Yes, there is a firkin lot of great beer at the Texas Craft Brewers Festival (see my 5 favorite beers) , but if that’s all you go for, you are missing half the fun. The people watching is where its really at. Here are 17 things that start with the letter “B” that you can see at the annual beer bash.

Brewers

One of the best things about the Brewers Fest is the opportunity to meet so many of the people behind the creation of the beer. Most of the 57 breweries send the brew master and other brewers who are happy to talk about their craft and their babies with guests.

Beer Scientists

 

Bree Clark the beer scientist at Hops & Grain Bree Clark the beer scientist at Hops & Grain

 

Bree Clark uses her smarts, education and experience to ensure the consistency and quality of Hops & Grain Brewery’s beers. She developed the know how by earning a master’s degree in bio chemistry and as a high school chemistry teacher and now serves as one of only a very few brewery lab technicians in Texas. Quick with a smile and a pint, she’s a great person to have in the industry.

Beards

Beer dudes and beards. Duh.

Bright Red Mohawks

Bright red mohawks are a gender-neutral fashion statement among beer lovers.

Bitches

Bitchbeer.org bloggers Jessica, Caroline and Ari from Bitchbeer

 

The ladies from the influential and insightful beer blog, Bitchbeer, are a fixture at most major beer events, gathering information at mixin it up with the brewers. Want to get the inside scope on the best beers around, check their blog.

Bloggers 

Speaking of bloggers, the Texas Craft Beer Festival draws some of the best beer writers around from sites and publications like Austin Beer Guide, Craft Taste and Stay Hoppy Austin among others.  These guys may be excellent beer bloggers, but they sure as hell are not easy on the eyes. Especially the dudes from Austin Beer Guide. You’ll thank me for not posting a photo.

Babes 

 

Twin Peaks found it appropriate to bring beer babes. Twin Peaks found it appropriate to bring beer babes.

 

The craft beer industry is all about keepin’ it real. Brewers show up at events in t-shirts and jeans. Let the beer speak for itself. This year Twin Peaks, a breastaurant chain that brews its own beer, stood out in the crowd with attractive women with bare midriffs pouring their beer. It seemed a bit off to me, but maybe it worked.

Buds

 

My buds Beth Thornton and Jessica Dupuy My buds Beth Thornton and Jessica Dupuy

 

There is nothing better than drinking beer and sharing laughs with good friends. The Fest was filled with groups of friends comparing notes on beers and telling stories. Makes for a lovely afternoon.

Butts 

Butt

It seems the world is obsessed with booty right now. Some people at the Fest chose to call attention to theirs with really short shorts (see mention of Twin Peaks babes) or by slapping a sticker on their ass. Made ya look.

Bellies

Big Belly

Come on, its a beer festival. Big bellies are almost as ubiquitous as beards.

Bavarians

It hasn’t been that long since Oktoberfest in Munich ended. Its hard not to roll out the traditional beer drinking garb and make believe your 4 ounce plastic tasting cup is a liter stein.

Bands

Band

Bands played all afternoon in the pavilion. Live music is always a welcome touch.

Bros in Kilts

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There were more than a few groups of guys sportin’ kilts at the Fest – and not just brewers promoting Scottish ales.

Beer Socks

Lots of people were decked out in beer themed fashion. My favorite is the beer socks that is prevalent year after year.

Bankers

 

The bankers from Craft Royalty Partners The bankers from Craft Royalty Partners

 

The insane growth of the craft beer industry has several breweries scrambling to expand to meed demand. The dudes at Craft Royalty Partners set up a bank dedicated to funding the growth of Texas craft breweries. Sounds like heroes in pinstripes to me.

Bring Your Own Snacks

Texas Craft Brewers Festival Snacks

Sure there are tons of great things to eat from several food trucks at the Fest, but why stand in line when you can bring your own snack. These people went for convenience with pretzel necklaces. Brilliant.

Big Ass Lines

 

Big ass line at the Texas Craft Brewers Festival

Once the gates open for general admission, the lines start to form at all of the beer tents with insanely long lines forming for the special tappings that happen every 30 minutes. The biggest line of the day is the one to get into the park. It snakes for blocks from the gate to the lake. My advice, spring for the VIP if you can, get there as early as possible or just be prepared to wait.

What did you see that was really interesting at the Texas Craft Brewers Festival?

My other posts on the Fest:

Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary media pass.

What are you drinking? 

 

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Texas Craft Brewers Festival Volunteer Oceans of beer flowed freely at the 2014 Texas Craft Brewers Festival. More than 150 types of beer were poured by 57 brewers at Fiesta Gardens. There is absolutely no way to taste all of those beers, so I took a simpleton’s approach to the beer bash this year: I tasted only what came to me in the VIP session and after that I tasted only beer that I can readily buy in Austin.

Notes on my approach:

  • VIP is the only way to go if you want to avoid the insanely long lines that come with general admission. Sure you’ll miss some of the special tappings that happen every 30 minutes going later into the day, but you will get to taste almost anything else you want without wasting all day in line.
  • It sounds counter-intuitive to drink Austin based beers when the whole state is coming to Austin. Why the hell not taste what I can’t get normally? Yes I drank other beers, but when I needed to actually seek a beer, I wanted to know that if I like it, I can buy it again after the fest. This wasn’t an exercise in total exploration.

