Walking into the Hops and Grain taproom is like stumbling upon a hip family barbeque. Long picnic benches line the modest space. Board games are stacked up, ready to be played. A psychobilly band plays circus rock from the brewery loading dock.
Not only is this East Austin original one of the best breweries in town, but it’s also one of the most well rounded. With a fun vibe, great brews and an eye towards ecological sustainability, Hops and Grain has quickly become one of the crown jewels in the Austin beer scene.
From Humble Beginnings
Founder Josh Hare has been brewing beer since before he was legally able to enjoy it. Starting as a 17 year old home brewer on a dry campus, Josh quickly became everyone’s favorite student.
Since graduating, Josh became a professional triathlete, helped found Rogue Running and taught 7th grade science. But all signs pointed to him returning to the world of brewing.
Finally, on October 7, 2011, his dream became a reality. Hops and Grain opened its doors and became an integral part of the exploding East Austin community.
Beers and the Taproom
Hops and Grain offers four year round beers:
- The refreshing Pale Dog ale
- The malty, slightly sweet Alt-eration
- A fantastic “every day” beer entitled The One They Call Zoe
- And the chocolaty decadent Porterculture
They also offer a monthly Green House IPA along with a number of experimental brews available only in the tap room. These mad scientist creations get changed on a weekly basis, so there’s always something new for your inner beer geek. Come back in a month and the entire board will be different.
At Hops and Grain, you’ll also receive one of the best “bangs for your buck” in town. $10 nets you six drink tickets, each good for a half pint of their year round beer. While small batch brews cost two tickets, it’s more than worth it for the chance to try something you may never taste again.
Sustainability and Ecological Responsibility
With an industry dependent on natural ingredients, Hops and Grain has a strong focus on sustainable brewing practices. From repurposing “water liquor” to clean the tanks to providing used grain to local cattle farmers, the brewery is always looking for ways to be eco-friendly. They even make dog treats from spent grain, so your furry friend can have a treat while you grab a pint.
The conservation mindset also carries over to Hops and Grain’s staff. Every time an employee uses green transportation to get to work (mass transit, biking), they receive the price of a gallon of gas as a daily bonus.
Focus on Quality
At Hops and Grain, quality is everything. For example, every member of the staff, from production to sales, is required to undergo weekly “sensory training.” According to resident “Beer Wrangler” Bob Galligan, it’s a crucial part of what makes the brewery unique.
“Josh will give us a Zoe that’s been stored cold for six months or warm for six months, so we can taste was that does. He’ll give us three Zoes, two of which have been spiked with an off flavor. And we have to actually pick out the odd flavor and know how it was produced.”
The brewery also focuses on consistency. Rare for an operation their size, Hops and Grain has an onsite lab where they ensure every barrel of their mainline brews taste exactly the same. In the words of Bob, “It’s one thing to make a great beer. It’s another to make it great every single time.”
Family of Beer Lovers
When you walk around the brewery and chat with staff, one thing is abundantly clear: the Hops and Grain crew is a family. A tightly knit group passionate about creating and sharing exceptional beer. In Bob’s opinion, that’s what makes Hops and Grain special.
As part of the rapidly expanding East Austin community, Hops and Grain has cemented itself as a go-to destination for anybody looking for a good time, great people and awesome beer. Next time you’re rolling around East 6th on a weekend, swing by the brewery, play a round of Candyland with your pals and have a pint or three of some of the best local brew Austin has to offer.
507 Calles St, Suite 101 – Website
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