With A Wide Variety Of Barrel Aged Brews From Both In And Out Of State, Festicle Is Proof That The North Texas Craft Beer Scene Is Mature And Ready For More.
All photos by Obed Manuel
As newer additions to Deep Ellum go, BrainDead Brewing has been one of the best. Their beers range from reliable staples to barrel aged booze bombs and the food is delicious to boot! So of course, it was exciting to hear that they had started a beer festival.
Festicle, now in its third year, started out as a way to celebrate the bottle releases of Braindead Brewing. It’s a small but mighty beer festival. By choosing to focus only on barrel-aged and sour ales, Festicle represents the first of what will hopefully be a new wave of beer festivals in Dallas that will challenge even seasoned beer drinkers about the complexity of what beer can be and its boundaries.
Taking place Saturday afternoon in the parking lot right next to Braindead, it featured not only an extensive beer list but also a wide sampling of much needed food from taquerias Bowls & Tacos, Tacos La Banqueta and Revolver Taco Lounge.
With a beer list that included out-of-state breweries like Avery and Destihl to established locals like Community Brewing and Lakewood, Festicle drew a good size crowd of passionate beer drinkers on the unseasonably warm afternoon.
Coupled with the sounds of the various cover bands rocking out at the end of the parking lot, the festival was a chill event. There were no mad rushes to to get a specific beer, with plenty of seating, and aside from the tacos running out, no organizational hiccups.
Some of the beer highlights included the Austin Eastciders’ Bourbon Barrel Aged Cider, a surprisingly tasty addition. Avery brought a 2015 vintage of their soon to be discontinued Mesphistopheles Stout. I should also mention the boundary pushing, Bruery’s Melange #3 at 17.30% ABV and Dogfish Head’s Oak-Aged Vanilla World Wide Stout at 17%.
But it wasn’t just the boozy stouts that got love. There was plenty of options in the lower ABV spectrum such as selections from Portland’s Cascade Brewing, our own Collective Brewing Project and Martin House.
It’s this well-curated list of beers that makes Festicle a stand out event within the craft beer scene in Dallas. The bigger and more general beer festivals are great. They’re a way for people to easily discover breweries they’ve not heard of. And this is not meant to be shade thrown at them but if you go to enough festivals it all starts to feel a little repetitive.
There has to be events that cater to more seasoned beer drinkers and there are enough local breweries in the area to have more specialized festivals like this one. This is a necessary step in the area’s evolution within the national craft beer world and one that help get our local breweries more recognition.
If you search around, you will find that beer cities like Denver and Portland are all hosts to such events. Portland’s Holiday Ale Festival focuses only on wintertime styles like doppelbocks, ciders and stouts. Beer Advocate’s own Extreme Beer Festival is the filled with only the most boundary pushing beers out there.
These types of events have people flying in from around the country. Imagine having a series of festivals in Dallas for which people will do that. With each subsequent year, Festicle’s beer lists get better and better and they have the potential to draw even more coveted beers or breweries. It’s exciting to see what the next year will bring but for now it remains one of the best and most underrated craft beer events of the year.