Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that Friday’s TacoCon (Cerveza) was a roaring success. By the time I’d arrived, the trucks had already sprawled themselves across Four Corner Brewing Co.’s parking lot and were setting up for the madness that was about to go down. The delicious smells dancing across the lot highlighted my own pangs of hunger.
“Beer and tacos are soul mates,” Jose Ralat-Maldonado told me. “Each are great alone, but together – when made well – set off fireworks.”
Ralat-Maldonado is a writer/blogger/owner of TacoTrail, a blog dedicated to the preservation and proliferation of the famous Mexican dish, the taco. He had seen success with the North Texas Taco Festival back in April, and knew there was a chance for future endeavors to be just as rewarding. “All the pieces were present,” he said. “I just needed to put them together and a brewery partner crazy enough to allow me to do it.”
According to Jose, George Esquivel, a co-owner of Four Corners Brewing Co., was very receptive to a partnership of food and drink on a scale that could bring hundreds to the event.
“They have a reputation for hosting fantastic local food-related events and they make great beer,” he said.
A sweet band, set up on top of a flatbed truck, tore it up with its Santana covers in between sets of salsa. There we go. Now we had a perfect taco-eating atmosphere.
Taco Head’s sautéed veggie taco was chock full of produce – squash, peppers, cilantro and mushrooms. I was too much of a wuss to put on the red sauce, but the green sauce was a nice kick. It was very savory. The extra onions and pico de gallo gave it just the tiniest bit of sweetness that I enjoy.
The brisket taco from Taco Party was tasty but sounded a lot more exciting than it ended up being. The ancho pepper sauce didn’t rewrite the book on barbecue, but it certainly held its own. The brisket was hot and tender. The fried onions kept all of the juices in place for which I was grateful, and they weren’t overpowering.
Then there was the beer. Four Corners had produced a special beer just for the occasion. This stuff really nailed the mood of the meal. It was spicy, like seasoned beef, and slightly fruity. It sounds like something difficult to work into a typical palette, but the transition between taco and beer was practically seamless. This would complete any seasoned Mexican dish, similar to how a red wine would complement a steak or tomato sauce dinner. They gave us a tiny sample but it was enough to get the point. But in case you’re still concerned, don’t worry – I took the train home.
Ralat-Maldonado isn’t quite finished with this year. One of his festival producing partners, Rich Vana of Entrée Dallas, is putting together an event in Deep Ellum called BurgerFest, which Jose assured me is going to be a “beautiful, meaty day.” In addition, Ralat-Maldonado is working on another tacos-with-beer event in Cowtown.
“Some sort of taco happening in Fort Worth is a no-brainer,” he said.
It was a day filled with beef, peppers, sauce and beer, all wrapped up in a tortilla of music and happiness. Not bad for a Friday night.
Jacob Austin Medina is a D Magazine intern and a journalism major at the University of North Texas.