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Hangover Observations from the Texas Craft Brewers Festival

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Almost 60 Texas brewers converged on Fiesta Gardens to share the best of the state's craft scene with Austin's best and beeriest. Read on for the hangovers. --Nadia Chaudhury

Nadia Chaudhury/EATX

The completely sold out Texas Craft Brewers Festival brought together nearly 60 breweries and brewpubs to Fiesta Gardens on a gray, hot, and slightly drizzling Saturday. For the seventh year in a row, the festival celebrated the best craft beers Texas has to offer, with even more breweries, brewpubs, and food to soak up the booze this time around. For those who weren't able to make it out, read on for the hangovers, observed.

-The beer tents were arranged in alphabetical order along the perimeter of Fiesta Gardens, which make it easier to navigate the beer list. The other side of the gardens were dedicated to food trucks, with covered seating, too. There were plenty of water stations everywhere.

-VIP ticket holders were allowed to come into the grounds two and a half hours earlier to take advantage of the beer pours. Under the pavilion (where tables and chairs where available), brewers walked around with pitchers of their goods for free pours. VIPs were also given a new growler, which could've been filled at the after party held at Craft Pride.

-The day was gray and hot, but it cooled down once it started slightly drizzling continuously. It felt good, or as one attendee joked, "It helped hydrate everyone."

-Lines always looked manageable. Longer lines formed for individual breweries' special taps, which were scheduled throughout the day. The first long line for a non-special tap beer was for Shannon Brewing Company's Chocolate Stout, which sold out right around 4pm. Founder Shannon Carter said they were told to bring 2,000 pours for the festival.

-Representatives from Twin Peaks Brewing, Texas Ale Project, and Brigadoon Brewery & Brew School dressed for their beers: Twin Peaks' pourers were women dressed in midriff-baring flannel shirts and boots in classiest breastaurant style, Texas Ale Project wore a pirate hat while pouring a beer celebrating 1773, and Brigadoon Brewery's guys wore snazzy kilts.

--Four Corners Brewing poured beer from an old, small ice cream cart. Oasis, Texas Brewing had flashy neon signage. Armadillo Ale Works had two stuffed animal armadillos on their tables. One was dubbed Dilly Nelson.

-Tait Lifto, who is in charge of sales at Rabbit Hole Brewing, showed off his rabbit tattoo, which he named Hare of the Dog that Bit You. Lifto spoke about how the Texas State Fair didn't have local Texas beers, and that he made a push for the organizers to include Deep Ellum Brewing (where he used to work) one year. Now, the State Fair has an entire section dedicated to Texas craft beers.

-The food trucks, and their most popular items of the day: Fire & Soul's fried chicken club, and grilled angus sliders; Boomerang's Pies' Guinness steak and potato pie; Red's Porch's boudin balls and pulled pork frito pie; Mighty Bird's nachos; Cafe Mueller's brisket nachos, and chopped brisket sandwiches. The always crowded Chi'lantro sold out of their hamburgers, burritos, quesadillas, and spicy fries and Joe's Sweet Balls ran out of their chocolate sacks.

-A lot of people were haphazardly tossing their unfinished beer onto the ground any and everywhere.

-Random bits of overheard conversations: "I'm not impressed by Shiner;" "This is an awesome festival;" "Don't wanna get addicted to marijuana." Many people spoke about how the festival was better than last year's, with more beer varieties and food options.

-Popular clothing choices: brewery and bar shirts, not only from Texas, lots of burnt orange Longhorn apparel.

-One of the most unusual options being offered was Jester King Brewery's Snorkel, a beer made with oyster mushrooms from Jester King's neighbor, and sea salt. Twisted X Brewing and Independence Brewing featured brews made with prickly pear.

-Someone asked me what the names on the media credentials meant, like Bitch Beer.

Best beer names, observed:

  • Armadillo Ale Work's Brunch Money (everyone kept calling it Brunch Monkey.)
  • Buffalo Bayou Brewing's More Cowbell
  • Cedar Creek Brewery's Gone-a-rye
  • Karbach Brewing's Krunkin Pumpkin
  • Lone Pint Brewery's Tornado Shark
  • New Republic Brewing's Dammit Jim!
  • No Label Brewing's Black Wit-O
  • Peticolas Brewing's Sit Down or I'll Sit You Down
  • Ranger Creek Brewing's Love Struck Hefe
  • South Austin Brewery's Kol'Beer
  • Texas Ale Project's Party Like It's 1773