Tuesday, April 17, 2007

If you could go to only one beer bar in Austin … where?

So I exchanged e-mails with Beer Girl (see previous post) and we said we might try to lift one together up in KC, and she also noted that she might be making a trip to Austin soon. She asked: "Any recommendations in the 'if you only go to one place, go here,' category?" Of course, in a town this full of good beer and nightlife, I couldn't limit it to just one, so I sent her the reply below (slightly edited for web privacy). So, did I leave out anything crucial? If so, please post a comment below.

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More than one, really. Maybe you could narrow them down based on what part of town you'll be in. Austin is a great beer town.

Downtown:

Lovejoy's
Funky Austin at its best. Great selection, including some fine quality house brews.

or

The Gingerman
In Austin's hip Warehouse District. No house brews, but something like 70 or 80 taps. A beer connoisseur's heaven. Lots of stuff you can't find anywhere else.

University Area:
Dog & Duck Pub
Authentic replica of a British pub. Good selection, great bar food, including a mix of Texas and British cuisine.

North Central:
The Draught House
Same description as Lovejoy's, but more of a neighborhood bar, away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. A fave of mine because it's a very near my neighborhood.

Far north:
North by Northwest
Suburbanish brewpub in the same way [North Kansas City's] Granite City is, but good lord the beer is great and the food is, too. Also not far from my house. The last Wednesday of the month is great because they tap a keg of cask-conditioned ale and serve until it's gone, which is just a few minutes. I've been to one of these, and the first sip was so good it made my head spin.

South:
Opal Divine's Penn Field
No house brews, but great selection. They also have Central and Far North locations, but if you're in South Austin, this is probably your best bet.

Also, where ever you go, you must try any of the beers by Live Oak Brewing Co. It's an Austin brewery, but they don't bottle their beers, so the only way you can get one is on draft at an Austin bar. Great stuff. (Beware their beer named "Tree Hugger," though: it's a barleywine, and at 14 percent alcohol, it should probably be called "Toilet Hugger." Great beer, but it should be the only beer you have that night. In general, safer bets are their Pilz, Big Bark, Pale Ale, and wheat beers.)

So whattya think? Did I steer her right?

5 comments:

Bill F. said...

Two more places that I would consider equally important. First is The Mean Eyed Cat (themeaneyedcat.com). While the beer selection isn't anything amazing, they do have Live Oak, and possibly Independence Brewing now too I think. It's really the Johnny Cash juke and semi-dive atmosphere that make it fun. El Arroyo across the street for good mexican food too.

Number 2, Alamo Drafthouse (drafthouse.com). Movies and beer, that's all ya gotta know. The downtown location has the more funky events.

Lee said...

Yeah, I thought about putting the Alamo in there. I guess I was mainly thinking about bars, but Alamo's beer selection is fantastic. And as you and I found out together, Alamo is especially amazing when it's a beer-themed movie!

Lee said...

It just occurred to me: For shopping, she needs to hit either Central Market or Grape Vine Market. I'd say Grape Vine is first choice, unless she comes on a Sunday – I think they get the slight edge for best beer selection in town.

Karla said...

I second Mean Eyed Cat.

I also prefer the Opal's on 6th, but that's just me.....

Lee said...

Actually, Karla, I'm with you about Opal's Sixth Street -- I've never actually been to Opal Penn Field, but if you notice my geographic theme, I was groping for a great beer bar in South Austin, and that was the best I could do. Since I don't get out so much anymore, my South Austin knowledge isn't what it used to be.