This past March, Fort Worth hosted the spring edition of the Untapped Indie Music and Beer Festival. The weather absolutely sucked, but in a weird way, that made the day and evening a fun one, because the beer lines were shorter and the crowds in front of the stages for bands like the Joy Formidable, Lucius and Allen Stone were really manageable.
For this weekend's fall edition of Untapped being held in Dallas, the line-up of brews and bands is again fan-freaking-tastic. Spune Productions, the minds behind Index Fest, has seemingly got their Untapped formula down to a highly alcoholic science, combining hundreds of beers with three stages of music including Cake, Shovels & Rope, Deltron 3030, Polyphonic Spree, Metz, Jamestown Revival and Air Review.
With that in mind, we've drawn up our own formula to help maximize the best of the beer-drinking-meets-concertgoing experience with the best pairings for brews and bands. Oh, and be sure to Uber home.
Shovels & Rope (Omission Stage - 7:40pm) Beer Suggestion: Lazy Magnolia Jefferson Stout.
There isn't a band on this bill that drips with the sweet and salty combination that only a deep southern duo can bring like Shovels & Rope does. Hailing from Charleston, South Carolina, Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst have been on fire since the 2012 release of their splendid 'O Be Joyful. In Americana circles, there hasn't been another duo that's made as big a splash as they have in recent years. Swimmin' Time, the couple's new album, is full of swampy, gritty and harmonic roots rock that manages to defy even those loose boundaries. When Hearst speaks and sings in her twangy, angelic drawl, there's no other beer you'll want to be sipping on than one brewed south of the Mason-Dixon. This Lazy Magnolia stout features a bit of sweetness and earthy elements from Mississippi.
Metz (Real Ale Stage - 7:40pm) Beer suggestion: Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Boreal
This Toronto-based, SubPop-signed noise-punk band puts on as energetic and electric of a live show as you would expect after hearing their chaotic, but melodic album from 2012. Their brand of rock isn't one that one would seemingly connect with craft beer, or anything too terribly precious for that matter, but when in Rome, right? Let's get strange with this one, since Metz will likely offer the wildest sounds of the fest. The Calabaza Boreal from Dexter, Michigan's Jolly Pumpkin (which is pretty close to Toronto, right?) is as sour and wild as any beer listed on the Untapped website. So get wild, listen to Metz and make some bad (non-driving) decisions.
Cake (Earth Day Texas Stage - 8:30pm) Beer Suggestion: Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin or Ace Cider Joker.
The verteran band from Sacramento hasn't had an album in a few years, but that doesn't mean they're not a hoot to see live, or that the group's signature sense of humor has gone away. (The band's strong presence on modern-rock radio sure hasn't faltered.) So, given the name of this band of merry-makers, it only makes sense to enjoy their headlining performance with a Firestone Walker (Paso Robles, CA) Velvet Merkin, a stout that sports a hefty 8.5% ABV. Why? Because merkins are funny, the name in fact a play on words based upon another beer from Firestone, the Velvet Merlin. Not in a beer mood after a whole day of swilling around? Give the Ace Joker Cider a shot. You know, because jokers are funny too, unless they're in Batman movies.
Jamestown Revival (Earth Day Texas Stage - 4:00pm) Beer Suggestion: One of the Jester King Surprise Beers
In the past year or so, Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance have led Austin's Jamestown Revival into folk-rock stardom. Similar to other rootsy acts like Shovels & Rope, these dudes can make a catchy song with substance without always smiling. Given their Austin home and the rustic nature of many of their songs, one can't go wrong with hitting the Jester King tent right before catching their set. Jester King's beers are brewed in a farmhouse, and are gloriously off-center when it comes to flavor. There's usually a good bit of pastoral funk to be had, too, and that seems fitting for a Jamestown Revival set.
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Polyphonic Spree (Omission Stage - 4:35pm) Beer Suggestion: Lakewood Holiday Bonus Festive Porter or Martin House Turtle Power.
By now, we all know about Polyphonic Spree. They're happy, but maybe not as happy as we all think. They can seem like a cult, but we know they're probably not. We do know that they make us happy when they get all choral-rock on our beer-drinking asses. Plus, the 97-member group led by Tim DeLaughter has for years often hosted one of the most popular holiday celebrations in Dallas. Given that special item of note, one must be raising a glass of Lakewood Brewing's Holiday Bonus Festive Porter, because why the hell not celebrate? If you're not in the mood for a porter, which you should be since there are many great ones at the fest, and porters are great fall beers, give Fort Worth's Martin House Brewing's Turtle Power blackberry altbier a shot. Because, let's be honest, Turtle Power sounds like something the group might truly believe in. And shouldn't we all, really?