After three years, Untapped Dallas has hit the mainstream, for better or worse.
The festival, originally starting in Dallas in 2012, now has roots in Fort Worth, Houston, and Denton, and is drawing some significantly-beyond-local bands and breweries, like Cake and Samuel Adams. It definitely feels more like a State Fair with beer instead of fryer oil than a celebration of local breweries, and it's always a little sad when a festival that used to be just about your hometown turns into something more national. That said, there are a lot worse ideas than a beer-oriented State Fair.
- Despite being just on the outskirts of downtown Dallas, finding the place was a bit of a problem. The fest's actual entrance was hidden away behind Gilley's, and a lot of attendees started the day confused while still completely sober.
- Far-off lands such as Brooklyn and Austria were represented, but the beer selection still had a strong local flavor. Established local breweries like Rahr and Sons and up-and-comers like Revolver and Armadillo Ale Works were more prominent, if not by the widest of margins.
- The food was all local. Oak Cliff's Bolsa Mercado provided their homemade sausages and weirdo doughnut purveyor Hypnotic Donuts brought some of their tamer pastries — and by tamer, we mean covered in bacon bits — to the table for rumbling stomachs.
- The area was still set up with a local festival mentality, but they'll need to expand next year. There were about twice as many people as should have been allowed in the venue. It was tough to get around, food and water stands were scarce and there were no short lines to be found. All the problems with being in a crowd were magnified by the fact that most everyone was drunk within the first hour or two.
- It may be a national event disguised by a local event venue, but it also featured local event prices: $42 got viewers into a seven-hour show capped by two national headliners and included 24 ounces of beer. It was cramped and parking was tough, but that's hard to beat.
- Beer may have been the main player at the event, but the atmosphere didn't really ramp up until Deltron 3030 took the stage. The futuristic hip-hop group had the main stage packed, and Cake drew an even bigger crowd. Even after two decades of making music, the band can still pass for an indie group.