Okay, here we go. Months later and I’m just finding some time to go through some photos and get motivated to sit and do a little writing. My head has been busy.
Seeing as my trip back home was in April and we’ve now reached mid-July all the details are a little fuzzy, but I still have things I want to share… and one of those things was my time at the 3rd annual Wurstfest Craft Beer Festival.
A day outside drinking Texas craft beer, munching a few snacks and listening to music… why not. Here’s how I got on.
You might not know this, but way back in the 1830s Texas was home to several German immigrants who helped create and build multiple towns within the Hill Country area. So, there’s a lot of German influence just casually in Texas, which makes for great street names… but more importantly great celebrations.
New Braunfels, Texas probably holds one of the strongest ties to German culture and every year they hold a ten-day party called Wurstfest – which basically seems like a wee Oktoberfest. This Craft Beer festival is a spinoff from the main event and, since I’d heard such good things about the main Wustfest, I had high hopes.
When purchasing tickets you can go general or go VIP… I’m a peasant and chose general for $35 bucks a ticket, which meant I didn’t get a little glass to hang around my neck and couldn’t sit indoors or on a wee patio. No real loss. All tickets included six coupons which allow you a 3oz sample of your beer or cider of choice.
After use of your sample vouchers you could purchase more tickets to use on samples, full size craft beer, pitchers of more standard beers and of course, food.
I know I’m biased, but there is a lot of really good Texas beer. I think Community Brewing Co. from Dallas and Saint Arnold from Houston had some of my favourites of the day, but it was great going from table to table and seeing all the variety within the state.
Being American I tend to like my drinks cold… and this was a concern of mine when I originally saw the set up, but every sample I had was ice cold thanks to massive coolers behind each table.
It was mainly volunteers working the booths who were all just so friendly. Because of this it was hard to get a bit of knowledge behind the beers they were dishing out. It didn’t bother me too much because I could always just look them up but it’d be nice to hear about them from someone with passion for it.
Once our sample tickets were out we moved onto pitchers of Shiner… because one: it’s delicious, and two: it was much cheaper.
I must admit that on this day I did sample the worst beer to have ever touched my lips. I absolutely adore sour dill pickles. So when I saw a pickle berliner-weisse how could I have resisted? I really should have known by the stench… it was a strong mix of expired parmesan cheese and dirty socks. The taste was so unlike a pickle and insanely disgusting. I held the beer in my mouth until I could find a trash can to spit into.
The set up was simple, but really matched the casual vibe of the place. There were booths set up inside and a smaller tent outside that you could wander around. The site had plenty of space and we managed to snag a bench by the stage early on.
I’ll be honest and say I don’t remember any of the band names, one band did terrible covers of unpopular classic rock songs and the other band we stayed for was a decent old man country band. It’s always nice to have something on in the background and it was quite cute seeing the crowd slowly get tipsy and start to dance.
There were a few different food options on site and while beer is quite filling that didn’t stop us from snacking.
Early on in the afternoon it was nachos and a soft pretzel.
Later on once the alcohol started to hit it was all about the jalapeño and cheese sausage with fries. Perfect companion to a day spent drinking.
One of the highlights of the festival for me was watching the Masskrugstemmen competition. You basically pay $20 bucks for a commemorative stein of beer and see how long you can hold it for. The winner gets a medal and all the glory. There are some rules and regulations within the holding- mainly no bending of the arms. I had genuinely never heard of this before and it sounds easy, but I’ve since tried it and couldn’t even manage a full minute.
I want to say the winning lady did over three minutes and the winning guy did over 5? Turns out the U.S record is over 19 minutes… I mean, that just seems boring and your beer would almost definitely be warm.
I had such a great day though and there were so many positive vibes and hops flowing. If I’m ever in Texas when the event is on again I’ll definitely be there.
Wurstfest Craft Beer Festival
April 22, 2017
Landa Park, New Braunfels, TX