Do you like spontaneity? I like to believe I do and I certainly don’t mind the occasional spur- of- the- moment response to external stimuli. When I visit new breweries and brewpubs, however, I usually have a plan of action in place with a window of time set aside to make sure I have ample opportunity to experience a brewing establishment to the fullest. But sometimes, even the most meticulously laid plans are tossed aside, often with surprisingly positive results. Such was the case when I visited Pinthouse Pizza, an Austin, Texas brewpub with locations at 4729 Burnet Road and 4236 S. Lamar Street.
Pizza and Brewing
I visited the Pinthouse Pizza Burnet Road location on a Saturday evening with my wife and kids. Unsure where to stop for dinner, we pulled out our phones and checked different apps. Since the kids were part of the evening plans, we knew that the place we visited had to have food that would satisfy their basic yet finicky senses. Pizza seemed like an obvious choice and after a few adjustments to the gps, we arrived at Pinthouse Pizza, ready for food and brew.
Pinthouse Pizza features picnic table style seating and most of the tables are adjacent to each other, making it perfect for those times when you don’t mind rubbing elbows with others and don’t mind the possibility of making new friends. It was quite crowded when I visited and also quite loud. A quick glance around the room revealed the brewhouse, the drink bar, and the ordering bar. Knowing what my wife likes to drink, I headed immediately to the bar to get her a glass of hefeweizen and a flight sampler of house beer for myself.
For food, Pinthouse Pizza is set up a little differently from most restaurants. The wait staff does not visit your table for ordering purposes. Instead, customers order at the counter and then take a number. When the food is ready, they bring it to your table. We started off our dining adventure with a Das Pretzel with beer cheese dipping sauce and an order of House Nachos. We added a pizza to the mix and shared the assorted goodies among the four of us, commenting on the quality as we progressed from pretzel to nachos to pizza, and back again.
Now for the Beer
Pinthouse Pizza brews and serves its own beers plus they serve a large number of competitor’s beers from the local Austin area and beyond. I sampled five of Pinthouse Pizza’s own brews when I visited. Here is a listing of what I tried, in alphabetical order by name, followed by my Untappd rating on a five point scale:
- Bearded Seal, Irish Stout, 4
- Hop Engine, American Pale Ale, 4.25
- Man O’ War IPA, 4
- Old Begula, Red Ale, 3
- Port-Kins’, Porter, 4.25
Average Overall Rating: 3.9
If I had to select a favorite, I would go with the porter. It is well- made, with chocolate and bitter coffee notes, and a good representation of the style. I liked the Hop Engine American Pale Ale very much as well.
Austin’s Pinthouse Pizza aims the spotlight on one of America’s most popular food/beverage pairings. Pizza and beer go together like few other food and drink combinations and it makes sense that an establishment that brews its own quality beer would also try its hand at producing and serving top- notch pizza pie. Pinthouse Pizza does exactly that, with award winning quality that shows with each bite and each sip.
Pinthouse Pizza puts its heart and soul into its pizza and beer. I started off my visit with a flight of house beers and liked what I tried. I was quite possibly even more impressed with the food. The pretzel, chicken nachos, and pizza were all exceptional and, as expected, they matched up decidedly well with the beer. We were all quite famished when we walked into Pinthouse Pizza and, considering the overflow crowd, we were a little concerned about the wait time for service. Much to our pleasant surprise, the food was brought to our table quickly. The pretzel was delivered less than three minutes after ordering and the nachos and pizza showed up about three and seven minutes later, respectively. With such a large crowd present, I was quite impressed that the kitchen was able to operate with such a high degree of efficiency.
I could tell quickly that Pinthouse Pizza is a popular place among locals. Guests seat themselves and even though it was crowded, we found a place at one of the tables in a matter of minutes. The beer hall/picnic table style seating took us by surprise, but we are a more social family than most and thus didn’t mind. However, one needs to keep in mind that Pinthouse Pizza isn’t necessarily a good place to dine if you value your privacy. The majority of the picnic tables are adjacent to each other, like one would find in a school cafeteria. It’s a communal type of arrangement and it may not be to everyone’s liking.
I enjoyed the thin crust style pizza served at Pinthouse Pizza and the rest of the family felt the same way. My kids decided to go with the ‘build your own’ option and chose a pizza with the basic pepperoni and sausage. I would have preferred more toppings, but my kids are ‘tweens and are still a little reluctant to try new things. Looking at the pizzas on the menu, however, I really wish we had ordered more. Specialty pizzas like Honey Pear, The Armadillo, and Shroomin’ Goat sound incredible and ensure that I will be returning to Pinthouse Pizza again.
Austin, Texas has a thriving craft beer scene and I have already visited multiple breweries and brewpubs around the Austin area. The other beer adventures were planned in advance and there is something to be said for being organized and following a course of action. But there is also something to be said for spontaneous response and my visit to Pinthouse Pizza shows that impromptu reactions can pay off handsomely in the end. Pay a visit to Pinthouse Pizza the next time you’re in Austin, Texas. And tell them Great Beer Now sent you.