Sure, San Diego is infiltrated with craft beer and more big-name brewers are beginning to settle on the East Coast in the likes of Virginia and North Carolina, but the Texas beer scene is on the move and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. New craft breweries are opening left and right, and big names like Oskar Blues are moving into town. With a thriving beer scene, it seems that everyone wants in on some of the action.
There are a selected few, however, that remain totally underrated. If you live in Texas, you probably take full advantage of these hidden gems when you can. But for the rest of the country, swinging by a taproom or buying up some bottles or cans at the local bottle shop is not going to happen. The only way to experience these underrated breweries is by traveling to get a little taste of big Texas.
Increasing your urge for an epic road trip, here are seven of the most underrated breweries in Texas just waiting to wet your whistle.
7. Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Location: Houston, TX
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As the oldest craft brewery in Texas, we couldn’t talk about the beer scene without mentioning Saint Arnold. With an impressive lineup of year-round beers as well as seasonal and specialty series, Saint Arnold is keeping the masses happy.
Taking pride in quality, Saint Arnold works hard to make sure each beer is brewed with consistency. Offering up a beer style selection from lagers to barrel-aged, there is something for everyone at Saint Arnold.
Try the 5 O’clock Pils for a refreshing summer beer, or get warm and cozy with one of their prized beers in the Bishop Barrel series. With each new release from the Bishop Barrel different than the last, it’s certainly a reason to keep coming back for more.
6. Community Beer Company
Location: Dallas, TX
Sunday by the pool… and a few #texascraftbeer coming up! This is a #wheatale with orange peel and coriander from #communitybeercompany 5.2%alc 18 IBU Makes for a good easy drinking #texasbeer it also won a gold award at #worldbeercup in 2014 #craftcans #craftbeertime #craftbeernotcrapbeer #beerhaul #beersnob #instabeerofficial #beeradvocate #gotexan #daydrinking ?
Winning anything at the Great American Beer Festival is an honor, but winning gold, now there’s a reason to bust out the rare barrel-aged bottles. Community Beer Company’s Public Ale ESB won gold two years in a row. Not bad for an amazing beer from a little name in Texas.
Besides their award winning ESB, Community is making a name for itself offering up everything from the Silly Gose to the Snickerdoodle Ale. With a yeast lab on site, you know they take pride in quality when it comes to brewing the best beer. Encouraging you to elbow up with a beer-minded friendly stranger, Community is crafting a gathering place for beer lovers.
5. Live Oak Brewing Company
Location: Austin, TX
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Live Oak is keeping it old school, and crushing the lager and ale scene in the United States. Taking the time to create quality brews, Live Oak has been on the scene awhile. After twenty years in the business, Live Oak is finally canning and you’ll find them throughout Texas.
Specializing in European styles, specifically those from Germany and Austria’s Vienna, Live Oak is bringing quality classics to the table. A Bohemian Pilz, weizenbock, and even a solid Live Oak HefeWeizen have the delicious beers standing out from the rest.
If you’re a Berliner Weisse fan, then check out the Berliner Weisse. The ideal summer ale, the Berliner Weisse has a slightly tart lemon flavor that will quench your thirst. Again, did we mention they make a mean Bavarian HefeWeizen?
4. Lone Pint Brewery
Location: Magnolia, TX
Doing some #saturdaynight #craftbeer drinkin' at home, having my own @lonepint night! #craftbeerjunkie #craftbeerporn #drinkingcraft #drinkingathome #stayingin #LonePintBrewing #hophead #hoptopia #brewtopia #beertopia #beertasted #beersofinstagram #TexasCraftBeers #houstonbeers #beer30 #beermeplease
Don’t be fooled by this small brewery because big things are happening at Lone Pint. The brewery is powered by renewable energy, and to take it a step further, they compost their hops. Dedicated to creating local Texas ales, this brewery located in Magnolia stays true to its roots with good beer to boot.
When most breweries are using pelletized hops, Lone Pine joins the ranks of breweries like Sierra Nevada in using whole cone hops to produce great beers. Taking pride in their brews as wells as the process, Lone Pint is making a name, especially with knowledgeable beer geeks in the beer industry the country over.
If you happen upon Lone Pint, try their Yellow Rose IPA. It carries quite the reputation in the IPA world of Texas. As the third top-rated beer in Texas according to Beer Advocate, you know you’re dying to try a pint.
3. Jester King Brewery
Location: Austin, TX
Okay, so you may know Jester King. You may even be a regular at Jester King, but if you’re not anywhere near the vicinity of Austin, Texas, nor have never been to the state, then you’ve probably never tasted Jester King. To make you jealous here’s what you’re missing – and why you need to get over there.
To begin, just look up the best Texas beers on Beer Advocate and you’ll notice Jester King is mentioned almost every other beer – and ranked as the top two. Their farmhouse ale, which didn’t make the Beer Advocate cut, Le Petit Prince is the perfect companion wheat beer to a warm summer dinner outside.
Jester King is a farmhouse brewery set in the Texas Hill Country. Dealing with spontaneous fermentation, they only produce amazing brews in the Belgian family. Incorporating the flavors of their local surroundings, the area dictates the flavor of the beer. Wild ales and sour beers turn out well there in the Texas Hill Country, and makes the rest of us incredibly jealous.
If you’re ever around for this rarity – or know a friend that can pass some along – try the Atrial Rubicite. A couple times a year a special version will be made where barrel-aged sours are put back into the barrel with more bacteria, yeast, and fresh fruit. Atrail Rubiciate is one of those beers which features fresh raspberries. You know you want!
2. Hops & Grain Brewing
Location: Austin, TX
For Hops and Grain, sustainability and brewing go hand-in-hand. These eco-friendly folks do everything from buying locally sources ingredients to repurposing their “water liquor” for tank cleaning to hauling off the spent grain to the farm as cattle feed to turning leftover hops into dog treats for their many dog-friendly events. They also brew some of the best hoppy beer around.
If in town, try the Greenhouse IPA, nearly the best IPA on this list. It’s the fourth canned beer from Hops & Grain and has a constant changing hop selection to keep you guessing. One sip and sensational notes of tangerine and grapefruit hit the pallet, with a hoppy hint of pine to balance out the complexity. If hops aren’t your thing, then sip on a refreshing, crisp pint of their lager Zoe.
While Hops & Grain does feature a constant rotating tap list of new beers – as well as year-round solid beers – you certainly won’t get bored. As one of the best breweries in the Austin beer scene, it’s well worth the trip.
Oh yeah, did I mention they have a sours program called “Volumes of Funk”?
1. Blue Owl Brewing
Location: Austin, TX
Sours. Enough said. If you’ve been hanging around Austin, or lucky enough to live in the area, then you’re probably familiar with Blue Owl Brewing. Doing 100 percent sour mashed beers, this gem of a brewery is offering up pints like nobody else around Texas in a big way.
While sour beers have become more mainstream, there are still many breweries that don’t take the risk of wild fermentation, which really took hold in Chicago before expanding elsewhere across the Midwest and Southwest. Blue Owl, however, embraces it – and we couldn’t be happier! Brewing up everything from their sour-cherry stout Professor Black to the sour IPA Hop Totem, sour fans and newbies alike will leave with a smile on their face.
Next time your in Austin, pop on in to the Blue Owl tasting room and see what’s brewing in their “Tiny Barrel” series.
Don’t see your favorite underrated Texas brewery on the list?
While we couldn’t include everyone (shout out to 512 Brewing’s Pecan Porter and Austin Beerworks’ entire collection) – a list has to end at some point!