Monday, November 7, 2011 , Updated 11:35 p.m., November 15, 2011
UPDATED: Dallas Beer Week is November 12-19; Beer Festival was canceled
Craft beer makers from around the country will join with three new Dallas-based breweries.
DALLAS After casually flirting with the craft beer trend for the past couple of years, Dallas is about to enter a major submersion with Dallas Beer Week, a series of events from November 12-19 that will bring in dozens of craft beers from across the country and spotlight a trio of new Dallas breweries set to open in the next few months.
Dallas Beer Week will include dinners, rare keg tappings, and special tastings all next week, culminating in a Saturday afternoon Beer Festival at Fair Park's Food & Fiber Pavilion building, featuring a dozen craft beer companies from Texas and more than two dozen craft breweries from around the U.S., including prestige labels such as Brooklyn, Dogfish Head, and Lagunitas. The festival is a great educational opportunity because attendees can sample and compare so many different beers.
Organizers Cathy Clark and Jay Rascoe hosted an identical beer week in Houston last year, which they'll repeat this year, and felt like Dallas was ready.
"Dallas has some sophisticated craft beer drinkers, there's a group of people who've been into craft beer for a long time, and we're trying to push that out to a broader audience," Cathy says. "Our goal is to bring as many people to craft beer as possible. We meet so many people who say they don’t like beer, but we feel like that's because they've never experienced good craft beers. And now you have all the new craft breweries opening in North Texas."
Dallas will soon be home to three new breweries. Deep Ellum Brewing Co. celebrates its debut at a Launch Party at The Common Table on Saturday November 12. Peticolas Brewing Company, also participating in Dallas Beer Week, is slated to open in the Design District within the month. And Lakewood Brewing Company will open in 2012. Fort Worth has Rahr and there's also Franconia in McKinney, and three more breweries in the Dallas area are in the works.
As breweries, their role will be to manufacture beer to be sold at liquor stores, groceries, and restaurants. (Texas' antiquated liquor laws won't allow them to sell directly to consumers.) But for the first time, residents of Dallas will be able to buy beer that's been brewed in their hometown.
"There's something reassuring, it just tastes better when it's something you buy down the street," says Michael Peticolas, who was inspired to brew beer by his home-brewing mom. "Breweries in Texas like Real Ale, Franconia, Rahr, Live Oak, they're selling more beer every year. The market seems to be accepting it. In Dallas-Fort Worth, you look at the number of pubs and beer bars you have now -- Trinity Hall, Meddlesome Moth, Old Monk, Capitol Pub, Holy Grail Pub, Strangeways, Goodfriend Beer Garden -- we didn't have that stuff before."
Wim Bens, founder of Lakewood Brewing Co., is glad to see Dallas catching up to a craft beer movement that's underway in other cities like Portland, Ore. and can be likened to the buy-local trend for produce and other foodstuffs.
"At the end of the '70s and early '80s, you could count the number of independent craft breweries on one hand for the entire U.S.," he says. "In the last 30-35 years, we've gone from 10-15 breweries to close to 2,000, and that number has skyrocketed ever since. The people in Gen-X and Gen-Y aren't satisfied with drinking their dad's piss-yellow Coors-Bud-Pabst. It's exciting that there's this industry that's really homegrown and made by hand in small batches, and it's in the U.S."
UPDATE: The Dallas Beer Festival has been canceled. Promoters Jay and Cathy Clark Rascoe complained that there weren't enough ticket sales -- they'd only sold 100 tickets so far -- and that they were over-committed with the simultaneous festival in Houston.
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