Best Austin Breweries With Award-Winning Beers (2023 Edition)
If you're visiting Texas, you absolutely must go to some craft breweries in Austin. The Austin craft beer scene has never been hotter, and the competition to get those national medals is fierce. That means, as a consumer, there's a record number of INCREDIBLE beers out there for you to sip and enjoy.
While there are plenty of excellent craft breweries that have good food trucks, fun patios, and a friendly atmosphere, we're going to focus on the award-winning breweries in Austin.
Let's talk about great Austin breweries that have won medals at the World Beer Cup, the Great American Beer Festival, and the Texas Craft Brewers Cup.
Best Austin Breweries With Award-Winning Beers (2023 Edition)
What "Awards" Are We Talking About Here?
Did you know that there are some pretty big awards for craft breweries? They happen at various times of the year, and it's a big deal for craft breweries to win a medal at one of these state, country, or worldwide beer events:
Texas Craft Brewers Cup: This is a new beer competition that started in 2021 in Texas. It's a professional craft beer competition run by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild in an effort to highlight Texas craft beer and the brewers who make it. The beers are judged by industry professionals and experienced beer judges, and the TCBC awards are represented in February of each year.
Great American Beer Festival: Known as "the Oscars of the beer world," GABF is one of the most prestigious craft beer competitions out there. If you win a medal at GABF, you shout it out loud and proud for all your customers to hear. GABF takes place in Denver, CO, every September.
World Beer Cup: If GABF is "the Oscars of the beer world," the World Beer cup is "the Olympics of the beer world." This is a worldwide craft beer competition, so the Austin craft breweries who have won these awards are competing with breweries around the entire globe.
But How Many Breweries Are In Austin Texas?
We're narrowing this guide down to the award-winning breweries in Austin because the number of breweries in Austin is is literally growing by the month. In Austin proper, there are about 50 independently-owned craft breweries.
The exact number is a bit hard to say because there are many breweries that are located in the Hill Country toward Dripping Springs but technically have an Austin address, like Jester King and Suds Monkey.
There are also lots of breweries that aren't technically in Austin, but they're nearby. Breweries like Rentsch and Red Horn and Barking Armadillo, and plenty of other craft breweries in Pflugerville, Georgetown, Leander, Round Rock, and Taylor.
What Beer Is Austin Known For?
You can find every beer style here, but since Austin has blisteringly hot summers, we drink a lot of low-ABV easy-sippers. On almost every tap wall in Austin, you can expect to find a helles, pilsner, or kolsch.
There are also a few beers that are household names in Austin and synonymous with the Austin culture. 512 Pecan Porter has been around forever and is pretty common to see at most bars in Austin. Live Oak Hefeweisen is another crowd-pleaser, so bars love to keep it on tap. And Pinthouse Electric Jellyfish has quickly risen to fame as THE most popular IPA in Austin.
25 Best Breweries In Austin With Award-Winning Beer
1. Meanwhile Brewing Company
Although Meanwhile Beer is new-ish to the Austin craft beer scene, they've already won some major awards and cemented itself as one of the best breweries in Austin! They've racked up awards at the World Beer Cup, Great American Beer Fest, and the Texas Craft Brewers Cup.
You're going to love Meanwhile for a lot of reasons. First: the quality of the beer. Duh. They clearly have a killer brewing program here. Secondly, the space is pretty rad. There's a beautiful new-built glitzy taproom, an awesome outdoor space with a stage for live music, a huge kid's playground area, and a SOCCER field. Yep. And thirdly, the food at Meanwhile is out-of-this-world awesome. They have one of the best BBQ trucks in Austin parked here, as well as tacos, pizza, and ice cream. Meanwhile, Brewing is fun, popular, kid-friendly, and clearly has some amazing beer options. Bonus: it's near Austin airport, so you can swing by for a pint before your Uber driver takes you to the airport.
2. Lazarus Brewing Company
There are not one but TWO locations of Lazarus Brewing Company! They had to expand after winning awards at GABF, the World Beer Cup, and Texas Craft Brewers Cup. Those award-winning beers, plus their delicious food menu of Mexican street tacos and chips, their epic patio, and their friendly bartenders, make Lazarus one of the best breweries in Austin.
They have a pretty robust beer menu with various styles. Their east Austin brewery location, which is the flagship, is where they do most of the brewing (for now) and has an awesome shaded patio space. And the north Austin location (the newer option) is a 2-story beast, and it's one of the most beautiful brewery spaces in Austin. Their Prodigal Pils German Pilsner is fresh and light, and the 40 Days and 40 Nights West Coast IPA is a long-time popular beer on their menu.
