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Luckily for Austinites, great breweries don't fall short on the horizon of town. From floral and citrus-like characteristics to a hop-forward beer with a malty flavor, Austin breweries have you covered with beers for everyone.
With the hot Texas weather approaching, even if you're not a beer fan, there's nothing quite like enjoying a cold drink at a local brewery.
Here are 15 breweries to visit in Austin.
St. Elmo Brewing Company, 440 E. St. Elmo Road
Since 2016, St. Elmo Brewing Company has provided South Austin with lots of laughs and great beers. The brewery has a great list of rotating beers on tap and an even better beer garden where everyone can have a good time. Founded by Tim Bullock and Bryan Winslow, the brewery has beers for all beer lovers, whether you're picky or adventurous. We recommend you try Gary, St. Elmo's IPA and enjoy some fantastic Asian-inspired food at the food truck on site.
Jester King, 1387 Fitzhugh Road
Sour beer lovers will be happy to know there is a local farmhouse brewery where beer is good and relaxation is achievable. One of the most known Austin breweries, Jester King Brewery provides all undercover beer snobs with wild ales and "spontaneously fermented beers" showcasing the passion and inspiration from the Texas Hill Country. The farmhouse brewery uses water from its well, locally grown grains and native wild yeast to give Austinites what they deserve to have on a great day: great beer.
Southern Heights Brewing Company, 6014 Techni Center Dr. suite 2-101
If you're in need of a place where you'll meet great local people and drink great local beer, Southern Heights Brewing Company is the place to visit. When described as a hole in the wall, there is no exaggeration. The east Austin hidden gem is located inside an office building and could easily be overlooked. Yet, with so many friendly smiles and a selection of great beers and exceptional IPA's, the rustic Southern Heights is one of those places you can enjoy on a rainy, sunny or cloudy day.
Oddwood Ales, 3108 Manor Road
An urban patio, hip interior and good beer and food is something we all know we need as the days get warmer. Oddwood Ales Brewing, with a unique amount of flavor profiles and options, has you covered for those days you just want to have a good day. The brewpub focuses on American-style wild ales and hoppy pale ales, so make sure to add those to your "must try" list before anything else. Besides good beer, you can also find a food menu with delicious strombolis and pizzas.
Hold Out Brewing, 1208 W. 4th St.
If you consider yourself too much of a foodie, we have a perfect brewery for you. Hold Out Brewing, a new hot spot located West of downtown and next to Better Half coffee, has all burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs and beers you can only dream about. Whether you're trying to cool off on a hot day or enjoy a meal with a refreshing cold drink, Hold Out brewing has light and elegant beers to make your day just a little bit better.
Pinthouse Brewing, 2201 E. Ben White Blvd.
Pinthouse Brewing and Pizza is a must hit for anyone looking for a crazy good time, delicious pizzas and a great hoppy IPA. The beloved Austin brewpub has evolved the vibrant community with a passion for craft beer and good food. After all, isn't that the best part of enjoying a cold beer? Pinthouse Pizza also focuses on locally and organically sourced products for their hops and food supplies.
Austin Beerworks, 3001 Industrial Terrace
You might be familiar with Austin Beerworks from their colorful beer cans, but if you haven't visited the brewery yet, it's time to change that. The Austin staple has a great range of craft beer and a regularly rotating tap list. As the weather warms up, you might be looking for a beer with clarity and intention, and Austin Beerworks has just that. The brewery focuses on a creative take on beloved classics and is inspired by seasons, so if you're feeling the spring and summer spirit, they have the right beer for you.
Celis Brewery, 10001 Metric Blvd.
An Austin classic, Celis Brewery is the first Texas craft brewery to open its doors in 1992. Created by the Father of Wit Beer Pierre Celis, Celis Brewery has provided Austinites with a range of citrusy, aromatic and sharp flavors for all beer drinkers. Whether you're craving a sour or a beer to drink away the hot summer days ahead, Celis has you covered.
Circle Brewing Company, 2340 W. Braker Lane b
As the oldest microbrewery in North Austin, Circle Brewing Company is top of the list of Austin classics worth visiting. With a great selection of creative beers and a guaranteed great time, it's hard to stay away. The brewery was founded by beer lovers Ben Sabel and Judson Mulherin after spending years and years attempting to brew beer and learning how passionate one could be about it. The brewery focuses on merging Reinheitsgebot, a German purity law from 1516 limiting the ingredients in beer in Germany and "Texas ingenuity." Water, malt, hops and yeast make Circle Brewing Company possible.
Live Oak Brewing Company, 1615 Crozier Lane
Live Oak Brewing Company is one of the top spots in Austin to feel like you've transported yourself to olden times—flavorwise. The German-focused brewery has been a staple in the Austin beer game since 1997, providing Austinites with authentically unique and rich flavors. By using an old-world style of brewing mainly practiced in central Europe, the brewery has a unique experience waiting for everyone looking to visit their taproom and biergarten. If you're looking for something unique, try their variety of smoked beers, also called Rauchbier.
