Top 10 Texas Craft Breweries

Craft beer is a rapidly growing and expanding industry, especially in Texas. With so many new breweries, we recruited a panel of beer lovers to vote on which ones they think are the best in Texas.

According to the Brewer's Association, the craft beer industry continues to experience steady growth across the country. As seen in this graphic, craft brewers reached 7.8 percent volume of the US beer market, which is up from 6.5% in 2012. Additionally, the retail value from craft brewers rose 20% from 2012 ($11.9 billion) to 2013 ($14.3 billion), and there were 413 new breweries that opened across the country in 2013.

Texas is one of the states experiencing the fastest growth in the craft beer industry, and a number new breweries have been opened across the state in recent years. The website Thrillist decided to put together a panel of beer lovers to rank their favorite Texas breweries from 1 to 10. Let's just say that I didn't agree with all of their choices, so I thought it would be fun to put together a panel of some Texas beer lovers of my own and see how the results compare.

We've got a mixed bag of panelists, and I've included some info about each of them at the end of this article, but I tried to have some representation from each of the 3 major areas of the state. Regional bias is always a factor when it comes to ranking breweries, in part because you may not have access to breweries from another area due to lack of distribution.

It's important to note that I didn't add any stipulations for how the panelists should rank their top breweries. Some may look at the brewery's full history, others may focus on recent or current beer releases. I'm using the same points system as Thrillist did - 10 points for 1st, 9 for 2nd, 8 for 3rd, and so on. Without further ado, here are the results - according to our esteemed panelists - of the Top 10 Breweries in Texas right now.

Honorable Mentions: (512) Brewing Company (Austin), Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. (Houston), Peticolas Brewing Company (Dallas), Adelbert's Brewery (Austin), Southern Star Brewing Company (Conroe), and Rahr & Sons Brewing Company (Fort Worth)

Karbach

T9. Karbach Brewing Co. (Houston), 21 points

Panel Comments
Karbach aggressively moved into pretty much every Houston bar a few years ago with fantastic year-round offerings. They quickly expanded to include a barrel-aging program that has had some big hits (but also some unfortunate misses). All in all, Karbach has creative beers as well as consistent year-round brews that always seem to find a spot in my fridge.
A lot of debate surrounds Karbach. While I admit they have suffered as many flops as they have successes (if not more), the truly great beers they have produced have earned them a spot of recognition as one the best in Texas. I expect they will continue to have their ups-and-downs. But, I believe/hope patience will work out the kinks, and give us a great brewery to be proud of.
Lakewood

T9. Lakewood Brewing Co. (Garland), 21 points

Panel Comments
This is a brewery that I expect will only take off in the next year or two as their distribution grows. The brewmaster has Belgian lines and brews everything to an incredibly high quality. Every beer here is very full bodied, balanced, and smooth. The best thing about Lakewood is that their year round beers are all top of the line and their legendary series lives up to its name.
For me personally, two brews have stood out so much from the Lakewood selection that the brewery earned a spot based on my experience with these two beers alone. Temptress and Goatman have shown the capabilities of this up-and-coming brewery. I suspect only further greatness to follow.
Freetail

8. Freetail Brewing Co. (San Antonio), 30 points

Panel Comments
Maintaining one of the best line of sour beers in Texas, along with a great rotating selection of mixed styles and limited release specialties, Freetail might deserve even more respect than this position. But for my personal preferences, at this time, and though I will continue to debate it with myself, this is where I feel they rank right now.
When living in San Antonio I got to visit this brewpub multiple times and love it! They continuously come out with great beers and due to the fact that they are a brewpub they can brew smaller batches and come out with multiple different styles. Their beers are always changing!
Freetail has a lot of hype, and for some people, that's a bad thing. But I say most of it is deserved. Their beers, especially in the recent two years, have been incredibly complex and very impressive. Easily the state's best (traditional) brewpub, and also rising fast on this list.
Live_oak

7. Live Oak Brewing Company (Austin), 30.5 points

Panel Comments
Unfortunately not bottling anything yet but this small Austin brewery is the model of consistency. They continually produce high quality beers on tap all over the state. Their hefeweizen is legendary.
I'll say it now and I'll say it again... Live Oak produces beers that are great representations of their style. No barrel aged or over hopped beers here, just solid "traditional" beers.
Live Oak is singularly the best German brewery in America. There is no question about that. Even if you're not into traditional German styles, you have to admit that these are incredibly impressive. Best in class Hefeweizen, Pilsner, Weizenbock, and even a great Barleywine. Hard not to love these guys.
Lone_pint

6. Lone Pint Brewery (Magnolia), 39 points

Panel Comments
These guys are the ones to watch locally and statewide. I don't know of anyone else out there that is constantly making SMaSH styles, and honestly Yellow Rose is absolutely fantastic. If I were trapped on a desert island, an endless keg of yellow rose would make things all better. Their Zythophile El Dorado is quite lovely too. Once they start bottling, I can only imagine what will happen to their business.
Another fast-riser, Lone Pint's success has been based mostly on one beer. And while it's greatness is enough to carry them regardless of their other selections, I feel their diversity and general quality has earned them a seat high on this list. I am excited by their potential, and look forward to their future.
Hops_grain

