Texas Craft Brewers Festival 2018

The 2018 Texas Craft Brewers Festival is quickly approaching, this Saturday.  I’ve attended the past 5 years as a volunteer and always enjoyed myself.  In my opinion, it’s the best beer festival in Texas.  This year I’ll be part of the media covering the event, so look for a recap post sometime next week!

 

Last Minute Guide to Texas Craft Brewers Fest

A festival put on by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild showcasing guild-member breweries throughout the state with proceeds benefiting the guild.

When: Saturday, September 29th, 2:00PM – 6:30PM or 12:00 entrance w/ VIP

WhereFiesta Gardens

Cost: $35 GA, $15 DD, $55 VIP  Tickets  Sold Out!  Partners in Craft still available.

Planning Tips

Watch the Forecast – Even though the we often associate the end of September in Austin as a time when weather is getting more pleasant, the festival historically is either absurdly hot and/or partially rainy.  This years forecast looks to be showing a good chance of rain.  While umbrellas aren’t allowed into the fest, you can pack a poncho.  There is a large covered pavilion on the festival grounds, but it does get crowded quickly during rain.

Plan Your Safe Transportation – Street parking around the festival is very limited and will get congested quickly.  It can be difficult for your DD to find a spot, so consider checking out bus routes, using the Lady Bird Lake trail, or using the Lyft code provided by the festival

Plan to Not Arrive Hungry – While the festival will have food vendors on site, it’s important to not arrive with an empty stomach.  You’ll undoubtedly want to start sampling immediately and it could be some time before your able to make it over to the vendors.  Samples hit harder on an empty stomach.  Pre-gaming isn’t recommended either.  There is more than enough beer to go around.

Plan to Arrive Early – For the GA session, a line generally starts forming at the entrance a half hour early.  Come 2pm, it can be pretty long for the first hour of the session.  This usually isn’t an issue for the VIP session.

Bring the Goods –  Your ID and printed or mobile tickets are essential.  On top of that, you’re allowed to bring in an empty, reusable metal or plastic water bottle.  These are handy to refill from the water tanks around the fest to stay hydrated and rinse your cup.  Cash for food, merchandise, or drink tickets is useful as well.

 

Festival Tips

Try New Beer Styles – This is a perfect opportunity to try a few styles of beer outside of your normal comfort zone.  Don’t be afraid to use up your 8, 3oz pour tickets quickly.  TABC limits the single sale transactions in festivals to 24oz, so you’ll be able to buy more tickets, 8 at a time for $5.

Check Out New Breweries – There were a good number of first time breweries last year, and even more this year.  CaraCara, Family Business, and Frontyard are just a few new one’s you’ll see this year.  Use this as your opportunity to see if you like the brews from an out-of-town brewery before you make the trip there.  You can see the full list of Breweries attending here.

Watch out for Lines – Some of the more popular breweries will have consistently longer lines than others.  If you don’t have a beer there which you’re dying to try, move on to a shorter line.  You’ll also see lines forming for that rotating tap lists.  If you’re wanting to try one of these, go ahead and set your phone alarm 10 min ahead of time, so that you can get queued up before the line is unbearable.

Don’t like it?  Don’t finish it – Each tent will have dump buckets nearby.  If you try a bear and find it unenjoyable, don’t feel obligated to finish it.  Just be respectful when pouring it out, as some of the brewers will be by their tents, and that is their craft you’re dumping.  While not everyone loves every style of beer or execution, it’s always nice to be polite.

 

The Beers

This year’s festival will have 208 different beers to sample.  While most of them are available at the start, 26 will be Special Rotating Taps, with new ones opening every 30 min.  Breweries are sorted alphabetically for the most part, along the perimeter of the park.  Most will have signs on the tent with what’s available, with a few maps sprinkled around the grounds.  While most of the servers will be volunteers, don’t hesitate to ask questions about the beers.  Brewery representatives are usually near by each booth (early on) to answer.

Great American Beer Fest was last weekend, and Texas won a bunch of medals.  Two of the medal winning beers will be pouring!  Texas Beer Company took home a gold for their Pecos Amber lager, and Oak Highlands took a bronze for their Oktoberfest.  Be sure to give them a try if you run across them.

Two crowd favorite breweries of last year were Tupps and Big Bend.  I’m excited to see what they’re doing this year, along with who’ll take over a favorite.