Here are my five favorite Austin beers poured at the Texas Craft Brewers Festival:

Austin Beerworks, Sptunik

Austin Beerworks Sputnik This Russian imperial coffee oatmeal stout is as smooth as any oatmeal stout you’ll encounter with a bit of an edge from coffee from Cuvée Coffee Roasting Company. It wasn’t listed in the official program, but poured during the VIP session. This isn’t one of Austin Beerworks regular line up, but you can get it on tap around town seasonally.

 Hops & Grain Brewing, Double IPA 

Hops & Grain Double IPA This bad boy was not listed on the official program, but was poured at the Hops & Grain booth along-side its Greenhouse IPA. Richer in color, with a bolder citrus and herbal punch, this 2X IPA cut through any beer lingering on the palate from a previous pour. I’d love to see this released in a can in the Greenhouse series.

Independence Brewing Co. Prickly Pear Stash IPA Firkin 

Amy Cartwright digs on the Stash IPA prickly pear Amy Cartwright digs on the Stash IPA prickly pear

 

The folks at Independence spiked a batch of its Chinook hops Stash IPA with a dose of deep purple prickly pear juice made by heating, but not boiling, the luscious fruit. Neon pink, this beer stood out. It kept the familiar hoppy bite of Stash, with an added layer of melon flavor. Lots of fun.

Jester King Snörkel

Ron Extract pours a Jester King Snorkel Ron Extract pours a Jester King Snorkel

 

This was the most interesting beer I tasted all day. The sour German Gose style beer is made with wheat, oyster mushrooms grown near the brewery and both sea salt and alderwood smoked sea salt. Funky, light and low alcohol, I could drink this stuff all afternoon. More please.

Real Ale Oktoberfest 

Erik Ogershok pours the pumpkiny goodness Erik Ogershok pours the pumpkiny goodness

 

Real Ale made a traditional Bavarian style Oktoberfest with German malt, hops, and yeast and then spiked the bad boy with pumpkin pie spices. While it had the typical body and character of a Märzen, the pumpkin pie spice gave it an extra festive flavor without overwhelming it. Deelish.

Tell me what I missed. What were your favorites?

What are you drinking? 

 

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Daniel Barnes of Treaty Oak Distilling Awarded Distiller of the Year

September 23, 2014

I had the privilege of hosting Treaty Oak Distilling’s first ever media event to announce that Daniel Barnes has received the prestigious 2014 Distiller of the Year award by MicroLiquor. He was selected among a field of more than 400 distinguished craft distiller entrants in the United States. The event felt like a party with friends […]

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Biggest beer bash ever: 120 brews on tap for Texas Craft Brewers Festival

September 18, 2014

It seems like there is a new brewery or brew pub opening somewhere in Texas every month. It would be a daunting (but fun!) task to try to visit all of the breweries; fortunately the Texas Craft Brewers Festival will bring 57 of the best brewers in the state together for its biggest event ever. This year, […]

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Where to Drink Right Now: 9 Austin Bars Celebrating Bourbon Heritage Month

September 12, 2014

Sometimes our government gets it right. On August 2, 2007 the U.S. Senate declared September as National Bourbon Heritage Month in a unanimous decision. This came years after Congress pronounced bourbon as “America’s Native Spirit” in 1964. It makes sipping bourbon feel downright patriotic. The Scots and Irish argue over who invented whiskey (or whisky […]

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New artisan gin joins Dripping Springs’ booming booze barrio

September 3, 2014

The area west of Oak Hill out to Dripping Springs, Texas is quickly becoming a booze barrio. The neighborhood is home to Revolution Spirits, the soon-to-open Deep Eddy Vodka distillery, and a new Treaty Oak Distilling facility that is under construction. San Luis Spirits, the maker of the Dripping Springs Vodka, has just added a new tasting bar and is offering […]

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Sommelier’s Top Wine Recommendations from TEXSOM

September 2, 2014

A breakdown of sparkling, white and red wine from the 10th annual Texas Sommelier Conference. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when walking through the vast canyons of wines at the store. Faced with that immense selection, it’s tempting just to pick the same wine we know. On the flip side, the thousands of different wines […]

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The Best of Austin’s Steakhouses

August 30, 2014

There is one huge reason why I’m not a vegetarian: steak. Oh, glorious steak. The mere smell of it sends me into a shark-like frenzy. Biting into that hot flesh is the closest I will come to being a vampire, giving myself over to that carnal lust. Fortunately, Austin is well stocked with prime steakhouses. […]

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10th Annual TEXSOM Highlights

August 13, 2014

Its like Christmas in August, or, summer camp for wine pros. The tenth anniversary of the Texas Sommelier Conference, AKA TEXSOM, held at the Four Seasons Hotel Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas drew 900 sommeliers and wine enthusiasts to participate in educational seminars, wine tastings and tons of fun networking. This year  39 Master Sommeliers, 10 […]

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Red Room Lounge’s Joelle Cousins named the best sommelier in Texas at TEXSOM 2014

August 13, 2014

On Monday night, Joelle Cousins, general manager and sommelier of Red Room Lounge, was crowned the 2014  Texas’ Best Sommelier, the sixth winner from Austin in the past 10 years. Austin sommeliers placed first and third in the competition held at TEXSOM, one of the world’s most prominent wine education conferences. The trophy was presented to Cousins […]

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