5. Hops & Grain Craft Brewery (Austin), 44 points

Panel Comments
They started off small by releasing two canned beers (Alt-eration and Pale Dog) that were simple, subtle and absolutely delicious. The next beer I tried from them blew me out of the water, and was probably my favorite beer of the 2013 summer. It's a generously hopped lager called The One They Call Zoe, and if you don't have it with you poolside this summer, well frankly, we can't be best friends.
Zoe is the beer that is most consistently in my fridge. The Greenhouse Series is phenomenal as well. 12 months of different hops? Yes Please!
A fast-rising star in the Texas beer scene, H & G has already cemented themselves as one of the bolder, more ambitious breweries around. Able to produce quality both in "simple" styles, and in their innovative bolder brews, they have garnered a quick and loyal following, which of course I include myself in.
It's very important to me not only that a brewery can make one amazing beer, but that they can make a ton of amazing beers. If those are simple styles, that's even more impressive, as it's harder to hide mistakes in "basic" beers. H&G is very good at this. Very few misses, and the vast majority of their beers are fantastic easy-drinkers. I'm excited to see where the Greenhouse IPA series goes in the near future.
Abw

4. Austin Beerworks (Austin), 55 points

Panel Comments
Despite limited distribution, ABW has created a large following in Texas, mostly through their highly sought-after Heavy Machinery rotating IPA series. This series, along with a solid regular selection, has Austin Beerworks climbing the Texas beer ladder, as well as mine.
Very consistent with their quality control. Never had any issues with their beers being infected or tasting off. They produce on of the best IPA's in Texas, Fire Eagle. The heavy machinery series is a very nice seasonal program that has produced solid beers.
Ambiance does bump ABW up a few notches. One of my favorite breweries to visit. Heavy Machinery is something I will always pick up when I see it. Another "throw a six pack in the cooler" brewery.
Real_ale

3. Real Ale Brewing Company (Blanco), 64 points

Panel Comments
Best and most consistent year round beers of any brewery in Texas. Their Brewers Cut and Mysterium Verum series continually produce some of the best limited release beers. Having award winning year round beers that are consistent, coupled with high level limited releases makes them #1 in my book.
Real Ale has been in the game for longer than most Texas brewries, and they have consistently put out a solid product. Fireman's 4 may have gotten them on the map, but it's their excellent seasonals and rare releases that really have elevated them as of late.
This brewery is doing everything right. Consistent, flavorful year-round offerings that are available across the entire state. Their Mysterium Verum series puts out winner after winner after winner. Some of my favorite sour beers have come from Real Ale in the last few years, and they are now collaborating with some of the most badass breweries in America (3 Floyds and Surly).
Real Ale has been consistent and impressive for 18 years, in that time failing to produce a bad beer. They consistently nail "basic" styles (a big plus for me) while producing the state's best sours in their Mysterium Verum series and creating interesting experiments in the Brewer's Cut series.
Saintarnold

2. Saint Arnold (Houston), 66 points

Panel Comments
There's a reason they're hitting 20 years - consistency. That said, the beer I completely adore and might be my one true love is Endeavour. When it was released in the Divine Reserve series, I was hooked. The other great one is Pumpkinator which, again, originated from the DR series. Runners up: the icon series, and looking forward to Boiler Room Berliner Weisse.
They are, hands down, the most consistent craft brewery in Texas. There is ALWAYS a year-round or seasonal Saint Arnold beer in my beer fridge. In addition to that, they are now expanding even more into bold new styles like Berliner Weisses and they are barrel-aging already fantastic base beers. Saint Arnold Brewery is the total package.
Saint Arnold is a good ole boy of breweries in Texas. It is often forgotten with the rise of many new exceptional breweries in Texas, but Saint Arnold has continually stepped up their game to stay more than relevant. The Bishop's Barrel series, Icon Series, and Divine Reserve Series always bring out the crowds and shows off the creativity that still exists here.
They have made consistently good beers for 20 years. Shout out 20th anniversary! They have a wide variety of styles for their year-round beers, and the special releases (Divine Reserve and Bishop's Barrel) are the bomb-diggity. Also love their community aspect and what they have done for H-town.
Jesterking

1. Jester King Brewery (Austin), 81 points

Panel Comments
Far and away the best brewery in Texas. These guys are pushing Texas craft beer and Texas craft breweries. Between their "everyday" beers and their sour barrel aged beers, these guys can't miss. However, the passion they have for beer truly sets them apart.
Truly one of a kind brewery. So many unique farmhouse beers coupled with the best limited release beers in Texas. They continually produce the best farmhouse and wild ales in Texas.
Most people put JK at #1 for a reason. Nearly every beer is fantastic and their passion for sours and farmhouse styles leads to beers that are easily the hottest on the market. However, in my opinion, they are not #1 because of consistency "issues" and the fact that you really have no idea what you are going to get when you try a JK beer for the first time. Most of the time you will be ecstatic, but there have been stinkers in the past.
Jester King's new foray into fruited sours makes them my number five with a bullet. If they continue on the trajectory they've placed themselves after leaving behind the past mistakes, they'll be higher on my list the next time I have to make it. Farmhouse & Sour means a lot more in Texas today than it did when they first replaced their (fantastic) Black Metal with a (less so) Farmhouse Black Metal. The national recognition JK has achieved is very deserved.