Brut IPAs are making an appearance in Texas this year.  If you’re not familiar with the style Beer & Brewing has a good article on it.  It takes the west coast IPA style and lowers the bitterness dramatically.  All of the hops are moved to late additions like a NEIPA.  Special enzymes are also used to dry out the beer and help the yeast consume residual sugars.  You’ll find examples pouring at the following brewery tents:

  • Brazos Valley Brewing
  • Hops & Grain
  • NXNW Stonelake

The Official Beer List is located on the event website.  In the list below, I’ve sorted the beers into broad categories to help if you’re looking to try all of a certain style.  I’ve marked a few of the beers that I’m looking forward to trying in green.

I like to make a quick list on a note card of beers that I consider must-tries.  While I don’t always end up hitting all of them, it does help to reference during the fest.  Be okay with knowing you won’t try them all.

Hop Forward Beers
(512) Brewing | Cryo Juicy IPA
Adelbert’s Brewery | Travelin’ Man (Rotating Hop IPA)
Alamo Beer Company | Alamo German Pale Ale
Armadillo Ale Works | Land Yacht (IPA)
Austin Beerworks | Heavy Machinery Wet Hop IPA
Austin Beerworks | Lazer Salad (Double IPA)
Barrow Brewing | Evil Catfish (IPA)
Barrow Brewing | Mystery of the Deep (DIPA)
Bearded Fox Brewing | G.O.A.T. (Imperial IPA)
Black Star Co-op | It’s Not A Pneuma (Super Hoppy Pale Ale)
Bluebonnet Beer Company | Trophy Buckle IPA (American IPA)
Blue Owl Brewing | SMash SMaSH (Single-Malt-and-Single-Hop Sour IPA)
Brigadoon Brewery & Brew School | Green Ogre IPA (Imperial IPA)
Braman Brewery | Running Walker Pale Ale
Brazos Valley Brewing | Greetings from Brenham TX (Brut IPA)
Brazos Valley Brewing | Willin’ Pale (Mosaic-Hopped Pale Ale)
The Brewtorium (Austin) | SHAzacca (IPA)
Buffalo Bayou Brewing | Crush City IPA (Mandarina & Mosaic IPA)
Celis Brewery | Celis IPA (American IPA)
Celis Brewery | Celis Juicy IPA (Hazy IPA)
Circle Brewing | Beto Beer (American Pale Ale)
Community Beer Company | Mosaic IPA (India Pale Ale)
Deep Ellum Brewing | Easy Peasy IPA (Session IPA)
Eureka Heights Brew Co. | Mini Boss (IPA)
Family Business Beer Company | The Ocelot (Un-hazy IPA)
Flix Brewhouse | Nebulas Hazy IPA (New England IPA)
Flying Man Brewing | Auto Rotator Series IPA
Fredonia Brewery | Invictus (New England IPA)
Freetail Brewing | Tadarida Oscura (Cascadian Dark IPA)
Frontyard Brewing | Rye IPA
Great Heights Brewing | Fruity Pellets (New England IPA)
Hi Sign Brewing | Hi-C (American IPA)
Hi Sign Brewing | The Astronaut (Double IPA)
Hops & Grain Brewing | A Pale Mosaic (Double Dry-hopped IPA)
Hops & Grain Brewing | Pellets & Powder IPA
Hops & Grain Brewing | Broot Point IPA 2:30p
Künstler Brewing | Hawaiian Fog (American IPA)
Lakewood Brewing | Lakewood IPA (American IPA)
Last Stand Brewing | Fuzzieluscious (New England IPA)
Lazarus Brewing | 40 Days and 40 Nights (IPA)
Lone Pint Brewery | The Jabberwocky (Imperial India Pale Ale)
No Label Brewing | Sittin’ Sidehaze (New England IPA)
North by Northwest | Brutylicious (Brut IPA)
North by Northwest | Zombie Dragon (IPA)
Oasis Texas Brewing | Protomodern IPA
Oskar Blues Brewery | Dale’s Pale Ale
Peticolas Brewing | Sit Down or I’ll Sit You Down (Imperial IPA)
Pinthouse Pizza | Hazed & Confused (Unfiltered IPA)
Pinthouse Pizza | Nomura (Hazy Double IPA)
Rabbit Hole Brewing | Yankee Jester (New England IPA)
Rahr & Sons Brewing | Dadgum IPA (American IPA)
Real Ale Brewing | Axis IPA (American IPA)
Real Ale Brewing | Swifty APA (American Pale Ale)
Red Horn Coffee House & Brewing | More Better Tropical Milkshake Double IPA
Rentsch Brewery | Double Dry Hop IPA
Saint Arnold Brewing | Art Car IPA (American IPA)
Southern Heights Brewing | Tahitian Dreamin (American IPA)
Spoetzl Brewery | Shiner Wicked Juicy IPA
Suds Monkey Brewing | Funky Monkey IPA
Texas Beer Company | Hoppy Duck (IPA)
Thirsty Planet Brewing | Pail Head Pale Ale
TUPPS Brewery | DDHIPA – Double Dry Hopped IPA (New England IPA)
Uncle Billy’s Brewery | Green Room (IPA)
Whitestone Brewery | Keyboard Gangsta (Hazy IPA)
Wild Acre Brewing | Wild Acre Super Hawk (Double IPA)
Woodcreek Brewing | Highway 66 IPA (American India Pale Ale)
Zilker Brewing | Heavenly Daze IPA (American IPA)

