At first it was hard for me to shroud my disappointment. Sure, I was drinking outside in nice weather with access to more beer than I've ever had at my disposal in one location, but the monkeys were missing. BrewFest moved to the Art's District after last year's Brew at the Zoo because of attendance restrictions. The extra space made up for the lack of primates quickly, though. There were far more humans in attendance this year, and they filled the streets of the Arts District while they sampled hundreds of beers.
The real story was the lines, though. Wait times can make or break large events like these, and for most of the vendors lines were only a handful of drinkers deep. The local brewers, however, had lines that crossed the entire street, demonstrating significant support and interest for nearby breweries.
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Peticolas was on hand pouring their extremely popular Velvet Hammer, their session beer Golden Opportunity and an English pale ale. The folks from Lakewood Brewing Company poured their highly anticipated imperial milk stout dubbed The Temptress. The chocolate brown beer clocked in at nearly 10 percent ABV and was heavy, but reasonably balanced. Deep Ellum, Franconia and FireWheel, the new brewery out of Rowlett, had significant lines throughout the night too.
Beer nerds always have a tendency to shun big bottlers at these types of event, preferring craft beers from around the world, but BrewFest attendees demonstrated significant support for local, craft beers. Those lines indicated a Dallas beer scene that's gaining real momentum and a swelling collection of fans who are more than happy to support the home team. This year's event may have forgone flamingos, but the addition of a significant number of Dallas breweries was a cause for real celebration.