Welcome to the ACL Beerfest
I've been told there's some music festival in town this weekend. I assume a few of you are beer tourists – you know, the type that immediately start looking for the bars with the best suds selection and, if available, local brews. You're in a pretty good town for such adventures.
Unfortunately, you won't get local flavor at ACL Fest – while ACL is great at offering up local food, the beer choices will be mostly Anheuser-Busch products and Heineken, although Widmer Brothers' Broken Halo IPA or Kona Brewing Co.'s Longboard Island Lager should keep craft beer lovers happy. But presumably you'll stray outside at some point, and here are your best bets near Zilker Park and Downtown.
Uncle Billy's Brew & Que 1530 Barton Springs Rd. Located just outside Zilker in the middle of Barton Springs Road's restaurant row, this is the perfect place for locals and tourists alike to get a taste of Texas – delicious, juicy barbecue complemented by a Texas-only beer selection, including great house brews. The downside: Everyone else at the fest might have the same idea. Expect a crowd.
The Ginger Man 301 Lavaca. Perhaps you're staying Downtown and walking to and from the fest. This place will be on your way and worth the stop. You'll find dozens and dozens and dozens of craft and import choices and a nice cozy atmosphere.
Opal Divine's Freehouse 700 W. Sixth. Not only a solid beer bar, Opal's also features a magnificent Scotch selection and good food.
Lovejoys 604 Neches. It's a bit far from Zilker, but Lovejoys is a good launching pad to the Red River scene after the fest shuts down, with some good house brews.
Zax Restaurant 312 Barton Springs Rd. Zax is more a restaurant than a bar, but it has a solid beer lineup.
Local beers: In the bars, make a special effort to try products from Live Oak Brewing Co. (look for the distinctive oak bark tap handles), (512) Brewing Co. (especially the Pecan Porter), and Thirsty Planet Brewing Co. – they're only available on tap. Other good choices (bottle or tap) include beers from Real Ale Brewing Co. (Oktoberfest and Lost Gold IPA are current seasonals) and Independence Brewing Co.