Big Texas Beer Fest is one of the Southwest’s largest beer festivals, and in 2018 there were more than 500 beers from over 100 breweries.
I’ve been to my share of beer festivals across the country– from Virginia to Colorado to my current state, Texas. None of them are the same and I’ve fallen in love with various aspects of each. But it’s the story behind the creation of this festival that I fell in love with most.
Big Texas Beer Fest is Dallas, Texas’s original beer festival. Spanning two sessions, 100+ breweries, and 500+ beers, this festival was started by a husband and wife team passionate about great beer, local businesses, and giving back to their community.
The festival’s founders, Chad and Nellie Montgomery visited Denver for the Great American Beer Festival in 2010. During their trip, they noticed how the entire area came alive for this 3-day celebration of craft beer. It wasn’t long after their return to Dallas did they start brainstorming ways to create a similar event for their city.
“After our seventh year, Big Texas Beer Fest has become a tradition among friends and brewers alike. We love making our festival’s mantra of ‘Connecting people through beer’ a reality.” Chad Montgomery
Big Texas Beer Fest Need-to-Knows:
- Has raised $60,000 for the North Texas Food Bank since its inception in 2012.
- 8,000+ attendees across both sessions.
- The beer festival this year featured 11 local food trucks outside with live music from local and regional bands
- Another tradition is a full arcade where attendees get to play classic and nostalgic games!
Read This: Lessons Learned at My First Great American Beer Festival
I Did It, I Survived Both Days at Big Texas Beer Fest 2018
There’s two days worth of beer tasting at the Big Texas Beer Fest. And considering it’s my first year, I think I did awesome making the rounds and experiencing all the best there was to offer.
Beer festivals can vary in attendance, and this one features both Texas and out-of-state breweries, big and small. Samuel Adams was there right down from locals Noble Rey Brewing. I enjoy seeing these bigger brewers and getting to taste what they bring, usually it’s styles that aren’t available at all across this big state.
One absence that was sincerely missed by many was the lack of representation from Austin’s craft beer scene. There were a few Austin breweries (along with Austin Eastciders) in attendance (I was told it was Jester King’s first year not participating in the Big Texas Beer Fest), but the reps or anyone from the brewery themselves were missing.
Read This: Apple of Our Eyes: Austin Cider Guide
Still, there was plenty of great beer to be had everywhere you looked. Some of my personal highlights include:
- Since I attended both sessions, I can say the Friday night event was not nearly as crowded as the following afternoon’s session. I definitely see the positives to both. Sometimes a party is fun and sometimes it’s fun to get a moment and talk with brewers, plus less waiting! It’s nice that with Big Texas Beer Fest, you can have your choice.
- Easily the best beer I had at the event was Freak Flag, an American Sour Red Ale from Deep Ellum Brewing in Dallas. It might have been the holographic label that drew me in, or maybe the name, but this one blew me away!
- Another favorite was getting to try the Martin House Brewing’s La Cura agave and guava sour ale!
- There were plenty of cideries in attendance which was nice when you wanted something crisp and dry to break up all that beer.
- 903 Brewers out of Sherman, Texas really kicked it out of the park with the long list of high-ABV beers. In fact, along with their Sasquatch (Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout), there were five variants which pretty much seemed like a well-rounded milk stout dream team.
- Saint Arnold, per another wacky tradition, can legally marry you at the Big Texas Beer Fest! You can get “beer married” or real married. If you let Saint Arnold ‘real’ marry you, wedding license and all, they would treat you to a very nice weekend honeymoon in Houston.
Read This: 7 Essential Dallas Breweries Not To Be Missed
Overall, I really had a spectacular and unforgettable first year at the Big Texas Beer Fest! I saw plenty of good friends, some from Austin, some from North Texas, and I got to try all sorts of new and exciting brews from that area and beyond. Big Texas Beer Fest is the definition of a great beer festival, You’ve got local and national brewers bringing the whole community out for fun, food, music, and most importantly, delicious brews. What more do you need?
Follow Big Texas Beer Fest on Twitter and Facebook to stay up-to-date on plans for 2019’s fest!
Also, major credit to Jason Babos, of J Babos Photography, for lending his expertise and helping me capture the energy of this Texas beer festival.