Tuesday, October 4, 2011

2nd Annual Weko Beach Brewers Festival

This past Saturday, the Michigan Beer Blog made its maiden voyage to Bridgman, MI to drop in on the second annual Weko Beach Brewers Festival.  Despite some strong winds, it was a perfect fall day to spend on picturesque Lake Michigan  -- a welcome change after just enduring over a week straight of gloomy, damp, rainy days across southwest Michigan.

With Alligator Blackbird, Top Secret Band, and Mr. Blotto offering their melodic sounds throughout the festival, and the smell of grilled brats and pulled pork sandwiches wafting through the air, thirteen brewers offered tastings of a few of their mainstays and fall seasonal beers.  Unlike a good portion of the beer festivals we attend, this festival had a completely different vibe, with most attendees just looking to relax and enjoy the afternoon on the beach with some music, food, and craft beer, meaning the brewers left their fancy, experimental stuff at home for this one.

One brewery in particular caught the attention of many festival attendees, though: Greenbush Brewing Co. in Sawyer, which has only been open since July.  They took a different approach to the festival than the other breweries, rotating beer taps throughout the event to keep people coming back for more. We were fortunate to get a taste of the 1825, which blew in only 20 minutes after being tapped, and it wasn't difficult to see why.  It's a Belgian strong ale that is fruity, spicy, yeasty, and a little sugary but not over the top sweet or cloying -- a really fresh example of the style.  My only question was where the 9.3% abv was hiding.  That beer could certainly be dangerous!  
1825 from Greenbush
Another Greenbush beer that was generating quite a bit of buzz was the Distorter Porter, a "ball of confusion" (their words, not mine) that really blurs the lines with its heftier stout cousins.  It's rich, chocolately, creamy, and complex, and blends a creamy chocolate malt profile with a slightly bitter roasted malt profile.  Hands down, the best beer I had all day.  Our other two favorites of the day were Odd Side's Dutch Chocolate Coffee Stout and Round Barn's Black Raspberry Cocoa Stout.  I guess the chillier air had us in the mood for some good stouts and porters!
Laura Porter with her Distorter Porter from Greenbush
Seth with Atwater's Blocktoberfest
If you’ve been hesitant to attend the Weko Beach Brewers Festival the past two years, hopefully this picture collection will change your mind for next year.  And if you spot yourself in one of them, give us a shout!  Cheers! 

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