3. Pinthouse Brewing
You just can't deny that Pinthouse Brewing is a powerhouse in the Austin brewery scene! Ask anyone to name famous hazy IPAs in the United States, and they'll mention Electric Jellyfish from Pinthouse. After all, Pinthouse has picked up more awards than pretty much any brewery in Austin, including multiple awards at Texas Craft Brewers Cup and GABF and World Beer Cup. Of course, Pinthouse has a lot of locations now, and each location brews slightly different options. So sometimes it's Pinthouse Pizza North Lamar that won the award, Pinthouse Brewing on Ben White, or Pinthouse South...but we're just going to lump them all together and say that any location of Pinthouse, of Electric Jellyfish IPA fame, is a phenomenal brewery in Austin.
Of course, Pinthouse is also known for its pizza! The three Pinthouse Pizza locations (N Lamar, S Lamar, and Round Rock) are great for a Friday night out for a few pints of that Green Battles IPA (it's packed with hops!) and a few pizzas. Not in the mood for pizza? Head to the massive Pinthouse Brewing location on Ben White and go for some sandwiches, salads, and snacks.
4. Jester King
The KING of Farmhouse Ales, Jester King, was playing with spontaneous fermentation and native yeast before it was cool. They opened in the outskirts of Austin, TX, in 2010. Their first batch of beer was a barrel-aged sour, strong ale. They started being recognized as one of the most forward-thinking breweries in the country...and this was all before sour beers were as mainstream as they are now. In addition to picking up awards at GABF, World Beer Cup, and Texas Craft Brewers Cup, Jester King is a 2019 James Beard Award Semi-Finalist.
Of course, the Jester King we know now has expanded and taken steps forward. They purchased 150 additional acres, turning their property into the largest brewery space in Austin with a pizza stand, a goat farm, an inn, an event hall, a farm, a winery, and a playscape. It's a beautiful place to visit in the Texas Hill Country for an afternoon of amazing pizza, delicious beer, and wide open spaces.
5. Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company (ABGB)
Yet another Austin brewery to have won awards at the World Beer Cup, Great American Beer Festival, AND the Texas Craft Brewers Cup, ABGB is a South Austin brewery with good pizza, live music, and INCREDIBLE beer.
In fact, ABGB won a gold medal at GABF for the best large brewpub in America...three years in a row! They're known for their fresh, crisp lagers like the Rocket 100 Pilsner, a pre-prohibition-style pilsner that goes perfectly with their chewy-crust pizzas. Or, if you're looking for really good pale ales in Austin, their day trip is consistently good. This industrial brewery has a large indoor space with a stage (live music on the weekends!) as well as an outdoor patio with bistro lights and big Live Oak trees shading the picnic tables. It's about as Austin-y as you get.
6. Austin Beerworks
Here's one more brewery that has won awards at all three of the biggest craft beer competitions available to Austin breweries. Austin Beerworks is one of the most beloved breweries in Austin. Their iconic label, beautiful taproom, and delicious beers have created a household brand name that's recognized around the state.
Their Pearl Snap pilsner and Fire Eagle IPA are two beers that you'll most definitely see in cans at most concert venues around Austin. They're iconic. And delicious. And their gorgeous taproom on Industrial Terrace has had some pretty major renovations in the past few years to create the fun, lively place it is now. It includes a kids' play place outdoors, indoor and outdoor tables, and a permanent food truck with tacos, chicken tenders, and queso.
7. Central District
There aren't many breweries in downtown Austin, but the ones that exist sure do pack a punch! Central District Brewing, a sleek brewery near the Austin Convention Center, has won medals at the Great American Beer Fest and the Texas Craft Brewers Cup.
Their taproom is green and gold and full of live plants, wooden textiles, and copper. It's a really beautiful place to enjoy craft beer! Be sure to try their Kayaker's Kolsch, a clean and crisp beer that won gold at TCBC. And go crazy with one of their fun dark beers, like the chocolate peanut butter stout or their imperial pastry stout, which is made to taste like a boozy pumpkin pie in a glass.
8. Live Oak Brewing Company
Settled on a large property out in southwest Austin, Live Oak Brewing Company has been making European-style beers in Austin since 1997. Of course, they're famous for their Hefeweizen, which is on nearly every tap wall in Austin. (Don't understand craft beer and don't know what to order? Ask pretty much any bartender if they have Live Oak Hefeweizen, and the answer will most likely be yes.)
But their beautiful beer garden is a great place to enjoy some of their other beer styles, too! Live Oak has a wide repertoire of smoked beers, like their old-world style Polish Grodziskie, as well as plenty of delicious, crisp European lagers like their pre-war pils and a delicious Oktoberfest.
