10 Texas beers to enjoy all summer long

Texas brewers know just the kinds of beers we need to combat the heat. Here are 10 mostly Austin beers (and a cider-wine hybrid because it’s divine) to keep you cool all summer long.

Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Brazos Valley Brewery, in Brenham, has made a peach wheat with a couple of sneaky musical references.

Austin Beerworks Einhorn: The essential summer beer of Austin was recently put into powder blue cans decorated with unicorns (‘einhorn’ means unicorn in German) and sent all over town. Crisp, a little tart and very refreshing, the Berliner Weisse-style brew might not be as rare a find as the mythical horned horse now, but it’s not any less beloved. The North Austin brewery has even helpfully supplied a map to help us locate a six-pack, although you don’t have to rush out to find it: Einhorn will be available throughout the summer.

Live Oak Hefeweizen: A lot of the beers on this list are new, seasonal or small-batch, or some combination of the three. This one’s on here because it’s trusty — easy to get both in cans and on draft and always the straw-colored, aromatic gem we expect — and we should never take it for granted. Go get some.

The ABGB’s Rocket 100 Pilsner: This one is another reliable Austin brew and one of the beers that helped to cement the ABGB’s win as the Great American Beer Festival’s Brewpub of the Year. A pre-Prohibition example of a pilsner, it’s brewed with corn, one of the ingredients that German immigrants to our country would have used. Take it home in a growler or, better yet, a three-pack of crowlers.

Hops & Grain River Beer: Modeled after light lagers like Coors Banquet, with corn in its grain bill, River Beer is intended to accompany you on all your boat rides on Lake Travis, your tubing trips down the San Marcos River, anytime you are in or over a body of water in Texas. With it, Hops & Grain is hoping to attract people who drink the likes of Coors and Budweiser, but it’s flavorful (even a little sweet, thanks to the corn) and will no doubt be the favorite of regular craft beer lovers, too.

Adelbert’s Mango Wit: As I noted in a roundup of beers suited for springtime imbibing, the year-round Mango Wit is especially suited for the spring and summer months thanks to its sweet tropical notes. Now that it’s summer, let me just go ahead and quote myself: Adelbert’s made the Mango Wit with lemon peel and real, true, juicy mango, and let me emphasize the word “juicy” again. That’s exactly how this beer tastes: as if Adelbert’s filled cans with the sweet liquid squeezed from pounds of mangoes, threw in some citrus for balance and carbonated the result.

Brazos Valley Millions of Peaches Peach Wheat: Probably, the Brenham brewery is making a reference with the name and the can design to the Allman Brothers’ “Eat a Peach” record. But the six-pack I stumbled on at Whole Foods immediately made me crack a grin because Millions of Peaches is, to me, a nod to the insanely catchy ’90s diddly “Peaches” by the Presidents of the United States of America.

I bought the cans for the memory of belting out “millions of peaches, peaches for me” the summer in between high school and college and that alone, without knowing a thing about the beer, but fortunately it’s delicious. In the wheat beer, the sweet nectar of one of Texas’ most beloved fruits is preserved without being overly cloying, a danger that some fruit beers can face.

Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Got any outdoor summer activities planned? Don’t leave your six-pack of Oasis at home.

Oasis, Texas’ You May All Go to Helles and I Will Go to Texas: Are your Texan heartstrings tugging yet at this Davy Crockett reference (and well-placed beer pun)? Even if they’re not, the Lake Travis-area brewery has crafted a beer, light and thirst-quenching, that seems tailor-made for our state. The cans are a limited release, so don’t miss them.

Zilker Brewing’s Parks & Rec Pale Ale: Brewed in collaboration with the Austin Parks Foundation to celebrate Zilker Park’s 100th anniversary, the seasonal pale ale, now in cans, doubles as a good cause. A portion of the proceeds from the beer, made with old-school hops like Centennial to emphasize bright citrus notes, is being donated to the Austin Parks Foundation for Zilker Park’s upkeep. Not that you needed an extra reason to go buy it, right?

Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Zilker Brewing’s newest canned beer was made to highlight Zilker Park’s 100th anniversary.

Jester King Foudreweizen: The brewery’s big and boozy Boxer’s Revenge, a a barrel-aged sour strong ale, releases this weekend, but it’s not exactly conducive to summer drinking. Buy a few bottles of that to go, since it ages so nicely, but don’t miss out on Foudreweizen. The collaboration between Jester King and Live Oak Brewing is also back and so nicely captures what both breweries do best.

It was made when wort brewed at Live Oak and inoculated with its hefeweizen yeast was taken to Jester King to transform at the hands of the native yeast and bacteria, alive in the walls of the farmhouse brewery’s foudres, and the resulting Foudreweizen tastes in essence like a funky wheat beer — bonkers good.

A crowler of Pinthouse Pizza’s latest IPA: Both locations of the brewpub are producing fresh examples of the hazy, juicy IPA they’ve perfected, from the This Is Juice at the flagship on Burnet Road to the Electric Jellyfish IPA that the South Lamar brewpub can’t seem to make enough of. IPAs generally aren’t my go-to style on hot summer days, but Pinthouse makes the beer low in bitterness, albeit with the aroma and flavors that hops can impart. Like the ABGB, both locations have crowlers.

Texas Keeper Cider’s Grafter Rosé: The best drink of 2016 is back in bottles and available at the cidery starting tomorrow afternoon, where you can sip it while enjoying barbecue from the new LeRoy and Lewis. This year’s Grafter Rosé, dry, spritz-like and tart, is made with Rome Beauty apples and Texas-grown Tempranillo and Carignan grapes.

6 Austin breweries with outdoor beer gardens for springtime imbibing

Jester King Brewery, located a little outside of town, is one of the most picturesque breweries in the Austin area.

Now that it’s springtime, we want to spend all of our time outdoors, soaking up the sunshine before it gets too hot — in what will sadly be just a short couple of months.

In the meantime, here are a half-dozen Austin-area breweries that will deliver the transcendent outdoor experience so precious to many a beer lover.

Jester King Brewery

13187 Fitzhugh Rd., jesterkingbrewery.com.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the farmhouse brewery in the Texas Hill Country is a veritable oasis, with much of the seating spread underneath the shade of tall leafy trees that are strung with twinkling lights to brighten the night. The surrounding landscape is made all the more meaningful when you realize that Jester King makes beers like the sublime and simple Le Petit Prince with the help of natural features around it, giving it a strong sense of place.

Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Oasis, TX Brewing has irresistible views of Lake Travis from its upper-story taproom and patio.

Oasis, Texas Brewing

6550 Comanche Trl., otxbc.com.

OK, technically the Lake Travis-area brewery in the Oasis complex doesn’t have the greenery that surrounds many of these other spots, but it’s got the view: Oasis, Tex Brewing is located on a deck high above the lake and guarantees Instagram-worthy sunset photos that will have you gasping in delight. The beers — such as the juicy Metamodern Session IPA — are also pleasing to the palate and light enough in alcohol that you can have more than one.

Live Oak Brewing

1615 Crozier Ln., Del Valle, liveoakbrewing.com.

The nearly 20-year-old brewery moved from one tiny warehouse space in East Austin at the end of 2015 to a much bigger location built on 22 acres of land near the Colorado River and the local airport. Although there’s plenty of indoor seating in the taproom, you’ll be lured outside on a nice day. The beer garden is nestled, appropriately, underneath a majestic grove of live oaks where you can enjoy the classic Hefeweizen with food truck grub.

Middleton Brewing

101 Oakwood Loop, San Marcos, middletonbrewingtx.com.

When this brewpub south of Austin upgraded to a brewing system 20 times bigger than the previous one, the owners made everything else better, too, by moving into a specially built brewery complete with an expansive patio that has seats in the sun or the shade, depending on your preference. Middleton Brewing is also staffed with dog lovers who often bring their pooches to work with them, and your own furry friends are welcome to run around outside.

Hi Sign Brewing has just officially opened, but it’s already got a patio with pretty wooded views.