Now, one thing that I felt the Thrillist Top 10 list was lacking was showing how each panelist voted to see if other breweries were perhaps excluded. In order to give you a better idea about how each panelist felt about the breweries on their list, I've broken out each panelist's thoughts into a separate table. I'll note that I asked the panelists to keep their responses brief. Some listened, others rambled, but I can't blame those who elaborated at all (I did too). It's lengthy, sure, but there are some great thoughts about these breweries. I won't tell you which panelist is which... But you can certainly try to guess.

Brewery Comments Top Beers
1. Saint Arnold They are, hands down, the most consistent craft brewery in Texas. There is ALWAYS a year-round or seasonal Saint Arnold beer in my beer fridge. In addition to that, they are now expanding even more into bold new styles like Berliner Weisses and they are barrel-aging already fantastic base beers. Saint Arnold Brewery is the total package. Endeavour, Icon Blue Brown Porter
2. Jester King Most people put JK at #1 for a reason. Nearly every beer is fantastic and their passion for sours and farmhouse styles leads to beers that are easily the hottest on the market. However, in my opinion, they are not #1 because of consistency "issues" and the fact that you really have no idea what you are going to get when you try a JK beer for the first time. Most of the time you will be ecstatic, but there have been stinkers in the past. Das Wunderkind, Atrial Rubicite
3. Austin Beerworks It all starts out with 4 year-round beers that are all stand-outs in their style. Then you move to the Heavy Machinery series of IPA styles that are consistently far above average to stellar. They are also incredibly creative with one-off batches, barrel-aging and even a sour or two. I WANT AUSTIN BEERWORKS ON HOUSTON SHELVES. Heavy Machinery DIPA, Einhorn
4. Real Ale This brewery is doing everything right. Consistent, flavorful year-round offerings that are available across the entire state. Their Mysterium Verum series puts out winner after winner after winner. Some of my favorite sour beers have come from Real Ale in the last few years, and they are now collaborating with some of the most badass breweries in America (3 Floyds and Surly). Also, Real Ale is [expletive] METAL. \m/ Scots Gone Wild, Coffee Porter
5. Freetail Best brewpub in the entire state of Texas. When you go here for a bottle release you have access to a HUGE selection of well-crafted, flavorful beers that keep you busy all afternoon. Freetail also has some of the most fun, well-executed bottle releases that you will ever come across. Not to mention the BEER in those bottles is worth the drive from wherever you happen to be coming from. As soon as you visit you'll wish there was a Freetail brewpub in your town. Raspberry Ananke, La Muerta
6. Lone Pint Do you think Yellow Rose is the best IPA in Texas? Then this brewery might be higher on your list. Personally, I think it is fantastic, but I've had it served to me a few times when it wasn't what I remembered. So for consistency reasons alone I did not put Lone Pint in my Top 5. However, I have tried nearly every single beer that Lone Pint has brewed, and all of them have been delicious. They do IPAs especially well, so if you are craving hops, this brewery will never do you wrong. They have some CRAZY [EXPLETIVE] BEER NAMES. (Po-Cha-Na-Quar-Hip for example) Yellow Rose, Knecht Ruprecht
7. Lakewood First Dallas brewery on the list, but that's not because I hate Dallas. I DO hate Dallas, but I love this brewery. Their Legendary Series is, well, not legendary yet but very good. Their weekend tours are always a blast, and I just have one more thing to say about Lakewood Brewing...Bourbon Barrel Aged Temptress. *drops mic* BBA Temptress, Goatman India Black Lager
8. Hops & Grain They started off small by releasing two canned beers (Alt-eration and Pale Dog) that were simple, subtle and absolutely delicious. The next beer I tried from them blew me out of the water, and was probably my favorite beer of the 2013 summer. It's a generously hopped lager called The One They Call Zoe, and if you don't have it with you poolside this summer, well frankly, we can't be best friends. Greenhouse IPA, The One They Call Zoe
9. Live Oak Listen, when you are at a bar and you don't know what draft beer to order you simply need to start with a beer from Live Oak Brewing. This is even more imperative if you appreciate traditional German styles of beer. The ONLY reason this brewery isn't higher on my list is that they are draft only. Yes, I'm taking away points because I can't stock my entire fridge with Live Oak HefeWeizen. HefeWeizen, Primus
10. Karbach I've bracketed my Top 10 Best Breweries in TX list with the two biggest ballers in Houston. Karbach aggressively moved into pretty much every Houston bar a few years ago with fantastic year-round offerings. They quickly expanded to include a barrel-aging program that has had some big hits (but also some unfortunate misses). All in all, Karbach has creative beers as well as consistent year-round brews that always seem to find a spot in my fridge. Hellfighter, Hop Delusion