9. (512) Brewing Co
Of course, another beer that's found on almost every tap wall in Austin bars is the (512) Brewing Pecan Porter. It's a famous Austin beer full of Texas pecan flavor, and it tastes great under a shady grove of trees on a cool Austin evening. But 512 makes lots of other traditional styles of beer, too. And it's no wonder that they've collected multiple awards at GABF and Texas Craft Brewers Cup...512 is all about quality control, traditional beer styles made with clean, tight management, and yeast strains that date back to the breweries in the early 20th century.
512 Brewing Co is one of the only breweries in Austin that still follow the older taproom model. Back in the day, Texas breweries couldn't serve beer from their taproom, so they'd sell "tickets" to a tour, which would include a few "free" beers. Now that that law has been overturned, most craft breweries in Austin have a 7-days-a-week tap room. But 512 is only open on Saturdays, focusing most of its time and energy on production. However, you can swing by on a weekend to get some of their core beers on tap, enjoy a pint of that super fresh and tasty Pecan Porter, and see the space that started this Austin brewery powerhouse.
10. Black Star Co-op Pub And Brewery
If Black Star's GABF medals (and recent Texas Craft Brewers Cup wins, too!) aren't enough to get you to visit their north Austin brewery, the food menu will draw you in! This cute pub serves a roaring selection of seasonal beers, including everything from a rum barrel-aged tiki beer with pineapple to a classic rye IPA.
Out of all the breweries in Austin, Black Star has one of the most "restaurant-y" feels. The menu is pretty robust and known for their excellent burger, their fish & chips entree, and a delicious buttermilk breaded fried chicken sandwich on Martin's potato bun.
11. St Elmo Brewing Co.
St Elmo is a GABF award-winning Austin brewery in South Austin, and it absolutely must be on your list of breweries to visit in Austin. It's a small-ish space with a cute tap wall, some indoor tables, and a cool outdoor patio. They have a stage, used for live music on the weekend and trivia on the weekdays, and an excellent food truck parked outside. Seriously...get that spicy fried chicken sandwich and some tots with a side of curry at Spicy Boys.
St Elmo is known for their simple approach to classic beers: make a few beers, and make them really well. Their Carl Kolsch is the perfect Austin beer: crisp, clean, consistently good, and remarkably refreshing on a hot summer afternoon.
12. Circle Brewing
Circle Brewing has been in north Austin for a loooong time, and during their many years of production, they've picked up awards at World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Fest.
One of the best parts about this north Austin brewery? Their proximity to Q2 Stadium! They're literally just across the street from Austin FC's soccer stadium, so if you're looking for good places to drink before an Austin FC game, keep Circle Brewing in mind.
13. Independence Brewing Co.
Independence has been making craft beer in Austin since 2004. They have a few beers widely recognized around Austin like the Stash IPA in a bright purple can and the Native Texan, a crisp pilsner in a branded can that looks like the Texas flag. And you can hardly find a bar in Austin that doesn't have the Independence Austin Amber. They've won some impressive awards for their beers over the last 2 decades, including GABf and WBC medals.
And the brewery itself is a fun place to visit. Located in southeast Austin, Independence Brewing has an industrial taproom with tall ceilings, long tables, and plenty of open space. Stop by for a pint, some live music, and a good time with friends.
14. Zilker Brewing Company
Zilker, the hip brewery in the heart of east Austin, has recently started picking up awards at the Texas Craft Brewers Cup. Of course, Austinites have known and loved these tasty beers ever since Zilker opened in 2015. Try the Marco IPA, a 7% bready IPA that's perfect for a night out on E 6th St., And if you love hazy IPAs, the Heavenly Daze is a must. Into crisp, light lagers on a hot afternoon? The Icy Boys is just 4.6% ABV, and it pairs perfectly with a sandwich from Spicy Boys Chicken, the food truck parked outside.
This is an urban brewery, so it's an industrial indoor-outdoor space with a sidewalk patio, rolling garage doors (great on those sunny spring days!), and a steady stream of visitors and locals who are out enjoying east Austin. It's a great brewery to visit when you're hanging out on the east side.
15. Oddwood Brewing
Oddwood Brewing picked up some Texas Craft Brewers Cup awards for their beers. They specialize in hoppy beers, lagers, and sour beers...a bit of everything, but they really do a great job with those sour beers.
This is kind of a quirky brewery space near the Airport and Manor in east Austin, with a rustic wooden interior. They have delicious little thin-crust pizzas, which go great with those hoppy beers.
16. Hold Out Brewing
Holdout is quickly becoming one of the most popular breweries in Austin, not just for their downtown location...although that helps! They have offbeat, no-nonsense branding, a ton of parking (rare for breweries near downtown Austin!), a killer food menu, and some of the best beer in Austin. Their patio is pretty dope, with a big rainbow-shaped industrial roof and plenty of outdoor picnic tables.
