Over the course of the past three years, Untapped has found itself a prime niche here in North Texas. Actually, it's spread well beyond that, with events not only in Forth Worth and Dallas but also Houston, Austin and even Nashville, each time offering up whats seems like miles worth of booths with tasty beers and a side of top-notch band booking. This weekend features Untapped Fort Worth at Panther Island Pavilion, with 250 beers from over 80 breweries and two stages of music featuring artists like De La Soul, Ariel Pink and the Sword.
The fact of the matter is Untapped has outdone itself in terms of lining up the best set of breweries to bring their best beers and ciders. Whether it's a dark sipper or a crushable hop bomb, finely crafted beer is never out of season. With that in mind, here are the best beer and band pairings to help maximize your Untapped experience.
De La Soul (GuideLive Stage - 9:20pm) Brooklyn Brewing(Brooklyn, NY) - Blast Imperial IPA (8.4%)
To properly toast De La Soul's almost three-decade-long run of innovative hip-hop, a specific strain of herbaceousness should really set things off nicely. (For those so inclined, perhaps the same logic can also be applied effectively for the Sword, but this is a beer guide.) Also, the veteran Long Islanders will likely offer the most serious beats of the entire festival, so this pairing matches in name and flavor alike. Brooklyn Brewing's aptly named Blast, Imperial IPA (which features a fine amount of hops, aka beer's favorite greenery) will offer a sweet aromatic kiss for the nose, while the 8.4 percent ABV will help elevate attendees into the right frame of mind. Looking for a different hoppy choice from New York? Ommegang's Hop House (6 percent) will also help get you where you need to be.
Doug Burr (KXT 91.7 Stage - 3:40pm) Audacity Brewing (Denton) - Black Widow Imperial Stout (8.8%)
This pairing is more harmonious than perhaps that of any other artist on this list. Burr, a Denton great, just released the magnificent Pale White Dove a couple of weeks ago, and though his music offers a bit more gallop than what his oft-given "folkie" label suggests, his music still deserves to be ruminated upon. And when it comes to shutting up and taking something in, a boozy imperial stout from Denton's young Audacity Brewery can't be beat for proper liquid companionship. The similarity between the name of the beer and of maybe the best song from the new album, "White Night - Black Light," helps as well, because we're all about setting the table for a great drinking and listening experience.
Ariel Pink (GuideLive Stage - 7:25pm) Funkwerks (Fort Collins, CO) - Any and All Offerings
Each Untapped Fest seems to have at least one off-kilter act that's tough to pin down, whether describing that artist's sound or trying to pair a beer with it. For this edition, Ariel Pink fills that role. So for Mr. Rosenberg's eclectic set, we suggest using both hands (and elbows and forearms, if need be) to have one of each of the offerings from the Funkwerks booth ready to knock back. Given how prolific Ariel Pink's recorded output has been for over a decade, why not have several brews to honor that? The name of the brewery divulges much here, as the Colorado brewery offers serious beers that indeed bring some considerable funk to match with Ariel Pink's considerable (and pleasurable) noise. If Funkwerks' booth is too busy because everyone followed our advice, hit the Jester King booth for their one-of-a-kind farmhouse ales, and we think you'll be good-to-go, also.
The Sword (KXT 91.7 Stage - 6:30pm) Strange Land Brewing (Austin) - Last Gentleman Bourbon Porter (6.8%)
You may have heard that this doom-metal powerhouse has brewed its own beer in the past. And while we think it's a solid brew, it wasn't going to be our pick for this pairing. Since the band's epic 2006 debut, Age of Winters, J.D. Cronise, Kyle Schutt and the gang have specialized in crafting mystical worlds where thick metal grooves and fantasy collide. The name of the newest brewery at the fest, Strange Land, certainly matches up with the Sword's artistic theme, and we all know metal music and any brown liquor goes well together, so this dark overlord of a beer should do the trick. The band has also produced its own hot sauce, so go for the Panther Island Brewing Jalapeño Prickly Pear Ale for a bright, spicy alternative.
Lone Bellow (GuideLive stage - 5:35pm) Bishop Cider Co (Dallas) - Suicider (7.4%)
This Brooklyn-based Americana outfit has come on pretty strong in the past couple of years. The group's latest record, Then Came the Morning, improves upon the 2013 debut that put them on the map. The group's sound has been accurately described as having "autumnal grace," and therefore a more perfect pairing for such a sound at this fest can't be found outside of the Suicider from Bishop Cider Co. With hints of allspice and cinnamon, this strong cider offers the same complex, yet relatable and comfortable combination that Lone Bellow tracks such as "Take My Love" and "Telluride" do.
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