Brew Blog: Texas Beer Fest

TxBF Logo.JPG
Despite having some really terrible beer laws, Texas has some really great beer. While efforts are currently underway to change the law, we don't have to wait to get our hands on some wonderful brews. Not only are there many bars around town serving up Lone Star libations, we now have the Texas Beer Fest to look forward to.

Texas Beer Fest, an offshoot of the so-called "Craft Brewing Revolutionary Guard," is the brain-child of Clif Wigington and Jake Lewis, CBRG's Manager General and Lieutenant General, respectively. The festival was born out of their shared love of beer, and a desire to foster Texas's craft beer community. The festival, scheduled for May 7 at the Humble Convention Center Arena, has been in the works for about a year.

"Since the beginning of April 2010, so just a little over a year," says Wigington. "At the time, it seemed like there was a gaping need for beer festivals in Texas and, while the state had a growing craft beer industry, there was not much support for our local and independent breweries or knowledge about their products. So, one day, as my Lieutenant General Jake Lewis and I were discussing our love of craft beer, we had an epiphany about creating a beer festival that would support and promote our local Texas breweries as well as craft beer from around the nation and the world." I think it's safe to assume that the birth of such a grand idea was encouraged by a more immediate appreciation of craft beer.

From that seed, the Texas Beer Festival has grown into a multi-day affair, with the main event preceded by a pub crawl, and bookended by a series of beer dinners pairing a wide range of area restaurants with local and national breweries. Restaurants with all kinds of personalities are included in the program, spanning the laid-back yard-party atmosphere of Moon Tower Inn to the white tablecloth sophistication of Cinq at La Colombe d'Or.

"The beer dinners seemed like an organic accompaniment to our mission. Most people in the 'foodie community' already are thinking local and independent in their menus, so reaching out to those folk to reconsider beer as a complement to any meal just seemed natural. The pub crawl was a later addition to the events leading up to the Fest, and the idea came from the fact that we all had so much fun at our pre-parties at local Houston bars that we wanted to make sure to include them in our festivities," says Wigington about the festival's evolution.

If you can't score tickets to one of the scheduled beer dinners, there are other options for local food and beer pairings on offer. Entry to the festival ($34 presale, $40 at the gate) includes coupons redeemable for 12 two-ounce samples of beer from local, national and international breweries, and festival organizers have reached out to Houston-area food vendors and gourmet food trucks. "As our festival lasts for nine hours, it is always a good idea to feed people who are drinking," says Wigington.

Food vendors range from the classroom-themed burgers of Bernie's Burger Bus to the Southeast Asian/Mexican fusion of The Rolling Hunger.

If you thought Texas Beer Fest was done with a simple arrangement of Pub Crawls, Beer Dinners, and a nine-hour festival serving up some of Houston's best food and some of the world's best beer, you thought wrong. While relaxing in the Duff Beer Garden (the festival's spot for those looking to enjoy more than a two-ounce pour), you'll be treated to musical entertainment from a host of Texas artists, from the country-folk stomp of Robert Ellis and the Boys to whatever's on the tables spun by Hi-Fidelity Mobile DJ Service. "The Texas Beer Fest is all about promoting local aspects of Houston and its surrounding communities, so we wanted to provide local, awesome musicians with the ability to perform and showcase their talents," says Wigington.

Texas Beer Fest is also giving back, partnering with Houston Food Bank to donate 25 percent of net proceeds.

"I am most excited about showcasing and sharing amazing craft beer, some which has never been tasted in Houston before -- such as Wicked Beaver (Lubbock, TX) -- with other craft beer aficionados. I hope that people will develop the same love that I have for our local breweries and leave the fest expecting to find those beers in their local bars and restaurants. We hope that our inaugural event sets the bar high for many years to come." So do we, Clif.



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27 comments
dennismarkk
dennismarkk

I think we can assume that the birth of this great idea, more direct satisfaction and craft beers inspired. The festival was born out of their shared love of beer.

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akonmilson
akonmilson

Beer dinner on a mission to support our organic. Born of the beer festival, and are willing to promote the love of the craft beer community in Texas.

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gprgestolen
gprgestolen

Beer seems to be an organic dinner accompaniment, our mission. In the "gastronomic community" where most people are already thinking about their menu and independent, so deeply in private to reconsider all the beer is a natural food supplement.

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Kendall W
Kendall W

TxBF will be amazing, very thankful to Clif and Jake for taking so much time, effort, and money to put together so many brews in one spot. Very glad the Houston Wave will be transporting people as well as there is no chance I will be in any condition to drive afterwards.

Bruce R
Bruce R

Does anyone know if there will be beer monkeys at the beer fest?

amycchase
amycchase

Very Interesting! I just now printed Coupons of my Favorite Brands for free from "Printapons" you can find them online.

Medderskc
Medderskc

I am so excited about this event! It's an unbelievable amount of beers being served according to the web site. Many of these breweries I've never had access to, and I have considered myself as pretty well rounded as far as beer goes.

Jennifer
Jennifer

This is a great thing that is happening to Houston!!

Adam Gonzales
Adam Gonzales

I for one can't wait for this fest. Thanks to Cliff and the gang for putting this on, Texas needs it!

barleyvine
barleyvine

I'll also add, if its anything like Montsers of Beer, breweries will be offering some special brews that you may not get at Petrol, Anvil or Saucer. I'll also add that unfortunately we pay what we do, for these festivals due to TX laws. They are the ones that have the restrictions to how many beers can be poured. That doesn't mean we shouldn't go and support the festivals. The more support we give, the more we show folks that these festivals can be money makers, the more likely that we can get a grass roots movement together (just like the breweries have done with HB 660 and 602) to change our laws. However if we don't support the festivals now, there is zero chance of thigns ever getting better.

Bruce R
Bruce R

So, if I show up at the beer fest I pay $40 and get 12 2oz pours. That's the equivalent of two bottles of beer. That's $120 per six pack.

Instead of going to the beer fest, just go to Petrol or Saucer. If you want a 2oz sample, they'll probably give it to you for free. If you go to Petrol, you can get a kickass burger, two samples, and two pints of awesome beer, all for less than $20.

Bruce R
Bruce R

Better get there early before the Ziegenbock runs out.

SirRon
SirRon

I wish this was happening to Houston.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

To whit: "I am most excited about showcasing and sharing amazing craft beer, some which has never been tasted in Houston before -- such as Wicked Beaver (Lubbock, TX)"

Andwoo
Andwoo

Dude. Bruce. Ease-up on the cynicism. They've got to announce that for TABC rules. You'll get plenty of beer. Trust me. This is the cheapest and best beer festival Texas has to offer. Hands down.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

Bruce, I think that the benefit of the festival is not in the cost of the samples, but in the concentration of the beers. I think they're going to have something on the order of 450 different beers available at the festival, including representation of pretty much every major Texas craft brewery.If you're just looking for a value, I don't disagree that Petrol is awesome. If you're looking for a chance to taste an incredible variety of craft beer from near and far, it's hard to beat the opportunity provided by TXBF.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

I thought you said you were going to un-clench. Come on out to TXBF.I'll buy you a shot.

Bruce R
Bruce R

OK. I'll unclench. I was taking things too literally.

Bruce R
Bruce R

My point is that you can go to Petrol and Saucer and try excellent beers you've probably never had. Sure, there will be the occasional special beer that you can only get at the fest. But then you get two ounces of it. So you're paying the equivalent of $20 for a 12 ounce bottle of it. Screw that.

I've been to a shitload of beer fests. The good ones give you a wristband, a glass, then you go around drinking an infinite amount of good beer. I had the opportunity to chat with Michael Jackson at one. (That's MJ the beer writer, not the pedophile.)

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

Bruce, re-read, my friend.

"While relaxing in the Duff Beer Garden (the festival's spot for thoselooking to enjoy more than a two-ounce pour)"

Plenty of beer to be had. 24oz is just the guaranteed amt from entry.After that, go wild, my friend.

Bruce R
Bruce R

Nicholas, 400 beers is a lot, but if you only get to sample 12 then what's the point? If they actually let you try more than 12, then maybe it's OK. If not, $40 is a big ripoff. Also, an awful lot of the beers being offered are grocery store varieties being poured out of 12 ounce bottles. Boring.

Britt, you are missing my point. Petrol (and Saucer) serve beers that you cannot get in six packs. And even the ones you can get in sixers taste better on tap when they're fresh.

My main point is that the fest is ridiculously expensive for what it offers.

Andwoo
Andwoo

It should also be said that Petrol Station has been a huge pusher of this event since day one. Those dudes don't just throw around their reputation all willy nilly. I actually work for a craft brewery and get hit up constantly for beer festivals that ultimately end-up a little "so so". These guys are doing it right.

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

Not to mention, if you want to save money, why are you going to a bar to drink? At home, that $5 you spent on a pint at Petrol would instead get you half a six-pack. The $8 you spent on a burger could buy you enough meat for six burgers. Sometimes it ain't just about the money, ya'know?

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

If you'd like a wristband and an infinite amount of beer, you need to take that up with TABC, not the BeerFest organizers.

Beer festivals are a way to meet the brewers behind the beers you love and the beers you don't love yet. I doubt on any given night you'll meet 400+ brewers hanging out at Petrol Station, as awesome as that place it.

TL;DR version: you're missing the point, I think.

kylejack
kylejack

Bruce,Note that TABC is ever-watchful and it's very hard to organize a beer fest in this state. In practice, beer festivals are often much better than what they're allowed to advertise. I went to a beer festival last year where they were very generous with repeated sampling.

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