The Best Things That Happened in Austin Beer This Year
Pregaming Austin FC at Hopsquad, Austin Beer Guide’s Lager Jam, Live Oak Rauchfest, and seven more hoppy highlights from 2022
Jester King has made ambition their own personal brand, so why not devise a food festival that perfectly curates many of the best restaurants in town with several of Austin's best boozy beverage makers to boot? Pairings like Uchiko + ABGB, Odd Duck + Meanwhile, and Comedor + Hold Out make Funk n' Sour feel like 30 date nights in one evening.
Austin FC Pregaming at Hopsquad
Austin turned out to be a soccer city after all. And every city needs its town hall. That's Hopsquad, the People's Brewery, stepping in for civic duty, ma'am, with its boisterous match day vibez and a tap wall with 15+ handles ready to lubricate Los Verdes before the march to Q2.
The release of Austin's most beloved seasonal beer, Sputnik, marks the unofficial start of parka season in Austin, though we prefer to drink this delicious coffee oatmeal stout in our robe and Uggs. On release day ABW celebrates with several variants of the original recipe, like Wake & Bake, made with honey buns & coconut, and I Am the Machine, with chipotle peppers infused.
A day to celebrate ABGB's smash-hit, GABF medal-winning pilsners while they grace the tap wall all at the same time, including 2022's GABF gold-medal champ, Industry Pils. Aside from that, there's a full day of live music from ABGB's taproom stage to pair with your sessionable lagers so that you can dance the day away without leaning too much.
The quintessential can't-miss beer event of the Before Times paid homage to the granddaddy of Austin craft beer since 1969. This annual biergarten fete imported an impressive list of rare and difficult-to-find bevs from around the world that celebrated Draught House's inimitable tap curation. Nowadays, well, the anniversary party is still all that, but brewer Josh Wilson has added a personal touch: 20 original recipes from Draught House's own brewhouse.
No Austin beer experience is complete without the sampling of lagers on a sweltering summer day, and that's exactly what the lager perverts over at the Beer Guide promise with an outdoor parking lot festival in September. What sets Lager Jam apart from the rest of the fests? No small pours – each reveler gets full 16-ouncers of any of the 20-plus lagers present, some of them uniquely brewed for the event itself.
Red Line Brewery Crawl: Central District, Zilker, Brewtorium, Black Star, Circle
When we're not zipping our McLaren around Dripping Springs visiting the Hill Country breweries at 95 mph, we like to slum it with the commoners taking public transpo on the MetroRail from the city's last Downtown brewery, Central District; up to the boisterous Eastside heavyweight, Zilker; then farther north to the city's daily Oktoberfest at the Brewtorium; up the rail slightly to the elegant Black Star Co-op; then finishing with the trendy, warehouse ambience of Circle Brewing. It's a great way to get a full spectrum of what Austin beer has to offer without having to get into an Uber Black.
Tossing an Electric Jellyfish at Q2 Stadium
Few things are more exhilarating than launching 88 cents per ounce of the city's top hazy IPA from the supporters' section into the North Austin sky like a delirious trillionaire after an Austin FC goal.
No doubt that a visit to this legendary Austin brewery is a must-do, so why not take it for a spin during one of its famously spirited beer blowouts? In this case, we recommend Rauchfest simply because of its novelty: a smoked beer celebration with metal bands, smoked meats, and campfires. It's what medieval times always wished they could be.
Texas Craft Brewers Festival VIP Session
The largest annual celebration of small and independent Texas craft breweries happens right here at East Austin's Fiesta Gardens. The festival features more than 70 Lone Star State breweries who bring more than 200 distinct beers with which to dazzle you. However, if you ever get the chance, dig deep for a VIP ticket, which gets you an extra two-hour session of special hospitality from the Texas Craft Brewers Guild. It's definitely worth it.