(512) Brewing Company, 407 Radam Lane
The Austin classic speaks levels of its authenticity and love for the city by its name. (512) Brewing Company works on providing consciously crafted beer to Austinites by conserving water, reusing kegs, using organic base malt and so much more. Besides, the beer is pretty tasty. The microbrewery offers great options, but if you're looking for something to knock you out of the park, try their Pecan Porter and you won't be disappointed.
Zilker Brewing Company, 1701 E. 6th St.
In the heart of East Austin you'll find a land where beer is cold and good energy can be found. Zilker Brewing Company, influenced by world travel and experimentation, offers Austinites with a large list of pungent, elegant and bright beers for a perfect day. Whether you're a fan of a classic IPA and stouts or fruited beer, this brewpub has you covered with amazing flavor profiles and seasonal beers to match every time of year. Plus, you can find one of the many great chicken sandwiches in town here.
Hi Sign Brewery, 1201 Old Bastrop Hwy.
Hi Sign Brewery provides Austinites with a space where nature meets community. The somewhat new-to-Austin brewery has an understanding of IPA flavor profiles worth every last sip, and with a beautiful beer garden surrounded by trees and wooden tables, there's nothing quite as aromatic and relaxing as enjoying a cold one on a sunny Austin day.
The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.
If you're a fan of lagers, look no further than The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co., also known as ABGB. ABGB won the brewpub of the year award from the Great American Beer Festival in 2016, so you know it's good stuff. ABGB has you covered with flavor crazy beers, delicious food and a great time. We recommend you try their pilsner "Industry" and the killer muffuletta sandwich for a guaranteed happy stomach.
Lazarus Brewing Co., 1902 E. 6th St.
Coffee, beer and tacos should be on everyone's favorite list of things, and there is no doubt that Lazarus Brewing Co. has all the categories covered for you to have a great time. With an urban patio, great interior and a selection of beers that will truly make you question your regular order of beer, this neighborhood brewpub in East Austin is worth the visit and more. Feeling tired? They have great coffee. Feeling hungry? They have all the breakfast tacos you'll need. Feeling adventurous? They have fun beers worth trying.
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As Q2 packs fans like sardines, could city, CDC recommendations disrupt the 'biggest party in Austin'?
In a scene that seemed to mark the pandemic's triumphant end, over 20,000 mostly maskless fans packed into Q2 Stadium for Austin FC's debut at Austin's first professional sports stadium in June. That mask-free utopia couldn't have been possible even a month before, and it may not be possible once more as Austin and the CDC returns to mask recommendations again for the first time since May.
Austin returned to Stage 4 restrictions on July 23 as case rates tripled since the beginning of the month and hospital beds once again filled with COVID patients. The spike comes after the highly contagious Delta variant was detected in Travis County. In its Stage 4 announcement, APH said its recommendations will not affect large events, such as Austin FC games, from operating.
More recently, the CDC updated its recommendation for vaccinated people on Wednesday, saying that all people in high-risk areas—including Austin with more than 50 COVID cases per 100,000 people—wear masks.
With businesses reinstating mask policies and new fear in the air, Q2's carefree party atmosphere may be affected. The club released the following statement to Austonia: "Austin FC encourages all guests to observe Austin Public Health's recommendations and take appropriate action based on individual circumstances."
Fan clubs react
Some Austin FC fans are concerned about taking their young kids ineligible for the vaccine to home matches. (Austin FC/Twitter)
Austin Anthem member Seth Rau said he's heard a few people express more concern about home matches. Still, the demand for attending matches at Q2, which regularly reaches full capacity despite a lackluster first-season performance, is not going away anytime soon.
"We're starting to hear stories like, 'Oh, I have a 10 year old kid. My kid can't be vaccinated yet,'" Rau said. "So I think certain people are less willing to maybe go than in the past, but with everyone who doesn't want to go there are five people ready to claim their seats."
Rau said only few wore masks before last week, but at the last match on July 22, he said close to 5% wore masks. Based on sheer estimation as well as what he's heard, Rau said he expects a significant minority to pull out the masks once again when Austin FC plays on Saturday.
Masking recommendations are fine as long as the stadium remains at full capacity, Rau said.
"It's an annoyance, but it's not a big deal," Rau said. "I think if they ever started reducing capacity, that's where there would be true hell to pay."
While supporters groups, like the city of Austin, can't enforce mask mandates, Rau told Austonia they'll strongly recommend masking in certain situations, including taking a bus up to Dallas for the upcoming FC Dallas match. Rau said Stage 4 has brought new concerns and paperwork into the picture for the road trip.
"It's wild. Like, as a supporters' group, we never thought we'd have to worry about collecting people's health records," Rau said. "It is extremely important to us to keep our Verde familia safe,"
Could Q2 become a "superspreader"?
Some have drawn parallels to last fall when City Council Member Greg Casar and Austin Public Health officials strongly advised against in-person fans at University of Texas football games while in Stage 4.
