Monday, October 18, 2010

Houston Beer Week ends with a Roar

The first ever Houston Beer Week ended on Sunday with a beer festival called Monsters of Beer. Nine Texas craft breweries were featured, allowing the approximately 600 attendees to sample beer from both established breweries and a couple of the new startups:

(512) - IPA, Pecan Porter
Independence - Stash IPA, Saison
Jester King - Commercial Suicide Mild
Live Oak - Pilz, HefeWeisen
No Label - Pale Horse Pale Ale, El Hefe Hefeweizen, Ridgeback Amber
Rahr and Sons - Ugly Pug Black Lager, Salamander Pale Ale, Oktoberfest, Winter Warmer (Cask)
Real Ale - Oktoberfest, ESB, Lost Gold IPA
Saint Arnold - Amber, Elissa IPA
Southern Star - Buried Hatchet Stout, Bombshell Blond, Pine Belt Pale Ale

Ranger Creek was scheduled to attend, but was unable to due to a combination of technical difficulties at the brewery and TABC labeling laws.

The festival was held in the parking lot at 13 Celsius wine bar and the closed off street in front of it. It was a bright sunny day for most of the festival, making it quite warm at times unless you were able to find some of the limited shade available. Representatives from most of the breweries were on hand to answer questions and talk to people, but were unable to pour beer due to some odd TABC rules. The lines for beer were long at times, but the volunteers pouring kept things moving pretty quickly. Since everyone had tasting cards and were only allowed one sample of each beer, the long lines would appear and disappear from the booths as people got their samples and moved on to the next brewery.

Unfortunately, there was also long lines for the food which never seemed to get shorter. The Hubcap Grill burger truck was unable to make it to the event, leaving the Sylvia's No Borders truck and the Melange Creperie table the only two food vendors. Several times I overhead people wondering how difficult it would be to order a pizza for delivery.

Overall, I think the event went pretty smoothly and was a great success. I got to meet and talk with a lot of other beer folks, including a few who I've communicated with via twitter but never in person. It was a great opportunity to try beers from some of the new breweries and be able to compare and contrast them with other locally brewed beers. Although I heard a few complaints regarding the lack of special releases or one-offs brought by the breweries, I would suspect a larger selection next year if this is made an annual event. By this time next year, there should also be a few additional new breweries open and operating that would be able to attend. I'm already looking forward to next year's festival.

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