A Day by Day Guide to Dallas Beer Week
Organizer Cathy Clark Rascoe says that if she had to pick a single event, it would be the sold-out Mikkeler and Jester King dinner 6:30 p.m. November 17 at the Common Table.
"I'm really excited Mikkel [Bjorg Bjersø] is coming to Texas at all, so that is a thrill," she says. That the event could draw the famed "Gypsy brewer" at all is a testament to how Texas is establishing itself as a viable craft-beer market, with more and more small breweries deciding it's worth navigating Texas' nonsensical beer laws to reach Lone Star customers as well as an explosion of homegrown breweries.
"Five years ago, I don't think we could have gotten these guys into Texas," Clark Rascoe says. "They weren't even marketing to Texas. Think about the beers that were available to us five years ago. You were limited to a few Texas brands, Saint Arnold and Real Ale, and a few outside brands. Rogue and Magic hat were a few early 'importers,' if you will."
Even in the one year since last year's inaugural Houston Beer Fest, the number of Texas breweries involved has more than doubled, she says: "Last year, there were 10 we worked with. This year, we could easily do 20 or 25." Some of those beers, ordinarily not available in Dallas, will be featured in the Dallas Beer Festival next Saturday.
Several other events merit a more in-depth look, too. Following are my day-by-day recommendations for Dallas Beer Week along with a few alternatives for those who've soured on the week.
Friday, November 11
(512) Cask Tapping at Trinity Hall, 6 p.m.
Dallas Beer Week officially starts Saturday, but Trinity Hall couldn't wait to tap this cask of the Austin brewery's Pecan Porter cask-conditioned with Barrett's Coffee Cafe Au Lait.
Saturday, November 12
Deep Ellum Brewing Co. Beer Brunch at The Common Table, 11 a.m.
We already mentioned this one, as the prospect of a Dallas-grown brewery is a pretty big deal. Get there early but don't get too loaded for a ride up to McKinney for the official kickoff party. Dallas Pedicabs will be on hand, but I'm skeptical that they'd take you that far.
Dallas Beer Week Kickoff Party at Franconia Brewery, 2 to 5 p.m.
Named Best Brewery in our Best of Dallas® issue, this party should be worth the drive to McKinney, as it features a brewery tour, food from Two Rows, live music and beer. Thirty percent of the $7 admission goes to the McKinney Homeless Shelter and Services.
Sunday, November 13
Sunday's pretty slow, but if you don't want to give your liver a day of rest there is a Franconia beer dinner featuring Kolsch, Wheat, Lager, Fall'n Bock and Dunkel with pork tenderloin, roasted quail and more at Ringo's Pub at the Shops at Legacy in Plano, while New Belgium Clutch and Real Ale Empire will be tapped at 11 a.m. at the Moth.
Monday, November 14
Brooklyn Brewery Special Tap at Ginger Man, 6 p.m.
National chain manager John Boegel will tap a keg of Brooklyn Brewery prepared specially for the Ginger Man's 20th anniversary.
Deschutes Black Butte XXIII on Tap at The Common Table, 6 p.m.
Special tapping of Deschutes Brewery's 23rd Birthday Reserve and a bottle release of 2010 The Abyss. Tisha Smith will be on hand.
Rahr & Sons Beer Dinner at Cowtown Diner (available at dinner all week)
Forget beer: For $25, deep-fried deviled eggs, chicken tacos or beer-battered catfish, beer cheese soup and chocolate pecan pie sounds like a steal. Throw in beer pairings with the deal and I'm wondering what the catch is (other than the drive to Fort Worth). Rahr drafts sans food will be $3.
Green Flash Tappings with Brewmaster Chuck Silva at the Meddlesome Moth, 5 p.m.
Share a pint of cask-conditioned Imperial IPA, West Coast IPA or a surprise beer with Chuck Silva, or a New Belgium Tart Lychee.
Tuesday, November 15
Pumpkin Ale Night at The Holy Grail Pub, 6 p.m.
Saint Arnold's great Pumpkinator, Dogfish Head's almost-as-excellent Punkin Ale, Samuel Adams Double Pumpkin and Ace Pumpkin Cider will be tapped.
Trinity Hall Beer Dinner With Michael Peticolas
Peticolas Brewing Company isn't quite up and running, so Michael Peticolas won't be featuring his own brews but rather will discuss some of his other favorite craft beers, and Trinity Hall will have limited-release beers from Dogfish Head and Saint Arnold.
