With the Texas Craft Brewers Festival only a couple of weekends away — and the full tap list revealed last week — it’s time to share the fest’s rotating tap list: the small-batch specialty stuff, often barrel-aged, sour or otherwise just unusual, that show off the talents of the brewers who make them.
The festival, which kicks off on Sept. 24 at Fiesta Gardens, is the state’s largest beer event featuring Texas-only brews. And it keeps growing. This year’s will have more than 65 breweries pouring nearly 200 of their beers, 27 of those being these special suds. They often draw the longest lines, so decide ahead of time which of them you absolutely cannot miss.
- 12:30 p.m.: Blue Owl Brewing’s Wine Barrel-Aged Saison Puede. It’s a collaboration with the locally based Infinite Monkey Theorem, with the beer being aged in one of the winery’s syrah barrels. (It taps twice in the day; see below).
- 12:30 p.m.: Red Horn Coffee House & Brewing Co’s the S.O.N. Double Stout with Coconut. The Son of Ninja is a rotating series of various dark beers, with this one made through an underused technique in brewing called Parti Gyle.
- 1 p.m.: Circle Brewing’s Doppel Blur. The Blur Texas Hefeweizen has been taken up a notch and made into an amped-up imperial hefe.
- 1 p.m.: Real Ale Brewing’s Barrel-Aged 20th Anniversary Ale. The imperial rye IPA, an homage to Real Ale’s original flagship, was aged for four months in Woodford rye whiskey barrels. This one is being tapped twice (see below).
- 1:30 p.m.: Community Beer Co.’s Divinity. This barrel-aged wild ale starts as the Trinity Tripel, which matured in a variety of Brettanomyces yeast for more than 6 months with the additions of agave nectar, ginger and lime.
- 1:30 p.m.: Jester King Brewery’s Atrial Rubicite. You know this one: Jester King’s barrel-aged sour beer re-fermented with raspberries is so beloved, it’s got two special tapping times (see below).
- 2:30 p.m.: Black Star Co-op’s Ted Talk. This double IPA has a large malt backbone and a touch of rye.
- 2:30 p.m.: Lakewood Brewing’s Mole Temptress. Be tempted by this imperial milk stout that had ancho, pasilla, guajillo and chipotle peppers, along with cacao and cinnamon, added to it.
- 2:30 p.m.: Saint Arnold Brewing’s Dubbelganger. The brewery’s Sorachi Ace-hopped Belgian-style dubbel spent 14 months in red wine barrels with Brettanomyces.
- 3 p.m.: Big Bend Brewing’s Marfa Light. It’s actually rather dark, as an assertive Russian imperial stout.
- 3 p.m.: Martin House Brewing’s the Sea Witch. You’ll feel bewitched by this whiskey barrel-aged black gose.
- 3 p.m.: Rabbit Hole Brewing’s Barrel-Aged Rapture Brown. Rum barrels have imparted a slightly spicy and vanilla flavor to the chocolate notes of the Rapture Fusion Brown Ale.
- 3:30 p.m.: Ranger Creek Brewing’s Small Batch Series No. 12. This is a farmhouse-style saison brewed with barley, rye, spelt and wheat and barrel-aged with a Brettanomyces blend.
- 3:30 p.m.: Karbach Brewing’s F.U.N. 014 Roll in the Hay. This saison was aged in white wine barrels to impart hints of citrus with aromas of oak.
- 3:30 p.m. Zilker Brewing’s Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coffee Milk Stout with Espresso Beans. This stout was inspired by the Cafe Cubano and was brewed with lactose and Cuvee Coffee’s Las Mingas coffee beans.
- 4 p.m.: BrainDead Brewing’s Idle Playthings. This Belgian golden strong ale is a subtle reference to “Futurama.”
- 4 p.m.: North by Northwest Restaurant & Brewery’s Barton Kriek. With a perfect Austin-centric pun, this beer is sure to please as a Belgian-style lambic with tart cherry.
- 4 p.m. Shannon Brewing’s Chocolate Rumble Stout. The sweet base beer, Shannon’s Chocolate Stout, is aged in Balcones Rumble barrels, which contribute vanilla notes, figs and a light booziness.
- 4:30 p.m.: Austin Beerworks’ Sputnik 2015. Oats. Cuvee Coffee. Alcohol. And we have liftoff! You probably know this one, too: Austin Beerworks’ Russian Imperial Coffee Oatmeal Stout is a winter must-have.
- 4:30 p.m.: Hops & Grain’s Dry-Hopped Brett Saison. This beer began as a traditional Belgian-style saison before getting the barrel, Brettanomyces and souring bacteria treatment. It was then dry-hopped in stainless steel.
- 4:30 p.m. Real Ale Brewing’s Barrel-Aged 20th Anniversary Ale. The second tapping.
- 5 p.m.: Blue Owl Brewing’s Wine Barrel-Aged Saison Puede. The second tapping.
- 5 p.m.: Oak Highlands Brewery’s Chump Change. This imperial black saison was a World Beer Cup silver medal winner.
- 5 p.m.: Southern Star Brewing’s Black Crack. The brewery’s Buried Hatchet Stout gets the bourbon barrel treatment and thus a caramel sweetness and vanilla notes.
- 5:30 p.m. (512) Brewing’s Wild Bear. The beer, a double brown sour ale, was (512)’s first (and successful) foray into the world of wild fermentation, with its origins in the fall seasonal known as Bruin.
- 5:30 p.m. Jester King Brewery’s Atrial Rubicite. The second tapping.
- 5:30 p.m. Peticolas Brewing’s Sledge Hammer. Consider it the Velvet Hammer on steroids, as a triple imperial red ale/ barleywine.
VIP tickets have long sold out, but general admission and designated driver tickets are still available for $35 and $10, respectively. General admission gets you in at 2 p.m. and guarantees you a commemorative tasting cup and 8 sample tickets. Purchase yours at this eventbrite link.