As you may have seen, yesterday Thrillist posted an article claiming to “rank” the best craft breweries in Texas. As with every other ranking article before it, this one was met with weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The only logical response to such a RIDICULOUSLY ignorant, uninformed, biased, and flat out wrong ranking was to get a better group together to make the true list of the best breweries in Texas. So that’s what Jason Zimmerman did.
Below is what I submitted to him, and it is what I claim to be the CORRECT list of the best breweries in Texas. Cheers!
1. Saint Arnold website | twitter – They are, hands down, the most consistent craft brewery in Texas. There is ALWAYS a year-round or seasonal Saint Arnold beer in my beer fridge. In addition to that, they are now expanding even more into bold new styles like Berliner Weisses and fantastic subtle beers like the ICON Red Bohemian Pils. They also do it right by only barrel-aging already fantastic base beers. Saint Arnold Brewery is the total package.
Favorite beers – Endeavour DIPA, Pumpkinator
2. Jester King website | twitter – Most people put JK at #1 for a reason. Nearly every beer is fantastic and their passion for sours and farmhouse styles leads to beers that are easily the hottest on the market. However, in my opinion, they are not #1 because of consistency “issues” and the fact that you really have no idea what you are going to get when you try a JK beer for the first time. Most of the time you will be ecstatic, but there have been stinkers in the past.
Favorite beers – Das Wunderkind, Atrial Rubicite
3. Austin Beerworks website | twitter – It all starts out with 4 year-round beers that are all stand-outs in their style. Then you move to the Heavy Machinery series of IPA styles that are consistently far above average to stellar. They are also incredibly creative with one-off batches, barrel-aging and even a sour or two. I WANT AUSTIN BEERWORKS ON HOUSTON SHELVES.
Favorite beers – Heavy Machinery DIPA, Einhorn
4. Real Ale website | twitter – This brewery is doing everything right. Consistent, flavorful year-round offerings that are available across the entire state. Their Mysterium Verum series puts out winner after winner after winner. Some of my favorite sour beers have come from Real Ale in the last few years, and they are now collaborating with some of the most badass breweries in America (3 Floyds and Surly). Also, Real Ale is fucking METAL. \m/
Favorite beers – Scots Gone Wild, Coffee Porter
5. Freetail Brewing website | twitter – Best brewpub in the entire state of Texas. When you go here for a bottle release you have access to a HUGE selection of well-crafted, flavorful beers that keep you busy all afternoon. Freetail also has some of the most fun, well-executed bottle releases that you will ever come across. Not to mention the BEER in those bottles is worth the drive from wherever you happen to be coming from. As soon as you visit you’ll wish there was a Freetail brewpub in your town.
Favorite beers – Raspberry Ananke, La Muerta
6. Lone Pint website | twitter – Do you think Yellow Rose is the best IPA in Texas? Then this brewery might be higher on your list. Personally, I think it is fantastic, but I’ve had it served to me a few times when it wasn’t what I remembered. So for consistency reasons alone I did not put Lone Pint in my Top 5. However, I have tried nearly every single beer that Lone Pint has brewed, and all of them have been delicious. They do IPAs especially well, so if you are craving hops, this brewery will never do you wrong. P.S. They have some CRAZY ASS BEER NAMES. (Po-Cha-Na-Quar-Hip for example)
Favorite beers – Yellow Rose (no shit), Knecht Ruprecht (Coffee Milk Stout)
7. Lakewood Brewing website | twitter – First Dallas brewery on the list, but that’s not because I hate Dallas. I DO hate Dallas, but I love this brewery. Their Legendary Series is, well, not legendary yet but very good. Their weekend tours are always a blast, and I just have one more thing to say about Lakewood Brewing…Bourbon Barrel Aged Temptress. *drops mic*
Favorite beers – BBA Temptress, Goatman India Black Lager
8. Hops & Grain website | twitter – They started off small by releasing two canned beers (Alt-eration and Pale Dog) that were simple, subtle and absolutely delicious. The next beer I tried from them blew me out of the water, and was probably my favorite beer of the 2013 summer. It’s a generously hopped lager called The One They Call Zoe, and if you don’t have it with you poolside this summer, well frankly, we can’t be best friends.
Favorite beers- Greenhouse IPA, The One They Call Zoe
9. Live Oak website | twitter – Listen, when you are at a bar and you don’t know what draft beer to order you simply need to start with a beer from Live Oak Brewing. This is even more imperative if you appreciate traditional German styles of beer. The ONLY reason this brewery isn’t higher on my list is that they are draft only. Yes, I’m taking away points because I can’t stock my entire fridge with Live Oak HefeWeizen.
Favorite beers – Live Oak HefeWeizen, Primus
10. Karbach website | twitter – I’ve bracketed my Top 10 Best Breweries in TX list with the two biggest ballers in Houston. Karbach aggressively moved into pretty much every Houston bar a few years ago with fantastic year-round offerings. They quickly expanded to include a barrel-aging program that has had some big hits (but also some unfortunate misses). All in all, Karbach has creative beers as well as consistent year-round brews that always seem to find a spot in my fridge.
Favorite beers – Hellfighter, Hop Delusion
So that’s MY list — the CORRECT list. How does it compare to your rankings?
But seriously, if you haven’t tried anything from a brewery on this list, you need to find it ASAP and get back to me. You won’t be disappointed.