The 2019 Texas Craft Brewers Festival is quickly approaching the final weekend of September. I was able to cover the full fest last year with media credentials, and had a blast. Check out my writeups of last year’s Partners in Craft event and the main Texas Craft Brewers Festival. In my opinion, it’s the best beer festival in Texas.
Why You Should Attend Partners in Craft
While the main festival on Saturday is a lot of fun and a great value, the heat and crowds may be too much for some people. Luckily, the smaller Partners in Craft event has neither of those things! This more intimate event takes place Friday evening, where temps will be lower. It still takes place at Fiesta Gardens, but in a smaller area to the East of the park.
Last year was my first year attending. Along with most people I spoke with, we agreed it was a great value, and less stressful experience. We were really impressed by the quality of food options available, and the unique vendors market on site. This year, Hold Out Brewing, Vista Brewing, and S. Baker Kitchen at Roughhouse Brewing will be serving food for purchase. Some acoustic music will be played by Aubrey Hays and Rock Bottom String Band.
The smaller capacity also meant beer lines were much shorter. Speaking of which, the event is focused on small batch collaborations between Texas craft brewers and other members of the community like: coffee roasters, artisans, and farms. The full list of beers of 35 beers can be found here: Official Beerlist. Here’s my selection that I’m looking forward to trying first:
- Tiger’s Blood – Blue Owl & Easy Tiger, Sour Summer Beer with Watermelon, Strawberries, and Coconut.
- El Cuero – Lone Pint Brewery and Cuvee Coffee, A white stout brewed with extra Extra Pale Maris Otter, Caramalt, flaked oats, flaked barley, Ecuadorian Cacao Nibs, and Cuvee Coffee
- Pizza Party Pils – ABGB & Pinthouse, a crispy boi brewed by friends showcasing a new experimental hop ADHA1940.
- Austin Underground,Downpour Lager, Well Head – Vista Brewing, Blackstar Coop, Real Ale Brewing, This beer was brewed with breweries from 3 different water sources across the central Texas area. Inspired by the Texas Brewshed Alliance, all 3 breweries used the same ingredients and recipe to create 3 unique versions of the same beer.
Tickets for Partners in Craft are still available for $55 and include 8 pours and a commemorative cup. You can also save $5 and bundle them with a Saturday festival ticket. Hurry though, there is a good chance they’ll sell out any day. You can find them at Eventbrite here. Hope to see you there!
Last Minute Guide to Texas Craft Brewers Fest
What: 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 28th, 2:00PM – 6:30PM or 12:00 entrance w/ VIP
Where: Fiesta Gardens
Cost: $40 GA,
$15 DD, $75 VIP , $55 Partners in Craft Tickets still available.
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.
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 beer tickets is useful as well.
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. Hopsquad Brewing Company, Ingenious Brewing Company, and SpindleTap Brewery 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 beer 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.
Take a Moment to Listen to Music – This year’s fest will be headlined by Sweet Crude. They’re traveling in from New Orleans, and have a pretty unique sound. Local Austin brass band Meow Now will also be belting out tunes. Filling in the cracks, you’ll find DJ GrossYall spinning his tables. You may recognize him from hosting The Austin Beer Guide awards party.
This year’s festival will have 214 different beers to sample. While most of them are available at the start, 27 will be Special Rotating Taps, with new ones 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.
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) Juicy IPA|(512) Brewing Company
Shepherd Warrior|5 Stones Artisan Brewery
Swine Dive IPA|AquaBrew
Nebulous Pale Ale|Astral Brewing
Brett IPA|Austin Beerworks
Hydraulic Lunch|Austin Beerworks
A Couple of Juice Bags|B52 Brewing
Hop Ons|Black Star Co-op
Trophy Buckle IPA|Bluebonnet Beer Company
Crush City IPA|Buffalo Bayou Brew Co.
Tuxedo Tshirt|Circle Brewing Co.
Citra Slice IPA|Community Beer Company
Deep Ellum IPA|Deep Ellum Brewing Company
Mini Boss|Eureka Heights Brewing Co.
El Saico!|Family Business Beer Company
Hamilton Pale|Family Business Beer Company
Nebulas Hazy IPA|Flix Brewhouse
Rye IPA|Frontyard Brewing
Fruity Pellets|Great Heights Brewing Company
Hi-C|Hi Sign Brewing
Super Astronaut|Hi Sign Brewing
Real Good Hops|Holler Brewing
Beachfront Rodeo IPA|Hops & Grain Brewing
Haze County|Hops & Grain Brewing
Lupulin Rodeo IPA|Hops & Grain Brewing
Professor Pleasant Pale Ale|Hopsquad Brewing Company
C800|Ingenious Brewing Company
Hawaiian Fog|Künstler Brewing
Lake Austin Ales – Juicy Blonde Ale|Lake Austin Ales
Lake Austin Ales – Juicy IPA|Lake Austin Ales
Melon Baller|Lakewood Brewing Co
Citra SMaSH IPA|Last Stand Brewing
Walks on Water|Lazarus Brewing Company
Hazeas Corpus|Legal Draft Beer Co.
