Monday, April 23, 2012 , Updated 12:00 a.m., May 11, 2012
North Texas Beer Festival on May 12 moves to Irving Convention Center
Beer tastings, of course, but also educational forums and culinary demonstrations.
"Last year, we did it on a shoestring budget because it had never been done before," Faircloth said. "Breweries were in a wait-and-see holding pattern. We didn't spend much money on marketing and yet we still drew almost 3,000 people. Now that we've proven the concept, we have over twice as many breweries participating."
More than 50 breweries will participate, including Samuel Adams, Franconia, New Belgium, Imperial, Magic Hat, Guadalupe Brewing from New Braunfels, and Revolver Brewing from Granbury. And unlike other beer festivals, this will have wine from Landon, Calias, Messina Hof, Brushy Creek and D'Vine Wines of Fort Worth, among others.
There will also be a chef stage with cooking demonstrations. Exhibitors will offer tastings, home brewing kits, foods, cigars, and more. A Beer Garden on the second-floor terrace will feature music from Mingo Fishtrap, J.R. Byrd, and Leah Marr.
Educational sessions will include a talk from Grant Wood, former brewing manager for Samuel Adams and brewmaster at Revolver Brewing.
"Most festivals are basically glorified samplings," Faircloth said. "There's no educational factor to most of them. I wanted to make education a big part of it."
There will also be a $20 designated driver ticket with a "DD" wristband; those people get complimentary soft drinks and bottled water. The festival will be preceded by a four-course "VIP" dinner at The Ranch at Las Colinas on Friday May 11, for $129 per person.
Faircloth doesn't identify himself as a beer nerd, but he counts some as friends.
"I used to home-brew back in the '90s, and I have a friend that is an avid home brewer," Faircloth said. "I had met with him about a different event a couple years aback, and he planted the seed in my head for a beer festival, knowing I had experience planning festivals and events. And the number of breweries that have opened just in the state of Texas is incredible: Deep Ellum Brewing is in production now, Cedar Creek, Guadaloupe, Peticolas, Leprechaun, No Label Brewing, Revolver -- it's incredible what's happened with craft beer."