Texas Craft Brewers Festival was a fun way to taste craft beers from all over Texas.
Vodka and Sprite. That used to be my alcoholic drink of choice. In my usual ‘late bloomer’ fashion, I started drinking later than most of my college friends and beer was never my first choice. Beer, the watery amber liquid that smelled and tasted unpleasant, had one job and that was to fill red solo cups for beer pong or flip cup.
Fast forward to post-college and my discovery of craft breweries in Austin. I’ll admit, I was first attracted by the craft and the passion of the brewers, not the taste of beer, though it was different and much better than the first beers I had tasted in my life. I eventually found appreciation for the flavor of beer after visits and tastings at brewery after brewery. In fact, my go-to, favorite beers have shifted from light lagers to hoppy and smooth IPAs.
The past couple of years have propelled my love of craft beer to new heights. It was my first time attending the Texas Craft Brewers Festival but I know it won’t be the last! The weather was great, though slightly warm, and the beer was tasty and plentiful.
Produced annually by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild since 2003, the Texas Craft Brewers Festival featured 65-ish Texas breweries sharing at least two beers each. We see new Austin breweries popping up constantly but the fest was a strong reminder that new craft beer is being brewed all over Texas. The area most notable to me was the suburbs of Houston. Dallas and Austin also had strong showings. I was glad to see Big Bend Brewing Co and Lone Pint Brewery, two of the more hard-to-get-to breweries we’ve visited, there also.
For about $30, each ticket provided eight three-ounce pours, 24 ounces total per TABC rules. You could buy eight more three-ounce pours for $5.
Some brewers had special tappings that released at different times throughout the festival.
Next year, I won’t forget my snack necklace! As the maker and wearer of this necklace explained, bringing in outside food and drink is prohibited but edible jewelry isn’t! 😉
Even though I didn’t wear a snack necklace, I satisfied my munchies at the fest. The food vendors included: Salt & Time Butcher Shop and Salumeria, Noble Sandwich Co., Oasis Texas Brewing Company, M’lady’s Bakery, Napa Flats Wood-Fired Kitchen Austin, YAPA Artisan Empanadas, Johnny Joe’s BBQ & Catering, and Leo’s Gorditas.
I aimed for breweries I haven’t visited with beers I thought I would like. Many of those beers were in the Houston area. Here are a few of the beers I tried:
- Braman Brewing (Richmond) – Double Action (Double IPA)
- Brigadoon Brewery (Plantersville) – Green Ogre (Imperial IPA)
- Jester King Brewery (Austin) – Cherry Funk Metal (Sour Barrel-Aged Stout Refermented with Cherries)
- Lorelei Brewing (Corpus Christi) – Ephyra (Double IPA)
- Orf Brewing (Austin) – Oocheenama (Asian white ale)
- Southern Star Brewing (Conroe) – Mango Theory (Fruit IPA)
- TUPPS Brewery (McKinney) – For Ella (Double IPA)
The breweries present represented areas all over Texas. The booths were arranged alphabetically, making them easier to find. The signs also listed the beers the brewery brought.
The fest was a great place to learn about new breweries. Southern Heights Brewing Co, a soon-to-open brewery in Austin, had a prime parking spot for their cute VW van outside the fest entrance.
The fest was also well-managed. Though the line to get in was long, it went through quickly. There were rarely lines at each brewery booth unless it was for a special tapping. There was plenty of space to walk and mingle and lots of areas with shade. Of course, there was live music in the center of the park. Water stations with cups were positioned around the festival.
It was a fun day to celebrate the Texas craft beer community and enjoy the fruits of their labor. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did!
P.S. Want to plan an Austin craft brewery crawl? Check out this post!