Sunday, July 24, 2011

14th Annual Summer Beer Fest



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.


Kombucha beer

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 

Pinata hat!

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:

Arcadia B Kraft Black Double IPA
Arcadia Roggen Berry
Atwater Vanilla Java Porter
Atwater VJ Black 11% imperial stout
Big Buck Banana Bourbon
Big Buck Raspberry Wheat
Big Rock Chop & Brewhouse Michigan Sour Cherry Tripel
Cheboygan Light House Amber
Cheboygan Summer Cervesa
Copper Canyon Devil's Peak IPA
Copper Canyon Melange des Fleurs
Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Plead the Fifth
Dark Horse FigPA Fig IPA
Dark Horse Plead the Fifth Imperial Stout
Dark Horse Red Hot Shocker
Dark Horse Smells Like Weed IPA
Dark Horse Surprise Stout
Dark Horse Tres Blueberry Stout
Dragonmead K2 Strawberry Blonde
Dragonmead Redwing Raspberry Wheat
Dragonmead Willy's Oompa Loompa Chocolate Stout
The Hideout Cherry Mango Chile Pineapple Pilsner
The Hideout Double Bubble DIPA with Bubblegum
Hopcat Farmhouse Hoppopotamus Belgian IPA
Hopcat The Rapture American Wild Ale
Jolly Pumpkin Roja de Kriek
Kuhnhenn Play in the Hay Blueberry
Kuhnhenn Play in the Hay Pineapple
Kuhnhenn Play in the Hay Straight
Kuhnhenn Play in the Hay Tangerine
Lily's Seafood Fairbanks Point Framboise
Lily's Seafood Propeller Island Pilsner
Livery Kentucky Kaffinator
Livery Maillot Jaune Farmhouse Ale
Livery Taxman Imperial Stout
Livery Trippelweizenbock Lager
New Holland 2006 Blue Goat Dopplebock
New Holland Cocoa Saison
North Peak Wanderer Session IPA
Right Brain Black Magic Lavender Wheat
Right Brain Strawberry Fields
Saugatuck SIPA Session IPA
Short's Captain Fantasy Saison with Pear
Short's Beach Wheat
Short's Cornholio Baltic Porter
Shorts Kolsch 45
Unity Vibration Triple Goddess Raspberry Beer
Unity Vibration Pineapple Ginger Kombucha Tea

a note:  we did not have a full 4 ounces of each of those beers.  Often, just a taste is all you need!

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