This article is part of Texas Monthly’s special fiftieth-anniversary issue. Read about the other icons that have defined Texas since 1973.

For the thirsty Texan who hankered for the cool refreshment of a bona fide local beer in 1973, the options were few: a cold one from Lone Star, Pearl, or Spoetzl, the maker of Shiner. That was it. Which might seem odd: the state’s brewing industry began in the nineteenth century, when San Antonio’s Western Brewery opened in 1855, and the beer business quickly flourished. By 1875 Texas was home to 44 breweries. But the sector was hard-hit by Prohibition and was later overpowered by national outfits such as Anheuser-Busch and Miller. 

In one form or another, however, the Lone Star, Pearl, and Shiner labels managed to survive. (Dirty little secret: Lone Star and Pearl are both owned by Pabst. Redeeming little secret: Pabst is nowadays a Texas-based company.) But they’ve been joined by products from the state’s several hundred craft breweries, which are concocting a cornucopia of whistle-wetting APAs, IPAs, lagers, and saisons, from points far and wide. (Even tiny Marathon has a brewery.) 

Some of these beers are readily available—you can typically find selections from Blanco-based Real Ale Brewing Company at your local H-E-B or Costco—while others can be purchased only at their source. But whether you’re imbibing at home, at a local watering hole, or in the shadow of giant fermenting vats at a nearby taproom, the options in today’s Texas are blessedly bottomless. Cheers!

This article originally appeared in the February 2023 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “Our Beer Is Bubbling Over.” Subscribe today.