Location Spotlight: Cedar Park + Leander
Originally published 6/29/23, last updated 8/1/23
With the long-awaited 5th Element Brewing opening this weekend, it’s a good time to review all the beer options in the area. If you haven’t explored the suburbs Northwest of Austin yet, take warning – it’s too much for one day. In this article, we’ll cover the brewery options, top beer bars, and bottleshop(s), and maybe even reach a bit further to other nearby destinations. Let’s get started!
Likely the most well-known Cedar Park brewery is Red Horn Coffee House & Brewing Co., which expanded to a second, larger facility in (Southeastern) Leander dubbed Red Horn Brewery & Roastery. With the expansion, they were able to bump their production to begin canning and distributing their beers to the greater Austin area. Red Horn is in my personal top 10 for best beer quality in Central Texas – both taprooms generally have over 20 of their beers on tap, starting with the mainstays but filtering down into small-batch brews. As one of the only breweries where you can reliably find strong ales on draft (imperial stouts, barleywines, etc.), Red Horn is not a place you’ll want to miss. Check out either (or both) spots!
Continuing in no particular order, we jump to Leander proper for another relatively new brewery on the scene (opening 2020), Humble Pint. Located in a strip mall, the modern brewpub will feed you paninis and pizza while you enjoy a flight from their small but strong tap selection. You’ll find their “Funbird” hefe, “Grist & Fermentation” pale ale, and “Yard’s Done” blonde ale on tap at all times, along with their rotating IPA series “Outlook: Cloudy”, rotating sour series “Sloppy Kisses”, and perhaps a special release or two to round out the list. If there’s a brewery that screams “suburbia” more than Humble Pint, I’d like to see it.
Pausing from the brewery list, here’s the spot for the largest and most interesting beer selection in town. The Brewtique has hundreds of packaged and single cans and bottles available for on-site and to-go consumption, all of which are kept cold in their wall of refrigerators (which is sadly not as common for bottleshops as it needs to be). Don’t mistake this for a to-go spot only though – there are several tables inside and outside, along with a couple of retro arcade games and pinball cabinets to chill at for a while. This is a must-visit stop on any trip to Cedar Park, even just to grab a few things to take home.
Right next door to The Brewtique is an archeology-themed beer bar that opened way back in the ancient year 2007. As expected, the pub has pub food: burgers, fish & chips, sandwiches, and more, and the large tap wall pours all the Austin staples you could ask for. They also host comedy shows, trivia, and poker night, have all the games on screen to watch, and are just a generally cool place to grab a bite. Come on over and gaze at owner Erik Mayfield’s beard while you refuel.
You’re going to think you made a wrong turn as you drive through the residential streets of Leander, before turning into the likely crowded parking lot of 5th Element Brewing. The homey brewery was in planning for six years before finally opening in Spring 2023 to much fanfare. They have the expected range of beer styles, with a few unique surprises as well such as their Guava Saison, and Pickleweiss. Be sure to ask about the toys hidden throughout their taproom – the owners have set up a game for everyone to play, but beware: once you start looking, you’re going to want to find them all before you’re ready to leave.
The last brewery on our list is Whitestone, another mainstay of the suburbs since 2016. Like Red Horn, this strip mall brewery has seen some expansion recently, opening a new location in Liberty Hill in 2022 and increasing its distribution in Central Texas through cans. Their mainstay beers (Konverter Kolsch, Long Gone Blonde, Lovely Day IPA, ¡Mira! Mexican Lager, and Cedrela Hefeweizen) aren’t the only ones seeing distribution, with frequent releases showing up both in their taprooms and on store shelves. They also have a HopWater brand for those days you just need some refreshments. The taproom in Cedar Park hosts events and a food truck, check it out!
If you’re looking for a hill country vibe without having to drive south, your best bet is The Good Lot. This outdoor-focused beer bar has 24 taps, several permanent food trucks, live music, games, and plenty of space and seating to hang out. They’ve recently celebrated their 2nd birthday with a big party, keep an eye on their socials for upcoming events!
Nearby: Lago Vista Brewing Company, Slackers Brewing Co., and Liberty Hill
To round out this article, we’ll take a quick look at a few other nearby breweries:
- Lago Vista Brewing Company opened just a few weeks ago. Located about 20 minutes from Cedar Park, the brand-new building has plenty of open space for families, plus bar seating for those just looking to get their drink on. View our brewery profile here.
- Slackers Brewing Co. is technically located in Austin, but it might as well be Cedar Park. They’re open late, so it’s a great place to stop on the way out of town. View our brewery profile here.
- Liberty Hill is home to more breweries than you’d expect: Hell or High Water Brewing, Schitz Creek Brewery, Bull Creek Brewing, and San Gabriel River Brewing (+Whitestone Brewing 2). That’s a whole trip in itself.