667 The Neighbor of the Beast|Lone Pint Brewery
Galaxy SMASH|Lorelei Brewing Co
Juicy Visions IPA|Middleton Brewing
Dude, Where’s My Scooter?|North by Northwest Brewing Co.
Guava Zombie Dragon|North by Northwest Brewing Co.
Metamodern IPA|Oasis Texas Brewing Co
CAN-O-BLISS CITRUS IPA|Oskar Blues Brewery
Fully Adrift|Pinthouse Pizza Craft Brewpub
Wet Hop Green Battles|Pinthouse Pizza Craft Brewpub
I Raise Wolf Hybrids|Pondaseta Brewing Co.
The Fast & The Hazy|Pondaseta Brewing Co.
Fresh Kicks|Real Ale Brewing Company
Choomerang Kapow|Red Horn Coffee House and Brewing Co.
Art Car IPA|Saint Arnold Brewing Company
San Gabriel IPA|San Gabriel River Brewery, Inc
Tahitian Dreamin|Southern Heights Brewing Co
Faded DIPA|Spindle Tap Brewery
Houston Haze|Spindle Tap Brewery
Hoppy Duck|Texas Beer Company
Pillow Fort|The Brewtorium
Trunk Pop’n IPA|Thirsty Planet Brewing
Daddy’s Juice Box|True Vine Brewing Company
DDH IPA Series 14|TUPPS Brewery
DDH IPA Series 2|TUPPS Brewery
Azaccalypse Now|Two Wheel Brewing Company
Race Pointe|Two Wheel Brewing Company
8.5 Minute Abs|Whitestone Brewery
Wet Hop Heavenly Daze|Zilker Brewing Company
Yeast Forward Beers
People’s Champ|8th Wonder Brewery
Blur Texas Hefe|Circle Brewing Co.
Comtesse de Duval Saison|Hopsquad Brewing Company
Taco’ Bout Wit|Lazy Beach Brewing
Freaky Deaky|Oak Highlands Brewery
Contact Light|True Anomaly Brewing Company
Small Giant|True Anomaly Brewing Company
Dirty Blonde|Twin Peaks Brewing Co
Malt Forward Beers
(512) Nut Brown|(512) Brewing Company
Bat Country|4th Tap Brewing
Highland Scoundrel|4th Tap Brewing
Melo Rainbow|5 Stones Artisan Brewery
Boysenberry Haterade|8th Wonder Brewery
Negra Royale|Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.
Amber Vision|Austin Beerworks
Liquid Concussion|Austin Beerworks
Oktoberfest|Bluebonnet Beer Company
Das Umlaut Oktoberfest|Flix Brewhouse
Oktoberfiesta|Freetail Brewing Co.
Coconut Caramel Delight|Ingenious Brewing Company
Grodziskie|Live Oak Brewing Co.
Tornado Shark|Lone Pint Brewery
Munich Dunkel|Lorelei Brewing Co
Black Lab Porter|Middleton Brewing
Velvet Hammer|Peticolas Brewing Company
Oktoberfest|Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
Blakkr|Real Ale Brewing Company
Double Rumtoberfest|Rentsch Brewery
Guten Tag|Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Wee Heavy|San Gabriel River Brewery, Inc
Smittlefest|Thirsty Planet Brewing
Dark Skies|Vista Brewing
Sours & Wilds
Mango Passion Project|Astral Brewing
Little Smokey Gose|Blue Owl Brewing
Plum de Plume|Blue Owl Brewing
Professor Black|Blue Owl Brewing
Tiki Hop Totem|Blue Owl Brewing
Play Date|Deep Ellum Brewing Company
Le Petit Prince|Jester King Brewery
Mr. Mingo|Jester King Brewery
Nocturn Chrysalis|Jester King Brewery
Kombucha|Lazy Beach Brewing
Gose|Live Oak Brewing Co.
What Limes with Cucumber|Oak Highlands Brewery
AUSTINER WEISSE|Oskar Blues Brewery
Friend and Berry|Roughhouse Brewing
UNLESS|True Anomaly Brewing Company
Galactic Minotaurt|True Vine Brewing Company
Glen Rose|Vista Brewing
Wood Aged Beers
(512) Peach Sour|(512) Brewing Company
Viet Irish|8th Wonder Brewery
Russian Imperial Coffee Milk Stout|Alamo Beer Company
Wild Boss with Fredericksburg Peaches|Blue Owl Brewing
Razzé All Day|Circle Brewing Co.
