The Best Austin Beers


When 5 o’clock rolls around and it’s time to shut the office down, the HubRunner team likes to do so in style. Our happy hours aren’t just about sitting around and staring at each other’s faces while kicking back a margarita or two.

HubRunner happy hours are comprised of good friends, good times, and, most importantly, good, old fashioned metric-based competitions. Particularly, good, old fashioned metric-based beer tasting competitions.

Austin is notorious for amazing live music, weird and fun happenings, and a never-ending supply of phenomenal tacos, but what some outsiders might not realize about our great city is that we have just as many wonderful local breweries as we do bats living under the Congress Bridge. Ok…maybe not quite that many breweries, but there are several worth mentioning in the following post.

We take pride in having great taste in beer, though some of us enjoy Lonestar a little more than we’re willing to admit, so we decided to put our tastes to the test and hold a blind beer tasting competition – the winner receiving major bragging rights around the office. Take a look at our top choices and let us know which ones are your favorite on Facebook!

The Judging Process

We ranked our beers on a scale from one to five (with a total of 50 points possible), using the following categories:

  • Smell
  • Taste
  • Mouthfeel (how the beer feels in one’s mouth, not the beer’s emotional state)
  • Overall impressions*

*Some of our team members got into the beer a little earlier than others, and missed the explanation of what Look, one of our categories, entailed, so we scratched it from the final calculations.


Our Results

From last to first place, HubRunner’s choice of the best Austin beer ranks as follows:

Score: 27.67
Beer description: “Maverick Lager is brewed to a very clean and crisp finish. The flavor profile is between most Premium Domestic Lagers and hoppier Craft Style Ales that are brewed today.”
Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.6%

Our thoughts: Most of the HubRunner crew was overwhelmingly unimpressed with this lager, though the color scheme and aesthetic of the bottle were promising:

“Lonestar on the nose, Coors Light on the tongue – nice combination. Could drink a lot of these, but never would. Really bad. Poured out the second half.”

However, a few team members had a positive experience with this hoppy local brew: “Surprisingly tasty.” Short and sweet.

While this beer wasn’t an astounding favorite for our team, it’s worth supporting local breweries.

Score: 29.01
Beer description: “Inspired by the Berlin wheat beer, Redbud is refreshingly tart and lemony. It has a subtle wheat maltiness and it’s highly effervescent with a crisp finish.”
ABV: 4.5%

Our thoughts: This beer was pretty dividing amongst the HubRunner crew. Half of us considered RedBud a flavorful and delicious thirst-quencher, while others simply thought, “ew.”

“Herbal on the nose, even vegetal, delightful, delicate sourness that surprises and delivers a complex brightness with a smooth feel. Excellent.”

If you’re looking for a refreshing summer beer to enjoy while tubing the river, RedBud might just be the choice for you.

Score: 31.61
Beer description: “Citra and Mosaic cosmically coalesce in this juicy, transcendent beer thanks to a special technique called ‘hop-bursting’.”
ABV: 4.5%

Our thoughts: With a bottle design as psychedelic and other-worldly as the introduction to the X-Files, we knew we were in for a treat with this Austin brewery favorite.

Similar to RedBud, Meta Modern was pretty dividing amongst our team. While some drinkers thought the IPA was light and smooth, “smelling of flowers,” others thought it, “smells like feet and tastes gross.”

…Apparently we have some pretty dogmatic thoughts on beer.

Meta Modern Session is a frothy and flavorful pale ale – the perfect choice for all of our light beer loving readers.

Score: 33.39
Beer description: “Power & Light tastes just right! Power & Light Pale is a crisp, hoppy and refreshing American pale ale.”
ABV: 5.5%

Our thoughts: I’m not sure how Power & Light made it this far up the list, based on the condemning and unforgiving comments made by our team:

“A washy, watery, over-sweet disappointment whose only redemption is on the nose before you taste it.”

“Austin, come on now!”

It’s safe to say we weren’t fans of this hoppy ale, but let us know if you feel differently!

Score: 33.76
Beer description: “With an ever-drinkable balance of smooth malt and zesty hops, this refreshing blonde is perfect on a hot day or paired with spicy food.”
ABV: 5.10%

Our thoughts: Cheap beer with a great taste – how can you go wrong? Our team enjoyed Fireman’s 4 so much, we re-created a catchphrase: DTD. Down to drink.

For those who aren’t into hoppy beer, no worries. Some of our crew aren’t fans of it themselves, but noted that this beer is “hoppy…in a good way.”

Fireman’s 4 is old faithful in Austin. When you can’t agree upon a beer, everyone’s sure to enjoy this one. Pair this with a spicy dish or a relaxing day by the water.

Score: 33.88
Beer description: “Zoe is based on pale and vienna malts, light to golden in color with a beautiful white layer of foam resting on top, constantly delivering floral and citrus dry-hop aromatics with every sip.”
ABV: 5.2%

Our thoughts: Every single HubRunner member gave The One They Call Zoe raving reviews, and for good reason. With a sleek design and awesome name, Zoe is destined for greatness.

Our team describes Zoe as “Ol’ Familiar,” because for many of us, it’s our favorite local beer.

“A definite session beer with a pleasant, citrusy nose and an easy-drinkin’ finish.”

Hands down, no questions asked, Zoe is a must-try for light and dark beer drinkers alike. Whether you’re having a meal or prepping for the big game, she’ll probably become your new best friend.

Score: 34.45
Beer description: “A beer as laid back as Austin, our American Amber is smooth and refreshing. The specialty malts lend caramel sweetness while American hops add balance and a crisp finish that will have you tipping that glass up for more.”
ABV: 4.8%

Our thoughts: And the winner is, Austin Amber! Much to our surprise, the HubRunner intern picked up a six-pack of local brew at the last minute…and won the beer tasting.

One commenter enjoyed the frothy, dark ale so much, they simply wrote, “<3,” and let the love speak for itself.

This brew alludes to coffee on the tongue, but leaves a dry and flavorful taste behind. A perfect pairing for heartier meals, or an after dinner treat.


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Have any suggestions for our next happy hour? Want to let us know what your favorite Austin beer is? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

Make sure you check out all of the incriminating- I mean, interesting photos of our events on Instagram!