Beer Festivals

Great American Beer Festival – Houston Recap

The Saint Arnold booth at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado.

The Saint Arnold booth at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado.

The Great American Beer Festival is the largest beer festival in the United States. 2,404 breweries entered beers into the competition portion, and 8,864 beers were judged. Outside of the competition, the entire Colorado Convention Center is filled with hundreds of breweries pouring thousands of beers. As a first time attendee, it was a bit overwhelming with the quantity involved. The balance between the hype breweries like Bottle Logic and Weldwerks that required waiting in line, versus many of the small breweries that may be a highlight waiting to happen made decisions difficult. The buzz about certain beers made their way around the convention center like a middle school hallway. It was exciting and exhausting all at the same time. 

The Buffalo Bayou booth at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado.

The Buffalo Bayou booth at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado.

Since this is Houston Beer Guide, let’s talk about Houston. Houston was represented well on the serving floor. Buffalo Bayou, Saint Arnold, BAKFISH, and Texas Leaguer all had booths. 8th Wonder had a booth in the heavily advertised Jameson Caskmates Barrel-Aged Beer Garden, where Rocket Fuel took on the Jameson barrel. For the Houston booths, it was a highlight. I’m not the biggest fan of Jameson in general, but I felt Rocket Fuel was one of the few beers in the area that could handle it and meld well. Many of the other Jameson collaborations by some very big named breweries were overwhelmed by the barrel. The Jameson based Rocket Fuel will be appearing around Houston in the not too distant future, so be on the lookout.

After last year’s success, this was a rather quiet year for Houston at the festival. (Last year Houston area breweries brought home 6 medals and Saint Arnold won Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year.) Austin won more than half of the 18 Texas-based awards, including multiple wins for the Austin Beer Garden Brewery, but the Houston area took home only two awards. Saint Arnold was the honorary of both medals, taking home a bronze in the Ordinary or Special Bitter category for their Amber Ale followed closely in the awards by a silver for Oktoberfest in the Scottish Style Ale category. This brings the Saint Arnold total medal count to 26 all time, a record for a brewery in the south. This would normally be the point in the article where I would have tasting notes for both of the winning beers, but if you’re reading this article there’s a 99% chance you’ve had these beers. If you haven’t, a trip to your local grocer or liquor store is in order, they’re in the cooler and both solid offerings. 

8th Wonder had a booth in the heavily advertised Jameson Caskmates Barrel-Aged Beer Garden.

8th Wonder had a booth in the heavily advertised Jameson Caskmates Barrel-Aged Beer Garden.

What should we take home from such a small amount of awards for the Houston area? Not much in my personal opinion. Breweries can only enter in 4 beers. The beers that won awards for Houston last year may not have been entered this year at all. We’re still making our way up on the best American markets, but that climb is happening regardless of medals. As long as more breweries continue to push the envelope, and most importantly make good beers, Houston’s name will continue to grow. More medals and awards are on the way for Houston as long as drinkers demand great products. Keep drinking and demanding great beer Houston. 

Texas Leaguer at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado.

Texas Leaguer at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado.

great-american-beer-festival-houston-recap

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I am a husband and father to two little girls, and live in the Missouri City area. I've been drinking craft beer for as long as I could, and really have delved into it over the last 5 years or so. I graduated from Texas A&M in 1999, and follow Aggie football through all of the pain that brings. Speaking of pain from sports, I'm also an Astros and Texans fan.

Related Articles

  • A Preview of Houston Press BrewFest [Plus a Ticket Giveaway!]

    A Preview of Houston Press BrewFest [Plus a Ticket Giveaway!]

    On Saturday, May 20th, the sixth annual Houston Press BrewFest will be held at Silver Street Studios. The festival will include over 150 beers, food trucks, and an indoor and outdoor music festival, as well as a Whole Foods Market sponsored hangout area and a Central Auto Group sponsored beer garden. A General Admission ticket

  • My first 5 stops at Untapped Houston, 2016 edition

    My first 5 stops at Untapped Houston, 2016 edition

    Let’s dive right into this: Untapped Houston is back at Discovery Green on Saturday. I’m going, and you should, too. This will be the festival’s 4th year in Houston, and it’s gotten better every year. It’s very well run, the location is awesome, and the weather should be great. They’ve got you covered on food

  • Houston Firkin Fest 2016: A Firkin Good Time

    Houston Firkin Fest 2016: A Firkin Good Time

    Sponsored by Saint Arnold, Real Ale, Freetail, Deep Ellum, and Texas Beer Bus, and run by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, the third annual Houston Firkin Fest on June 18 represented the creative depth of some of Texas’s best breweries. After being moved from its original date in April due to a threat of severe

  • Houston Firkin Fest – Preview

    Houston Firkin Fest – Preview

    The third annual Houston Firkin Fest will be held on April 30 at Hennessey Park next to Saint Arnold brewery. So, what exactly is a firkin? According to Webster Dictionary a firkin is, “a small cask used chiefly for liquids, butter, or fish.” It is also a specific size holding 72 imperial pints or 10.79

  • Flying Saucer’s Gose Tasting

    Flying Saucer’s Gose Tasting

    Ever since my first taste of Bayerischer Bahnhof’s Leipziger Gose, I’ve absolutely loved the gose style of beer. The mingling of salt and coriander with a sour wheat base is interesting and delicious, and the low alcoholic content is a perfect touch allowing extra enjoyment of more goses. So when I heard that the Flying

POST YOUR COMMENTS

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *

Email *

Website

Houston Beer Guide

Please excuse our enthusiasm. We're not professional journalists, we're just passionate beer lovers. Our goal is to give Houston's beer community a voice. We hope you'll listen.

Writers

  • bryan-soliz
  • cody-miller
  • james-weiss
  • josh-wharton
  • lazeric-white
  • sylvia-benavidez
  • tristin-marcks

Editors

  • sylvia-benavidez
  • tristin-marcks
close

Enjoy our site? Follow us to see more.