Hibernia|Friends and Allies Brewing Company
Volumes of Funk|Hops & Grain Brewing
BLACKLANDS BARREL AGED BARLEYWINE|Oskar Blues Brewery
Bourbon Barrel Wee Heavy|Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
Santa Poco|Real Ale Brewing Company
25th Anniversary Grand Cru|Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Bishop’s Barrel 23 with Oranges|Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Little Ivan McGregor|The Brewtorium
Daisy Explorer|True Anomaly Brewing Company
Light Session Beers
Alamo Golden Ale|Alamo Beer Company
Kraftwerk Kolsch|Astral Brewing
Rocket 100|Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.
Sun Shovel|Austin Beerworks
Texas Lager|Community Beer Company
Dallas Blonde|Deep Ellum Brewing Company
Neato Bandito|Deep Ellum Brewing Company
Wow Factor|Eureka Heights Brewing Co.
Golden Age|Family Business Beer Company
Professional Texan|Fredonia Brewery
Bat Outta Helles|Freetail Brewing Co.
Lager-ish Kolsch|Great Heights Brewing Company
Berto the Mexican Lager|Hi Sign Brewing
Dollar Pils Y’all|Holler Brewing
River Beer|Hops & Grain Brewing
FineTime Pilsner|Hops & Grain Brewing
Texas Forever Lager|Last Stand Brewing
Lil’ Bruder|Lazarus Brewing Company
Fall Guy|Legal Draft Beer Co.
Sunset Cerveza|Oasis Texas Brewing Co
Pool Dad|Oddwood Ales
SALOON JUICE|Oskar Blues Brewery
Bicycle Pump|Peticolas Brewing Company
Adios Pantalones|Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.
Paleta de Mango|Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.
Hans’ Pils|Real Ale Brewing Company
Todo El Dia|Red Horn Coffee House and Brewing Co.
Lawnmower|Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Horimana Dry|Skull Mechanix Brewing
Wahrsager|Skull Mechanix Brewing
Local 2731|Southern Star Brewing
Texas Golden Bock|Southern Star Brewing
Carl|St Elmo Brewing Company
Pecos Amber Lager|Texas Beer Company
La Guera|Twin Peaks Brewing Co
Duel In the Sun|Weathered Souls Brewing Co.
Billy Jenkins|Wild Acre Brewing Company
Texas Blonde|Wild Acre Brewing Company
Honey Please|Armadillo Ale Works
Brunch Money|Armadillo Ale Works
Cool & the Gang with Fresh Lemon Zest|Blue Owl Brewing
Dreamsicle|Buffalo Bayou Brew Co.
Govalle|Friends and Allies Brewing Company
Coffee Milk Stout|Frontyard Brewing
Fruit with Friends: Blackberry Cobbler a la Mode|Ingenious Brewing ompany
Peanut Butter Temptress|Lakewood Brewing Co
Tūtū Pele|Pondaseta Brewing Co.
Sunday Morning Coming Down|Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
House United Coffee Stout|Red Horn Coffee House and Brewing Co.
Pumpkinator 2013|Saint Arnold Brewing Company
DDH IPA Series 14 – Horchata|TUPPS Brewery
Full Grown Beast|TUPPS Brewery
Don’t Drop that Cake|Weathered Souls Brewing Co.
Cavernous with Coconut|Weathered Souls Brewing Co.
Brut of all Evil w/ Watermelon & Strawberry|4th Tap Brewing
Tropical squeeze|Armadillo Ale Works
YSB #16: Kitten Mittons|Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.
Imperial Fruit Sour|B52 Brewing
Roze Sap|Black Star Co-op
Wish You Were Queer|Black Star Co-op
Double Dapper Devil|Blue Owl Brewing
Violet the Blueberry Blonde Ale|Hi Sign Brewing
Lakewood Lemon Ale|Lakewood Brewing Co
Second Nature Gose|Lazarus Brewing Company
PopTart Ravioli? Kettle Soured Wild Berry Milkshake IPA|Red Horn Coffee House and Brewing Co.
Texas Peche|Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Jam Session|Southern Heights Brewing Co
Yolanda|St Elmo Brewing Company
Hoppy Clouds|Texas Beer Company
Tiny Boombox|The Brewtorium
Mango Tangerine Sour|Wild Acre Brewing Company
Chaos Magic|Zilker Brewing Company
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, and plenty of music. 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.