Brewery Comments Top Beers
1. Jester King Far and away the best brewery in Texas. These guys are pushing Texas craft beer and Texas craft breweries. Between their "everyday" beers and their sour barrel aged beers, these guys can't miss. However, the passion they have for beer truly sets them apart. RU-55, Aurelian Lure
2. Austin Beerworks Ambiance does bump ABW up a few notches. One of my favorite breweries to visit. Heavy Machinery is something I will always pick up when I see it. Another "throw a six pack in the cooler" brewery. Heavy Machinery DIPA, Sputnik
3. Live Oak I'll say it now and I'll say it again... Live Oak produces beers that are great representations of their style. No barrel aged or over hopped beers here, just solid "traditional" beers. Hefeweizen, Big Bark Amber
4. Hops & Grain Zoe is the beer that is most consistently in my fridge. The Greenhouse Series is phenomenal as well. 12 months of different hops? Yes Please! Zoe, Greenhouse IPA
5. (512) Another brewery that just puts out constantly solid beers. Wish they bottled more, but the Barrel Aged Double Pecan Porter is phenomenal. Regular Pecan Porter is always a "go to". Pecan Porter, Double Pecan Porter
6. Karbach I love the FUN series line. Weekend Warrior would be my "go to" if Karbach distributed in Austin (I'm hoping soon). Cherries of Fire, Weekend Warrior
7. Adelberts Adelberts just doesn't get enough love. Tripel B just recently won a Tripel tasting I hosted. Nice guys who make some great Belgian beers (and have some amazing stories behind their beer). Black Rhino, Tripel B
8. Real Ale See Southern Star for a great description of Real Ale. I found myself purchasing more Real Ale than any other Texas brewery. Everything they make is solid. Hans Pils, Coffee Porter
9. Saint Arnold My texas "staple". 6 packs are hit and miss, but most everything in a bomber has been delicious. Endeavour, Pumpkinator
10. Southern Star Love southern star in the summer. Can always through a 6 pack of Bombshell Blonde and the cooler and head out to the pool. Bombshell Blonde, Black Crack

Brewery Comments Top Beers
1. Real Ale Best and most consistent year round beers of any brewery in Texas. Their Brewers Cut and Mysterium Verum series continually produce some of the best limited release beers. Having award winning year round beers that are consistent, coupled with high level limited releases makes them #1 in my book. Lost Gold IPA, Hans Pils
2. Jester King Truly one of a kind brewery. So many unique farmhouse beers coupled with the best limited release beers in Texas. They continually produce the best farmhouse and wild ales in Texas. Ol' Oi, Atrial Rubicite
3. Austin Beerworks Very consistent with their quality control. Never had any issues with their beers being infected or tasting off. They produce on of the best IPA's in Texas, Fire Eagle. The heavy machinery series is a very nice seasonal program that has produced solid beers. Fire Eagle, Pearl Snap
4. Buffalo Bayou Relatively small but impressive Houston brewery. Most of their beers are high in ABV (>7%) and they have really taken off in more experimental beers recently. Couple that with some fantastic seasonal releases and one of the best Imperial IPA's in Houston and you have a great brewery. More Cowbell, Buffalo Sunset
5. Saint Arnold Oldest brewery in Houston, has a solid array of year round beers. Good beers for people just getting into craft beer as well as the more experienced drinker. Big fan of the limited release series Icon, and BB. Endeavour, Pumpkinator
6. Freetail Very good barrel aging program. Very unique array of beers. More sessionable. La Muerta, Ananke
7. Lone Pint Small brewery that is very hop forward. Does a good job of hop utilization and finding new ways to mix and match hops in beers. Has a very nice single hop series that they do. Yellow Rose, Zythophile El Dorado
8. Hops & Grain Another great Austin brewery. They have done a great job creating some interesting unique hoppy lagers, and have one of the best Alt beers i've had. Alteration, Zoe
9. Lakewood Small brewery that has produced some very solid beers. Recently trying to incorporate more seasonall and limited release beers with good success. Temptress, Hop Trapp
10. Live Oak Unfortunately not bottling anything yet but this small Austin brewery is the model of consistency. They continually produce high quality beers on tap all over the state. Their hefeweizen is legendary. Hefeweizen, Primus

