Monday, March 31, 2014

Your Companion Guide to the 2014 Big Texas Beer Fest

Image credit:  Big Texas Beer Fest
I don't know about you, but I remember a time when it felt like it would be 412 years before we had decent beer, much less a decent beer festival in this town. Now, it seems we're starting to live a charmed life, as beer lists like the one recently released for this weekend's Big Texas Beer Fest clearly show. On it, you'll find 412 items (there are some ciders and "crafty" selections among the beer) to choose from. Not sure where to start come Saturday? Below is my customary beer geek breakdown with highlights of what's on the menu.

Maybe I'm wrong (though I did benchmark against similar articles I've done in the past), but reading the list I see not only more beer, but a similar number of whales, more top rated beers, and more market debuts and rarities than I recall being available at a local event (yes, that includes recent installments of Untapped).

In other words, there's never been a better time to get out, sample a few beers and immerse yourself in the North Texas craft beer community. Festival founders Chad and Nellie Montgomery have done the legwork for you, now it's up to you to drink and enjoy.

Get your tickets here.

Whale watching: Brews from the Beer Advocate top 100

#5. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
#27. Firestone Walker Sucaba
#65. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
#78. Ballast Point Victory at Sea
#93. Oscar Blues Ten Fidy (whiskey barrel version)

Perfect pours: Top rated beers (100/100) on Ratebeer

Ayinger: Celebrator Doppelbock
Dogfish Head: 90 Minute IPA
Firestone Walker: Double Jack IPA, Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA
Founders: Porter
Great Divide: Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti, Espresso Oak Aged Yeti (subject to availability), Hercules Double IPA
North Coast: Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, Old Stock Cellar Reserve Brandy Barrel (2011)
Uinta: Labyrinth Black Ale
Victory:  Old Horizontal

Best of the rest: Close enough to perfect (Ratebeer scores out of 100))

Alaskan:  Smoked Porter (99, subject to availability)
Boulevard:  Dark Truth Stout (98), Double Wide IPA (99), Sixth Glass Quadrupel (98)
Brooklyn:  Sorachi Ace (98)
Brouwerij Van Steenberge: Gulden Draak (99)
Deschutes:  Fresh Squeezed IPA (98), Hop Henge IPA (99)
Dogfish Head:  Burton Baton (99), Palo Santo Marron (99)
Firestone Walker:  Union Jack IPA (99)
Flying Dog: Raging Bitch (98)
Founders:  Centennial IPA (99), Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale (98), Red's Rye IPA (99), Curmudgeon Old Ale (98)
Goose Island:  Sofie (98)
Green Flash: Palate Wrecker (99)
Harpoon:  Leviathan IPA (98)
Jester King: Das Wunderkind (98(
Lagunitas:  A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' (99), Maximus (98)
Odell:  IPA (98), Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout (98), Myrcenary Double IPA (99)
Ommegang:  Three Philosophers (99)
Oskar Blues: Dale's Pale Ale (98), Gubna Imperial IPA (98),
Sierra Nevada:  Bigfoot (99), Torpedo (98)
Southern Star: Buried Hatchet Stout (98)
Southern Tier:  Crème Brulee Stout (98), 2XONE (98)
Squatters: Outer Darkness (99)
Stone: Old Guardian (99), Stochasticity Project Grapefruit Slam IPA (98)
Uinta: Cockeyed Cooper (98)
Unibroue:  Grande Reserve 17 (99), La Fin du Monde (99)
Victory:  HopDevil (99)

Rare breeds: Market debuts and limited editions

Alaskan: Jalapeno Imperial IPA (subject to availability)
Armadillo Ale Works: Brunch Money
Bridgeport: Hop Czar Citra Dry-Hopped IPA
Buffalo Bayou: Abrikoos
Cedar Creek: Dankosaurus IPA
Cobra: Golden Girl
Deep Ellum: Neato Bandito (subject to availability)
Firestone Walker: Easy Jack Summer Session IPA, Opal
Franconia: McKinney Champagne, Trippel Dunkel (both subject to availability)
Goose Island: Endless IPA
Grapevine: Sir William's English Brown Ale
Lakewood: Wine Barrel-Aged Brabo's Cut, Rock Ryder with lemon and ginger
Martin House: Rubberneck Red
New Belgium: Summer Helles
No-Li: Born & Raised IPA, Jet Star Imperial IPA, Spin Cycle ESB, Wrecking Ball Imperial Stout
No Label: Cherry Sour
Ommegang: Game of Thrones Fire & Blood Red Ale
Peticolas: Golden Opportunity (dry-hopped with Cascade), Sit Down or I'll Sit You Down (dry-hopped mystery cask), Velvet Hammer (dry-hopped with Cascasde)
Prairie Artisan Ales/Evil Twin: Bible Belt
Rabbit Hole: Rapture (randallized with rum-soaked coffee beans)
Rahr & Sons: Snowmacocoageddon
Real Ale/3 Floyds/Surly: Blakkr
Revolver: Barrel One (subject to availability)
Rogness Titanoboa
Saint Arnold: Boiler Room Berliner Weisse
Stone: Go To IPA
Texian: First Stand

Oldies but goodies: Vintage brews

Lakewood: Bourbon Barrel Temptress (2013), Lion's Share I (2013)
Saint Arnold Bishop's Barrel #2
Widmer Brothers: Reserve Barrel Aged Brrrbon (2013)

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