editions; they are sought after and go quickly.
Recommended: No Whalez Here Witbier, Bughaven Open Fermented Ale
Unique: Encendia Ale
4th Tap is a small, worker-owned brewery based in Austin’s 78758 beer district. Founded by a coalition of Austin natives and friends transplanted from Houston, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi, 4th Tap prioritizes its neighborhood community, offering picnic-table seating and carefully crafted brews to North Austinites.
Recommended: Highland Scoundel Scotch Ale, Kung Fu Robot IPA
Unique: Supernaut Neapolitan
Since 1997, this European-style brewery has focused on crafting world-class German-style lagers and ales. With one crisp sip, it’s easy to see why Live Oak has won regional and national acclaim. Try a Rauchbier (smoke beer) to get a taste of the old-world technique of roasting malt over an open fire.
Recommended: Oaktoberfest, HefeWeizen
Unique: Grodziskie Smoke Style
Founded in 2008, this craft brewer embodies the city it calls home. While enjoying your brew, ponder the fact that Freetail was a pioneer direct brewery-to-customer sales. With a brewpub on the north side and a taproom near downtown, you have several options for enjoying these brews, or look for beer cans emblazoned with their bright red bat logo in stores.
Recommended: Conserveza American Blonde Ale, Bat Outta Helles German Style Lager
Unique: La Muerta Imperial Stout
Visit the taproom for the handcrafted brews, leave with high quality spirits. Established in 2010, this brewer and distiller offers a bounty of Texas original beers and spirits. Ranger Creek’s tasty lager proudly proclaims the city it calls home.
Recommended: Sunday Morning Coming Down Coffee Ale, Imperial Brown Ale
Unique: Strawberry Milk Stout
Located just east of downtown San Antonio, Alamo Beer Company was founded in the late 1990s. The brewer hit its stride a few years after being founded with its namesake Alamo Ale (Golden Ale). The number of styles it makes continues to expand, but its focus on independence remains. Remember the Alamo!
Recommended: Texas Norther IPA, Luna Blanca Belgian White
Unique: Fiestaval Watermelon Lager
Texas’ oldest craft brewer and patron saint of breweries, Saint Arnold brewpub is a must visit. Their first keg shipped in the mid-90s, but they are stronger than ever with an expansive selection of choices. My own overall favorite Saint Arnold brew, Lawnmower Kolsch, has quenched my thirst numerous times after yard work.
Recommended: Santo Black Kolsch, Spring Bock
Unique: Christmas Ale and Bishop’s Barrel Series
Founded in 2011, this iconic brewer was purchased by InBev in 2016. Its huge popularity and large selection helped make Karbach one of the fastest-growing breweries in the country. Visit the biergarten or restaurant to sample some of the seasonal selections and year-round favorites.
Recommended: Hopadillo IPA, Coastal Conservation Ale
Unique: Yule Shoot Your Eye Out Red Ale
Founded in 2011, this craft brewer’s main goal is creativity in all brews it produces. A visit to the three-story building known as BuffBrew, just north of downtown, lets you immediately know that you are in for a wild adventure of the taste buds. With over 70 brews in the last seven years, Buffalo Bayou is continuously pushing the limits of what is possible, from tank to tap.
Recommended: 1836 Copper Ale, Dreamsicle Ale
Unique: Black Raz Sweet Stout
B52 Brewing – Conroe
Situated on seven acres just outside of Conroe, this relaxed setting has a lot to offer the beer enthusiast. With over 25 selections on tap, it’s simply too good to ignore. There’s something for everyone to try or experiment with.
Recommended: Waimea IPA, Banana Stand Stout
Unique: Timaeus Tetrahedron Stout
Lazy Beach Brewing – Corpus Christi
Halfway between downtown Corpus and Mustang Island, you’ll find this craft brewer. With origins in late 2010, the husband and wife duo behind this operation embrace the beach lifestyle. While you taste their craft, enjoy the gulf breeze and take in the gentle seas.
Recommended: Corpus Christi Blonde Ale, Choppy Waters IPA
Unique: Hard Kombucha
Real Ale Brewing – Blanco
A Blanco original and craft brew leader since 1996, Real Ale’s future is brighter than ever. Water from the Blanco River is used to craft a wide selection of brews, but you won’t find any of their products outside of Texas. Making quality beer has always been more important than chasing growth for growth’s sake for this fiercely independent brewery.
Recommended: Devil’s Backbone Tripel Ale, Vàmonos Gose
Unique: Black Quad Quadrupel, Sisyphus Barleywine Ale
Altstadt Brewery – Fredericksburg
A relative newcomer to the Texas Hill Country, this craft brewer is turning out gold-medal-winning beers. Next time you visit Enchanted Rock for a hike or Fredericksburg for a wine jaunt, a visit to the biergarten and restaurant is a must. Their unfiltered Kolsch is thirst quenching and unique.
Recommended: Amber Altbier, Oktoberfest
Unique: Kolsch (unfiltered)
Guadalupe Brewing Company – New Braunfels
This craft brewer opened its doors in 2012 with a focus on delivering the best product to thirsty Texans. Located in New Braunfels in the shadow of the Comal and Guadalupe rivers, there is something special for everyone. At this taproom, ist das leben schön — “It’s the beautiful life.”
Recommended: Texas Honey Ale, Scotch Ale
Unique: Mexican Cake Stout
Spoetzl Brewery – Shiner
Beer first flowed from Spoetzl Brewery—the home of Shiner Bock—over 100 years ago in 1909. Its founder, Kosmos Spoetzl, might not recognize the vast selection of Texas craft brews available today, but he would appreciate the strong independence of many brewers. Visit the iconic brewery and take in some of Shiner’s new styles.
Recommended: Bohemian Black Lager, Weisse N Easy Wheat
Unique: Ruby Red Grapefruit, Texas Heat Wave Choices
DeadBeach Brewery – El Paso
Located in El Paso, this brewer takes its inspiration from the red glow of the nearby Franklin Mountains. A stone’s throw from the border, there is refreshment to be had at the DeadBeach Tavern. Clever beer names only enhance their quality brews.
Recommended: Abuela Stout, Heartbreaker Sour
Unique: Supa Friek Sour Red Ale
TUPPS Brewery – McKinney
A family business based out of McKinney, TUPPS Brewery was founded in May of 2015. The brewery has seen incredible growth over the last few years and is now one of the top 15 craft breweries in the state. As a result, TUPPS is moving to a new facility in downtown McKinney in partnership with the City of McKinney to help revitalize the east side of downtown. TUPPS beer can be found at all major retailers across Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio with Houston distribution beginning upon completion of the new facility.
Recommended: Neo Shades Sour, Full Grown Man-Child Stout
Unique: Fluffy Cream Yogurt Ale