Brewery Comments Top Beers
1. Austin Beerworks Because I'm a hop head, duh! Also enjoy that they are in cans. Tasty, tasty, cans. Fire Eagle, Peacemaker
2. Saint Arnold They have made consistently good beers for 20 years. Shout out 20th anniversary! They have a wide variety of styles for their year-round beers, and the special releases (Divine Reserve and Bishop's Barrel) are the bomb-diggity. Also love their community aspect and what they have done for H-town. Endeavour, Santo, BB2B
3. Jester King Love Jester King because it is such a unique brewery in Texas. Fun bottles, interesting beers. I'm becoming more of a sour fan and have enjoyed trying their different beers. And I hear the brewery is amazing even though I haven't been able to make it out there yet. :( Next on my list to visit. Black Metal, Boxer's Revenge
4. Freetail When living in San Antonio I got to visit this brewpub multiple times and love it! They continuously come out with great beers and due to the fact that they are a brewpub they can brew smaller batches and come out with multiple different styles. Their beers are always changing! La Muerta, Ugly Ollie Stout
5. Hops & Grain I like the hops and grains they use. Quality hops. And quality grains. Quality beers. Seriously, though, The One They Call Zoe is a perfect beer for summer and their Greenhouse Line has a ton of potential. Zoe, Alteration
6. Lone Pint I have been extremely impressed by Lone Pint so far. Yellow Rose is for sure my go to beer with them and I can't get enough of it! They are in my opinion "rookie of the year" this year. I'm excited to see what else they have coming up! Yellow Rose, Zythophile El Dorado
7. Real Ale Real ale makes so many freaking beers.. especially with their Brewers Cut series. However they are fun to try. Firemans #4 is obv a classic and one of the beers that introduced me to craft beer. So thanks, Real Ale. Lost Gold, 4-Squared
8. Revolver First off, I like their logo. So +10 for that. Big fan of their Blood & Honey and they make good, easy to drink beers. Can't wait to crack some open this summer, yo. Blood & Honey
9. Karbach Karbach quickly made a name for themselves in Houston and in Texas. They exploded onto the scene by making a number of good, quality beers and some awesome seasonals like Hop Delusion. I am curious to see how their big planned expansion plays out. Hop Delusion, Weekend Warrior
10. Blackwater Draw Say whaaaa? Blackwater Draw making into my top 10? Aren't there other, bigger, well-known Texas Breweries out there that I'm forgetting? Psh. Nah. Blackwater Draw earned it in my personal, and professional opinion. Not only do they make great, fun, beers. They have amazing food. Oh, we aren't voting on that? Oh well. It's good. The environment is fun and a great place to spend a Sunday Funday. Contract Killer, SMaSH Mosaic

Brewery Comments Top Beers
1. Jester King There is not much that I can say that hasn't already been said. Jester King continues on their quest to be not only the best in Texas, but one of the best period. Atrial Rubicite, RU-55
2. Saint Arnold Set aside Saint Arnold's history and relevance to the average beer drinker's craft beer conversion. The recent moves made by the brewery have earned them a true place near, if not at, the top of this list. Endeavour, Pumpkinator
3. Real Ale Nothing "jayvee" here. Real Ale celebrates a great regular lineup, surrounded by incredible limited releases such as their Mysterium Verum and Brewer's Cut selections. They produce a line of beers that can appease all levels of drinkers. 4-Squared, Benedictum
4. Lone Pint Another fast-riser, Lone Pint's success has been based mostly on one beer. And while it's greatness is enough to carry them regardless of their other selections, I feel their diversity and general quality has earned them a seat high on this list. I am excited by their potential, and look forward to their future. Yellow Rose, Gentlemen's Relish
5. Live Oak In a world of big, bold, bitter, and barrel-aged beers, a brewery that focuses on German standards can often go overlooked. But when said brewer creates beers that rival, if not surpass, the best in Germany it is worth acknowledging and, of course, enjoying. Live Oak produces beers that any palate can appreciate; no matter how young or refined. Hefeweizen, Primus
6. Freetail Maintaining one of the best line of sour beers in Texas, along with a great rotating selection of mixed styles and limited release specialties, Freetail might deserve even more respect than this position. But for my personal preferences, at this time, and though I will continue to debate it with myself, this is where I feel they rank right now. Hopothesis G, Ananke
7. Hops & Grain A fast-rising star in the Texas beer scene, H & G has already cemented themselves as one of the bolder, more ambitious breweries around. Able to produce quality both in "simple" styles, and in their innovative bolder brews, they have garnered a quick and loyal following, which of course I include myself in. Zoe, Greenhouse IPA
8. Austin Beerworks Despite limited distribution, ABW has created a large following in Texas, mostly through their highly sought-after Heavy Machinery rotating IPA series. This series, along with a solid regular selection, has Austin Beerworks climbing the Texas beer ladder, as well as mine. Heavy Machinery DIPA, Heavy Machinery Half IPA
9. Karbach A lot of debate surrounds Karbach. While I admit they have suffered as many flops as they have successes (if not more), the truly great beers they have produced have earned them a spot of recognition as one the best in Texas. I expect they will continue to have their ups-and-downs. But, I believe/hope patience will work out the kinks, and give us a great brewery to be proud of. Hop Delusion, Mother in Lager
10. Lakewood For me personally, two brews have stood out so much from the Lakewood selection that the brewery earned a spot based on my experience with these two beers alone. Temptress and Goatman have shown the capabilities of this up-and-coming brewery. I suspect only further greatness to follow. Temptress, Goatman

