Every time I head out to the Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company, it’s always packed to the brim with people. There’s good reason for this, and it’s admirable that ABGB has been able to develop such a following in less than a year. They opened their doors last summer and it seems like they’ve never closed since.
Despite the new company name, the people behind the brand are not inexperienced when it comes to the craft beer game. Head Brewers Amos Lowe and Brian Peters hold nearly fifty years of collective experience between them, with former leading positions held at Uncle Billy’s Brew and Que and Live Oak Brewing Company.
The brewery sits in the heart of 78704, in a huge tin warehouse on nearly two acres off Oltorf Street. Doesn’t sound like much to the ear, but the venue pulls it off incredibly with a laid-back, come as you are, get to know your neighbor type of environment.
Outside, funky lawn chairs surround old wooden spool tables underneath sprawling Live Oak trees – these come in handy during the hotter months. They’ll pull out large heating lamps if it gets cold, and bicycles and dogs are a common sight on the spacious patio.
Once you enter the warehouse, you’ll see long, family-style tables made right here in Austin by local craftsman Travis Norman. They transform the atmosphere into something like a beer banquet, and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? To your right sits the substantial music stage engulfed by towering fermentation tanks – where all the magic happens.
The bar is lined with leather bar stools in a chic red, and backed by friendly Austinites who don’t carry the stuck-up, hipster attitude in the least. I tried several beers thanks to their reasonable sampler – 5 mini-pints for $7. The few that stood out to me most:
- Big Mama Red – a hoppy and delicious red ale with faint citrus and just the right amount of bitterness
- Superliner – their house IPA with hues of copper and a grapefruit aroma
- Blitzen Hoppy – a seasonal red IPA that impresses with a full body and notes of toffee and caramel
If you came to try the beer, stay to try the pizza. With creative combinations like Cherry Tomatoes/Walnuts/Mixed Mushrooms/Fontina and Bacon/Brussel Sprouts/Sauteed Onions/Goat Cheese, these pies deliver and then some. Every bite is light, crispy, and savory, just the way I like my pizza.
The musical acts are often fantastic and the sound is top-notch, being run by Hole in the Wall veteran Paul Minor. They’ll host everything from Rockabilly to Blues to Honky Tonk, multiple days a week. The parking lot is generous, but it’s often so crowded that you’ll have to circle around at least a time or two for a spot.
If I had to complain about Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company, it would be the noise inside. It’s often so packed you struggle to hear the person in front of you. Hundreds of voices simultaneously bounce off the tin lining like a lowrider in the early nineties, creating boisterous white noise chatter. But I think they’ll take my complaint with a smile because of all the business that comes along with it. Plus, if I have quality beer, funky music, and great pizza – I don’t need to talk. I’m good.
Have you been to Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company? Comment about your experience!