Hop ‘Til You Drop at Austin’s (512) Brewing Company

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April 30, 2013 by ET

Lately, you’ll be hard up to find a popular bar with Bud Light on tap. These days, folks love supporting local brews, driving the demand for craft on draft. Why opt for a watered down domestic, when your thirst could be quenched with a palate pleasing porter or an explosion of hops in an IPA? When in Austin, you’ll want to hit up (512) Brewing Company, where you’re bound to make best friends with the bartender.

Hair of the dog and a breakfast taco were all we needed to get day two of our Austin spring break trip started. Not that any of us are still in school (I’m ashamed of how long ago my last true spring break was), but the long weekend was certainly forcing me to channel my 21-year-old sorority girl self from South Padre past.

My sister had pre-purchased tickets for an afternoon brewery tour, which meant we were about to potentially embark on some serious day drinking. Ron and I are always up for visiting new breweries, so I was excited to see (taste) what (512) was all about.

When we pulled up to (512), we were a little concerned when we didn’t see many cars in the parking lot. Luckily, we were just a little early, and soon a crowd of fellow brewery tourists joined us outside the warehouse building, waiting for the tour to begin. (512) opened the doors and handed each guest a pint glass to fill with their brew of choice before the tour started.

IMG_2100I decided to sample the Pecan Porter, a full body, malty beer with hints of chocolate and sweet pecans. By sample, I mean a generous 10-12 oz pour. The Pecan Porter would prove to be one of my favorites at (512).

IMG_2098The tour began with the brewmaster explaining the history of the brewery and the beer making process. We were still conveniently standing in the taproom, which shares space with the brewing equipment. Much more laid back than other brewery tours I’ve experienced, there were no drink tickets, and we soon found out no limit to the number of beers “sampled.”

IMG_2110Sure, I’ll try the Pale, followed by the IPA, followed by another Pecan Porter.

IMG_2113We did find it interesting that some of their beers are aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels, making for distinctly flavored seasonal brews.

The beer was great, and we were becoming big fans of (512). I was disappointed to learn that the brewery does not distribute outside of Austin. I was hoping I’d be able to find it on tap in Nashville, but I’ll just have to add this to my list of excuses to regularly visit Austin.

IMG_2119By this point, all of us were several beers into the tour. Why not make my way back over to the bar to try the Pecan Porter Nitro?

“One more beer,” turned into at least a six-pack. The tour was officially over, but they weren’t kicking us out. In fact, the bartender seemed to enjoy our company. The place began to filter out as people left to be productive with the rest of their day.

“Have you ever tried angel tears?” the bartender, who by now we knew as Philip, asked Ron. He explained that angel tears is the bourbon that sweats out of a dry bourbon barrel. He went to the back and pulled out a bottle of liquid collected from one of the bourbon barrels at (512). “It’s 150 proof,” he said, as Ron (a huge bourbon fan), took a sip.

IMG_2112It didn’t end there, Philip also pulled a beer from his private bottle collection for us to try, in addition to the (512) drafts he continued to fill. Ron would leave Austin with a (512) hat and a bromance. I think it was a combination of beer and beard.

IMG_2109FOUR hours later, we were the last ones left on the tour and though they still hadn’t made any indication of closing up shop, we decided we should leave some beer for the next day’s tour.

(512) is a must for beer lovers visiting the Austin area. Not only is the beer excellent, the small business feel of this hop shop and extremely laid back vibe will make you feel like you’re drinking beer with old friends, which is what the staff of (512) will be at the end of the tour.

I’d like to say that we turned in early for the evening, but after stopping off at a downtown bar, we enjoyed dinner at a wine bar.

Hang in there a little longer, because up next we’ll sooth that pounding headache and repent our sins of the weekend with grub and gospel. Stay tuned!

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