At this year's Untapped Festival Fort Worth edition, the wet weather managed to hold off, but did allow for some pretty hot moments, if couldn't squeeze underneath the shade of the few large oak trees on the grounds. The best new feature for this year was the slight relocation of the festival from the cracked heat-absorbing concrete of Panther Island Pavilion, to the actual Panther Island Pavilion green-space along the river. This allowed more space for festival-goers to mingle, as well as keep everyone just a bit cooler.
This year's festival was all about new: new festival space, new brews, new breweries, and new ideas. The new space allowed the festival to have a designated eating area rife with food trucks, as well providing several water tanks to allow participants to cool off without having to purchase bottled water.
Since the last Untapped Festival in North Texas, an entire slew of breweries have started to distribute in the area, including The Bruery (Placentia, CA), Big Bend Brewing (Alpine, TX), and recently COOP Ale (Oklahoma City, OK). We even saw representation from local brewpubs with tents from Malai Kitchen (Uptown & Southlake locations) and Braindead Brewing (Deep Ellum).
The newest trend in the national and local beer scene, has been the inclusion of wild yeasts and special bacteria to introduce beer drinkers to a wider range of flavors usually not seen in your typical beers. Jester King is fairly known in this realm and brought some of those beers with them including Cloudfeeder (a very mellow IPA collaboration with Tired Hands from Philadelphia) and Gotlandsricka (a smoked, sour, Viking-inspired beer).
Also known for their sour beers, Fort Worth local brewery, Collective Brewing Project, brought a Plum-infused variation on their ever popular Petite Golden Sour (possibly one of my favorites of the festival). On top of that, they also brought a funkified version of their Tropical Thunder Green Tea Saison. Adding wild yeast, like Brettanomyces, adds a level of complexity to any beer by adding hay or barnyard-like flavors that select beer-seekers enjoy. Along those same trend lines, Community Beer Co. also brought out a Brettanomyces version of their Inspiration Belgian Strong Ale, which is usually difficult to highlight these flavors alongside other strong notes from Belgian yeasts.
Newcomers COOP Ale Works just starting distributing to the area on June 6th and came out swinging at this year's festival. They brought their highly rated F5 and IPA kicked it up a notch, when they double dry hopped it with Citra Hops. Also in their beer lineup is their highly underrated Spicy Hawaiian hefeweizen, which balances sweet pineapple flavors upfront, with a spicy habanero finish.
The green space and new additions to the beer lineups were much appreciated, and I look forward to the rest of this year's festivals in Dallas (November 12th) and San Antonio (September 17th).