Brewery Comments Top Beers
1. Jester King Undoubtedly the number one brewery on the list because of what they do. The wild fermentation and sour barrel aging are such risky proposals that many breweries stray away from, but Jester King presses forward with them. It also helps that they pull them off to an incredible degree. It's their quality, creativity, and consistency that puts them number 1 in my book. Atrial Rubicite, Ol' Oi
2. Lakewood This is a brewery that I expect will only take off in the next year or two as their distribution grows. The brewmaster has Belgian lines and brews everything to an incredibly high quality. Every beer here is very full bodied, balanced, and smooth. The best thing about Lakewood is that their year round beers are all top of the line and their legendary series lives up to its name. Temptress, Goatman
3. Real Ale Real Ale has been in the game for longer than most Texas brewries, and they have consistently put out a solid product. Fireman's 4 may have gotten them on the map, but it's their excellent seasonals and rare releases that really have elevated them as of late. Benedictum, Coffee Porter
4. Hops & Grain A relatively new Austin brewery that simply puts out phenomenal beers. Every beer I have tasted there is crisp, refreshing, and has a bold flavor profile. The brewery is a must visit where they sample small tasting of different concoctions they brew up on the side. Alteration, Zoe
5. Peticolas Peticolas is still a relatively new brewery on Dallas that not everyone may have heard of. They do not bottle or can anything at this moment, so the distribution is mainly DFW. If you can get your hands on these beers though, do yourself a favor and try all of them. Michael Peticolas is a genius at brewing big, bold-flavored beers that stay on your mind long after the last sip. Velvet Hammer, Wintervention
6. Saint Arnold Saint Arnold is a good ole boy of breweries in Texas. It is often forgotten with the rise of many new exceptional breweries in Texas, but Saint Arnold has continually stepped up their game to stay more than relevant. The Bishop's Barrel series, Icon Series, and Divine Reserve Series always bring out the crowds and shows off the creativity that still exists here. Pumpkinator, Santo
7. Karbach Karbach is the popular choice here as they have experienced some of the most rapid growth over the last year or two, but it is well deserved with the quality beers they produce. While I think that only about half of their year round beers are top notch, their seasonals push them over the top. Rodeo Clown, Barn Burner
8. Austin Beerworks Austin Beerworks has grown incredibly fast as of late with their signature cans. They are well deserving of the growth though as the quality of their beers are top notch and they are only continuing to do more. They will rise up this list swiftly in the near future. Black Thunder, Pearl Snap
9. Live Oak Live Oak sets themselves apart with their unique brewing process that includes open fermentation, and a decoction mash. Rich flavorful beers headline their offerings, and they seem to get overlooked until their beer is tasted creating an instant fan. Primus, Hefeweizen
10. Rahr & Sons Rahr & Sons is the oldest DFW brewery with a long family history in the brewing and malting business. They make solid year round beers and even better seasonal beers. They may have a few average beers, but the many exceptional beers that they brew push them onto this list as they continue to pump out consistent quality. A few more creative styles could push them up a few spots on this lsit. BB Winter Warmer, Iron Thistle

Brewery Comments Top Beers
1. Jester King Pretty much love them all. Pros: unique, wild approach. I always learn something when i drink their beers. Cons: too many limited releases, availability and pricing. Then again, that's a beer nerd problem, wanting to try it all.
2. Saint Arnold There's a reason they're hitting 20 years - consistency. That said, the beer I completely adore and might be my one true love is Endeavour. When it was released in the Divine Reserve series, I was hooked. The other great one is Pumpkinator which, again, originated from the DR series. Runners up: the icon series, and looking forward to Boiler Room Berliner Weisse. Cons: the bar-restaurant only distro for the Bishop's Barrel series. If they want it that exclusive, sell it only at the brewery. I hate chasing beer and relying on establishment's pricing whims & buying restrictions. Endeavour, Pumpkinator
3. Lone Pint These guys are the ones to watch locally and statewide. I don't know of anyone else out there that is constantly making SMaSH styles, and honestly Yellow Rose is absolutely fantastic. If I were trapped on a desert island, an endless keg of yellow rose would make things all better. Their Zythophile El Dorado is quite lovely too. Once they start bottling, I can only imagine what will happen to their business. Cons: no bottles yet. Yellow Rose, Zythophile El Dorado
4. Karbach Hop Delusion, Octoberfest & Mother in Lager. All very different styles, seasonal, yet extremely sessionable (except for Hop Delusion. So. Not. Sessionable.) Cons: their FUN series is inconsistent, overpriced. Hop Delusion
5. Austin Beerworks Pearl snap, Black Thunder, Fire Eagle IPA. All great. Not a fan of Peacemaker whatsoever, though. Pros: cans. Cons: would love to see better distribution in Houston.
6. Buffalo Bayou I always buy multiple bottles of their Gingerbread Stout, Figaro is delicious, and Buffalo Sunset is also fantastic. I love that they keep trying out different wit styles (even though I am not a wit person.) Cons: not as easily available in the suburbs but worth driving into Houston to find. Gingerbread Stout
7. Real Ale The sleeper because they're bringing more to the table recently. Hans Pils, 4-Squared, Coffee Porter, and Devil's Backbone are all worthy. I use their Phoenixx Double ESB in my salted beer caramels. Cons: the brewers cut series, not sold on it at all. Coffee Porter, 4-Squared
8. Hops & Grain Zoe is a personal favorite, year-round beer for me. The greenhouse IPA series is intriguing. Pros: everything. These guys are ones to watch as well. Cons: wish they had better distribution in Houston. Zoe
9. Lakewood Have you even had Temptress? There's a reason it's named that. Can't stop, won't stop. A favorite. Temptress
10. Tie - (512), Live Oak Cons: not bottled, and not as available in Houston area as i'd like to see. My picks: 512's Pecan Porter, Live Oak's Hefeweizen. Pecan Porter, Hefeweizen

