Over the past couple of months, Lake Travis Lifestyle has covered many of the craft breweries that have been sprouting up around the lake area in recent years.
If you visited a tasting or taproom, perhaps you have given a few brews a try and even have a favorite. From Session Beers to Farmhouse Ales, from Hybrid Ales to Seasonal Stouts, Texans truly have their pick of brews to be had, especially if you call the Lake Travis area your home.
So we compiled the breweries and some brief history all in one place, focusing on Lake Travis and Texas Hill Country breweries exclusively. Hit the road on a mission to experience these Texas Craft Brewers firsthand.
Enjoy your Lake Travis Beer Tour!
Infamous Brewing Company (Hudson Bend)
Known as “The Official Beer of Lake Travis”, the guys behind the brews don’t mess around when it comes to lake life. The vibes are as mellow here as they are on Lake Travis’ cool waters, and you can stop by for a brew or two during their weekend taproom openings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Josh Horowitz and Zack Perry launched the venture together in 2011 with the goal of bringing the brews closer to the lake, and residents of Hudson Bend seem to be happy to have a local beer joint to call their own.
Savoring their beers on a steamy Saturday is perfectly enhanced by the rotating food truck options the brewery offers. When the sun is out, it’s time for one of the brewery’s mainstays, the Hijack Cream Ale will cool you down.
Their seasonal beers boast flavors such as peanut butter, pumpkin and pecan, and make appearances from time to time as they switch out their brews. You can browse their current list of available beers on their website or just drop by for a taste of their taps on the weekend.
Solid Rock Brewing (Spicewood)
Just down the way on Bee Creek Rd. in Spicewood sits one of the newest breweries on our list. Steve Jones, Curt Webber and Stephen “Beaker” McCarthy are the trio of brewers that power the emergent beer house known as Solid Rock Brewing. Together, and with the help of their wives, the families run the operations day to day, bringing to life delicious beers such as the Cornerstone Cream Ale and Dauntless IPA.
The drink offerings from SRB can best be described as traditional, but not overly showy, which is a relief to new craft brew drinkers who are just dipping their toes into the water but don’t want to jump all the way in.
With each step of the brewing process the boys at Solid Rock are careful to balance these classic flavors while still preserving the authenticity of the beers they concoct. Beaker uses his scientific mind to harness these tastes, all the way from the water supply to the grains and malts that they use. Steve and Curt work wonders around a mash tun on brew day, which is Tuesday of every week, in case you were wondering.
The craft brewers have made huge strides since their first plan to build the brand in 2011, first securing their new and spacious location in Spicewood and then with their acceptance into the craft beer scene fold.
With several seasonal stouts on the horizon and a big opening at Lake Travis SpringFest this year, there’s plenty to be excited about for the brewers at Solid Rock.
Real Ale Brewing Company (Blanco)
The Big Daddy of Texas breweries is a short drive up the road to Blanco, Texas. Real Ale Brewing Company hails as one of the oldest and most established craft beer breweries in the State of Texas, creating brews and taking names since 1996.
Back then, brewing life was a bit different for Phillip and Diane Connor and their son, Charles. Brewing out of the basement of an old antique store on the square in town, the first set up included enough vats to ferment their original trio of beer offerings: Full Moon Pale Rye Ale, Rio Blanco Pale Ale and Brewhouse Brown Ale.
Their humble beginnings would add to the overall character of their beers, and it was after the hiring of head brewer, Brad Farbstein, that business really picked up. Especially after moving out of their cramped space underground and into the current space you can visit now — just a short drive outside of downtown on San Saba Court. Since then, RABC has been on the forefront of harnessing the newest in beer brewing and bottling technology, allowing them to bottle up to 400 beers a minute.
From the summer staple that is Firemans #4 to the hoppy Lost Gold IPA, from their tried and true classics to their cask conditioned special releases — Real Ale Brewing Company is always pushing the bar, and pushing themselves to supply Texas (and only Texas) with the finest in craft beers.
Take a stop by on a Friday afternoon from 2 to 5pm to experience their brews firsthand at their tasting room, and learn a bit more about their history and process on their tour, which happens at 3 and 4 pm sharp.
Oasis Texas Brewing Company (Austin)
In the space that used to house Uncle Billy’s Brew & Cue, this beer spot just happens to be one of the only breweries actually on the lake itself.