Yeast Forward Beers
Adelbert’s Brewery | Tripel B (Tripel)
Alamo Beer Company | Alamo White (Belgian Wit)
Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. | Sunny (Saison)
Big Bend Brewing | Alpine White (Witbier)
Braman Brewery | Running Walker Hefeweizen
Celis Brewery | Celis White (Belgian Witbier)
Circle Brewing | Blur Texas Hefe (South German Hefeweizen)
Community Beer Company | Witbier (Belgian White Ale)
Künstler Brewing | Cashmere (Hefeweizen)
Legal Draft Beer Co | Hung Jury (Hefewiezen)
Oak Highlands Brewery | Freaky Deaky (Belgian Tripel)
Oasis Texas Brewing | Spur Brett Saison 4:30p
Vista Brewing | Le Saison (Traditional Saison)

Malt Forward Beers
Austin Beerworks | Black Thunder (Black Lager)
Austin Beerworks | Montecore (Oktoberfest)
Back Pew Brewing | Black Habit (Schwarzbier)
Bearded Fox Brewing | Aunt Rose (Red Helles Lager)
Big Bend Brewing | Old Love (Barleywine)
Bluebonnet Beer Company | Oktoberfest (Oktoberfest / Marzen)
Brigadoon Brewery & Brew School | Scottish (Scottish 60 Shilling)
Caracara Brewing | Plum Creek Porter (Robust Porter)
Celis Brewery | Celis Pale Bock (Amber Lager)
Flix Brewhouse | Das Umlaut Oktoberfest (Marzen)
Fredonia Brewery | Marzën
Freetail Brewing | Old Bat Rastard (Winter Warmer)
Hi Sign Brewing | Shamus The Fiddler (Irish Red)
Lakewood Brewing | Temptress (Imperial Milk Stout)
Lone Pint Brewery | Tornado Shark (American Strong Ale)
Oak Highlands Brewery | Oktoberfest (Marzen)
Oskar Blues Brewery | Barrel Aged Ten Fidy (Imperial Stout)
Rabbit Hole Brewing | Shield Biter (Strong Scotch Ale)
Real Ale Brewing | Oktoberfest (Marzen)
San Gabriel River Brewery | Texas Red (Irish Red)
Southern Heights Brewing | Where’s My Flannel (English Mild Pub Ale)
Southern Star Brewing | Oktoberfest (Marzen)
Suds Monkey Brewing | Punk Monkey Porter
Texas Beer Company | Pecos Amber Lager
Whitestone Brewery | Oktoberfest (Marzen)
Vista Brewing | Dark Skies (Schwarzbier)

