The third annual Houston Beer Festival happened this past Saturday at Hermann Square Park. In its inaugural year in 2011, the festival was declared a disaster for having oversold tickets on Groupon and run out of beer well before it was scheduled to close and for overall being a big cluster fuck. Most wrote it off, but apparently it came back with a vengence last year. But if you Google search Houston Beer Festival, not much about the one held in 2012 can be found.
This year promised to be even bigger, better and even more organized. And having only the first year to compare it to, I'd have to say it was a success and is a welcome addition to the lineup of festivals in Houston.
The Beer Gods looked down on the festival as the mostly cloudy sky made it not just bearable but actually pleasant to be outside in Houston in June. About 85 breweries set up shop in front of City Hall; there was Full Sail, Duvel, Breckenridge and even Chang and Singha. About 26 of them straight from Texas, everything from Dallas's Rahr and Sons to Houston's very own newest brewery, 8th Wonder, and favorite Karbach. The $25 pre-sale price got you ten sample tickets, about a 3-ounce pour, but if you gave a wink and smile, it got you a little more. Your requisite festival foods, all perfect beer companions, such as turkey legs, sausage on a stick and funnel cake, could be had. And Chi'Lantro had a prime location.
The beer pong and flip-cup tournaments brought out the bros and Bun B brought down the house. It was a good time and I did discover some new beers to add to my list, but I found that La Fin Du Monde from Unibroue and anything from Deschutes are still the way to go.
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I'm looking forward to next year. One suggestion: more portable toilets.