Oasis Texas Brewing Company has taken root on one of the most beautiful coves on Lake Travis, giving you more than one reason to head up to the third-floor brew house. The funny thing is, on a sweltering hot afternoon, this spot actually does feel like an oasis, a perfect place to relax and rehydrate.
Most of their head brewers hail from professional brewing backgrounds, including such Austin favorites as (512) Brewing Co. and Live Oak Brewing Co. Where they hope to stand out is in the drink-ability and light yet satisfying flavor profile of their brews.
These are session beers brewing at the Oasis, brews with slightly lower alcohol content, thereby making them the perfect drink on a simmering summer afternoon.
At their launch they offered three brews — the Slow Ride Pale Ale, Luchesa Lager and London Homesick. Head brewer Spencer Tielkemeier has been winning awards for his beer concoctions in recent years, including winning a Gold Medal for the Bottle Rocket Lager at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival.
This Lake Travis watering hole has officially opened for the summer, and will be serving up cool ones to craft beer drinkers alike from Thursday to Sunday. Stop by if you need a few brews to recharge or just want to savor a lively ale atop one of the most scenic spots on Lake Travis.
Jester King Brewery (Austin)
Life at Jester King Brewery on a Saturday is teeming with life; hundreds of thirsty craft beer drinkers flock to the plot every weekend for their open tasting room. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon the idyllic farm-turned-brewery just outside of Dripping Springs transforms into a lively bash on the lawns at JKB.
Families have quickly made this place their go-to for beers, food and fun since the building of Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza opened right next door. Grab a picnic table, put your orders in for pizza and sample some of the newest and finest beer offerings from these colorful beer adventurists.
Their style of brewing is in the traditional Farmhouse style, a niche and very independent style of brewing beer that differed from the methods the European Monks employed. This new way of brewing used what one had, whether it was grains from the land, water from one’s well, or yeast from the very land that the beer brewed upon.
These methods would go on to define what would be known as the Farmhouse style of brewing, and brothers Jeff Stuffings and Michael Steffing were up to the task to bring the unique style to Central Texas.
You can find (and taste) these special flavors throughout their collection of rotating brews, from the Noble King Hoppy Farmhouse Ale to the Nocturn Chrysalis. Many of their cask-aged ales have hints of the flavors of past barrels, such as Hill Country wines, bourbon and Mezcal.
In keeping with tradition, beers are made in smaller batches and left to ferment for much longer than many commercial breweries could handle. One look around their ever-expanding cask room will give you an idea of their love for cask-aged beers.
Beer collaborations with Austin favorites such as Buddha’s Brew Kombucha and The Salt Lick keep the taps lively, and are a true test to your taste buds if you’re new to the Farmhouse style. Stop by Jester King Brewery for a tasting and tour, and don’t forget to challenge your beer boundaries at least once.
Twisted X Brewing Co. (Dripping Springs)
Just around the corner from Lake Travis in Dripping Springs sits this up-and-coming brewery with a hint of spice to it. If you have never heard of Tex Mex beer before now, don’t be surprised. It’s this new style of Mexican beers, brewed in Texas by Texans that seeks to recreate traditional Mexican lagers and pilsners with a kick.
Their first set up was across the lake in Lago Vista, but their new location offers Twisted X Brewing Co. the space and atmosphere best suitable for the growing brewery.
Owners and brewers Jim Sampson and Shane Bordeau are passionate craft brewers that took one look at the growing market of craft beers in and around the Austin area and decided to jump in — that was back in 2009. Since then, they have been busy implementing various aspects of their 2 phase brewing plan to get their capacity up to what it is today.
But don’t let the style of Mexican lagers and pilsners fool you. Take one taste of the Fuego Jalepeno Pilsner or the Senor Viejo Imperial Black Lager that is tequila aged and you will see. You can take the Texans out of Mexico but you can’t take the Mexico out of those Texans’ beers.
Take a drive out to visit the brewery for a tour and tasting; Twisted X’s tasting room is open every day and tours are given on demand during regular tasting room hours.
Thank You Texas Craft Brewers!
A big thanks to all of the brewers who are kind enough to show us around during busy brew days, quiet weekdays and all tours and tastings in between.