The Big Texas Beer Fest is Coming to Fair Park, and Sounds Like it Just Might Work

Categories: Hophead
big texas beer fest logo.jpg
Remember when a husband-and-wife team planned a beer festival in Fair Park and everyone was all excited about it but then it got canceled and everyone, aside from a few told-ya-so-sayers, was bummed? Well, once again, a husband-and-wife team is organizing a beer festival in Fair Park.

And, with more than a year of planning and Andrews and Ben E. Keith on board as affiliate sponsors, Big Texas Beer Fest, set for Saturday, April 14, looks like it has a pretty good shot of actually happening. Chad and Nellie Montgomery have been laying the groundwork since last July after being inspired by a trip to Denver's Great American Beer Festival in September 2010. Or longer, if you consider the inroads he's made as a vocal consumer in the passionate small but growing craft-beer scene.

"Cathy and Jay [Rascoe, organizers of Dallas Beer Week and the aborted Dallas Beer Festival] are really nice and meant well, but they are in Houston and don't know all the locals," Chad says. "I know the beer nerds in the area, and they are going to help."

Promotion tactics such as flyers in like-minded stores and bars ("I buy a lot of beer," Chad notes) give it a much better chance of success. More important is having sponsorship. Yes, Andrews and Ben E. Keith will probably want to offer samples of products that, to put it gently, won't appeal to the core beer-geek audience. But if that's what it takes to ensure they aren't on the hook for multiple kegs of unsold beer that they're unable to legally resell, Chad is fine with that.

Tickets, $35 or $60 for VIP with $20 designated-driver spots also available, went on sale through the website this week. By Texas law, the fest can only sell up to 24 ounces at a time, meaning entrance comes with a tasting card entitling the bearer to a dozen 2-ounce samples. Additional tasting cards are $2; Chad wanted to make refills cheap but not turn the thing into a drunk-fest. Also, as the Montgomerys are self-vending tickets, the $35 price actually means $35: no "convenience" fees. Along with tastings, ticketholders can enjoy samples of cheese, music from The O's, a free photobooth and buy food from food trucks.

Chad expects 80 to 100 breweries to join in. Confirmed breweries so far include Stone Brewing Co., Lakewood Brewing Co. (pending TTB approval), Deep Ellum Brewing Co., Brewery Ommegang/Duvel, Boulevard Brewing, Jester King, Rahr & Sons and Maui Brewing. Additionally, Andrews has told him that Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams), Ballast Point and New Belgium have so far expressed interest in sampling. As for special and rare beers, Rahr has promised two special firkins including a festival exclusive; Jester King has likewise promised two "extra special" beers; Maui will offer its La Perouse White and, if it's ready in time, a rum-barrel-aged Black Pearl; and Ommegang will have its dark abbey-style Art of Darkness.

The event is 1 to 6 p.m. at the Automobile Building in Fair Park, with VIP entrance at noon; VIPs are also take home a customized Beer Caddy and lanyard. See the exhaustive FAQ section of the fest site for the answer to just about any question you can come up with.

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21 comments
Garcia_antone04
Garcia_antone04

this question is for chad.   Will we only be able to sample 24 beers? or can we buy a more than one additional tasting card?

Vestibul
Vestibul

Any Chance of smaller breweries from around the state bringing new beers... Freetail, Southern Star, Austin Beer Works, No Label????? I want to try some NEW beers

Matt Courson
Matt Courson

Sounds great, not been impressed with the east Texas beer scene so far. Dying for something to show me what I've been missing. Don't forget to tell Yuengling!

Phelps
Phelps

Festival exclusive from Rahr. That's making my nipples hard.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

I used to go enjoy Lone Star Parks microbrew day!  They always a good amount of selections.  dont know if the new owners are going to continue it though

BigTex
BigTex

Please notify Abita and Breckenridge Breweries guys!!!!

ThreeOranges
ThreeOranges

Maybe they'll have higher attendance now that they're actually telling people about it.  

Chad Montgomery
Chad Montgomery

KZ, I met Cathy and Jay personally and have absolutely no ill-will towards, them, and no one is hating on them. In fact, we supported the festival they tried to throw (I was one of the few who purchased tickets) and we attended several Dallas Beer Week events including the Mikkeller/Jester King dinner at The Common Table. I helped promote them through twitter as much as I could. I was asked why I think our festival will succeed where theirs didn't and the real answer is, "we don't know if it will." I'm doing everything I can to promote it, and we're 3 months in front of it now. With any help from grassroots word of mouth, this will be an awesome beer festival. I hope you'll join us there.

Kathryn
Kathryn

Sounds pretty interesting... Too bad it is at the same time as the Dallas Film Festival.

KZ
KZ

Good luck to the festival and please stop hating on the Rascoes. Yes, they are from Houston, however they tried to do a good thing in Dallas for craft beer and Dallas wasn't responsive to them until the event was cancelled and then Dallas hated on them.  

Lee
Lee

I'm super excited for this!

dallas_paul
dallas_paul

Will they have Coors? It's not a festival without my yellow bellies.

Chad Montgomery
Chad Montgomery

 You can buy as many tasting cards as you want and can safely consume, we aren't limiting it to only 1 additional.

dallasgirl
dallasgirl

Passed on this info to David @ Southern Star!

Chad Montgomery
Chad Montgomery

 Vestibul, we can't have Freetail because Texas laws prevent Brewpubs from selling their beers anywhere except at the brewpub itself. We will have guys from all over the state that you can't get in Dallas though, like No Label! We're waiting on Austin Beer Works to get back to us, but hope they will be there too!

therrick
therrick

Heh, zacktly! I didn't even know about the other one until the announcement of the cancellation.

JesseHughey
JesseHughey

KZ, I wasn't hating on the Rascoes.  Dallas Beer Week was one of the highlights of the year for me. My intent was to try to show how this fest is avoiding the problems that caused the cancellation of Dallas Beer Festival.

Bsparlingut
Bsparlingut

You can buy yellow bellies at 711...  I'm a fan but Coors doesn't even deserve to be in the same conversation with these other brews!

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