North Texas Beer and Wine Festival

NewBelgiumRyePAby Mike Marrero

Have you ever driven on Highway 114 to work or the airport and wonder, what is that giant modern building in the middle of a field near Northwest Highway that can probably be seen from space?  That my friend is the 275,000 square foot Irving Convention Center.  On Saturday May 10th, it was host to the North Texas Beer and Wine Festival.

The mission statement for The North Texas Beer and Wine Festival, “Educate people about craft beers in a responsible and ethical manner, promote craft beer culture and craft brewers, and recognize excellence in the industry.”  They accomplished their mission.   

This event was very educational.  It was small in comparison to Big Texas Beer Fest and its 90+ breweries, and I liked that about this one.  Visitors were able to get more of a story behind each sample, spend more one on one time with vendors learning about their business and their offerings.

The festival had a schedule of events in addition to the samplings.  A few event highlights were Home Brewing 101, Chef Demo by John Franke from Whiskey Cake, Chef Demo by Grant Morgan from The Ranch in Las Colinas, Home Brewing 102, and Chef Demo by Josh Garcia from Velvet Taco.

Many of the local craft brewery heavy hitters participated.  Four Corners, New Belgium, Rahr & Sons, Lakewood, Franconia, Rabbit Hole Brewing, Angry Orchard, Revolver Brewing, Imperial, Union Growler Co, Peticolas, and Community were all there with their finest products.  Magic Hat Brewing Company definitely paid for a higher level of sponsorship as my swag bag by the end of the day included sunglasses, dog tags, condoms, and event program all with their name on them.


A few beers to note that I’ve never tasted until this event are the RyePA by New Belgium, Mullet Cutter by Revolver, and Super Bee by Four Corners.  RyePA is a unique Rye IPA boasting a bold blend of Simcoe, Galaxy, Cascade, and Mosaic hops.  Mullet Cutter is an English style double IPA weighing in at a 9 percent ABV and slight honey sweetness.  Super Bee starts as a slightly bumped up version of its brother Local Buzz with extra honey, candy sugar, Saison yeast, finished with Tettnang hops to balance the sweet aromas.


Many times at events like these, you make new friends and connections.  It is very common for vendors to trade with each other.  It’s not the traditional service industry most have been a part of, but there are many similarities, and vendors do take care of each other.  You will likely see many of these vendors again at a different event, their home base of operations, or out on the town.

Veteran festival vendor BratHaus allowed me to shadow them the better part of the day.  Craft beer paired with authentic German gourmet bratwurst with elaborate toppings is a no brainer at a beer festival, and why they were invited to participate.  Their team definitely embraced the opportunity to have some fun while “working”.  This was the last BratHaus event for the spring festival season.  Their humble beginnings started by serving from a New York Style hot dog cart at the corner of McMillan and Henderson near Barcadia & The Slip Inn in 2010.  While dodging drunk drivers, wannabe gangsters, and over-served sorority girls had its fun moments, they now focus on well ran events like Earth Day, Big Texas Beer Fest, North Texas Irish Festival, and The North Texas Beer and Wine Festival.


After stuffing my face with Bratwurst, I hightailed it to the after party upstairs.  About two-thirds of the crowd were vendors, with the remaining being ticket buyers that hadn’t had enough nectar of the gods.  There was a huge assortment of bottled beers from every brewery.  Many people networked, had a few beers, listened to the band, and took in the great view before calling it a night.


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