by Gene Rutt
Brigadoon was a Broadway play and movie about a mysterious Scottish village which appears for only one day every hundred years. In a similar manner, the Brigadoon Brewery and Brew School only appears once a year at the Texas Renaissance Festival near Magnolia then fades back into the mist. It was born from LaPorte residents Alan and Linda Ward’s desire to bring their love of brewing beer and love of the Texas Renaissance Festival together.
Alan and Linda have been married 18 years and have four children. A connoisseur of beer since 1976, he has been brewing since 2000 when his wife and children gave him a Mr. Beer kit for Christmas. Unknown to them, brewing would allow him the ability to combine his love of science, culture, travel, history, cooking and beer into one glorious venue.
In 1975 Alan’s family attended the Texas Renaissance Festival for the first time and from that point forward he was hooked. The ability to step back in time and experience that which up until then he could only read about was a temptation he could not resist. In 1979 he began to live his dream and worked his first fair. He continued to work the fair and has not missed a season except for those years when active military duty prevented him. In 1996 he was named Hawker of the Year in his category while working and managing the Wax Hand booth. In 2005 with the support of his children and wife Linda, he became a Shoppe Owner when they opened the Pixie Candy Craft booth. Then in 2008 after 2 years of behind the scenes work they were able to combine their love of brewing and their love for the fair when they were able to open the Brigadoon Brewery & Brew School.
Brigadoon Brewery & Brew School is a unique Scottish brewpub and teaching facility located on the grounds of the Festival. In the fall of 2008 they opened as a unique living history demonstration booth brewing with historical equipment and techniques and then giving samples away. In 2011 they formed an LLC and licensed as brewpub. With the new license they expanded production to include a modern stainless system off stage. Both the historical and modern brewed beer is sold back to the public. To their knowledge they are the only renaissance style brewery or brewpub operating on the grounds of a Renaissance Festival using period specific recipes, equipment, and methods as well as modern equipment to brew hand crafted ale and serve it to the public.
What does that actually mean? Well, eight weekends a year (a total of 17 days) they don their garb and brew beer using equipment, ingredients, techniques, and recipes that would have been available during the 1400s through the 1600s. They then give samples of ale away and sell pints to visitors that pass through their booth (#150) allowing them the opportunity to taste a piece of living history.
The Texas Renaissance Festival is the nation’s largest, most acclaimed Renaissance theme park. It is open to the public every Saturday, Sunday, and Thanksgiving Friday, starting October 10th through November 29th. The enchanted 55-acre village comes to life as all of Europe comes to pay homage to the King and Queen with Eight Themed Weekends. Hundreds of costumed performers are showcased in over 200 daily performances. Visitors meander along shaded cobblestone walkways visiting almost 400 shoppes overflowing with unique arts and crafts offering delicious foods and beverages. All ages will be amused by the games of skill and human-powered rides. Revel in the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and beauty of this authentically recreated 16th Century British village with lush landscaped grounds and vines. A perfect day ends as behold the burst of Royal Fireworks held above the Festival’s lake.
This fall, visit the Texas Renfest and the Brigadoon Brewery and School at booth #150. You not only get to sample and purchase their brews, you can also learn how to do it yourself while enjoying the grandeur, sights, sounds and smells of the Texas Renaissance Festival.
For more info: http://www.brigadoonbrewery.comFor the Love of the Brew
at the Texas Renaissance Festival