Austin Beers of Summer 2019
Austin is known for its breweries, and many of them have seasonal offerings designed to make surviving the summer heat just a little easier. It was a hard job to sample all these delicious local craft brews, but here at Easton Park, we’re dedicated to celebrating the authentic Austin experience—and sharing it with all of y’all.
We started our summer beer research by setting some parameters—we wanted to focus on beers that are made in and around Austin and Central Texas. We wanted to focus on beers that were either seasonal offerings or just good summer standards. And we wanted them to be good for summer day drinking (aka, not too much alcohol)—sessionable, as real beer people say.
Caveat: Almost as soon as we started, we realized the folly of our task. In a town as beer-rich as Austin, the number of seasonal beers is overwhelming. Finding (and tasting) them all proved to be a monumental undertaking. At least for people who have to work the next day. But we made a valiant effort. Here’s our report on a few that we found and downed:
Billed as a “Pre-Prohibition-Style Pilsner,” this beer is the ABGB’s interpretation of the lagers brewed by German immigrants before prohibition. We found it to be light enough for summer and very drinkable, but still rich with flavor. There’s a reason it’s the three-time gold medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival. The good news: because it was so popular, they now carry it all year round. The bad news: you can only get it at the ABGB, no bottles or cans.
We were excited to try this one since they promised it would be “the beer equivalent of a back yard slip-and-slide,”—PERFECT for Easton Park, right?! This easy-drinking kolsch also comes in the cutest rainbow can we’ve ever seen, as a special PRIDE-month release to benefit Equality Texas. But let’s talk flavor. Fanny Pack was crisp and refreshing, a little malty and sweet but with a dry finish. We would definitely buy it again, for the flavor as much as the cute can!
As long-time Austinites, we were thrilled when Christine Celis brought back the family brewery that Miller had bought and shuttered in 2000. And Celis White is the family’s classic Belgian-style witbier, the regional style that Christine’s father Pierre brought to America in the 1960s. We got a little fancy had an orange slice with our cans, to bring out the coriander and orange peel flavors. It’s tart and refreshing without being too heavy or sour—so even though they sell it all year round, it’s the perfect beer for a hot summer day. They’ve also got a Lime beer out that we’re wanting to try.
One of a trifecta of fruity Einhorns that Austin Beerworks released this year (there’s also Sour Cherry and Tropical), this wheat beer is low in alcohol and highly carbonated, with a light and tart flavor that makes it perfect for Austin’s hot summer days. Warning for beer traditionalists—it’s pretty gingery—almost like a dry cider. And like all unicorns, this beer is hard to catch—it’s only available for June and July, so get it while you can.
This was the Austin Beerworks May release and their take on a Mexican-style lager. We could definitely taste the corn they add for flavor, but we’re not sure it’s the “Tejano in a can” that that package promised. Truth be told, we’d take their Peacemaker—a classic session beer—any day.
This American Pale Ale was a little too pungent for some of us, but the beer purists loved its bright citrusy, hoppy flavor. At 5.2% ABV, it was stronger than some of our other finds, but if you prefer a pale ale, this is a great choice for quenching your thirst in the summer—or any time; the Swifty is now available year round.
From the name, we thought maybe this one would have a carmel/taffy flavor, but no—the name is actually Flemish for “table beer.” Made to be “provide the complexities of a Belgian beer without the intoxicating efficacy of its high alcohol brethren,” this beer is technically a pale ale, but much lighter on the hops than other brews we’ve tried from Zilker. Sadly, like the Rocket 100, it’s only available at the brewery.
Okay, it’s technically not a beer, but we’re crazy about Austin Eastciders and had to throw their new summer offering into the mix. We were worried it might be too sweet, but it’s perfect—about the same level as the Blood Orange (an Easton Park fav). The watermelon flavor definitely comes through, along with hints of cucumber and apple.
Special thanks to Jason at Junior’s Beer and Wine for his help and recommendations!