To friends, it’s no secret that Blue Owl is a favorite Austin brewery of mine. I love a good sour, and Blue Owl Brewery specializes in unique and wonderful sour beers. You might think an entire brewery devoted to only sours would get boring, but they produce an impressive range of sour-mashed drafts from IPAs to Stouts.
Blue Owl is located on East Caesar Chavez street – a great location in a quirky area and not far from some other favorite Austin breweries (Lazarus, for instance). You could easily make this one stop on a mini East Austin brewery tour – here is a list of breweries open during COVID and sorted by area to help.
6.1% | Sour Stout with Cherry, Peppermint, and Madagascar Vanilla
5.0 out of 5.0 stars
Blue Owl knocked it out of the park with this really unusual Christmas seasonal! As if a sour stour weren’t unique enough, the addition of cherry and peppermint makes this really memorable. Dark and a little creamy, this stout smells like baked cherries. The first flavor that hits you is almost like a peppermint mocha, and the tart cherry hits next. Roasty chocolate undertones throughout. Overall, very complex and absolutely delightful!
If you can’t make it to Blue Owl by Christmas you might miss this particular release, but don’t worry! The base beer for this, the Professor Black (sour stout with cherry) is more consistently available.
please note: I have since learned that Professor Black contains lactose (milk sugar), which means the Professor Peppermint probably does, too. I assumed otherwise since milk sugar is labelled in other beers on their menu but not on this one. This is a lesson to always ask!
9.3% ABV | Sour Wee Heavy with Peat Malt
4.5 out of 5.0 stars
This scotch-inspired draft is a deep reddish brown and just a little foamy. The peat is really noticeable in both scent and flavor. The brininess of the peat combined with the tartness of the sour mash makes for a complex and warming flavor that reminds me slightly of roasted olives. Hints of tobacco. I’m not a big scotch drinker (I prefer bourbon or rye), but I still found this really delicious!
9% ABV | Sour Imperial Oatmeal Stout
5.0 out of 5.0 stars
This Admiral Gravitas stands out as just a really solid beer. Even without any of the interesting flavor additions Blue Owl is so good at, this is both unique and absolutely delicious. Who has ever heard of a sour oatmeal stout? But it works! Splendidly dark, foamy, and creamy with a malty oat scent. The flavor is pleasantly bitter and malty. The oats come through and the sourness tastes like a hint of black cherry. Luxurious and delightful. Please Blue Owl, make this one a year-round staple!
Little Gose Salty Dog
3.4% | Gose with Grapefruit and Juniper Berries
3.5 out of 5.0 stars
This lighter offering is golden and slightly hazy with a subtle pineapple scent. Tart, light, and not too sweet with a subtle hint of juniper. The grapefruit comes through, but the grapefruit flavor is less strong than you would have in an IPA (that also means less bitter, though). It’s a solid and pleasant beer, but I’m not raving about it like some of their others. And, call me shallow, but I have a hard time loving a beer under 4% ABV.
Although Blue Owl doesn’t sell food, you will not be short of delicious and vegan options within walking distance! Here are a few of my favorites nearby.
Lou’s – for casual outdoor dining. Ask them to make the falafel burger vegan.
Oseyo – upscale Korean with a killer outdoor area. Lots of veg options.
Juniper – fancy date night Italian. Ask for a vegan menu.
Counter Culture – entirely plant-based cafe, across the street from Blue Owl
The Vegan Nom – a taco foodtruck right around the corner!
This tasting room / patio is small but cozy! The brewery opens to the outdoor area with garage doors that create a seamless indoor/outdoor flow. And the patio itself may be right off the Caesar Chavez sidewalk, but the dividing fence has enough plants growing on and around it that the space really does seem removed.
This is a great place to come with a date or a small group of friends, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a large group.
Blue Owl is also doing a great job adapting to COVID! To do a tasting right now, you’ll need to buy one of their branded glasses (or a flight set) which includes 4 fills. The first fill will be served in your new glass, while the remaining three will be given to you in a can (if they come in one) or in a plastic cup.
Taking a friend out for drinks and buying them the glass or flight set could make a great holiday present! I always love an experience as a present, and breweries really need the support this year. (And check out these other gift ideas for beer lovers!)
As noted above, in order to do a tasting at Blue Owl right now you’ll need to buy one of their branded glasses (or a flight set) and it will come with 4 beer fills. There are different sizes available (8, 12, 16oz) and all for reasonable prices.
I bought a 16oz glass for $21. In my opinion, that is an extremely good price! Remember, that included both the glass and 4 full glasses of beer. If you count the glass as $5 (really cheap for a nice branded glass), that makes each beer $4. For an Austin brewery or any craft beer, that’s really a steal.
More from Blue Owl
Since Blue Owl is one of my favorite local Austin breweries, I buy a lot of their beer! I only had the four above on my last brewery visit, and I chose seasonals that I can’t always get in stores. Below are some of my constant favorites – my fridge is usually stocked with at least a few of these.
- Spirit Animal
- Van Dayum!
- Little Boss
- Cool and the Gang (Earl Grey Tea in a sour – this one is so cool!)
- Jubilberry (seasonal)
- Plum de Plume (seasonal)
You can often find 6-packs of these at grocery stores if you need a 100% COVID-safe way to try Blue Owl!