Make your Austin summer plans with these boozy choices

Photo by Tom McCarthy for American-Statesman. Visit Austin Beerworks this summer as part of a North Austin brewery crawl.

Photo by Tom McCarthy for American-Statesman. Visit Austin Beerworks this summer as part of a North Austin brewery crawl.

With Memorial Day weekend almost here, it’s time to start making your summer plans — and the Austin360 staff wants to help. We’ve put together a guide of ideas for a summer of adventure in Central Texas that we’re calling Camp Austin360, with everything from day trips to live music included.

Here’s my contribution — five things you can do at local bars, breweries and wineries throughout the summertime. Happy imbibing!

Explore North Austin’s booming brewery scene. Although local breweries are turning into neighborhood haunts all over town, one area in particular could make for a fun afternoon brewery crawl. Start at Austin Beerworks, off U.S. 183 and MoPac Boulevard, then make your way to Adelbert’s Brewery, 4th Tap Brewing Cooperative, Circle Brewing and the soon-to-open Oskar Blues, all within a couple minutes’ drive — or bike ride — from each other.

Take a day trip to a few Hill Country wineries. Although any time spent outside might not sound ideal in a hot Texas summer, making the drive to picturesque Fredericksburg and the wineries along U.S. 290 is well worth it. The grapes are at their fullest in the summertime, and the wineries — such as Pedernales Cellars, Becker Vineyards and William Chris Vineyards — are happy to pour several tastes of their best varietals. And did we mention that it’s rosé season? To plan your road trip, visit texaswinetrail.com.

Photo by Jay Janner / American-Statesman. Escape the summer heat at one of Austin's hidden-away speakeasies, like Firehouse Lounge.

Photo by Jay Janner / American-Statesman. Escape the summer heat at one of Austin’s hidden-away speakeasies, like Firehouse Lounge.

Sneak into one of Austin’s cozy speakeasies. The idea of the speakeasy has changed a little over the years — since we no longer have to hide alcohol consumption — but the obvious allure of such a hidden haunt has endured and turned places like downtown’s Firehouse Lounge into a darkened getaway. Austin’s newest speakeasy, the Milonga Room, is beneath the Buenos Aires Café and combines cocktails with tango music and dancing. To visit, find the current passcode on the Milonga Room’s Facebook page.

Enjoy a rare pour with the Townsend’s Break-Even Bottle Night. Tasting hard-to-get and expensive spirits isn’t something we can do every day, but Congress Avenue bar the Townsend has a solution: the Break-Even Bottle Night, styled after a tradition from Houston’s Anvil. Every Sunday, the bar pours 1 oz. of something rare and good, like Del Maguey Iberico Mezcal or the Balvenie Portwood 21 Year Single Malt Scotch, for a marked-down price. To find out what the latest special bottle will be, follow the Townsend on Instagram.

Don’t forget old neighborhood standbys for a pint or two. Exciting new bars are opening up practically every week in Austin, but some of the best ones remain the places we’ve always loved. Turn to the Draught House for a funky brew from some of the country’s most renowned beer makers or to the Little Longhorn Saloon for the Sunday afternoon tradition of chicken bingo. Or pair a glass of wine with some spicy Indian food at the Whip In.

If you visit any of these places, use #CampAustin360 with any of your social media posts to share the fun.

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