For the fourth year in a row, Untapped, LLC put on a festival in Dallas, held last weekend on the grounds of Fair Park. The event has grown to include three different stages—with The Flaming Lips headlining the group of musical artists—over 400 beers from more than 100 different breweries and over 7,000 attendees.
The following is not even close to a full listing of the beers what I tried—you can see a full list of what was offered here—but it is a good overall look at what the festival had to offer, both in terms of local breweries as well as others from all over the country.
The first stop on our list was Goose Island Brewing Co., where they were pouring Bourbon County Brand Stout Vanilla Rye (14.2 percent ABV.) In fact, were is the correct word, since despite the fact that I arrived at the booth 15 minutes after the event opened for VIP attendees, they had already run out.1 Thankfully, I was able to drawn my sorrows in Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout (13.4 percent ABV) from last year, which was a fairly good consolation prize.
Not surprisingly, local breweries had a fairly large showing, and we made it a point to visit quite a few of them.
Next up was The Collective Brewing Project, who had not only one of the best booths at the show,2 but also what I consider to be one of the best of beers of the show in its Blueberry Petite Golden Sour. The beer is a 4.5 percent ABV golden sour brewed with brettanomyces bruxelensis var. Drei and conditioned on blueberries that really surprised me not only in how distinct the blueberries were on the finish, but also how wonderfully balanced the overall profile was.
We then visited the Ballast Point Brewing Co. booth, where they were pouring Barrel-Aged Victory at Sea, a 10 percent ABV imperial porter brewed with vanilla and coffee before being aged in bourbon barrels. It is a step up from the regular Victory at Sea—which is saying something—with a pronounced but well integrated bourbon note and a bit more sweetness on the finish.
Next on the list was Boulevard Brewing Co., where we tried Rye on Rye, a 12 percent ABV American strong ale. I have never been a huge fan of this particular beer, preferring the much more complex Bourbon Barrel Quad release, and this little taste did nothing to change my mind.
Up next, we visited Breckenridge Brewery and tried its Barrel Series: 471 IPA (Hüll Melon), a 9.7 percent double IPA that is aged in whiskey barrels before being dry-hopped with Hüll Melon hops. It was. Interesting. The beer definitely features a unique profile, but was too cloyingly sweet for me to think about tracking any down.
McKinney, Texas-based Tupps Brewery was next, where we tried the Black Ale, a 5.6 percent ABV “sweet stout” that featured some nice roasted coffee notes and an underlying sweetness, as well as a too-thin mouthfeel that really detracted from the overall beer.
Shannon Brewing Co. based out of Keller, Texas was our next stop, where we drank Honey Porter, which as the name suggests, is a 6.5 percent ABV Baltic porter brewed with Texas wildflower honey. The honey note was both distinct and well integrated into the profile, lending a subtle sweetness on the finish that was quite pleasing.
Next up was Dallas, Texas-based Deep Ellum Brewing Co., where we tried the Bourbon Barrel Coffee Ale, a 7.5 percent ABV brown ale brewed with coffee. As the name suggests, the coffee notes are dominant in the profile, but the sample was served out of a pitcher and too warm for my tastes. Having said that, I could tell it is an excellent beer with a bit of chilling time.
Next up was Lakewood Brewing Co., where we stopped by to talk to owner and head brewer Wim Bens about various things, including the upcoming releases of both Sin Mint Temptress and this year’s Bourbon Barrel Temptress, neither of which were offered for tasting at the event. What was offered was the recently released Wild Manimal, a 8.9 percent ABV “hoppy farmhouse red ale” that uses the brewery’s Manimal as a base before adding brettanomyces drei, aging it for “nearly a year” in American oak barrels and dry-hopping it with citra hops. I had not tried before and it turned out to be my second favorite beer of the day, with a distinct crispness combined with a nice floral funk in the profile. I also tried 2015 DFW: A Collaboration of Two Breweries, a 9.5 percent ABV baltic porter brewed with cherries that was brewed in collaboration with Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., which turned out to be a creamy and slightly sweet profile with some obvious cherry notes on the finish and a full mouthfeel.
After that, we visited Community Brewing Co., where they were serving Rum Soaked Cinnamon Legion, a 9.9 percent ABV variation of its Legion Russian imperial stout that is brewed with cinnamon sticks soaked in rum. It was an excellent take on the Legion base, with both the cinnamon and rum coming through on the finish. They should bottle it immediately.
Overall, the Untapped Festival in Dallas was a well-run, extremely enjoyable event that benefited greatly from some great weather and a much more open layout than in years past. The beers for the most part were quite good, and more importantly, local Dallas-centric breweries were well represented with some of the best beers being poured. A wonderful experience that I look forward to next year without a doubt.