On the third Saturday of July, wrapping up the end of one of the hottest summer weeks in Michigan, the Michigan Brewers Guild hosted the 14th annual Summer Beer Fest. Over 60 breweries across the Great Beer State lugged 450 different beers up, down, and over to the Riverside Park in Ypsilanti, Michigan. A bit late to the party, by the time the Michigan Beer Blog arrived on Saturday, the biggest beer party in Michigan was already in its second day.
|The line to get in stretched forever.|
|The grounds just prior to public entry|
|Same grounds mid festival|
With over 9000 brewers, pourers, and beer drinkers in attendance, mother nature saw fit to soothe some of the blistering heat with some light showers before the Festival began. Michigan Brewers really answered the challenge of pleasing all those palates this year; flavors ranging from Kuhnhenn's Gone Wild sour series, the Dark Horse Stout Table, and Unity Vibrations' Kombucha beer, the range of flavors boggled the mind.
No, neither Laura nor I tasted all 450 beers. It turns out that there's logistical problems with that goal. We did, however, want to highlight some of what we thought were spectacular entries:
Joe Short never disappoints: his Captain Fantasy Saison was light and refreshing with a twist of pear, and the Cornholio Baltic Porter (while perhaps not a beer suited for a hot summer day) was well balanced and delicious. I also happen to think Captain Fantasy is the best name for any beer.
|Jake and Trent, brewers for Dark Horse|
Dark Horse seemed to desire to take over the epic festival, with tables strewn about the entire area. Laura and I were extremely impressed with the Red Hot Shocker beer, a creative and curious ale brewed with jalapenos and cinnamon really stood out.
Finally, Kuhnhenn's Gone Wild series of sour ales showed how delicious a sour ale can be. I preferred mine tinged with blueberry, but the tangerine and pineapple flavored sour ales were close behind.
If ever there's an event that shows off the best Michigan has to offer, it's the Summer Beer Festival. If you didn't make it this year, or are on the fence about attending in the future, I can't think of a better way to spend a day in July. A special thanks to Scott Graham, Diana Stampfler, and the rest of the Michigan Brewers Guild who work hard to make this festival fun and safe every year!
|Scott Graham, executive director, MBG|
|New Holland's famous Elvis tap|
More pictures are available at our Facebook Page. For the curious, here is the list of beers Laura and I actually got to try:
a note: we did not have a full 4 ounces of each of those beers. Often, just a taste is all you need!