This article originally appeared in the June 2018 issue with the headline “Here’s to the Brewpub.”
In Texas, a brewery can call itself a brewpub even if it doesn’t serve grub. This has been happening since 2013, when the Legislature overhauled the state’s beer laws to allow brewpubs to distribute to retailers in addition to selling beer to go—in cans, bottles, growlers, or crowlers. Some beloved craft breweries, which had only been permitted to sell beer to be consumed in their taprooms, began switching out their manufacturer’s licenses for brewpub licenses. A number of places have since opened up as brewpubs, with taprooms but no kitchens, although many often have food trucks nearby.
We’re glad we can finally buy some of our favorite local craft beers to go, but a brewpub just isn’t a brewpub if it doesn’t offer food. The best ones approach the beverages and the bites with equal vigor. As Sam Wynne, co-owner of BrainDead Brewing, in Dallas, puts it: “Good beer deserves great food alongside it.” Here are twenty of our favorite brewpubs around the state.
1. Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery
Looking for a brewpub with an elevated menu? Southerleigh is for you. You can’t go wrong with antelope tartare alongside a Darwinian IPA. Even if you choose not to dine in the beautifully restored building, adjacent to Hotel Emma, you can get a pint to go and wander the Pearl district, with beer in hand. 136 E. Grayson, Ste. 120, San Antonio, southerleigh.com.
2. The Brewer’s Table
There’s probably no other brewpub in Texas more earnest in its approach to food and beer than the Brewer’s Table. The much-covered and long-awaited brewpub opened in April, offering wood-fermented drinks and wood-fired eats. 4715 E. Fifth, Austin, thebrewerstable.com.
3. Brick Vault Brewery and BBQ
Owned by nearby historic Gage Hotel, in Marathon, Brick Vault is one of the newer operations on this list (along with Brewer’s Table), and as of April is open for business, smoking meats and brewing wheats (as well as other styles of beer). 103 First, Marathon.
4. Pinthouse Pizza
With two locations (soon to be three), Pinthouse keeps Austin hoppy and full with its innovative hop-forward ales and unique pizza pies. 4236 S. Lamar Blvd. and 4729 Burnet Rd., Austin, pinthousepizza.com.
5. Chimera Brewing Co.
Chimera, which until 2015 was named Zio Carlo Magnolia Brewpub, has been baking pizzas and pouring suds in Panther City since 2011. 1001 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, chimerabrew.com.
6. Cibolo Creek Brewing Co.
Not the first brewpub in Boerne, but quite possibly the best, Cibolo Creek welcomes you with a quaint beer garden and gastropub-level menu of beer and food. 448 S. Main, Boerne, cibolocreekbrewing.com.
7. Pint & Plow Brewing Co.
An oasis in the heart of the beer desert that is Kerrville, Pint & Plow provides life-giving liquids and sustenance. 332 Clay, Kerrville, pintandplow.com.
8. Freetail Brewing Co.
San Antonio used to have a beer problem. That problem was finding really good beer. This hasn’t been the case for the past ten years, with Freetail consistently putting out tasty brews (and pizzas!). 4035 N. Loop 1604 W., San Antonio, freetailbrewing.com.
The Coma Burger at BrainDead Brewing, in Dallas.
Photograph by Trevor Paulhus
The patio at ABGB, in Austin.
Photograph by Jody Horton
9. BrainDead Brewing
Deep Ellum’s BrainDead opened with a mission to fill a void in North Texas: the non-chain establishment serves unique beer and mouthwatering pub grub. Order one of the core beers, such as the Foreign Export Stout, or take a chance on the constantly rotating tap selections. Pair your drink with the three-meat Coma Burger. 2625 Main, Dallas, braindeadbrewing.com.
10. The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. (ABGB)
Beer and pizza are the ultimate pairing. Once you down a pie with a pitcher of Industry Pils at ABGB, you’ll be a true believer. The South Austin favorite was named the best large brewpub in the country at the 2016 and 2017 Great American Beer Festival. Bask in ABGB’s glory while bumping along to live music from the indoor stage or lounging in the expansive outdoor beer garden. 1305 W. Oltorf, Austin, theabgb.com.
The aromas of hot wort and smoked meat distracting you from shopping in the Pearl district are coming from the Granary. Take a break for a brew and chew. 602 Ave. A, San Antonio, thegranarysa.com.
13. Lazarus Brewing Co.
There are a lot of places to get tacos on Austin’s East Side, but only Lazarus also slings handcrafted lagers and ales. Don’t overlook the tortas. 1902 E. Sixth, Austin, lazarusbrewing.com.
Selections from Padre Island Brewing Company.
Photograph by Jenn Hair
Outside at Ode Brewing Co., in El Paso.
Photograph by John Davidson
14. Ode Brewing Co.
Though craft beer is harder to find near the border, Ode Brewing is good enough to make you drive across the desert for brunch. You’ll want to spend time with flagship beers, like Smelter Stout and Juicy J (a pale ale). With a plate of chilaquiles verdes, your afternoon is complete. 3233 N. Mesa, Ste. 301, El Paso, odebrewingco.com.
15. Padre Island Brewing Company
Your suit is still wet. There’s sand in between your toes and salt in your mouth. You might as well indulge in a few Padre Island Pale Ales and an order of Gulf ceviche salsa. A beer hall near the beach, Padre Island Brewing has been dishing out fresh seafood and American fare, along with house-brewed beer, for 23 years. 3400 Padre Blvd., South Padre Island, pibrewingcompany.com.
16. Platypus Brewing
If you are looking for a Texas brewpub with an Australian twist (because who isn’t?), then Platypus is your place. Stop in for a pint and pie (not the pizza kind) and say g’day. 1902 Washington Ave., Ste. E, Houston, platypusbrewing.com.
17. Oasis Texas Brewing Co.
The only things better than the brews and snacks at Oasis are the panoramic views of Lake Travis and beyond. 6550 Comanche Trail, Austin, otxbc.com.
18. Small Brewpub
Don’t let the size of this Dallas brewpub keep you away. What it lacks in square footage it makes up for in flavor. 333 W. Jefferson Blvd., Dallas, smallbrewpub.com.
19. Vista Brewing
Vista Brewing, located on beautifully rustic land in Driftwood, has it all: brewery, restaurant, farm, and, eventually, lodging in the form of tiny houses. 13551 FM 150, Driftwood, vistabrewingtx.com.
An Austin institution with a Northwestern vibe, NXNW has been serving up house-made beer and fare since 1997. 5701 W. Slaughter Ln. D, Austin, 10010 N. Capital of Texas Hwy., Austin, nxnwbrew.com.
Food & Drink Newsletter
Eat and imbibe like a Texan with reviews, recipes, news, and more.