Operating in it’s fourth year, the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival is not the first food and wine festival in the state. The well-executed festival, which takes it’s proceeds and donates them to local culinary scholarship funds and grant makers, shows food and wine fans that Fort Worth and the surrounding area has much to offer when it comes to culinary and drink talent.
Offering up five events focused around various meals (brunch, desserts, BBQ, and main courses), the final event, Burgers, Brews + Blues, takes a slight turn from the more foodie-like dishes and focuses on chef-prepared burgers, craft beer and blues music. And when I say chef-prepared, the line-up is stacked with folks from Fort Worth’s own Rodeo Goat, Swiss Pastry Shop, and even Dallas’ star, LUCK, serving up some of the best burgers you will ever taste.
Even with a large focus on the burgers, there was no skimping on the beer line-up available for you to wash down those tasty burgers. And with an festival with wine in it’s name, one could make an assumption that the beer was going to be an after-thought; but this most certainly wasn’t true of Burgers, Brews + Blues.
From my own experience at other non-beer focused festivals, I expected a brewery line-up focused on distributor chosen brews. Typically, this means the distribution company is a sponsor and part of their sponsorship gave them an opportunity to choose the top beers to be displayed. This often means beer fans are stuck with what sales well, or to the dismay of some beer fans, what is the cheapest.
I’m happy to say, this is not the case with the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival.
While I’m sure a distributor might have been involved, the line-up reflected a great representation of local and Texas breweries and their appeared to be a great deal of fore-thought put into the local breweries serving up their beer. Every brewery currently open in Fort Worth was present, with others from around North Texas, small town Texas and, even Texas’ oldest brewery, Houston’s own St. Arnold Brewing. Big props to the organizers for a well-rounded line-up that paired quite well with the burgers we consumed.
And don’t worry, there wasn’t a Budweiser, Miller Lite, or Mike’s Hard Lemonade in sight. For a younger festival not focused on beer, this is a huge deal to see them focus on craft only.
Now, let’s be clear for all of you beer festival lovers. This wasn’t a festival full of rare or limited-release brews, but to be clear that wasn’t the point of this event. The focus was very simple: a great time with delicious burgers paired with well-crafted beers, all the while listening to entertaining blues music and supporting a local 501 (c)3 charity.
Burgers, Brews + Blues was a great event that felt like a sigh of relief from some of the insanely packed and (sometimes) drunk fests that some music and drink festivals have become. I’d really like to see more events like this that not only focus on the marriage of beer and food, but also the careful choice of the vendors represented. I believe that breweries, much like chef-run restaurants, focused on quality products can come together for quality events, like this, without having to bring up sales or a distributor’s opinion.
I’ll be back next year.