Brewery Comments Top Beers
1. Real Ale Real Ale has been consistent and impressive for 18 years, in that time failing to produce a bad beer. They consistently nail "basic" styles (a big plus for me) while producing the state's best sours in their Mysterium Verum series and creating interesting experiments in the Brewer's Cut series. Scots Gone Wild, 4-Squared
2. Saint Arnold It was really hard to choose the #1 spot between RA & SA, and I'd entertain the opposite ranking. Everything I said about Real Ale, I can say about Saint Arnold, except change "18 years" to "20 years." They are the paragon of consistency, do not make bad beers, and their experimentation in the realm of Divine Reserve, Icon, and Bishop's Barrel has been marvelous. BB2, Icon Red Bohemian Pils
3. (512) Another brewery that does not make a bad beer. (512) makes probably the best porter in the state, and their anniversary beers are among my favorites in their styles. Like Real Ale, they aren't super flashy, and so I think they get overlooked often. Hype doesn't follow taste though, and (512) consistently puts out fantastic beers. Pecan Porter, THREE
4. Live Oak Again, hard to choose between this and (512) for the #3 spot, so again, I'd be okay with them switching around. Live Oak is singularly the best German brewery in America. There is no question about that. Even if you're not into traditional German styles, you have to admit that these are incredibly impressive. Best in class Hefeweizen, Pilsner, Weizenbock, and even a great Barleywine. Hard not to love these guys. Hefeweizen, Old Tree Hugger Barelywine
5. Jester King Jester King's new foray into fruited sours makes them my number five with a bullet. If they continue on the trajectory they've placed themselves after leaving behind the past mistakes, they'll be higher on my list the next time I have to make it. Farmhouse & Sour means a lot more in Texas today than it did when they first replaced their (fantastic) Black Metal with a (less so) Farmhouse Black Metal. The national recognition JK has achieved is very deserved. Atrial Rubicite, Le Petit Prince
6. Hops & Grain It's very important to me not only that a brewery can make one amazing beer, but that they can make a ton of amazing beers. If those are simple styles, that's even more impressive, as it's harder to hide mistakes in "basic" beers. H&G is very good at this. Very few misses, and the vast majority of their beers are fantastic easy-drinkers. I'm excited to see where the Greenhouse IPA series goes in the near future. Zoe, Greenhouse IPA (Jan '14)
7. Freetail Freetail has a lot of hype, and for some people, that's a bad thing. But I say most of it is deserved. Their beers, especially in the recent two years, have been incredibly complex and very impressive. Easily the state's best (traditional) brewpub, and also rising fast on this list. Peche'cus, La Muerta
8. Austin Beerworks ABW has managed in a short time to create some fantastic beers, a great IPA series, and only a few misses. Unfortunately, I think their misses were in the most important styles, those basic ones that can't hide mistakes. Nonetheless, an amazing brewery and the first one to bring us a truly great Berliner Weisse. Einhorn, Heavy Machinery Half IPA
9. Lone Pint It might be a bit early to put them on this list, as they're very young, but I believe they are currently producing the best single beer in Texas (Yellow Rose), and it would be blasphemy to leave them off the list. I can't conscionably put them higher though, as unfortunately the rest of their beers fall far short of where YR is. That's not to say they're bad - I would say I've only had two misses from them - but they're not on the level of excellence that YR is. I can't wait to see what the future brings though, as every new offering is fantastic. Yellow Rose, Zythophile El Dorado
10. Lakewood Very similar to Lone Pint in that they produce one fantastic beer (Temptress) and a ton of variations thereof. There's somewhat of a dearth of great milk stouts in this state, and Lakewood solves this problem with a fantastic one. Temptress, BB Temptress

