The third annual Houston Beer Festival was actually my first experience in the suds-saturated scene that rocked like a massive outdoor house party — that is, if the house was City Hall and the partygoers were playing drunken beach volleyball in the reflection pool at Hermann Square Park.
Saturday's beer-infused mayhem spread across three blocks from the grounds around City Hall to Tranquility Park with 85 stations representing local craft breweries as well as brew houses from Texas, across the U.S. and the globe. So heavy were the crowds that by 7 p.m. most every beer and food station had long lines. (One even ran out of corn dogs.) The popular brands with fans standing in line included Flying Dog, Brooklyn, No Label, Shiner, Leprechaun Cider Company, Maui Brewing Co., Saint Arnold, Shock Top, Karbach and Dogfish Head.
With general admission starting at $25, why not? The entry fee got you get a nifty Houston Beer Fest '13 cup stuffed with 10 beer tickets, each one worth a 2.5 oz. sample serving (or maybe a bit more if your server was generous). Those beer tickets were sacred, even though you could buy more if needed. With all those brewskies at hand, of course, there were beer pong and flip cup competitions.
Great tunes completed the party vibe, with four stages providing non-stop sounds that started in the early afternoon and went all night, with headliners like Bun B, The Spazmatics and Reverend Horton Heat. The beer guzzling throng grooved to the sounds.
Houston's "Draped Up" star, Bun B had the crowd swaying, throwin' up hands and dancing any blues away. Known for paying homage to his former rap group, UGK, the rapper and his cronies revved up the audience with "Int'l Players Anthem."
Cougar alert! The franchise '80s cover band, The Spazmatics seemed to draw a big and varied crowd at the Texas Craft Beer Stage. Eccentricity at its best, the band was dressed in Pee Wee Herman-esque costumes with neck braces, helmets and sweatbands. Nevertheless, they knew how to keep the party going. Songs like "Footloose" sent some back to the good ol' days, reminding all the cougars just how much they loved Kevin Bacon . . . and removing undergarments to throw at the stars? Yes, sadly that happened too.