[The first installment of this festival review can be found here.]
For a little while, it seemed like there might not be a second half to this event, and thus no second part to this review. After sampling a multitude of choice selections from national brewers during our first couple of hours at the festival, our beer-swilling heroes (me and my buddy Doug) found ourselves subject to acute heat exhaustion. Although I'm not sure what's so damn "(a)cute" about two profusely sweaty, stinky sumbitches practically passing out on their feet. In the 100-plus degree scorching heat and without hats or sunblock (and after drinking several 9%+ ABV IPAs and stouts), this show needed a setbreak. So we sat on our sweet, sweet patooties for a bit, hydrated a lot, and then returned to consume more delicious speshies of only but the utmost in quality, variety and temperament.
Since 2011, shit's changed. Never one to shy away from jumping on a bandwagon, Texas has seen a serious proliferation of breweries over the last 2-3 years, with no end in sight to this boom. One thing that hasn't been expected is the sheer number of high quality beers and breweries that this explosion has produced. There have been some misses, I will admit (I'm looking at you, FireWheel! >:-<), but I can proudly say our beers unequivocally hold water (and hops, and barley) against some of the top labels in the country. From the Deep Ellum IPA, to the Lakewood Temptress stout, to Rahr's legendary Bourbon Barrel Winter Warmer; Dallas alone has a dozen or so beers that I would consider "must-trys" for ANY beer fan.
So without further ado, here are some reviews of beers old and new tapped by Texas brewers at the festie:
Martin House (Ft Worth) - Septemberfest - a smoky take on a fall seasonal. Equal parts brown ale and rauchbier, it's a really nice beer for throwing on a light sweater and watching the leaves turn. *sigh*
St. Arnolds (Houston) - Pumpkinator - it's my favorite pumpkin beer. A stout with awesome spice notes, it's dessert in a glass. Just drank a bottle last night, in fact -- it never fails to put me in a good mood -- even when I'm missing an awesome Phish show attended by the only two people who read these columns.. WAAAAAAAAAH
Peticolas (Dallas) - The Duke -- Dallas' most "no frills" brewer creates a beer that is the best thing they've done. Shockingly approachable at 12%, this barleywine finishes mellow, not with the usual extreme malt / cognacy / porty finish that you get with most barleywines. Well done.
Independence Brewing (Austin) - Stash IPA -- Liked these guys. The beer isn't named after the Phish song, but the kid at the booth accurately hummed part of the great Phish composition. Major Beafv points! Awesome IPA...west coast in style, but not over the top like many west coast styled IPAs have become. Their Lupulin Tripel I also greatly enjoyed.
Revolver (Granbury) - Gridiron - A smoked beer, somewhat similar in style to the Septemberfest. I liked it, but can't really give you a breakdown (it was around this part of the fest that I went largely non-verbal). I also sampled their Sidewinder, a pale ale with a nice spicy twist that, to me, is somewhat reminiscent of their famous Blood&Honey.
Other beers of note sampled were 512's Tripel (awesome), Rahr's Visionary Black IPA (second best beer Rahr has in their repertoire), and 903 Brewing Coconut Cream ale (nice take on one of the worst styles out there).
All in all, a very enjoyable day and, moreover, a nice job by the Texas brewers. Let us not forget that when you start really loving up the servers deeply and tenderly, they'll continue to pour you samples *gratis* and not mark your card, so we got pretttttyyyy hammered. Yet another reason why Paste Untapped Festival is the class of the Dallas area beer fests. I will be sure to return next year, next time with some sunblock, and possibly in costume!!