Pearl and Lone Star once held the heavyweight titles of Texas brews. Then Shiner Bock-ed its way to the top, but today there is a whole crop of microbreweries fighting for taste buds here in Texas. These smaller Texas craft breweries do not produce as much beer annually as some of the bigger names in the ring, but thanks to the efforts of their artisan brewers, the Lone Star State is now one of the big boys in the battle for best beer state. Here are the contenders vying to be the one you most want to knock back.
Like the neighborhood they call home, this brewery has a rebellious side. They've been known to call out the bigger producers for making bad beer, and their slogan for their Dallas Blonde beer - "It goes down easy," ruffled a few feathers, giving this rowdy brewery some national notoriety.
Best beers: Deep Ellum IPA, Dallas Blonde, Double Brown Stout
Brewing world-class beer in the Texas countryside, Revolver Brewing uses fresh water straight from the Trinity Aquifer. They are a family owned business founded by a father-and-son team. Their Saturday brewery tours are family friendly and feature live bands, rock piles for kids, and beer tastings for the above 21 crowd.
Best beers: Blood and Honey, Revolver Bock, HighBrass
Guadalupe Brewing's mission is to provide the best quality beer available by using local ingredients whenever possible. The brewery sources honey from nearby Beeville, Texas and wheat from Marion, Texas. They also give back to the community by sharing profits from their Texas Honey Ale with Texas A&M's bee research program. So drink up and feel downright charitable doing it.
Best beers: Texan Honey Ale, Rye Ale, Scotch Ale
These guys know beer. Originally beer distributors, the team at Karbach are now German trained brewmasters. With tours and tastings seven days a week, this is one of the more accessible microbreweries in the Lone Star state.
Best beers: Mother-In-Lager, Hopadillo, Weisse Versa Wheat
Only two years old, this brewery took home ratebeer.com's Best New Brewery award in 2013. Like their name suggests, Community Beer Company is big on giving back to the local community. The brewery showcases works from local artists. Community also offers a beer school where participants can learn about the history, science and process of beer making.
Best beers: Witbier, Mosaic IPA, Barrel Aged Legion
Saint Arnold is one of the biggest and most well-known craft breweries in Texas. Along with a plentiful regular lineup and tasty seasonal rotations, Saint Arnold also makes root beer.
Best beers: Weedwacker, Santo, Fancy Lawnmower
Founded by a Belgium born, Texas raised SMU grad, Lakewood Brewing Company is floating out some great craft beers. The Belgian heritage truly shows up in the taste and Lakewood like many of the craft breweries in the state are new so not easily found just yet, but you can expect great things as the distribution improves.
Best Beers: Lakewood Lager, The Temptress, Bourbon Barrel Temptress
Sadly (512) is not available out of the DFW, San Antonio, Houston triangle, as they only sell draft beer on tap or in filled Growlers. If you find yourself in the Central Texas triangle, hunt up some 512. And if you're not in the area of central Texas, plan a trip. You won't be sorry.
Best Beers: Pecan Porter, Café Au Lait, Pale Ale
Another of the older and better-known craft brewers in the state, Real Ale is bottled and available statewide. However, their Mysterium Verum, which translates to Real Mystery, is only available on tap in limited supply. Try these finely aged brews if you can find them.
Best Beers: Rip Blanco Pale Ale, #4 Blonde Ale, Devil's Backbone
Jester King is an authentic farmhouse brewery committed to making wild ales and spontaneously fermented beers that reflect the unique character of their location in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. The Jester King brewmasters use some unusual ingredients like figs, juniper berries and mushrooms to create unique flavors in their beers.
Best beers: Black Metal, Noble King, Mad Meg, Wytchmaker, Funk metal