Friday, August 20, 2010

The Land of Beer Festivals

Texas has been called many things, and is a great state showcasing many of the things that makes it wonderful. On any given weekend you can find a festival for most everything. One thing that Texas has not been known for has been Beer Festivals. In fact Beer fests have been notably absent from this state of beer lovers. Well that fact seems to have changed over the course of the last few months and continues through to the end of the year.

The first notable beer fest to gain steam was June's Great Austin Beer Festival. While it seemed that the organizers were still getting their feet under them, from all reports it was an amazing success. Bringing together Beer, Brewers and beer enthusiasts not only from Texas but from around the country.

The next Beer festival that was announced is scheduled to occur over Labor Day weekend, Sept 2-6, the Brewmasters International Beer Festival at Moody Gardens down in Galveston. Admittedly I have been pretty cautious about this one as they didn't release the names of any attendees, however that has changed with this article from the Chronicle's Ronnie Crocker. Now that's a pretty sporty list of beers to get the opportunity to taste all in one place.

But wait that's not all! This week there has been two awesome announcements for beer lovers.

The Texas Craft Brewer's Guild has announced their first event will be Austin Beer Week to be held October 24-30. There is not a lot of information out there yet, but from their website:
This week-long celebration, brought to you
by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, serves as
a showcase for Texas craft brewers as well as
area restaurants, pubs and other businesses
with ties to the craft beer community.

The last announcement though is the one that has me the most excited. Early this morning a twitter popped up: @HoustonBeerWeek: Houston, Beer Week has landed. Say what!!! The week of October 11-17 will be Houston Beer Week The week will consist of beer dinners, beer education (something that I am excited about), tastings, and many other things. The week long extraveganza will conclude Sunday with a MONSTERS OF BEER charity beer event. A side note that Houston Beer week and Monsters of Beer has been organized in part by Cathy Clark, the same Cathy Clark that has done an outstanding job with Beer Camp. Back to Monsters of Beer, the event is on Sunday the 17th and will feature Texas Beer, Texas Food, Texas Music! The beer will be brought in by breweries from around the state including Jester King, (512), Saint Arnold's, Real Ale, Live Oak, and more including a couple that may not even be open yet.

4 beer huge beer events/festivals in a few short months? Is Texas becoming the land of beer festivals? I don't know about that, but Texas is definitely stepping up its game and as these events successfully conclude will continue to drive Texas in the right direction of increasingly supporting craft beer and all that means. I'm not telling you all to go to everyone of these (I won't be able to) but support as many as you can. Volunteer, attend, promote, etc to help make these a success. The first year out of the gate for many of these festivals may not be smooth, there will be mistakes made, but that just means they can be better the next year, and if they get the support they need will continuously approve. Think about it, in 2009 would you have though there would be 4 huge days long beer festivals in Texas in 2010?


Bruce R said...

Maybe I'm jaded but to me the list looks exactly like what you'd see on the shelves at your local Spec's.

Barleyvine said...

Yes its true the breweries listed are really no different than what's available at Spec's. Thats due to the fact that per Texas Law you can't have beers brought into the state that don't have a TABC Stamp. However maybe just maybe some of the local TX breweries will have something special. Plust while its available at Spec's there may be things that you've always wanted to try but for one reason or another you didnt purchase a bottle. Well now is your chance to try it out before buying.

Anonymous said...

Not ever been to a Beer festival in the US, is it only major breweries that exhibit or do micro breweries make an appearance to? What are your festivals likie in comparison to say the Munich beer festival or the Asian Beer festival?

Barleyvine said...

IT really depends. The biggest fesival Great American Beer Fest has hundreds of breweries, and 95% of them are micro, craft, brewpubs etc. GABF may be one of the best beer festivals in the world. Some small local ones can be just a shill for the Macro breweries like Coors serving Blue Moon. Although one in Houston, Monsters of Beer celebrated its first year by having only small TX craft breweries. So really it all depends on the festival and you really have to look at each one before deciding which to spend your money on.