We will continue to run profiles of beer towns throughout the month pulled from the the cutting room floor of our Beer Traveler issue.
“Keep Austin Weird” is Austin’s unofficial motto, and it fits with the Texas capitol’s status as an oasis for artists, musicians, liberals and even brewers. In and around town, there are seven breweries, and while Austin is the fourth largest city in Texas, it still feels small. And geographically, it is relatively small, meaning you can visit them all. There’s the Draught House, Independence Brewing, Live Oak Brewing, Lovejoy’s North by Northwest, Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que and the new (512) Brewing, a nod to the town’s telephone area code. There is a rumor of a forthcoming beer week being planned, but a time and date has not been announced yet.
Music is a big part of Austin, which bills itself as the “Live Music Capitol of the World,” due to having more music venues per capita than any other U.S. city. A stroll down 6th Street reveals music of all kinds wafting out of endless clubs and bars. Some of the best beer bars to check out are the Ginger Man, Billy’s on Burnet, the Elephant Room, Opal’s Divine and Zax Pints and Plates. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to pick up something for the road, the Grapevine Market or Spec’s will have what you’re looking for with great selections.
If you’re hungry, there are plenty of barbeque joints to fill you up. Stubb’s Bar-B-Q or Iron Works on River Street downtown popular destinations.
Beyond beer, there’s a lot of do in Austin, from ambling around the quirky shopping district to watching the bats under the Congress Avenue Bridge, which boasts the largest urban population of Mexican Free-Tailed Bats. Every night around sunset, 1.5 million bats fly out in search of food; there vast numbers even show up on the local radar. For indoor activities try the Blanton Museum of Art, the O. Henry Museum or the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture.