It was a blustery Saturday outdoors, and parking cost 10 bucks, but that didn’t slow the line from snaking nearly the length of the Automotive Building at Fair Park, four people deep at times and a full hour before the doors open. Dallasites love their beer, and this was the place to get your suds on, from the Belgian-style beers of Lakewood Brewing to Franconia’s German suds, brewed mostly in line with the Reinheitsgebot purity laws of Bavaria to even gluten-free ciders. The Big Texas Beer Fest this weekend was a big event, with ales, pilsners, bocks and porters flowing like water.
Most of the local breweries (North Texas has about 20) were on hand, from brand-new Cobra in Lewisville (I enjoyed their Hoppy Dazed IPA) to the old hand, Cowtown’s Rahr & Sons, trotting out their signature suds. But there was also representation from Austin, Houston, Colorado, Massachusetts, Mexico, Japan and Europe — mostly craft-style, though some large-production. Having so many breweries in one place allowed useful side-by-side comparisons, and reinforced why Community’s Mosaic, Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer (and its Black Curtains) and Deep Ellum’s Four Swords are so revered. Firestone’s Double Jack IPA was a chocolatey hops bomb, and Oskar Blues’ Mama’s Little Yella Pils made their marks.
The lines inside could be long (Jester King from Austin never seemed to let up), but with more than 80 breweries there (and some food trucks out back), you were never at a loss to enjoy a taste or 12. (Thank heaven for Lyft and Uber.) It’s just more proof that the craft beer movement is alive and well in Dallas.