Houston Beer Week buzz has been kind of a slow burn this year. With no balls-to-the-wall epic beer dinners like last year's Petrol Station vs. Hay Merchant battle planned for this year, one big event -- The Draft -- is promising to be Beer Week's heavy hitter.
The Draft is this year's revamped and retooled version of last year's well-attended Monsters of Beer festival. As with last year, the party will take place at Guadalupe Plaza on November 17 from noon to 5 p.m. And for the festival's third year, organizers have drafted an army of volunteers to bring the event to life.
The Draft's main goal is to raise $30,000 through the "Live It Big" charity, with donations benefiting Friday Harbour, a local organization whose goal is to provide lodging for families of patients undergoing treatment at M.D. Anderson's cancer center.
But there's more to The Draft than just feel-goodery. There will also be beer, in both great quantity and quality, and food from some of Houston's best chefs.
In addition to samples from craft breweries both local and national, The Draft will have a small-batch beer-tasting area -- The Back Room -- where it will pour "rare and exquisite beers for discerning tastes" as well as Houston's first large-scale craft beer bottle share.
The bottle share -- or, The Cellar, as it will be known at the festival -- will allow guests to bring their own rare beers to share with other like-minded craft connoisseurs. And if you've ever been to a bottle share at Petrol Station, you know what to expect: Not only will you find a new favorite beer to crave, you'll probably make a few new friends, too.
Alongside the beer tasting, there will be a cigar-sampling area called The Humidor for cigar fans; The Gallery, in which celebrated local artists will create Art Kegs to be displayed and sold at The Draft's silent auction; The Grind, an educational coffee program from local roaster David Buehrer that features locally roasted, exotic beans; and The Kitchen, where local chefs will be offering cooking demonstrations and food samples throughout the day.
General Admission tickets to The Draft are $40 and include 12 tasting tickets plus food. You can purchase extra tickets for additional tastings for $5 per book of ten. All ticket holders are entitled to food samples from the participating area restaurants, live music and various games. If you purchase a ticket that entitles you to more than one area, you will gain the advantages of each level.
If you purchase tickets to The Back Room, you'll receive early admission to The Draft starting at 11 a.m. as well as access to a private area with free bottled water, private restrooms, private seating and additional beers. Back Room tickets are $60.
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Bottle Share ticket holders have additional access to the Bottle Share area, where attendees can share beers with each other. Tickets are $50, which includes the $40 for a general admission ticket plus $10 for access to The Bottle Share area.
All Access tickets are $70, which includes access to all of the above -- early entrance, The Back Room, The Bottle Share -- as well as 12 tasting tickets. And finally, there are the Designated Driver tickets. Designated Drivers will have access to free bottled water and soft drinks and -- of course -- food. Those tickets are $25 (which, by all rights, you should totally make your non-designated driver friends buy for you).