They have a really good selection of pale ales, like their Liquid Television hazy pale ale, as well as a few other pales on the menu. There is a great variety of IPAs (Holdout loves their hops!) as well as some lagers, an English Barleywine, and a few ciders from nearby cideries if you're not into beer. But...if you ARE into beer, be sure to try a few. Holdout has won at Texas Craft Brewers Cup recently, and they're on track to rack up more awards in the future.
17. Celis Brewing
Celis Brewing dates back to 1992. This is one of the most unique and interesting breweries in Austin. Everything from their Copper Kettle Taproom to their Belgian beer tradition to their second-generation-owned brewery business tells you what type of Austin brewery Celis strives to be.
In the past 3 decades, they've picked up several GABF medals, but honestly, the beer is only one of the many good reasons to visit this north Austin brewery. It's a truly beautiful space, and both the indoor taproom and the large outdoor space with multiple food trucks are lovely places to spend the afternoon. Also, Celis is one of the Austin breweries located near Q2 Stadium. Grab a pint of their Belgian Witbier or a hefty Belgian Tripelto pregame for an Austin FC game!
18. Blue Owl Brewing
Open since 2015, Blue Owl has been sour-mashing in east Austin and picking up beer awards at Texas Craft Brewers Cup like crazy. If you're into sour beers, this is the Austin brewery you absolutely must visit.
It's pretty small, so the taproom almost feels like a small living room. The outdoor patio is cute. Compared to slightly buzzier breweries on the east side, like Zilker and Lazarus, Blue Owl is a nice, quiet place to grab a sour beer and relax for a while.
19. The Brewtorium
This big, beautiful brewery is a great place to hang out with family or friends in north Austin. They focus on German beer styles and have a delicious German food menu with pretzels, brats, and lots of other pub snacks. There's a small outdoor patio that's great for kids, and the indoor space is massive, with tall ceilings and plenty of tables.
Brewtorium picked up an award at the Texas Craft Brewers Cup for their La Dame Rouge, but any of their easy-drinking lagers will hit the spot on a sunny Austin afternoon.
20. Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches
Did you know that craft beer pairs perfectly with...kolaches? The batch knows this! It's why they created an east Austin brewery that focuses on delicious in-house brewed beers and doughy, meat- and fruit-filled kolaches. They won a medal for their hoppy Double Stardust, so grab a pint of that if it's on tap when you visit.
One of the best parts about Batch is that this east Austin brewery is essentially a big backyard. It's an awesome space to bring a laptop for an outdoor work session on a beautiful day or just hang out with a few friends for some good drinks and good food.
21. Oasis Texas Brewing Co
Head way out to the lake if you want to enjoy delicious, award-winning craft beer in Texas AND some of the best sunset views anywhere. Oasis won a few Great American Beer Fest awards for their Austin craft beer, and it's pretty lucky that you can now enjoy that yummy Luchesa Lager or the remarkable London Homesick ESB paired with some pub food. Grab a beer, find a table, and take in the sweeping views of Lake Travis.
22. Starbase Brewing
A new-ish craft brewery in Austin, Starbase won a TCBC award for their Dust Devil Red West Coast Double IPA. Yup. It's a big one. But Starbase itself is teeny-tiny. This is a microbrewery in southeast Austin, only temporarily open for visiting hours.
Besides brewing great beer, their goal is to educate the public on the benefits of space exploration and create the first brewery on Mars. So...this brewery is pretty different from most craft breweries in Austin.
23. Thirsty Planet Brewing Co.
An OG in the Austin brewing world, Thirsty Planet has picked up a few GABF medals since it opened in 2010. Their Thirsty Goat Amber is probably their most recognizable beer, and the one you'll see on tap walls across Texas.
24. Last Stand Brewing
This SOCO tap room is a great place to hang out with friends on the weekend. They have a big industrial brewery with TVs, a long indoor bar, and some outdoor tables. This is an Austin brewery with a full food menu, too, so arrive hungry!
Last Stand Brewing got a Texas Craft Brewers Cup bronze award for their coffee porter, so if you're in Austin on a cold day and need a cozy beer, head to South Austin and grab a pint.
25. Infamous Brewing
If you're heading out to the lake for the day, Infamous Brewing (and Oasis!) are the two Austin craft breweries that you need to visit. Infamous Brewing's Czech Pilsner won a gold medal at the Texas Craft Brewers Cup, so start with that beer.
Visit their brewery for a weekend tour, a few pints with friends, or a pizza from the Infamous Outpost.
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