Lagers. London ales. Old ales. Pumpkin pecan seasonals. Peanut butter stouts. Vanilla milk stouts. Farmhouse ales. The options for refreshing craft beer in this town are seemingly endless, as long as you have a free Saturday and an open mind.
One of the reasons you might love living in the Lake Travis area is the proximity to some of your favorite breweries, like Infamous Brewing Company, Oasis Texas Brewing Company, Jester King Brewery, Thirsty Planet Brewing Company and Solid Rock Brewing.
I’ve had the chance to roam far and wide in the pursuit of some of the Hill Country’s best beers, with a lot of learning and tasting along the way. And just like the growing and living organisms that make up our favorite drinks, these breweries take on a life of their own, so it helps to check in from time to time to see what big changes are going on and what you can expect to see in their favorite brews.
Infamous Brewing Company
When you head up to IBC for one of their Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday open taprooms, you’re likely to catch at least one or two of the following: Live music, a rotating selection of treats from local Austin food trucks, lively conversation with the brewers who made the beer you’re drinking.
It’s always a good time at the Hudson Bend haunt, whether you’re in the mood for a tried-and-true staple like their Hijack Cream Ale, or you’re willing to walk the line and try one of their taste-busters, like the Double Tap Imperial IPA.
After a few major changes to their leadership last year, Josh Horowitz took control of the reigns of the company and the production schedule, making huge strides to amp up production to keep up with the thirsts of Lake Travis.
One of the decisive changes that has already taken place is the introduction of a new bottling system, allowing them to bottle more and cut down on the time it takes to package their brews in the process. In addition, a new brite tank was also added into the beer staging, which holds maturing beers until it’s ready to be canned, kegged or bottled — ensuring that production of their mainstay and seasonal beers is a much more copacetic task.
Keep an eye out at area HEBs for their canned Hijack and IPAs, or grab a 22 ounce bomber of their tasty Sweep the Leg peanut butter stout to get the true taste of what this Lake Travis brewery has to offer. Stay tuned and check back at their website for tickets to their Sunday brewery tour, launched with the wheels of Austin Fly Rides.
Oasis Texas Brewing Company
Fans of OTXBC may already know about their big wins at the Great American Beer Festival last year, but did you know that they have expanded their seating options and are now located on the 2nd floor at the Oasis, Texas?
You’ll still be able to enjoy a brew with that stellar view of Lake Travis, and now you can enjoy indoor games and movie nights just one floor below their initial location.
Try one of their mainstays at the crisp new bar, or adventure to taste one of their small batch brews, like their flavorful Belgian Ale. And don’t forget to order a 6-pack for later before you close your tab — you can mix and match their three mainstays for a weekend that never ends.
Solid Rock Brewing
Austinites drink a lot of beer, that is for sure. Craft beer brewers at Solid Rock Brewing have been hard at work consistently concocting some of Lake Travis’ best ales and stouts, and starting in 2015 their taproom is open to the public on Saturdays from 4-8 pm.
Come visit their brewing headquarters out in scenic Spicewood for a firsthand look at the facilities and face of the brand. Say hello to Steve, Steve and Curt for an even deeper understanding of their brewing principles, and have a sample of some of their newest brews.
Another change to the brewery comes in the form of their licensing, which will now allow them to sell their beer directly to the public during taproom hours as a brewpub. This is delicious news for beer aficionados — come for the pints, leave with a 6-pack or a keg for later.
Jester King Brewery
With the change of the seasons comes big developments for Jester King Brewery — in fact, winter may be one of the most important brew times of the year. And starting on January 12th of this year, the brewers at Jester King began the farmhouse tradition of spontaneous fermentation, a sort of old-age experimental way of brewing beer and no two batches taste the same.
Naturally occurring yeasts and active cultures in the air make their way into the coolship and indoor brew station, which will affect the brewing process in untold ways — making for a very adventurous way to craft beer. While some flavors develop slowly and some much faster than others, complex overtones and subtle notes make appearances at different times throughout the drink’s lifespan.
Some of the newest concoctions to come from JKB is the World’s Worst Twin oak barrel aged beer brewing in collaboration with Evil Twin Brewing. And don’t forget to try their newest small batch at their weekend taproom, Natural Union, in collaboration with Prairie Artisan Ales, which features rosemary and lemon bee balm flavors and is sure to excite even the most bored of beer taste buds.
Thirsty Planet Brewing Company
It has been a big year already for Austin brewers Thirsty Planet Brewing Company. After starting production on bottling their mainstay Thirsty Goat Amber Ale, many drinkers are happy to be able to have these refreshing brews available in a take home version.
More and more Lake Travis stores are offering their brews on tap as well, including Whole Foods Market Bee Cave Buzz, where you can sample their Yellow Armadillo or Silverback ale for a refreshing way to get to know the craft beer scene firsthand. And don’t forget to take a trip out for one of their Saturday taproom tours for the newest selection of tasty brews you can’t get anywhere else.