So before I headed to the GABF, I had intended to write about the Texas Craft Brewers Festival, which was held in Austin, Texas on September 19th.It was a great day for the most part (except for my laptop being stolen while I was at the festival, but that’s another story.)
The Texas Craft Brewers Festival is exactly that, the local guys (as local as Texas gets, it’s a big state) serving up their beers.The day was bright and sunny and hot, which made the beer all the more refreshing, let me tell you!Most Texas breweries are still fairly local, so it was also a chance to try a few beers I can’t get to without a lengthy drive.
Of course, it being a festival, there were also the usual special release beers that drew long lines to try them out. I’ve had a few of the special beers that were on tap already, the Bishops Barrel series beers from Houston’s Saint Arnold (they had a rum barrel aged Pumpkinator which was delicious as always) and Black Crack, which is Southern Star’s already delicious Buried Hatchet stout aged in bourbon barrels.One I hadn’t had before was the coveted Jester King Atrial Rubicite, which is a barrel aged sour with raspberries.It was appropriately funky and sour with a vivid raspberry bite, which was great in the nearly ninety degree heat.I also really enjoyed True Vine’s Rose City, which is a 6% ABV pale ale, with Cascade and Centennial hops as well as rose hips.It was appropriately hoppy, but the rose hip note carries through in the aroma and also very subtly in the flavor.It’s delicious and an impressive accomplishment for a small brewery that’s only been open two years this fall.(Tyler is known as the rose capital of Texas, hence the reason for the rose hips.)My friends down at Freetail in San Antonio poked a little fun at the whole beer hunting culture that exists with their offering #Whalezbro, which was a blend of 20% bourbon aged LaMuerta imperial stout, 40% bourbon aged molasses brown ale, and 40% wine barrel aged Flanders Red. It was (as you might expect) quite potent, but also very nicely balanced in the “knock you over if you have a few more” kind of way.Thankfully, they only pour two ounce samples and you have to have a ticket for every sample, which makes it hard to overdo.
Other highlights of the day were sampling beers with my longtime friend from Alamo Brewing, James Hudec, getting to converse with several brewers I hadn’t yet met in person and getting to see the mobile tap bike from Houston’s Whole Foods Brewery in action.(They actually ride it around their store and sell beer to the customers!)
I love the festival.They do a great job of organizing it and they don’t oversell it so you never feel too crowded.Now if we could only turn down the Texas heat!
Bev Blackwood II is the Southwest Brewing News Contributing Editor for Texas and has been covering Texas beers for 17 years An award winning home brewer, Bev has also brewed professionally at St. Arnold Brewing Company and was part of the team that brought home Saint Arnold’s first Great American Beer Festival gold medal in 2007. A long time member of Houston’s premiere homebrew club, the Foam Rangers, Bev teaches their Beer Judge Certification Program course and has also taught at Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.