Hi Sign Brewing

1201 Bastrop Hwy., hisignbrewing.com.

Not far from Live Oak Brewing, one of Austin’s youngest breweries has a modest acre of outdoor space to play with but has already made the most of it — Hi Sign Brewing’s recent grand opening celebration had a crawfish boil and a disc golf tournament out there. Visitors to Hi Sign, sipping on beers like the juice-like New England IPA, can hang out on the deck or in the tree-lined yard beyond where lights have been strung and tables set out.

Treaty Oak Brewing & Distilling

16604 Fitzhugh Rd., Dripping Springs, treatyoakdistilling.com.

Off the same road as Jester King but much closer to Dripping Springs, this “brewstillery” ranch just about has it all: live music, food, play areas for the kids, plenty of outdoor seating both in the sun and in the shade and, perhaps best of all, a variety of beers and cocktails depending upon what you’re craving. (The distillery added a brewing program that launched at the end of last year.) With so much on offer, you’ll find it hard to leave the scenic serenity that pervades Treaty Oak.

Bars and other hangouts that take you far from SXSW

Although today — with rain, the start of South by Southwest and the arrival of President Barack Obama — might be best spent at home, Austinites will eventually want to get outdoors and explore their city.

Just, you know, not during the festival, which runs through next Sunday and takes over much of downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.

Want to avoid the crowds and chaos of SXSW, while still getting out and having fun? These bars on the outskirts of Austin are ready to serve you — and the many others flocking from Austin’s core over the next 10 days. The Brass Tap’s owner, Steve Sheets, has even noticed a rise in visitors during the week of the fest, although not enough to keep you from having a good time.

In no particular order:

The Brass Tap, 204 E. Main St., Round Rock. The beer bar’s 60 taps rotate through a variety of beers each week, so you can visit multiple days and will probably find something new to try each time.

Photo by Laura Skelding / American-Statesman. Oasis, TX Brewing's Bowsaw Pils is a draft-only offering at the Lake Travis brewery.
Photo by Laura Skelding / American-Statesman. Want a lake view with your beer? Visit Oasis, Texas Brewing in the Lake Travis area.

Oasis, Texas Brewing and Infamous Brewing, 6550 Comanche Trl. and 4602 Weletka Dr. Turn a weekend afternoon into a Lake Travis beer crawl with a visit to these local breweries. Infamous’ three-year anniversary party is next Saturday, with lots of good beers on tap for the occasion.

Treaty Oak Distilling, 16604 Fitzhugh Rd, Dripping Springs. This Hill Country destination just about has it all: cocktails, food, live music, a play area for the kids, even helicopter tours. This weekend, the distillery is also hosting the inaugural Hill Country Kitetail Fest starting at noon Sunday.

The Growler Bar, 1300 FM 685, Pflugerville. This just-opened craft beer spot from a father-and-son team has more than 50 taps for beers, cold-brew coffee, even wine, and you can stop in quickly to fill up a growler or stay awhile to nurse a pint or flight.

Moontower Saloon, 10212 Manchaca Rd. This dog-friendly hangout in far South Austin promises plenty of seating on an oak-shaded patio. Plus, there are food trucks, a volleyball court and often live music.

Live Oak Brewing, 1615 Crozier Ln., Del Valle. Now opened seven days a week from noon to 8 p.m., the new brewery comes with a beer garden shaded by towering live oak trees. Sit beneath one while sipping on one of Live Oak’s European-style beers, like the tart Berliner Weisse.

Ski Shores, 2905 Pearce Rd. The restaurant’s easygoing atmosphere, juicy burgers and a solid selection of cocktails and local craft beers, as well as lakefront views and a playground for the kids, makes Ski Shores a go-to spot for locals looking for laid-back fun on a huge deck.

Texas Keeper Cider, 12521 Twin Creeks Rd., Manchaca. Starting tomorrow with a grand opening celebration, the far South Austin cidery is ready to welcome visitors to the Texas Keeper taproom, which was renovated out of a historic farmhouse on a scenic 20-acre stretch of ranch land.