Showers throughout the day of this year’s Brenner’s Fall Beer Fest produced a cloud of thick, humid air on the typically bright green lawn of Brenner’s on the Bayou. That bright green lawn was covered with heaps of hay in order to prevent any muddy puddles, and fest-goers donned flip flops and sneakers in lieu of Topsiders and Tory Burch flats. The latter two elements breathed a figurative breath of fresh air at Houston’s hautest beer festival, which people greatly enjoyed despite the dose of characteristically displeasing Houston climate.
Local breweries No Label, Real Ale, Karbach, St. Arnold, and more were on hand, pouring their increasingly recognized beers that, combined, allow Houston to be able to boast about its craft beer culture. Standout beers included: Sisyphus Barleywine Ale, a potent (11% abv) brew with a seductive little sweetness to it along with fruity and floral flavors; Karbach’s Roshambo Belgian Style IPA, a nice, full-flavored marriage of Belgian yeast and bitter hops; and Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea Imperial Porter, a heavy coffee-vanilla porter that could easily be an indulgent dessert (this beer hails from San Diego).
Bites from The Oceanaire, Saltgrass Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick’s and, of course, Brenner’s on the Bayou pleased beer lovers’ palates. Shiner Bock bread rolls stuffed with pulled pork and smoky macaroni and cheese from Saltgrass Steakhouse were a huge hit with the crowd, as were the delightfully doughy mini pretzels and skewers of freshly grilled shrimp and tender beef from Brenner’s on the Bayou.
The festival staff bent over backwards to ensure that all guests were comfortable and happy despite the less than lovely weather — representatives from each restaurant walked around all of the fest grounds, taking food to visitors rather than forcing visitors to visit every tent to get a taste of all the goodies. Attentive employees passed by often, politely retrieving any trash. And, even with thick drops of sweat building on their heads, no staff member’s smile ever turned into a frown. All goes to show that Brenner’s on the Bayou’s annual Fall Beer Fest is always a success – dampness in the air, or not.
Images by Carla Soriano.