Deep Ellum Beer Dinner at Il Cane Rosso, 7 p.m.
Deep Ellum Brewing Co.'s Farmhouse Wit, Backslider Blonde, California Common, Double Brown Stout and American Brown will be paired with Jay Jerrier's pizza, pasta and more. Full menu here.
Lagunitas Over the Top Brewsday Tuesday at The Common Table, 6 p.m.
Sales rep Lauren Young will sell you on wet-hopped Maximus, cask-conditioned IRS, Fusion 7 and Farmhouse Saison to be tapped.
Wednesday, November 16
Lagunitas Beer Dinner at Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House, 6:30 p.m.
Lauren Young leads a dinner featuring New Dog Town Pale Ale, IPA, Fusion 7, cask-conditioned Maximus IPA, take-home goodies and a menu of Jeana Johnson- and Colleen O'Hare-created food that the restaurant is keeping under wraps. It must be something incredible like unicorn steak or the T-Mobile girl's vagina, considering the $95-per-person-not-including-tip price tag.
Blind Beer Challenge at The Holy Grail Pub, 7:30 p.m.
Test your palate against "Dallas' Top Beer Experts" (no, they didn't invite me) in a four-beer blind taste test. Win prizes by determining the style or beer.
Deep Ellum Brewing Co. Tasting at Trinity Hall, 7:30 p.m.
Hear from brewer John Reardon, taste some of his brews and munch on snacks for $20.
Brewery Ommegang Three Philosophers Progressive Vertical Tasting at The Common Table and Ginger Man, 6 p.m.
Ommegang's quadrupel blend is one of the benchmarks of its style, and you can see how it has aged by tasting vintages of the outstanding ale dating back as far as 2004. It starts at The Common Table, and you can walk over to the Ginger Man where tasting begins at 7 p.m.
Pour Your Own Ale at Idle Rich Pub, 7 p.m.
"Trained pourers" will teach you how to hand-pump a cask-conditioned ale (something from Lagunitas in this case) or a Guinness draft.
Pour Your Own Ale at the Old Monk, 7 p.m.
Learn how to hand-pump a cask-conditioned ale (Lagunitas again) or a Guinness draft.
Oskar Blues Night at The Common Table, 5 p.m.
Gubna imperial IPA on tap, double dry-hopped Gordon's (now called G'Knight) on cask.
Thursday, November 17
Beer Dinner With Garrett Oliver at Eno's, 5:30 p.m.
Eno's and Brooklyn Brewery must have settled their differences over that whole logo dispute, as Brooklyn brewmaster, author and editor of the new Oxford Companion to Beer Garrett Oliver leads a beer dinner (with a sneak peek at food from sibling Union Bear's menu) in the upstairs pub. Can't find ticket prices, but it's sold out anyway.
The Oxford Companion to Beer Book Signing With Garrett Oliver at Meddlesome Moth, 9 p.m.
The Companion, The (revolting, in my opinion) Concoction and the awesome 2010 Black Chocolate Stout will be tapped as Garrett Oliver signs copies of his just-released beer reference.
Mikkeller/Jester King Beer Dinner at the Common Table, 7 p.m.
The event mentioned above by Clark Rascoe, you've no doubt heard about this by now. Everyone else has too, it seems: It's sold out.
Friday, November 18
Bockor Cuvee des Jacobins Rouge sour beer tapping and Barrel Aged Mikkeller Black Hole at The Meddlesome Moth, 5 p.m.
The Common Table isn't the only place to try Mikkeller brews this week.
Sweet and Sour at The Libertine Bar
The Meddlesome Moth isn't the only place to try sour beers this week. Dogfish Head Festina Peche, Ommegang Aphrodite, Petrus Pale Sour Ale & La Terroir (vintage) will be paired with desserts.
Mikkeller/BrewDog Rare Beer Night at Strangeways, 4 p.m.
Not including the Dallas Beer Festival (which will feature Mikkel Bjorg Bjersø and some of his brews), this may just be the climax of Dallas Beer Week. Black Hole, Beer Geek Rauch, Chipotle Porter ("Texas Ranger") and 1000 IBU from Mikkeller and BrewDog's infamous Sink the Bismarck (41 percent ABV) and Tactical Nuclear Penguin (32 percent ABV) will be available. I'm getting the vapors just reading that list. It's first-come-first-served, but please, someone save me a sip of those BrewDog monsters?