The 2nd Annual Corpus Beer Festival took place in the beautiful old Spanish Art Center in the heart of Corpus downtown and right on the water front. The festival started at an ambitious 2 pm but we decided to avoid the worst of the heat, although the inside courtyard was still sweltering on our arrival at 6.30pm Corpus currently has 5 micro breweries but the scene is clearly growing, and for the festival they brought in visitors from San Marcos (Weathered Soul), Big River (Pharr, Texas), and Seguin, TX (Seguin Brewing Co.). You May think that 8 breweries a party does not make but like most places in TX, Corpus loves a good knees up. Although we arrived relatively late, we were pleased to find almost all beers still available, despite the crowds.
We kicked off with the lovely sweetly tart blood orange DIPA from local micro brewery and pizzeria B & J. Queuing for beer stalls varies, with out-of-towners getting noticeably more attention from the locals. This actually worked out pretty well for us for obvious reasons. The brewery stalls were situated together around the sides of an enclosed courtyard which looked beautiful but could get very hot and crowded until the sin went down. Fortunately there was plenty of outdoor space with a lovely ocean breeze where merchandise, food trucks, and live music could be found. There was something very special about a beer with live music right on the Gulf of Mexico, and I have a feeling this festival will grow and grow.
The quality of music was very high and perfectly matched to the tone of the event. The Corpus / Port Aransas area seems to be a place where the 80s never died and fab local covers band Over the Bridge delivered back-to-back sing-alongs for the final few hours. I was rarely off my feet.
We loved tucking into lots of local beers – favourites included the deliciously light and creamy ARC Reactor Belgium Tripel (a collaboration between B & J and Lazy Beach), Lorelei’s Witty Tart Salty Gose, as well as Lorelei’s big hitter – the Mer-Dude Russian Imperial stout.
We were a bit disappointed by the quality of food trucks, but then we are Austinites! Overall, we had an amazing night. Corpus is an incredibly friendly city, and even though we had only been there two days, we came across lots of people (beer and otherwise) we had already met, who greeted us warmly and made us feel welcome. Our experiences at the festival, and visiting local tap rooms, gave clear indications that the craft beer scene is growing quickly in Corpus, and although this is only the end annual festival, I have high expectations for next year and will certainly be attending.