A feast of local and imported draughts.
By Leo B. Carter
The month of beer continues with the runaway momentum of a stumbling drunkard. Last Saturday, the Flying Saucer hosted Austin’s fourth annual Beerfeast at The Triangle, promoting everything from regional to foreign craft-brewed beers. The weather was perfect and the scene boisterous and lively as hundreds of beer enthusiasts crowded onto a postage-stamp sized lot at the center of the apartment community near to the bar’s location. The lack of space seemed only to add dizzying energy to the atmosphere and the lines for beer moved quickly enough so that everyone remained sufficiently lubricated.
This year, Beerfeast featured beers from Austin to Alaska, Boulder to Belgium and everywhere in between. Among those to sample were more than a dozen local and regional brews from the Central Texas area, including 512, Circle, Austin Beerworks, Live Oak and many more, as well as a whole tent devoted to nothing but pumpkin ales. If you had a taste for the rare brews, there was a tent just for you, featuring only the most select batches.
“The main goal of what we do as a company is to provide good beer to good people,” says Javier Espinoza, manager of The Flying Saucer San Antonio. “We’re all about promoting beer in general, whether it’s with us or with a competitor, as long as people are drinking really good beer.”
Tables with taps lined the fences surrounding most of the area. There were so many options that the lines for each rarely lasted more than a couple minutes. The surprising lack of seating didn’t seem to bother anyone either. Most people were happy to socialize around bar tables or lounge in the grass. The daring (or drunkest) few even danced to the DJ’s mix of classic songs overlaid with pounding house beats. The more competitive played games of corn hole (or bean bag toss).
Among the few options for food were the Peached Tortilla and Taco ‘Bout It. Maoz falafel, the only of its franchise west of the Mississippi, according to the manager, was one of the best of its kind. The falafel, crispy on the outside and doughy on the inside, is made fresh every day in house and the pita is imported directly from Israel. Paired with Austin Beerworks’ Peacemaker, you’ve got a meal.
“We start the day off with 120 different beers, and we want everyone to try them. Maybe not every single one, but quite a few,” Espinoza says. “It’s a good way for different breweries to get recognition and people to try the rarer kegs they can’t normally get. For example, Alaskan Brewing Company brought out its 2002 Imperial Porter. It’s completely different from there 2013 batch.
“We’ve got a really good relationship with breweries around the country,” Espinoza continues. “Of course, we like to keep it local and regional as well.”
Attendees were able to try a wide variety of beers, some of which are not readily available even at the larger liquor stores.
The $40 entrance fee only bought you a 12-beer sample card, which is steep, but for an extra $5 you could get a fresh one and keep on going. Fortunately, they even sold designated driver passes for $15, but this correspondent wasn’t particularly interested in what that bought.
Although some of the servers didn’t know their IBU from their ABV, they kept the beer flowing in the friendly and efficient manner necessary for a festival filled to capacity. In the end, the afternoon was less about education and more about exploring for yourself the vast spectrum of flavor and character of malted barley and hops. At this, Beerfeast certainly succeeded.
According to Espinoza, “Every year [the festival has]gotten better. The word’s getting out.”