Sours & Wilds
(512) Brewing | Wild Bear (Foeder-aged wild ale)
8th Wonder Brewery | Haterade (Gose)
Big Bend Brewing | Antifragile (American Wild) 4:00p
Blue Owl Brewing | SMash SMaSH (Single-Malt-and-Single-Hop Sour IPA)
Blue Owl Brewing | Citra Fresh Hopped Little Boss (Sour session wheat w/ fresh hops)
Blue Owl Brewing | Tiki Hop Totem (Sour IPA w/ tropical tiki fruit)
Blue Owl Brewing | Tiger’s Blood (Fruited Sour) 2:30p
Deep Ellum Brewing | Play Date (American Sour Blonde Ale)
Deep Ellum Brewing | Freak Flag (Wood-aged Sour Ale) 5:00p
Family Business Beer Company | Spree (Berliner Weisse)
Jester King Brewery | Das Wunderkind! (Hoppy Farmhouse Blended-Saison)
Jester King Brewery | Detritivore (Farmhouse Saison with Spent Cherries)
Jester King Brewery | Atrial Rubicite ( Fruited barrel-aged sour) 3:00p
Live Oak Brewing | Lichtenhainer
Live Oak Brewing | Smoked Gose 3:30p
Martin House Brewing | The Salty Lady (Gose)
Martin House Brewing | The Farm (Wild Brett Ale) 4:00p
Vista Brewing | Rosanna (Barrel-aged Brett Beer) 4:30p

Wood Aged Beers
(512) Brewing | Whiskey Barrel Aged Double Pecan Porter 1:30p
Austin Beerworks | La Mentira (Barrel-aged Lager) 3:30p
Black Star Co-op | Fruited Rum Barrel-aged beer 3:00p
Deep Ellum Brewing | Freak Flag (Wood-aged Sour Ale) 5:00p
Eureka Heights Brew Co. | 6 Demon Bag (Rye Barrel-aged quad w/ cherry) 5:00p
Freetail Brewing | Rum Barrel-Aged 2017 La Muerta 4:30p
Lazarus Brewing | Exodus (Wild Ale w/ fruit in tequila barrels) 2:00p
Legal Draft Beer Co | Ginned Up Charges (gin barrel IPA) 12:30p
North by Northwest | Iron Mermaiden (Barrel-aged sour stout w/ cherries) 5:30p
Oskar Blues Brewery | Barrel Aged Barleywine
Rentsch Brewery | Bourbon Barrel Stout
Spoetzl Brewery | Balcones Single Malt Barrel-Aged Marzen 3:00p
Vista Brewing | Rosanna (Barrel-aged Brett Beer) 4:30p

Light Session Beers
8th Wonder Brewery | Dome Faux’m (Cream Ale)
Adelbert’s Brewery | Lagerboy Pilsner
Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. | Happy Pounds (American-style Lager)
Back Pew Brewing | Blue Testament (American Pilsner/Pre-prohibition Lager)
The Brewer’s Table (Austin) | UnBavarian Super Fancy (Field Lager)
The Brewer’s Table (Austin) | Vor Ort (American Lager)
The Brewtorium (Austin) | Electric Lederhosen (Vienna Lager)
Caracara Brewing | Lockhart Blonde (Blonde)
Community Beer Company | Texas Lager (Light Lager)
Deep Ellum Brewing | Dallas Blonde (Blonde Ale)
Deep Ellum Brewing | Neato Bandito (Mexican-style Lager)
Eureka Heights Brew Co. | Buckle Bunny (Cream Ale)
Freetail Brewing | Bat Outta Helles (Munich Helles Lager)
Friends and Allies Brewing | Hike & Bike (Pale Lager)
Great Heights Brewing | Lager-ish (Kolsch)
Holler Brewing | Holler Dollar Pils Y’all (German Pilsner)
Hops & Grain Brewing | O-Fest Lager (Festbier)
Hops & Grain Brewing | River Beer (Premium American Lager)
Last Stand Brewing | Pre-Prohibition Lager
Lazarus Brewing | Prodigal Pils (Pilsner)
Legal Draft Beer Co | Lawktoberfest (Festbier)
Live Oak Brewing | Oaktoberfest (Festbier)
No Label Brewing | 1980 Kolsch
North by Northwest | Bohemian Pils (Czech-style Pilsner)
Oasis Texas Brewing | Luchesa Lager (Unfiltered Pils)
Orf Brewing | Salutation (Golden ale)
Oskar Blues Brewery | Mama’s Lil Yella Pils (Pilsner)
Peticolas Brewing | Golden Opportunity (Kolsch)
Red Horn Coffee House & Brewing | Hoop Dreams (Helles Lager)
Southern Star Brewing | Hecho en Conroe (Mexican Lager)
Spoetzl Brewery | Shiner Day Quencher (Session Ale)
St Elmo Brewing | Vaughn (German Pilsner)
Uncle Billy’s Brewery | Knuckleballer Kolsch
Wild Acre Brewing | Wild Acre Texas Blonde (Blonde Ale)
Woodcreek Brewing | Lakeside Cerveza (Mexican-Style Ale)