No public official, including Austin FC fan Steve Adler, has commented, which a few have criticized. A city in which 63% of those eligible are fully vaccinated is different from the fall of 2020, however, and Q2 is still within CDC guidelines that don't recommend masks for those fully vaccinated while outdoors.
Still, some share concerns about the crowded stadium becoming a "superspreader," especially after a mass COVID outbreak in Scotland was tied to fans attending Euro 2020 soccer matches. Up to 2,000 fans traced their infection back to a single match, and controversial journalist Piers Morgan, who was fully vaccinated, said he tested positive for COVID on Tuesday after attending the Euro Cup final.
Now THATS a super spreader for the Delta variant. Learned today that the virus spreads like smoke in the air. Let’s get vaxxed up y’all.— Nick Garza (@nickrgarza) July 23, 2021
No matter the changes, Rau said that the fan club has supported Austin FC even in the strictest of COVID policies and won't stop now.
"We dealt with this at Colorado when we took a couple hundred people to Denver," Rau said. "But we were still able to have a great time in the middle of a pandemic."
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After Austin voters passed Proposition B, reinstating a ban on public camping, City Council directed staff to look into possible sanctioned campsites where homeless residents could live legally. Now two members are asking to shelve discussion on the controversial topic.
Staff presented dozens of possible sanctioned campsites across each fo the 10 council districts in late May, following the election. But members mostly pushed back on the proposed locations, citing cost, wildfire risk and lack of transparency as concerns.
With updated criteria, staff recommended two sites—one in District 1 and the other in District 8—for further review last week. After being briefed on the options during Tuesday's work session, Mayor Pro Tem Natasha Harper-Madison, who represents District 1, and Council Member Paige Ellis, who represents District 8, issued a joint statement proposing "a pause" on further discussion of temporary sanctioned encampments.
"We are not convinced that these sites would be a cost-effective solution, but rather a band-aid tactic when we need to be supporting the long-term strategy to get folks off the street permanent," they said. "It is our responsibility to look at the situation holistically and objectively, and to spend out city's limited resources on solutions we know can work."
Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Grey noted that the two locations were imperfect and would require a lot of time and money to outfit as sanctioned campsites during the briefing.
City staff and homeless experts have previously raised concerns about sanctioned encampments, saying they are expensive to maintain, challenging to manage and hard to close, even when intended to to be temporary.
In 2019, staff declined to make recommendations for such sites despite being directed by council to do so, citing 2018 guidance from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. "Neither authorized encampments nor parking areas provide housing for people experiencing homelessness," staff wrote in a memo. "Rather, each option detracts from the staff resources assigned to addressing this moral imperative."
But with Prop B being enforced and too few shelter beds and affordable units for the estimate unsheltered homeless population in Austin, the city is facing the same predicament that prompted District 9 Council Member Kathie Tovo to pursue possible sanctioned campsites in the first place: "When individuals in encampments ask where they should go, we need to have places to suggest," she said at a May 6 council meeting.
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Don't lose your mask just yet—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it is now recommending masks in areas that are surging as cases rise nationwide and the Delta variant looms.
The CDC announced Tuesday that even fully vaccinated individuals should mask up indoors if their community is experiencing substantial transmission—defined as areas with more than 50 cases per 100,000 people. Travis County is sitting at an average of 94.59 cases per 100,000 over the past seven days, falling into the highest risk category, according to the CDC.
#DeltaVariant surging in U.S. New data show Delta much more contagious than previous versions of #COVID19. Unvaccinated people: get vaccinated & mask until you do. Everyone in areas of substantial/high transmission should wear a mask, even if vaccinated. https://t.co/tt49zOEC8N
— CDC (@CDCgov) July 27, 2021
After two COVID-19 recommendation stage jumps in the last two weeks, from Stage 2 to Stage 4, Austin-area cases are the highest they have been since February. The seven-day average for cases is on an upward trend, reaching 226 on Tuesday.
The CDC is also recommending that all students K-12 wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. A May executive order by Gov. Greg Abbott prohibits schools from requiring masks, regardless of vaccination status. Austin ISD is "strongly" encouraging students to wear masks.
Although vaccinated individuals are still protected against the most severe symptoms of the variant, infections are spreading rapidly and now make up 83% of confirmed cases in the U.S. At least a dozen cases of the delta variant have been confirmed in the Austin area, though there are likely more since testing for it is limited.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that hospital admissions are "almost exclusively" coming from people who are unvaccinated but those who are vaccinated can still catch and spread the virus.
"Unlike the alpha variant that we had back in May, where we didn't believe that if you were vaccinated you could transmit further, this is different now with the Delta variant," Walensky said. "That leads us to believe that the breakthrough infections, rare that they are, have the potential to pool and transmit at the same with the same capacity as an unvaccinated person."
Research suggests those who become infected carry 1,000 times more of the virus than other variants and could stay contagious for longer.The announcement comes on the heels of the Biden administration ramping up cautionary measures in the face of the Delta variant. Just last week, the CDC said it had no plans to change its May guidance of vaccinated not having to wear masks unless there was a significant change in the data. Officials met on Sunday night to review new evidence, according to reports.
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