Now in its seventh year, the Texas Craft Brewers Festival (TCBF) descended upon Austin on Saturday, September 30, 2017, with an expanded format and even more breweries represented. The TCBF is a product of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild (TCBG), with some proceeds benefiting various charities each year.
This year's festival featured over almost 70 Texas craft brewers with more than 200 unique brews for attendees to enjoy. Whether a novice to craft beer or a seasoned vet, the festival certainly had something for everyone, with special tappings on the hour from many of the participating breweries.
New this years was Partners In Craft, a small gathering that featured 30 Texas craft breweries each highlighting beers that were collaborations with other breweries, bands, coffee shops and the like. The evening was like a get together with old friends, with an opportunity to meet new ones and served as a great lead into to the festival itself the next day. Members of the TCBG indicated that they looked to have the event again next year, perhaps with a few tweaks.
VIP attendees were able to get a two-hour head-start on the general admission ticket holders, allowing them more personable one-on-one-time with the brewers and virtually no lines at all (that in and of itself would be worth the VIP ticket price of $75), both of which allowed VIPs to get some of the special tappings all to themselves.
Once the remainder of beer fans were let loose a couple of hours later, the party picked up quite a bit and lines nearly tripled. Though The festival again saw record attendance, the TCBG and participating brewers did a great job with festival organization allowing beer lines to move quickly, allowing all attendees to have a chance at their favorite brews. To help keep folks at their best, avoid mishaps, and embarrassing themselves, food vendors and water were readily available and lines moved fairly quick considering the attendance.
Craft Pride, a local Austin craft beer joint, brought a mobile lounge for folks to hang out and take a break. Popular podcast Liquid Lunch was on hand at the lounge discussing various craft beer topics including a panel, featuring Jester King's Jeff Stuffings, that discussed the world of sour beers.
The culture of the festival has evolved each year with more and more attendees educated on just what craft beer is, how to differentiate styles and evaluate what they are drinking. What began years ago as a way to bring awareness to what Texas craft breweries have to offer has become much more. It's a party, it's industry networking and it's like minds getting together to enjoy the best beer that Texas has to offer. It is always amazing to see folks from all over Texas meet for the first time or catch up with friends from around the state over a pint of Texas brew.