Brewery Comments Top Beers
1. Real Ale I went back and forth on this top spot about 10 different times, but finally landed on Real Ale. Is it possible to be both the best and most underrated brewery in Texas? These guys roll out an excellent line of year-round beers - Lost Gold IPA, Hans Pils, Devil's Backbone to name a few - and then seasonals like their Coffee Porter and virtually the entire Mysterium Verum series push them over the top. Even their new Hefeweizen is excellent. Benedictum, 4-Squared
2. Jester King I realize that these guys have had some consistency and quality issues in the past. I also realize that they've had a few misses. But the quality of the beers they've released in the next 6-9 months plus their passion for beer, uniqueness and commitment to the farmhouse style made me close to putting them as my top choice. Call it hype if you want, but recent releases indicate that maybe the hype is deserved. Atrial Rubicite, RU-55
3. Lone Pint Is this probably too high of a spot for what is still a fairly new brewery right now? It might be, but when you make what I consider to be the best beer made in Texas right now (Yellow Rose), along with some other quite solid offerings, you end up near the top of my list. While not on the Yellow Rose level, I still enjoy 667, Tornado Shark, and Gentlemen's Relish, and their SMaSH series is very exciting going forward. Yellow Rose, Zythophile El Dorado
4. Saint Arnold I'll be completely honest - I've been down on Saint Arnold in the past, but my opinion has changed recently and continues to be on an upwards trajectory. I came close to having them in one of my top 2 spots, simply because the Icon series they have done has been tremendous and the Bishop's Barrel beers have also been excellent. I would undoubtedly have them higher if not for the fact that I rarely find myself drinking beers from their regular year-round lineup. Icon Gold Biere de Saison, BB6
5. Hops & Grain Hops & Grain is still a relative youngster on the Texas beer scene, but they have gotten off to an extremely strong start. Their brewery is a regular stop when I'm in Austin, as they almost always have some great small-batch beers in their taproom. A French Oak Cabernet Barrel Aged version of Pale Dog, for example, was a standout from one of my recent trips there. Zoe, Greenhouse IPA
6. Austin Beerworks I finally made it to the ABW brewery in Austin a few months back, and I can safely say that I'd spend a lot of time there if I were an Austin resident. Their Fire Eagle IPA and Pearl Snap Pils were what initially drew me to them, but then Einhorn (their Berliner Weisse) and their entire Heavy Machinery series got me totally hooked. I have a feeling they'll move up this list before long. Heavy Machinery Half IPA, Einhorn
7. Live Oak Admittedly, Live Oak would probably be higher for me if they bottled their beers. Is that fair to hold against them? Probably not, but alas, bias is bias. There's no denying that their Hefeweizen is one of the best made beers of the style maybe anywhere. Primus is a great Weizenbock and their Pilz is very good as well. Maybe the most true-to-style beers of any Texas brewery. Hefeweizen, Primus
8. Freetail Oh, Freetail, if only you would distribute your delicious beers beyond the realm of your awesome brewpub. Freetail is the best brewpub that I've been to in Texas, and they always have a variety of great - and often unique - beers on tap. Some of their bottle release beers (Ananke, La Muerta) have definitely been highlights. Ananke, Salado Kriek
9. Lakewood I swear, I don't hold it against Lakewood that they're from Dallas. Okay, maybe a little. Admittedly, I've really only had a few of their beers but the Temptress varietals I have had - particularly the Bourbon Barrel Temptress - have been so good that they earn Lakewood a spot here. There aren't enough good Texas-brewed milk stouts, and Lakewood certainly is trying to make up for that. BB Temptress, Temptress
10. (512) This is another case of a brewery that would probably be higher on my list if they bottled their beers. 512's IPA is one that I have no problem ordering if I'm waiting to decide on something else at a bar. Pecan Porter is excellent, and obviously as is the Double Pecan Porter. I'll admit to probably bypassing 512 more often than I should, because they really do make some great beers. Pecan Porter, IPA

The Panelists

A big thank you to everyone who participated for taking the time to contribute! Your time and efforts are much appreciated. If you're at all interested in beer, any of these folks who are on Twitter are well worth a follow. Listed in alphabetical order by first name.

Clayton Messinger (Dallas) - DallasAggie2012 on TexAgs

Jacob Hoffman (Austin) - jah003 on TexAgs

Jason Zimmermann (Houston) - @jzimmermann11 on Twitter

Jeff Fountain (Houston) - @astrosguy on Twitter

Lauren Ward (Houston) - @SaintArnoldGal on Twitter

Leanna Fossler (The Woodlands) - @that1inthegroup on Twitter

Nathan Miller (Houston) - @nathanmmiller on Twitter

Nick Adams (Houston) - @SaintNick11 on Twitter

Tim Spies (Tomball) - @TimSpies on Twitter

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