Pretty much every festival of note in North Texas has undergone serious changes in the past couple years. Some have returned after being gone for a bit (35 Denton), while others are taking a break this year (Index Festival), and a few have simply gone away (Suburbia). As for Untapped Festival and the fall edition in Dallas, it promises to be bigger and better than ever.
Of all of the well-booked Untapped Fests of the past few years, this Flaming Lips-led bill is the one most likely to bring people to the festival’s new Fair Park home for the tunes as much as the brews made of oh so delicious alcohol. But let’s not get too wild; we’ll leave that to Wayne Coyne and some of the sour ales. The selection of over 400 different beers is a headliner in its own right, and you can enhance your Untapped Festival experience by trying these expertly crafted (if we do say so ourselves) Band and Beer Pairings.
Flaming Lips (9:20 p.m. – Earth Day Texas)
Suggested Pairing: Bearded Eel’s Wizard Status Double Rye IPA (Fort Worth - 8.85 percent ABV) and/or Purple Unicorn Farmhouse Wit IPA (5.7 percent ABV)
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For anyone familiar with the wild-ass nature of Flaming Lips records, and especially their live shows, it’s only fitting that beers skewing to the funkier side of the scale would make the best companions. Perhaps the herbal nature of these particular beers may prove to be consciousness-raising in a certain swirling Technicolor sort of way? Hell, the names of these great brews alone suggest that Wayne Coyne himself may have helped in naming them. And, sorry Dallas, but given Coyne lives on a side of Oklahoma City that allows him to expand upon his own cartoonish compound, we feel like he would be more at home in the comfy western confines of Fort Worth, where Bearded Eel crafts its odd elixir.
The Mowgli's (4:10 p.m. – KXT 91.7 Stage)
Suggested Pairing: Collective Brewing’s Blueberry Petite Golden Sour (Fort Worth – 4.5 percent ABV)
Another Fort Worth brewery is responsible for brewing the perfect pairing for another oddball band. But unlike the Flaming Lips style of outer-universe funk, the California fun-time kids of the Mowgli’s might be a bit too happy and poppy. It works for them, and we definitely think after a few trips to the booths with the high-octane stuff this band of gang-yell-singers will feel just fine. We’ll likely be just as peppy as they are when we tip our sample cup of Collective Brewing’s sparkling but funky and palatable Blueberry Petite Golden Sour Wild Ale. It’s sweet, refreshing and somewhat of an acquired taste. And the beer is sort of that way, also.
The Pharcyde (5:55 p.m. – KXT 91.7 Stage)
Suggested Pairing: Community Brewing Company’s Rum Soaked Cinnamon Legion Imperial Stout (Dallas - 10 percent ABV)
Booking the soulful, progressive and ahead-of-its-time Pharcyde was a nice touch after De La Soul’s appearance at the Fort Worth Untapped this past May was washed out by storms. Pharcyde never hit the mainstream the way the “Me, Myself and I” crew did back in the day, but this set will be one of the few in the fest where sipping a beer with bold flavor and mile-high ABV is so insanely in order. Community’s Legion is already one of the great stouts of North Texas, so they added in some cinnamon, rum and other goodness that’s worth savoring and slowly bobbing your head to. The vibes are sure to soak in as profoundly as the warm stout.
Dr. Dog (6:50 p.m. – Earth Day Texas Stage)
Suggested Pairing: Traveler Beer Company Jolly Shandy (Burlington, VT - 4.4 percent ABV)
This band of alleged Beatles-revivalists (a label that sells this veteran group short) has been a wily bunch of road warriors for some time now. Perhaps even more impressive than their more-than-solid catalog of albums is the always-on-point sense of humor the band employs routinely. The band has reportedly given each member and a few key outsiders nicknames that all begin with the letter T. Quirky, to be certain, but we’re not sure we're buying it completely. But in the spirit of barley-powered frivolity, we’re going with it. Shandys have been given a bad name by some macro-breweries, but Vermont’s Traveler Beer Company (starts with a T, damn it!) knows how to craft a shandy (a simple beer cocktail) that doesn’t make one feel sick after consuming. This beer is as jovial and lively as the band itself.
Lights (3:20 p.m. – Earth Day Texas Stage)
Suggested Pairing: Argus Cidery Ciderkin (Austin - 4.5 percent ABV)
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A crisp, lightly sweet, but nice and dry cider packed with fizzy carbonation couldn’t be more perfect for the dance-tastic styling of Canada’s electro-pop artist Lights. For the haters, the cider has a clean finish that doesn’t linger, perhaps like some of Lights' sleeker material. For the believers, this cider is a refreshing burst of natural flavors with just enough of the hard stuff mixed in, just like some of Lights' lower BPM tunes.