Flavored Beers
Adelbert’s Brewery | Hibiscus Saison
Armadillo Ale Works | Honey Please (Mesquite Bean Blonde Ale)
Buffalo Bayou Brewing | Wake ‘n Bake (Blonde Ale w/ Amaya Espresso & Madagascar Vanilla)
Big Bend Brewing | Charles Prince of Whalez (Pastry Stout)
Blue Owl Brewing | Cool & the Gang (Sour English Mild w/ Earl Grey Tea)
Frontyard Brewing | Coffee Milk Stout
Hopfusion Ale Works | Feisty Blonde (Honey Vanilla Blonde)
Lakewood Brewing | Peanut Butter Temptress (Flavored Imperial Milk Stout) 1:00p
Orf Brewing | Oocheenama (Asian white ale)
Oskar Blues Brewery | Barrel-Aged Java Ten Fidy 5:30p
Saint Arnold Brewing | Pumpkinator 2013 (Pumpkin Imperial Stout)
Saint Arnold Brewing | Palmer (Fruited Spiced Berlinerweisse) 4:00p
San Gabriel River Brewery | Irish Coffee Porter (Robust Porter)
TUPPS Brewery | Full Grown Jack (Pumpkin Spiced Imperial Stout)
Wild Acre Brewing | Wild Acre Snap’d (Flavored Strong Ale) 12:30p

Fruited Beers
Adelbert’s Brewery | Berry White Blackberry Berlinerweiss 1:00p
Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. | YSB #8 Violet (Fruited Sour) 5:00p
Big Bend Brewing | Balmorhea w/ watermelon & tangerine (Imperial Berliner Weisse)
Black Star Co-op | Roze Sap (Sour Guava Ale)
Blue Owl Brewing | Tiki Hop Totem (Sour IPA w/ tropical tiki fruit)
Blue Owl Brewing | Tiger’s Blood (Fruited Sour) 2:30p
Community Beer Company | Silly Gose (Fruited Gose)
Flying Man Brewing | Waterbomber Watermelon Wheat
Freetail Brewing | Peach Bexarliner (Fruited Berliner)
Friends and Allies Brewing | Bearliner (Blackberry Berliner Weisse)
Hi Sign Brewing | Violet (Blueberry Blonde)
Holler Brewing | Apriquat Sour (Kettle Sour w/ Fruit)
Jester King Brewery | Detritivore (Farmhouse Saison with Spent Cherries)
Jester King Brewery | Atrial Rubicite ( Fruited barrel-aged sour) 3:00p
Martin House Brewing | True Love (Raspberry Sour Ale)
North by Northwest | Mango Zombie (Fruited IPA)
Peticolas Brewing | Doctor’s Orders (Fruit Imp IPA) 2:30p
Rahr & Sons Brewing | Paleta De Mango (Fruit Beer)
Real Ale Brewing | Cranberry Gose (German-style Gose with Cranberry)
Real Ale Brewing | Imperium Persicum (American Wild Ale w/ Peaches) 3:30p
Saint Arnold Brewing | Orange Show (Blood Orange Blonde Ale)
Saint Arnold Brewing | Raspberry AF (Raspberry Berliner Weiss)
Save the World Brewing | Flamma Granatum (Blonde ale aged on pomegranates)
Save the World Brewing | Sol Vinum (Golden strong ale aged on Syrah grapes)
St Elmo Brewing | Roxanne (Guava Sour)
Thirsty Planet Brewing | Wizard Kitty (Passion Fruit Kettle Sour)
Zilker Brewing | Chaos Magic (Kettle Sour)

 

Afterparty

If you’re thinking of leaving the festival early, or it’s just closed and you’re still kicking, consider checking out the Official After Party at Craft Pride.  They’ve got some unique beers on from festival brewers, plenty of music, and will start tapping some special kegs, every half hour after 2:30.  Check out the Facebook Event page for more.

Protip:  If you’re hungry, call Via 313 on your way over and place an order.  They’re sure to have a long wait time.

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