This past Saturday saw the first Texas Craft Brewers Festival in six years. Imagine what the scene was like way back in 2005, when there were roughly nine production breweries in Texas and a handful of brewpubs. Now fast forward to September 2011, and there are now twenty production breweries, with more opening like the Pedernales Brewing Co in Fredericksburg.
Eighteen of these fine folks made there way to Austin to show that the craft beer scene is strong and producing some quality brews: (512) Brewing, Alamo Beer Co, Austin Beerworks, Draught House Brewery, Jester King Brewing, Independence Brewing, Live Oak Brewing, New Republic Brewing, No Label Brewing, Rahr & Sons Brewing, Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling, Real Ale Brewing, Saint Arnold Brewing, Southern Star Brwing, Spoetzl Brewing, Thirsty Planet Brewing and Twisted X Brewing all showed up to prove that, although we maybe about ten to fifteen years behind the craft beer curve, we’re catching up fast.
That’s one heck of a turn out all in one place. “I am happy to report that the future of Texas craft brewing is looking better than ever. New breweries are opening all over the state, and established craft breweries are expanding. Many breweries here today have been open less than two years. Make sure to stop by the booths of these newest additions to the Texas brewing scene and taste what they have to offer. Of course, don’t forget your old friends and favorite brews from the pioneers of Texas brewing, Live Oak Brewing Company, Real Ale Brewing Company, Saint Arnold Brewing Company and the Spoetzl Brewery”, says Tim Schwartz, President of the Texas Craft Breweries Guild. The Guild was a major sponsor of the event, along wth the Alamo Beer Company, (512) Brewing, Austin Homebrew Supply, Jack Martin and Associates, Wasabi Creative and many more.
The festival was a statement in my opinion, that despite being second in beer consumption in the United States, but only 48th in consumption of craft beer, Texas is moving forward.
The Festival opened at noon for those with VIP tickets, allowing them to enjoy the brews early, a ‘meet and greet’ with the brewers and all walked away with a t-shirt and commemorative pint glass. Around 2:00 the festival officially opened up and close to five thousand craft beer enthusiasts enjoyed live music, good Texas craft beer and great weather. Best part of all, it benefited the Austin YMBL Sunshine Camps. Austin YMBL Sunshine Camps, is celebrating its 83rd anniversary this year, and serves economically disadvantaged youth in Central Texas by providing summer camp at NO COST to the participants.
The Great American Beer Festival
This week will see the 30th Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. Put on annually by the Brewers Association, the organization that represents the nations craft breweries. The festival was started by the American Homebrewers Association back in 1982 and back then saw some know well know breweries in attendance. Anchor Steam and Porter, Genesee Cream Ale, Killian’s Irish Red Ale, Leinenkugel’s, Rainier Ale, Rolling Rock, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Stout, Stevens Point Special Lager, Yuengling Premium, Lord Chesterfield Ale and Porter were among those present in 1982 that are still available today.
The main festival hall at the Colorado Convention Center, will have a special pavilion taking attendees back to 1982 to experience what it must have been like back in the Harvest House Hotel in Boulder, Colorado.
What started out with 22 breweries in 1982, will see more than 450 breweries this year. Among all these great breweries 16 are from Texas, including San Antonio’s Freetail Brewing Co, (512) Brewing in Austin, the Spoetzl Brewery and Black Star Co-op.
The festival sold out in one week this year and expects to see 49,00 beer enthusiasts descend up on Denver, including yours truly.