If you’re looking for a fun festival with lots of beer and food trucks, The Big Texas Beer Festival is where you want to be on Saturday, April 14th. I have had an awesome opportunity to chat with the founders, Chad and Nellie Montgomery.
Betsy: Tell me a little about you and your wife. What do yall do? Is this a full time job?
Chad: My wife and I have been together for over 15 years now. We met online in 1998 and I moved to Dallas (from Indianapolis where I grew up) shortly thereafter. We’ve been married for just over 5 1/2 years now, and have a boston terrier named Rambo. We became craft beer nerds when we visited San Diego, and discovered a really cool bottle shop with over 600 beers to try. After visiting the Great American Beer Festival in Denver in 2010, we really had a passion to bring something like that to Dallas, to benefit the community, and craft beer world we both know and love.
Betsy: How did yall come up with the idea for the Big Texas Beer Fest?
Chad: Partly due to inspiration from Great American Beer Festival and the fact that North Texas doesn’t have a proper craft beer festival, but it all started over a conversation at the Flying Saucer on the Lake with some friends who encouraged me to do it. I kept the idea between a group of about 6 people until last December when we announced to DFW that we’d be doing one the upcoming April.
Betsy: What are your main goals for the Festival?
Chad: The main goals of the festival are to promote education on the passion that craft brewers put into making their product by hand and with care, and that the mass-marketing beers of the world aren’t the only option out there. Beer has more flavors than wine by far, and in our opinion pairs better with food than any other beverage in the world. We also hope to promote other local small businesses who care about their customers experiences, and to aid as many charities as we can. This year we’re focused on benefiting the North Texas Food Bank’s mission to help end hunger in North Texas.
Betsy: What has been the biggest obstacle to overcome when planning the event?
Chad: We’ve never planned an event for more than 130 people, which was our wedding. This event will attract thousands of people from all over the region (and even as far away as California and New Jersey so far), and organizing over 100 vendors has been the biggest challenge. Getting them on the same page as us has been challenging, but not something we haven’t been able to deal with.
Betsy: How many beers will be available for tasting? Which is you (and your wife’s) favorite?
Chad: We will have between 300 and 400 beers available, and even now (10 days before our event) that number is changing daily. Beer is really all about the situation, and to pick a favorite is very hard. If it’s a cold night, my favorite beer might be a big Russian Imperial Stout that’s been aged in bourbon barrels, but on a hot summer day, I love drinking something lighter and refreshing, such as a German-style berliner weisse, which is a sour version of the more common hefeweizen. I’ve tried over 4,000 different beers to date, and have a lot of “favorites”
Betsy: Where is the event held? How many people are you expecting at attend?
Chad: We’re having the event at Fair Park, in the Automobile building. We expect between 2,500 – 3,000 people this year. These numbers could easily swell depending upon our day of walkups, but this is our estimate at the moment.
Betsy: How much does it cost to attend? What is a Designated Driver ticket?
Chad: General admission begins at 1pm, for $35 and includes (12) 2oz samples, additional sample cards with 12 more cost only $2 (cash). Designated driver tickets get access to the festival, but no beers. They can listen to live music, sample free kombucha and craft sodas, and free cheeses from MouCo cheese company. These are only $20. We also have VIP tickets who get in an hour early, get a branded lanyard with brewcaddy to hold their sampling cup, and access to the after party at Deep Ellum brewing from 6:30pm-8:30pm.
Betsy: Will there food at the event?
Chad: We will have 4 food trucks located outside in our food truck alley. We’ll have excellent artisanal food from these vendors. The food is available for purchase separately.
Betsy: Does this event benefit a charity? Which one? Why did you choose that one?
Chad: The North Texas Food Bank was chosen since $.94 of every $1 they receive goes directly towards ending hunger in North Texas. It’s a real problem that many are unaware of in North Texas. We hoped to raise awareness, and are giving away a portion of every ticket sold to them.
Betsy: Where can we find information about the event? Twitter? Facebook?
Betsy: Any insider tips we should know about the event?
Chad: Ride the DART rail. The green line rail stop at Fair Park is only about 400 feet from our building and allows people to get to and from the event safely. We expect many owners, brewmasters, and other brewery personnel to be in attendance at this event, so people can learn a lot about the people behind the products.
This event will be epic. Yes, epic. Get your tickets asap, don’t wait til Saturday! See you there!