10Best | Austin's Most Iconic Beers

Updated March 10, 2023

What are the most iconic, well known craft beers in Central Texas regardless of style? While having a beer with some friends, we spent quite a bit of time going down the rabbit hole of what we identify as the Mount Rushmore (plus 6) of Austin Area beers. These are the beers that everyone has tried and almost everyone respects (obviously I would never expect consensus on that sort of question). This is not to say they are necessarily the best of the best in town, but these are the beers you would recommend to an out of town friend because they are part of the Austin Beer experience and make up the most well known and recognized beers in Central Texas.

The rules are as follows:

  1. Only 1 beer per brewery
  2. Craft Beer only (Brewer's Assn Certified Independent Craft label required for entry)
  3. Has to be currently available for purchase somewhere in Central Texas (as of May 2021)
  4. Must have some history (subjective, but additional credit given for the relative age of the entrant)
  5. Should be relatively highly rated on the major beer review sites
  6. Should be a name that is generally recognizable to most Central Texas beer enthusiasts.


1. (512) Brewing Co. - Pecan Porter

In an area known more for Cedar trees and Mesquite, (512) Brewing infuses this full bodied and malty porter with locally grown Pecans.  512 Pecan Porter is almost ubiquitous on Fall tap walls in Austin and along with 512 IPA is absolutely what 512 is known for and founded on.

512 Brewing Pecan Porter


2. The Austin Beer Garden Brewery - Rocket 100

The Rocket 100 Pre-Prohibition Pilsner is one of the most awarded beers in Austin, based on its "true to style" qualities with the following accolades to its name: Gold Medal Winner at GABF 2018 Gold Medal Winner at GABF 2017 Gold Medal Winner at GABF 2015 Bronze Medal at 2016 World Beer Cup


3. Austin Beerworks - Sputnik

Sputnik, and all of the varietals around it, is fantastic.  The Sputnik launch party is one of the best beer events in Austin.  Sputnik is a near perfect Russian Imperial Coffee Oatmeal (R.I.C.O) Stout.  I know it is a seasonal, but it is pretty easy to find year round.


4. Blue Owl - Little Boss

A 3.8% Session Wheat Sour that screams summer pool time.  It trends less towards traditional sours and more towards berliner weisse, which makes it a perfect entry point to Blue Owl for most palates.  Blue Owl is the first Central Texas Sour Mash brewery and they are a key component to a well rounded beer wall.


5. Celis - White

Celis White is the granddaddy of the list and has gone through quite a path to get back to "Icon" status.  I was drinking it in the mid-90s consistently while attending school at the 40 acres, before it was sold and bought multiple times before coming back home to Celis Brewery.  It is one of the beers that formed the early Austin beer scene and its the same great recipe then as now.  I drink it for nostalgia and I drink it because I love it.

TABC Label and Brewery Approvals July 14 2017


6. Jester King BreweryAtrial Rubicite

Could have been Mad Meg or Black Metal, but decided to go with Atrial due to the ratings.  Barrel-aged sour refermented w/ raspberries.  People wait in lines for hours for this beer.

Jester King Atrial Rubicite


7. Live Oak Brewing Co. - Hefeweizen

Authentically brewed using a traditional yeast strain that naturally creates the signature flavors of vanilla, clove, and banana.  Consistently rated among the best Hefeweizen's, not just in Austin, but in the world.

Live Oak - Hefeweizen Ale


8. Pinthouse Pizza - Electric Jellyfish

Brewed with new hop varieties - Citra, Simcoe, Chinook, Ekuanot, Azacca, and Galaxy. Electric Jellyfish is filled with a bright tropical citrus character along with notes of orange, mango, lychee, and a floral backbone. The Jellyfish is a hazy new school IPA focusing on the juicy hop flavor and aroma while keeping the bitterness balanced and refreshing.


9. Real Ale - Devil's Backbone

Fireman's Four is easily one of the most well know beers in all of Central Tx, perhaps right behind a certain beer brewed by Spoetzl, but Devil's Backbone is high alcohol perfection coming out of Blanco.  Its an 8.1% beer that drinks smoothly throughout and never overpowers.


10. St. Elmo - Carl

St. Elmo's Carl Kolsch is so popular that you can just say give me a Carl pretty much anywhere in town and people know exactly what you're ordering. 4.6% ABV means feel free to enjoy several.

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Also, See our Master List with details on All Central Texas Craft Breweries


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