Sunday, July 24, 2005

Michigan Summer Beer Festival


The Michigan Brewers Guild 8th annual Summer Beer Festival was once again a great event. Check out my flickr site for more pictures . Pretty much, the festival goes like this: You pay $25 for a ticket, which gets you 12 wooden tokens. Each token is good for a sample of beer. The sample sizes are generally about a 1/4 to a 1/2 of a small sized plastic cup. Some of the brewers are quite generous with their samples - usually the ones that aren't doing so well! Anyhow, Jen and I had a great time. We met a ton of cool people, talked with our favorite brewing companies and even managed to save a few tokens for next years festival.
Here is a list of the beer we tried. Rather then trying to come up with a full review, I am including links to the other peoples reviews found on my favorite beer site: BeerAdvocate.com , and if the company does have a website, I'll try and link that up to.

Traverse City Brewing Company (Traverse City): I've always been a big fan of their Stout. I haven't had it in years, so I grabbed a sample and its tastier then I remember. Jen tried the Manitou Amber Ale which she enjoyed. We did chat with them and found out they are located north of Traverse City. We'll pay them a visit on our next vacation for sure!

King Brewing Company (Pontiac) was the next one we tried. I had the Two Fisted Old Ale, and Jen had the cherry beer. She really dug this one.

Dark Horse Brewing Company (Marshall), had a huge long line, but we waited because typically, the longer the line, the better the beer. I tried the Sapient Trip ale , which was a powerful 9% alc. content, and Jen had the Raspberry Ale . Both were really good.

We moved on to Motor City Brewing Works (Detroit) and tried their Nut Brown and Pale Ale .
Next, Saugatuk Brewing Company(Douglas) I tried a Singaport. Can't tell you much about it, because I don't remember, also not much was found on the net or their website.

Jen ventured over to Big Buck Brewery and tried one of their Raspberry Wheat beers, which I remember now that the brewers always filled her cup, and chinced me. Girls!...

We we're standing in a big crowd of people and this guy comes walking through with a big black box on his back. Turns out he had beer in that big box, cold beer, and was serving it from a hand held spout connected to a hose. I'm so going to invite this guy to my next party! The beer was a smooth Doppelbock from Stoney Creek, or previously known as Atwater Block (Detroit).

We took a break by the river and people watched for a bit. You wouldn't believe the lengths some of these people go to in celebration of beer! I especially liked the two beer monks.

After the break, we headed over to Arcadia Brewing (Battle Creek). Jen tried one of their IPA's .

We stood in a long line for Grizzly Peak Brewing (Ann Arbor). I had been wanting to try the beer for a while, because I'm not a huge fan of Ann Arbor's staple brewery, Arbor Brewing (beer flavored soda water, but one of the BEST menu's in a2).
We met some really nice guys while standing in line. Both were beer connoisseur's. One of them brews his own beer, and said brewing can be done any time of the year, and is best to fill kegs with the batches, rather then going through the bottling process.. Something to keep in mind.
Once we made it up to the beer pourers, we tried the Grizzlegator Dobblebok and Draconus. Both were VERY good. The beer was very full bodied and rich tasting. I get the feeling that they experiment with their brewing, because I couldn't find anything about the beers we tried here, but I did find a huge list of others with names just as interesting as these.

The way cool T-shirts we spotted led us over to the Royal Oak Brewery (Detroit). This company actually owns Rochester mills Beer Co., and Detroit Beer Co. It was a little confusing, because they had them all lumped together, so I don't really know which IPA I tried, but it was wonderful. They had just tapped into a special stout, that the guy filling beers said he needed to 'approve'. He tasted it, and I guess that's all it took, because he filled my cup! The stout was pretty good, and a whopping 8%. I wish now that I would have spent more time getting the names and beers right with these samples, they both were amazing.

Frog Island (Detroit) had a decent Amber Ale. Looks like Stoney Creek Brewing Co. is brewing this beer.. a little confusing.
New Holland Brewing Company (Holland) had a Zoomer Wit that was pretty good. I'm a HUGE fan of their Mad Hatter IPA , which can be found at the Whole Foods Market in Ann Arbor. I think its safe to say that all of their beers are top notch. They really go all out on the label design, very trippy.

We took another break and stood in some shade. A guy was walking by with a Brewers Guild glass, and I asked him what it was. He had me hold my cup up, and poured me a half cup. The beer was a Strong Ale Wit from Traffic Jam Brewery (Detroit). , I wasn't able to find out any more information on this particular brand, but from what I read, a true Wit beer must be made of at least 25% wheat malt in combination with barley malt. It was very good.
It turns out this guys brother works for Traffic Jam, so he drank for free all day. He sold us on becoming a member of the Michigan Brewers Guild. One of the benefits include a VIP pass to the festival, which gets you in to the festival before it opens to the public.

Founders (Grand Rapids) line had finally gone down some, so we headed over there where we tried the Centennial IPA and the Dirty Bastard . Jen was particularly fond of the Dirty Bastard.. well, for a few sips anyhow. The Dirty Bastard is a Scotch Ale, also known as "Wee Heavy". Scotch Ales are sweet, a deep copper in color, and of course best served in a thistle glass.. who'd of thunk?!

At some point in our ventures, we headed over to Creole Cigar Factory and watched a guy hand roll cigars. I was fascinated that this guy could roll such a perfect cigar every time. I settled on a couple of $3 flavored cigars. I'm not a huge fan of flavored cigars, but all that was left were $10 cigars. I picked up a coffee flavor for myself and a cinnamon flavored for Aaron. They must be pretty powerful, the cigars are in a bag next to me, and I aroma is pretty powerful. Beats Henry's gas!

At this point in the festival, the samples were starting to have a slight affect on me. I managed to lose the pen I was taking notes with. The time was about 5:50 p.m., and the festival ended at 6 p.m. We had pockets full of tokens still (someone at Founders Brewing was throwing the wooden tokens out to the crowd, and people were diving for them like it was $50 bills - of course, Jen and I did too). We made our way over to Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. (Warren) where Jen sampled a Tootsie Roll flavored beer. I couldn't find a review on it, but they have a HUGE list of beers on the review board - I think we might have to venture up to this one.

Our last stop was the Michigan Brewing Company (Webberville). This place is probably my favorite brewery in Michigan. We travel up north quite a bit, and always find time to stop there on the way up, and the way back. They have an amazing IPA, and a good Porter , which used to be my favorite until I was turned onto the world of American India Pale Ale's .
They didn't have much left, so we sampled the Nut Brown and the Celis White.

That was that. Another year, another Michigan Summer Beer festival. We had a blast, as usual, and are looking forward to next years. Sorry to everyone I called on the way home and made plans to hang out that evening, my brain was full of liquid energy, but my body decided it was done for around 7 p.m. :)