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Giant New Beer Fest

A mayor who loves beer: Annise Parker touts Houston's giant new craft beer festival

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Big Brew beer festival announcement at George R. Brown Convention Center January 2014
From left to right, Lisa Rydman of Spec's, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Clifton McDerby of organizer Food & Vine Time Productions and George R Brown Convention Center Chief Operating Officer Luther Villagomez were all on hand to announce Big Brew. Photo by Eric Sandler
The Big Brew Houston beer festival logo
Held over four days in October, Big Brew's Grand Tasting event will feature 1,000 beers.  BigBrewHouston.com
Big Brew beer festival announcement at George R. Brown Convention Center January 2014
The Big Brew Houston beer festival logo

Houston's beer cred is taking another giant step forward.

Mayor Annise Parker held a press conference Tuesday to triumph Big Brew, the new massive beer festival that's designed to draw as many as 10,000 visitors to the Bayou City.

Organizers hope Big Brew will celebrate Houston's emerging craft beer scene, draw visitors to downtown Houston and highlight the city's status as a destination for food tourism. It will be held over four days in the fall (Oct. 23 through Oct. 26).

Houston "is increasingly on the national and international map as a place for foodies, those who are interested in cutting edge restaurants and the latest food trends," Parker says. "But (it's) also a place for those who appreciate great beer, craft beer and a place with a growing entrepreneurial segment that is creating craft beer in Houston."

The festival will kick off Thursday Oct. 23 with the Great Match, an event at which 40 Houston chefs will pair a dish with one of 40 craft brews. High profile Houston chefs Robert Del Grande (RDG), Randy Evans (Haven) and Michael Cordua (Churrascos, Americas) will serve as culinary directors, helping to curate the menu and encouraging other chefs to participate.

On Oct. 24, Texas Brewed will feature the best of Texas craft beer — organizers are hoping for 100 percent participation from Houston's breweries. Many of the breweries were represented at the press conference. That Friday night, the Suds in the City pub crawl will shuttle participants to various destinations throughout downtown Houston.

On Oct. 25, there will be two Grand Tasting sessions that offer 1,000 beers for attendees to sample. Organizer Clifton McDerby said he hoped the tasting sessions would both introduce non-beer drinkers to craft beer and provide long-time fans with lots of new brews to try.   

"There's no reason, and it's well on the way, that Houston shouldn't be the capital of Texas's beer scene," McDerby says. "We think Big Brew will contribute to that."

McDerby's comments also reflect the opinion of Draft magazine, which last week recognized that Houston has passed Dallas and Austin by as a destination for beer drinkers. 

Parker raised a glass of Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower at the news conference and offered the following toast:

Today we are toasting new partnerships, new friendships and big dreams
Today we’ll celebrate an industry and a city on the rise.
Here’s to our city. Here’s to great beer.
Cheers to Big Brew, and thanks to all of you.

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