Hops and Grain wasn't the first Austin brewery but it caught my attention as one of the first Austin breweries really pushing the envelope. As craft beer continues to explode across the United States, Hops and Grain was pushing their limits in Austin. When most breweries were open to the public only on Saturdays, Hops and Grain were open Fridays and Sundays too. Any time a running event needed some beer for their finishers, Hops and Grain was donating kegs to reward people's hard work.
Hops and Grain is located located at the dead end of 6th street on the east side. If you can get to 35 and 6th St without too much trouble, Hops and Grain will never give the directionally-challenged any trouble. The brewery is one of the original tenants in a little strip mall that now houses a restaurant, glass blowing, office space, aerial gymnastics and cross fit. They are open more days than most breweries, Tuesday-Saturday, and always open early (2 pm) for those wanting to get started early during the week. On Saturdays they always have a food trailer to go along with your delicious beer.
While the location is unique, the beers and the ownership is what makes Hops and Grain stand out.
First, the beers. Hops and Grain does their tap room right. They steadily have 3 beers on tap and for sale all the time. The Alteration, Hop Dog, and The One They Call Zoe will always be on tap (and for sale around town). I think 3 beers is a great number, they cover some different tastes, and should sustain any of those that just want to drink Hops and Grain Beer. The Greenhouse beers are what makes the brewery stand apart. Hops and Grain is all about experimentation. They have a very steady barrel aging program going on. They have a wide assortment of bourbon barrels and wine barrels to either put their Alteration in, or some porters or other styles. Next, they are notorious for experimenting with a lot of different hops. I've been to the tasting room before and have gotten to try 3 different IPAs that just have different hops. They will sometimes be able to get overnight deliveries from the NW of freshly picked hops to add that extra taste to the beer.
Second, the ownership and the events add another level of appreciation for the brewery. In the years I've been drinking Hops and Grain, they have held glass blowing nights next door, beer recipe competitions to be brewed at the brewery, seasonal parties, beer pairing dinners, a french pressed dry hopping comparison and the owner Josh has appeared at many beer events to educate the masses on proper beer appreciation.
Hops and Grain is perfect for the people that have just finished a long day around Austin or someone looking to escape the eat when the sun starts beating down. It's relatively close to the Austin hike and bike trail, McKinney Falls state park (bouldering, swimming, hiking, camping). The east side of Austin is very bike friendly and anyone will have lots of options after they make a stop at Hops and Grain.