November 2017 – October 2018
T’was a dark and stormy night when a plucky beer nerd and her fearless husband embarked upon a quest wrought with danger in search of the Bermuda Triangle that is Austin’s Old Bastrop Highway, home of the elusive Hi Sign Brewing.
Seriously, getting to Hi Sign is a Thing. Road works are a menace all over ATX, but nowhere more so than the already spaghetti-like junction upon which Hi Sign has made its home. I’m from Swindon, and this thing makes the Magic Roundabout look like a piece of cake. A 12 minute drive morphed into a full 40 minutes in the pouring rain, although we were able to take some small comfort from the fact that, having discussed this with locals, nobody finds this easy. Do not, however, be deterred (although do pick a day with decent weather). Once you actually get there, Hi Sign has a pretty cool taproom.
Open front and back, the Hi Sign aesthetic is simple but stylish. The tables are varnished live edge wood slabs and there’s an outside deck and a garden with hammocks, as well as wall art by cool local artist Truth (aka Mike Johnston). Over our three visits we’ve sampled their full core range as well as a good selection of seasonals – flights come in fours, not the cheapest at $12 but in for a penny, in for a pound! Of Hi Sign’s core beers, which are available in cans to go and around the city, my favourite is the Violet the Blueberry Blonde which tastes, rather awesomely, of Parma Violets. Of Hi Sign’s many IPAs, the juicy, hazy Encino Man and the bold, punchy Astronaut DIPA are my top picks, although their recent collaboration with ATX craft beer bar Bangers, Lucifer’s Fake News makes a nice bitter-grapefruit contrast. They also do barrel-aged well – both the Barleywine and St Simon Doppelbock came out very nicely indeed. With 12 taps on the go there’s plenty of choice, although rotation isn’t as frequent as some other ATX breweries.
Our experience of Hi Sign has been as a relatively quiet taproom, but we’ve not visited on a weekend evening, or been to any events here. That said, it’s a friendly enough place, local to an extent, but very much still Austin. They’re open til 10pm Wednesday though Saturday and til 8pm on Sundays. Just remember to follow the orange detour signs on the 71!