The kegs have been tapped dry, the booths have been packed up, and the beer drinkers have retreated back to the comforts of their precious air conditioning. Yes, the 2015 Texas Craft Brewers Festival is officially one for the record books, leaving attendees with mild sunburns and happy beer memories.
There was really only one thing we didn’t love at this year’s festival–the formidable heat. But, as usual, a well-executed fest filled with fantastic beers was enough to outshine even the most blistering of suns.
Here are the eight things we loved most about the 2015 Texas Craft Brewer Festival…
1. Food + Beer emphasis.
Independence Brewing Company ran a food & beer pairing booth with delectable samosas and escabeche, Boomerang Pies incorporated local beers into their recipes, and Whole Foods Market even offered a free beer and cheese pairing. We love exploring the nuanced intersection between beer and food, and these vendors made it work in a beer fest setting.
2. Big Blue Debut
We know, we know, we’re a little biased since Bitch Beer Contributor Jessica Deahl is also part of the Blue Owl Brewing team, but we were certainly 💙giddy 💙to see this sour-mash focused Austin brewery finally make its big festival debut. And, can we talk about how awesome the beers were?!
3. The Festival Staff
The volunteers out there trying to make the day awesome rocked it. Despite the heat, there were smiles and helpful faces everywhere. And, let’s be honest. Waiting in beer lines sort of sucks. That moment when you get to the front of the line can only be sweetened by getting a pumped high five from festival staff to celebrate.
4. Brewer Q&As
The Whole Foods Market tent really brought an extra education element to the festival this year, and was a perfect place to duck out of the heat and hear a little wisdom from some favorite Texas brewers.
5. That DJ, tho
Honestly, nothing makes a festival better than when musical creativity is so wholly expressed. DJ Jubal was killing it doing his thing. Didn’t matter it was 1:30 in the afternoon. Didn’t matter he was playing to a crowd of middle-aged beer drinkers without a lick of MDMA in their systems. He was there to make damn sure someone let the beat drop. Ok, maybe he didn’t let it “drop” per se, but he, at the very least shook that beat up as if he would let it drop it with some surprising samples from an Andy Warhol-esque record collection. Those tunes added an unexpected and refreshing backdrop to a great day of beer drinking.
6. Whole Foods Brewing’s Keg-Trike
Whole Foods capitalized on the 6-year-old in all of us with their charming keg-trike complete with a bell not unlike that of old-school ice cream carts. One ring of the bell would’ve had the Sirens of Anthemusa downright green with envy at it’s enchanting calling power. People came actually running for WFMB’s Belgian pale and their Hop Explorer IPA poured from a customized glass draft system on the back of the trike. Whole foods, whole people, and a whole lot of fun!
7. Not From Around These Parts
With so many new breweries popping up all over the great state of Texas, the festival is really THE opportunity to try beers that we don’t quite have access to in Austin yet. This year, we were particularly impressed by newbies Collective Brewing Project, Whole Foods Market Brewing and Noble Rey.
8. Stellar Sours, Berliner Weisses and Goses, oh my!
Hops & Grain brought the WinoWeisse, Collective Brewing Project brought the Petite Golden Sour, Martin House brought the Salty Lady Gose, No Label brought the Suburban Funk Cherry Sour, and Blue Owl Brewing and Jester King brought….well….the whole she-bang. These tart, thirst-quenching beers were great choices for a reprieve from the sweltering summer heat and demonstrated impressive craftsmanship and artistry.
-Caroline & Sarah