It may not be obvious from the surface, but the camaraderie in the local beer scene has been 'brewing' since Rahr opened, and it was clearly visible at this year's Untapped Festival.
We saw Rahr and Lakewood brewing companies coming together to make the first all DFW collaboration beer, DFW: A COllaboration of Two Breweries, a Belgian-style Dubbel Abbey Ale. There was also a smattering of other new brews from the big guys including: Peticolas' A Lost Epic Tripel, Jester King's Kollaborationsbier Farmhouse Ale, Lakewood's Holiday Bonus Porter, and an experimental Tripel from Four Corners.
We saw some up-and-comers getting advice from the established guys, with Texas Ale Project and Intrinsic Brewing coming out. Texas Ale Project had a few of their brews out, including the upfront hoppy IPA in 50-Foot Jackrabbit. While they have beers ready now, they will not have a brewery available for visits. They plan on opening soon in late November or early December. Intrinsic on the other hand, is still trying to generate buzz and funds. Currently, their brewpub in Garland is just "four walls, no roof" according to owner Cary Hodson. They are actually having a free tasting this coming Saturday in what will become their brewpub. See here for details on their tasting and here for their Crowdfunding site.
Untapped was also somewhat of a homecoming for local beer celebrities, The Brews Travelers. They are about to close in on a one-year beer odyssey, where they planned to visit over 365 breweries all across the lower 48 states, in one year. They are currently finishing their last leg of their Texas tour as they hit a few more local breweries. Their stats through October are an impressive 311 official planned breweries and 282 bonus breweries. (That's 593 breweries with still 2 months remaining!)
While the beer side of Untapped went off without a hitch, the musical side left a lot to be desired. Most of the earlier bands were off schedule by up to 30 minutes, which forced them to cut off bands mid-song. They were able to get everything back on schedule finally, by the closing act, Cake. As always, Cake's upbeat and quirky music was a crowd pleaser right away. Apparently, a tradition at each of their concerts, the band gives away a tree to someone in the crowd to plant, upload a picture to their website, and track its progress. The band would not give the tree away to anyone. They first had to have someone identify which species of tree it was, which sadly took way too many people. So come on Dallas, brush up on your Botany! (The answer, by the way, was a Meyer Lemon Tree. I didn't know it either ...)
Overall, this year's Untapped Festival was mostly a success, especially with the new beers, new bands, and improved weather. Cheers!
Also keep an eye out for the Winter edition of the DFW Beer & Brewers Index coming out in late November. The current Fall edition is here.