We’ve already established that I am a huge fan of samples and a beer festival is a great chance for me to try a lot of beers I might not otherwise be inclined to buy at a bar or in a store. This past Saturday I was invited to participate in an educational seminar (Happy accidents or brewer’s intent: How do new beer styles come into being?) at the Brewmasters Craft Beer Festival in Galveston, Texas.That got me in the door, but it was the beers on the floor that were my main interest for the afternoon.
I was able to try beers from a range of new local breweries I haven’t had a chance to visit yet.The fabled notion of your “local brewery” is really coming to pass here in Texas.I had a beautifully balanced and clean lager called Huffmeister from Huff Brewing Company, which hails from the tiny town of Bellville out west of Houston (Population 4,170.)The owner / brewer, Ryan Huff noted he sells a lot of it locally, which is great to hear and a testimony to the fact that even in small towns good beer sells itself.
Fetching Lab Brewing of Pearland was at their first ever festival, and they brought along three beers, of which I found the Bound And Determined Stout to be the most interesting, with its mix of chocolate, vanilla and chili peppers giving it a very subtle heat in the finish.Brett and Theresa, the owners, are still working their day jobs and doing the brewery work nights and weekends. They are off to a promising start!
The local brewery, Galveston Island Brewing (they had to travel a whole mile and a half to come to the event) had a couple of dynamite big beers.Their Ejection Seat IIPA was a big, resiny beer with some very dank hop notes nestled into a big alcohol bite, while their Maker’s Mark barrel aged Samson Imperial Stout was big (11.3% ABV) and chocolaty with a hefty shot of that whisky barrel following through in the finish.
I have known James Hudec, the brewer at Alamo Beer Company from San Antonio for many years now and hadn’t had a chance to try his Pilsner before.I wasn’t disappointed.James trained in Germany and the beer reflected that background in every way.Crisp, light and refreshing - I expect he will sell a lot of that beer.Interestingly, Brazos Valley Brewing moved into the space occupied by James’ first venture, Brenham Brewing and are producing tasty beers themselves.I had a sample of their Silt Brown ale, which was far tastier than the name would have you think!It was rich and malty with a low hop bite that was just sufficient to balance the sweetness.
Rogness brewing out of Austin brought some unique limited release beers with them and I found the Dopplesticke to be quite unlike anything else I had, with a subtle roastiness that reflects the caramel malts they use in brewing it.I’m going to be doing a lot more tasting in the weeks ahead, with the Texas Craft Brewers Festival just weeks away followed by the ultimate taster’s festival, the GABF!
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.
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