If you’re making the yearly pilgrimage to Austin, TX for its South-by-Southwest (SXSW) event, then you’re probably wondering where to go for some amazing local beer and barbecue. Here are some of our favorite places to dine, have a cold beverage and just soak up everything that Austin has to offer. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but more of a list of places we frequent the most. Links will take you to their location via Google Maps-
BBQ (In no particular order):
Micklethwait craft meats – Funky-colored trailer serving delectable meats, amazing sides, and great dessert. Off the beaten path, slightly, but not a huge wait for some amazing grub under the trees. Recommended: sliced brisket sandwich, jalapeno cheese grits and a cold Topo Chico.
Smokey Denmark– The company has been making and providing sausage in and around Austin for decades, so it came as no surprise that it would spawn a food truck just out front with the same name. Go say hi to Pitmaster Bill Dumas and ask for a ‘Double-Oinker’. Recommended: Double-Oinker, but also the brisket taco special on T-Thur is worth the trip to this far-east-side joint.
La Barbecue– They claim the name is ‘Spanish for The Barbecue’, but locals know this place for the amazing brisket, Texas Hot Guts (sausage) and the BYOB awesomeness. Gets really busy on the weekends, and parking is a bit of a chore, but park a few streets away and enjoy what the Cesar Chavez district has to offer. Recommended: Texas hot guts, beef rib.
Kerlin BBQ– Another east side haunt, Kerlin BBQ recently started churning out amazing brisket Kolaches to hungry bbq fans in the morning. Kerlin will be open all week, but full bbq menu only on Friday, and breakfast, bbq sandwiches rest of the week. Recommended: brisket kolache in the AM.
Franklin BBQ– Ya heard of him? Be prepared to wait in line, but be prepared to enjoy the rewards. If you were smart you would’ve ordered well in advance for pick-up. Oh, didn’t know you could? You’ll be more prepared for your next visit. Recommended: fatty brisket and espresso sauce. Yes, good bbq don’t need no stinkin’ sauce, but try it with some bread at least.
Nutter Buster BBQ & Comfort– This trailer moved from south Austin to the Sunset Valley area, and people should be more than happy they did. Beef and pulled pork rule here, but make sure you venture into the great side dishes that are available. Bonus? Hey Cupcake shares a space in this trailer park for a fantastic cupcake dessert. Recommended: Pulled pork sandwich with mac n cheese.
Other Austin notables: John Mueller Meat Co., Slab BBQ, Terry Black’s BBQ, Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew, Rudy’s BBQ, Black’s BBQ, Iron Works, Stubbs BBQ, Blue Ox, Lambert’s and Freeman’s BBQ.
If you have time for a day trip: The Salt Lick (Driftwood, TX), Opie’s Barbecue (Spicewood, TX), Snows BBQ (Lexington, TX), Louie Mueller BBQ (Taylor, TX), and Hays Co. BBQ (San Marcos, TX).
Easy Tiger– Looking to be on 6th street, but not feel like you’re on 6th street? Venture to Easy Tiger for an amazing beer selection that changes frequently. If you get hungry, make sure you grab a hefty sandwich or a meat and cheese plate.
Craft Pride– More like TEXAS pride. Craft pride is one of the top beer options in all of Austin and they serve only Texas beer on Tap. Cicerone-trained beertenders will pour you a perfect pint and will be able to tell you about each style they offer without the snobby attitude. They have a great patio with pizza, but the inside can get crammed very quickly.
Black Sheep Lodge– On the South Lamar district pub crawl, BSL has the sports bar vibe, but also a great patio for some amazing people watching. Plenty of quality beer available and a great pub-style menu. Try the fried cheese curds with a Live Oak Primus~
Black Star Co-OP– Employee owned and altogether delicious. Black Star features beers made in-house, and a menu that doesn’t really have any bad items on its list. Close to the Austin rail system, so easy to get to and from. If you like helping small business, you can become a member-owner of the cooperative from the website.
Whip-In– Funky is what Austin is all about and you won’t be disappointed with this Indian-cuisine/ bottle shop/ amazing bar area all wrapped into one. If you don’t feel like eating then grab a bottle to go, otherwise stay and enjoy a great meal for a great price and take a look at their own beer from the brewery, or another selection among other great offerings.
East 1st Grocery– Not only owned by one of the nicest people in Austin, but also boasts one of the best selections of beer in town. Yes there are definitely others, but this one is definitely one of our favorites on the east side.
WhichCraft Beer Store– The fellas running WhichCraft have a passion and desire to provide people with a great selection. You can also visit them for one of a handful of beer tastings they do to help educate the public on new and upcoming breweries, or just a particular style you may not have been familiar with. Bonus points: It’s right next door to Black Sheep Lodge.
South Lamar Wine and Spirits– Just an overall good selection of local beer, great prices and daily specials.
Independence Brewery– A newly-renovated tap room creates plenty of space and ambiance to enjoy a cold beverage, and if you’re lucky, great music and a delicious food truck outside. Try a White Rabbit white ale or a Convict Hill oatmeal stout.
Jester King Brewery– A little drive through the hill country and you’ll arrive at Jester King Brewery. Known for their farmhouse ales, Jester King also features a select amount of guest beers available in bottle form or on tap. Some of the bottles for sale are brewery-only, so pick up your limit and use for trade bait. Sharing the space is Stanley’s Farm House Pizza. Technically separate, you can still grab a bottle from Jester King and enjoy it with some grub in the shade here.
Hops and Grain Brewing– At the very end of east 6th street you’ll find Hops and Grain Brewing. Quintessentially Austin, H&G has a fun tasting room with games and plenty of rare and regular options from which to choose. They take pride in all offerings, so go ahead and sample one of everything. Safely, of course.
If you’re coming for SXSW, we hope you get to experience even a couple of these ideas, and like stated above, these are just suggestions based off of places we like to frequent. Everything in Austin will be busy during the week, so pace yourself, and definitely go exploring.