Austin is, to paraphrase Hemingway, a moveable feast. There's never a lack of places to go, whether you're looking for live music, great food, or great beer. The latter is particularly prized around these parts, and there is more than a few excellent local brewers. While I have enjoyed several locally-made brews from Real Ale and Live Oak, and the in-house offerings at Lovejoy's, North by Northwest, and Uncle Billy's, my favorite local beer is without doubt the fine ales flowing forth from the 512 Brewing Company.
My first exposure to owner/brewmaster Kevin Brand's brewing prowess was last fall, when I attended a late-afternoon screening of Quantum of Solace at the Alamo Village Drafthouse. I went with my friend Tim Cummings, and over the course of the film, we shared two pitchers of 512 Pale Ale. While the Alamo Village doesn't have the draft rack of some of the other local Alamos, I don't mind because they've got 512. In any case, I was sold. Tim, on the other hand, was a bit disoriented and unable to follow the plot thanks to the Pale's 6% ABV.
Founded in 2007, 512 Brewing Company is currently only available on tap at local bars, restaurants, and of course, the Alamo. I discovered 512 IPA at Trudy's, a Mexican place on Burnet, not far from where I work. This is my new favorite ale. According the 512 website, it is "a big, aggressively dry hopped American IPA with smooth bitterness (~65 IBU) balanced by medium maltiness. 100% US malted grains, loads of hops, and great Austin water create an ale with apricot and vanilla aromatics that lure you in for more."
And with a 6.5% ABV, it doesn't take more than a couple to get you going. While I tend to favor local brews, I would love the 512 IPA regardless of where it was brewed. That it's fresh, made locally in small batches, and all the more delicious for it, only adds to its appeal.
I look forward to the company bottling this stuff, so the rest of Texas can taste the genius of 512.