3. Austin Beerworks
In the city where Pierre Celis introduced U.S. beer drinkers to witbier back when Blue Moon was a song on an oldies station, craft beer is in the veins.
It's home to one of the best beer bars in the country in Austin Draught House, along with greats including The Alamo, Hopdoddy's and The Whip-In. It supports a thriving brewing community with growing brewers including
. It also helped usher along the canned beer renaissance with a little help from Austin Beerworks, which has been canning its beers here since May 2011.
A brewing team stocked with even more Flying Dog alums made a plan to keep things simple: Four styles made well and placed in 12-ounce cans. They make an American IPA, a pale ale and German-style schwarz and pils. That's it, but it a town with an acute fondness for the simplicity of Shiner Bock, that's all they needed. A few awards at the Great American Beer Festival and a few South By Southwest festivals later, the brewery is now producing nearly five times the amount of beer it was when it opened little more than two years ago.
This brewery is doing with four beers what other brewers struggle to do with a regular lineup, a spate of seasonals, a handful of small batches and the occasional firkin offering. Making any one beer well isn't easy, but Austin's the kind of town that rewards folks who put a lot of effort into "simple" things.