The 2016 Katy Wild West Brewfest will be held at the Katy Mills mall in Katy, TX – a suburb of Houston. This will be the fifth annual occurrence of this non-profit event, and the first held at Katy Mills mall. According to event organizer David Loesch, the reason for the move was simple: “We outgrew our old space; it simply could not handle our capacity anymore.”
All net proceeds of the event go to both local charities in the Houston-Katy area as well as other charities around the world. A few of the charities represented are: The Rainbow Room, Future Farmers of America, The Shaw Center, along with various disaster relief efforts and fine arts programs locally. The event is fully staffed by volunteers, which means that no one works the event to turn a profit, and 100 percent of the net gross goes back to the community. Not many events can say that.
While showcasing the philanthropic expertise of the WWBF is certainly important, it is still a beer event first and foremost. Over 6,300 people traveled from as far as the Netherlands to enjoy the raucous atmosphere and wide beer selection at the WWBF in 2015, and event organizers are hoping for an even better turnout this year.
The 2015 WWBF featured a whopping 125 breweries pouring over 400 delectable beer selections. Many of the biggest craft breweries in America were featured, such as New Belgium, Boulevard, Ballast Point, SweetWater, Sierra Nevada and Deschutes. Many smaller breweries were given equal footing and there were also cideries and meaderies on hand to offer samples. 2016 promises to bring even more breweries to the WWBF, proffering their finest wares to enthusiastic beer drinkers from around the nation.
The festival officially begins on Friday, April 22 at 7 PM with the WWBF launch party. This event, while technically still part of the WWBF, will feature different musical artists and a different beer lineup. Also, the launch party will be far smaller in scale, allowing for attendees to mingle and talk one-on-one with brewers and brewery reps from many of the most popular breweries in America.
The true exodus begins the next day, April 23rd, at 4 PM (3 PM for VIP admission) when the event opens to the public. For those that don’t want to make the drive to Katy Mills Mall, the “Texas Beer Bus” will pick up throughout the day at various locations around the event. While Uber or a designated driver is always an option, why not hop on a bus with fellow festgoers and perform an out-of-tune version of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” before or after the event? Sounds like a blast to me.
Expanding upon the festival’s 2015 iteration, the 2016 WWBF will feature over 150 breweries bringing over 500 (!) beers for your perusal. “With over 143,000 square feet of beer nirvana, every style you can imagine will be represented,” according to a WWBF press release. The VIP tent alone is over 10,000 square feet and will feature rare and one-off beers that will be made available for this event only.
While all of the major, BA Top 50 breweries will be returning, numerous smaller breweries have already committed to attending the event and bringing some of their finest releases along to titillate the taste buds of attendees. According to Ralph Brock, another event organizer, these breweries will make their fine wares available at the 2016 WWBF: Rahr & Sons Brewing, Lazy Magnolia Brewery, Santa Fe Brewing Co., Live Oak Brewing Co., Lone Pint Brewery and Southern Star Brewing Company. This list is sure to grow as more breweries confirm their attendance.
The fifth annual Wild West Brew Fest is sure to be one of the premier beer events of the year, so hitch up your wagons, head out west and fulfill your manifest beer destiny!