Soon 2015’s Texas beer festivals will begin anew, so let’s talk about beer and homebrew fests and how they can make you a better brewer. Interest in homebrewing and craft brewing has grown exponentially over the last decade. And though it was a slow start, Texas has come a long way as far as having craft beer friendly festivals and allowing the organization of multiple new homebrew competitions. This is all great news for you as a home brewer.


Festivals are an accessible way for you to try new beer styles, learn from good and bad examples, see the many ways a style can be interpreted, and be inspired by the creativity. Maybe even while talking to the brewer to learn how to dial in a flavor. All fantastic learning tools. Remember, many pros were home brewers just like you and they share the passion. So, don’t be shy!


Now, what about the homebrew versions? Homebrew can offer you a wide range of flavors that can easily surpass what you find at pro festivals. Plus, these are your people! They brew like you. The variety of styles—both good and bad—feed your brewing knowledge more than you’d think and you can find out how to either repeat or avoid what they did.


So, what fests are out there? Too many to list here. But here are a few to consider:


The Big Texas Beer Fest

This celebration of (mostly) North Texas craft beer draws an huge crowd of aficionados. Held at the Fair Park Automobile building of the Texas State Fairground each April, the pride in home-born beer runs strong. With over 90 breweries/400 beers, it’s a good way to start meeting informed folks and trying great examples. You might consider volunteering to serve the public. You’ll try and talk about beers and gain understanding from the large amount of feedback. Plus, wandering through will allow you to meet many brewers and homebrewers and beer geeks.


Texas Craft Brewers Festival

Born of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild in 2003, this fest continues to run strong and draw in the majority of Texas breweries and their supporters at the Fiesta Gardens in Austin. The amount of beer and knowledge available here defies description. Just go to sample or volunteer and spend enough time in Austin to try the many breweries, talk beer, and ogle all the brewhouses.


Austin Home Brew Festival

All about celebrating and sampling fermented beverages, this fest was born of Central Texas brewers who wanted to share their passion to involve more people in the hobby. Built to celebrate homebrew and the art of brewing and other culinary delights, this fest offers a strong pool of brewing knowledge and community from the heart of Texas. Check it out next November!


Brew Riot

Taking place in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas, this fest designed by the Texas Homebrew Society to support the art of homebrewing and is a great place to sample or get into the competition and serve your own. It draws a large crowd every year and the feedback you get on your own brews from the general public is invaluable. Competition oriented fests like this can often be the most instructive for both new and experienced brewers. Plus, there’s plenty of great beer to enjoy!


So take your pick from these or the many other fests and competitions happening each year in Texas. They are all about to start again, so start brewing and entering! And when you stop by Texas Brewing Inc. ask about other events you can check out.