The North Texas region has become a national hotbed of craft breweries and general good times that circle around sudsy concoctions. Aside from the growing numbers of top-notch brewers and hops-focused gastropubs of the Dallas area, the burst of can't-miss beer festivals has been as enjoyable a benefit of the beer boom as anything else around these parts over the past two or three years.
Of the several festivals dotting the ale-stained DFW map, there isn't one that blends a music bill with a carefully curated brewers roster better than Spune Productions' Untapped Festival. For the festival's second Fort Worth installment (Dallas, Houston and Atlanta have all hosted Untapped Festivals), taking place this Saturday at Panther Island Pavilion, along the banks of the Trinity River, the Joy Formidable, Allen Stone, People Under the Stairs and Quaker City Night Hawks, among some others, will jam while thousands guzzle -- we mean sample -- from a selection of a couple hundred craft brews from more than 60 breweries, including the best of the local brands.
Since beer is a big deal here now, and pairing beer with chef-inspired menus has become quite the trend, too, we are here to offer you an Untapped Beer-Band Pairing Guide.
The Joy Formidable (London) with Peticolas Brewing Royal Scandal (Dallas): It might seem a tad lazy to pair this London-based band with an award-winning English Pale Ale, but it makes sense. The Ritzy Bryan-led trio will almost certainly offer the fest's most energetic, almost violent set, and Royal Scandal's 6.5 percent ABV packs a mid-size punch so that you may take the pounding from the stage, not from the usually much higher alcohol content that other Peticolas brews offer. If you're not in a beer mood at that point of the night, hit up Angry Orchard for a cider. Ciders have long been staples in European pubs and the term "Angry" will certainly fit what Bryan will act like by the time the group's set closes when she bangs instruments and makes mean faces at everyone.
People Under the Stairs (Los Angeles) with Stone Brewing Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale (San Diego): This Black IPA is deceptively smooth for a hoppy brew with an 8.7 percent ABV (basically twice the strength of a Miller Lite). And given the laid-back nature of the SoCal duo's songs, which sometimes discuss weed and beer ("Acid Raindrops" is a great example), what better brewery than one that has loved putting sweet-smelling buds (of hops) called Stone to offer up a fine liquid companion to Double K's and Thes Ones' rhymes?
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Quaker City Night Hawks (Fort Worth) with Martin House Brewing Gateway XPA (Fort Worth): The band on this bill with the sweatiest swagger requires the most easily swigged brew the festival offers, which happens to come from their hometown. Perfect. In an area where there are many Southern rock groups melting faces, QCNH are the most searing. The criminally crisp and please-chug-me nature of the Gateway XPA (Extra Pale Ale, for those cheap American lager-lovers) is the perfect beverage to hoist high when Sam Anderson and crew bust out with their barn-burning, butt-shaking "Fox in the Hen House." For something a touch stronger, Lakewood Brewing's Vienna Lager (Garland) is bold as is the band, and ready to be hoisted as well.
Allen Stone (Chewelah, Washington) with Full Sail Brewing Amber (Hood River, Oregon): Stone, a self-described R&B hippie, just might be the personification of mellow. But don't mistake that for a lack of fun, as his music has a great deal of joy, even if he isn't terribly bombastic about it all. The same description can be made for not only the Full Sail Amber (which comes in at a manageable but not boring 5.5 percent ABV), and the Hood River region it's brewed in. The workers at the Full Sail brewery go kite-surfing on their freaking lunch breaks. It's not unthinkable that some Allen Stone, their neighbor just to the north a tad, is on the stereo when they return from their chill, hazy smoke breaks, either. Oh, and Stone's long hair is kind of amber-colored, so there's that.