Recently in Beer Festivals Category

Michigan Summer Beer Festival 2011

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"The Summer Beer Festival is the Michigan Brewers Guild's oldest and largest of our four annual festivals. The festival takes place outside in a lovely riverside setting and will feature more than 300 different beers from more than 50 different Michigan breweries. A variety of tasty food items are available for purchase from independent food vendors inside the festival and there will be a diverse selection live music from a variety of local bands" - Michigan Brewers Guild

I attended last year, this by far Michigan's best beer festival of the year. Make it if you can!

Beer Glasses are in for the 2011 Hombrew & BBQ Party

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Beer_Glass.jpgMy beer glasses are in for this years Homebrew and Barbecue Party July 9th. Thanks to John Heimark of Spokane Washington for producing the graphic image for the pint glasses and banner. You can now follow on twitter for updates like this one.

Winter Beer Festival 2011

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The Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival was excellent just as it is every year. Aaron and crew over at Dark Horse just went crazy and had at least 25 beers on tap. While it took at least four trips through the blacklit stout tunnel to finally sample it, the Sour Plead the 5th was very complex and was in the top five brews on tap that I tried. I think the best brew I sampled was the Bourbon Barrel Stout from Hideout. It was on par with the Plead the 5th Barrel aged from Summer's Festival. Frog Island has been around for a while but I think they are relatively new to the Brewers Guild. They had a number of excellent brews on tap. The two brews that stand out for being one of a kind, unique, and just plain excellent brews, were Lily's Woodbutchers Pale Ale, and Right Brain's Naughty Girl. Woodbutches had the taste of salty peanut shells, not hops, not malt, peanut shells. Just amazing. Nice girl was ok, but Naughty Girl was made with fresh organic mint. This is the first time that I have ever had a chocolate mint stout. This is the one brew I definitely want to try again. A few others that stood out were OG's Bourbon Barrel Ginger Ale, the aging really mellowed the sharp ginger bite. Olde Boys Le Belle Apple came in at 9% ABV but with 20% cider it was sweet and very drinkable. Odd Sides did a Peanut Butter Cup Stout that had the definitive peanut butter character you would expect and a Fig Brewton Ale. Fig Brewton reminded me a Magic Hat #9 style brew, but it was far better than anything I have ever had from Magic Hat. Copper Canyon did a Gingerbread Cookie Ale that I was a little disappointed in, not because it wasn't a great brew, but it seemed to lack much Gingerbread Cookie flavor except at the very end. But the Brewmaster is a cool guy and gave me come good suggestions for making a gingerbread brew.

Tips for enjoying a beer festival

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Hey Folks - here are some of my tips for enjoying a beer festival.
  • Drink lots of water, that may mean bringing your own. Bring at least a gallon, yes a gallon.
  • Wear waterproof shoes if it's outside.
  • Know what you plan on drinking before you get there. Time yourself. If you don't pace yourself and end up drinking several pints an hour, the day may not end well for you.
  • Have some cash to buy food, eat before you arrive as well.
  • Whatever you do DON'T DRIVE HOME. Get a cab or have someone pick you up.

13th Annual Summer Beer Festival

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Rochester.jpgThis past weekend was the 13th Annual Summer Beer Festival put on by the Michigan Brewers Guild. All in all the best brew I sampled was the Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from the living room of Dark Horse from Marshall. Yes, their living room. They were the only ones I spotted with a shag carpet and matching 'eclectic' furniture. This beats out Founders KBS and Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout. It was perfectly balanced. The bourbon came through nice and rich, not too much of any one flavor. This is what a Barrel Aged Stout ought to be. Thanks Aaron for serving up a great brew!

We also chatted for a bit with Dave from Old Boys and sampled one of the best Double IPA's at the festival. Made with Amarillo, Simcoe, and Cluster hops, it had the perfect American citrus IPA flavor and arouma any hop head would love.We moved on over to O.G. and chatted with Alan about Kegerators and I sampled the Ginger Ale. It was awesome! But that is because everything that is brewed by O.G. is always of the highest quality.

Before it was all over we got to chat with Laura Bell of Bell's beer. She is of course Larry Bell's daughter and super cool to boot. Very cute, down to earth, and serious about good beer and good business. She holds the position of marketing director at Bell's. When I mentioned a little known off the beaten path place that carries their product she knew who I was talking about. That's good business! Laura if you read this, thanks for the great chat and have fun on that first brew! Before we were gone Bell's had hooked us up with a sign and bumper sticker.

kilt_freedom.jpgKilts, they were everywhere. I want to wear one next summer fest I attend. I asked the pictured kilt wearer what he wanted on his caption and he said 'Freedom'. There were a number of Carhart style kilts at the event and according to the wearers they were from utilikilts. Thanks to Greg Burke and his soon to be brother in law from Woodward Avenue Brewers for a great chat. Thanks Chris for letting me post your photo, thanks for Mike and company for my first cigar, and thanks random beer strangers for letting me post your photo on the internet - and thank you Rockester Mills Beer Company woman and mannequin for the great Cherry Ale and pic! Chris.jpg

Summer Beer Festival

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This will be my first summer attending the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival. I have attended the Winter Festival for the past two years. I wouldn't miss it for the world. 



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On Saturday I attended Brew-UICA 2002. It was the urban institute for contemporary arts' attempt to provide southwest Michigan with a beer tasting event. Thanks to a good friend of mine I got in free. Except for one brewer all the beer was in bottles. That states a lot if you ask me. This was a bunch of contemporary art people's attempt at a beer fest. Frankly, contemporary art people suck. My apologies to all those contemporary art people visiting my site. You may go to now, come back when you know what a mash tun is. Ok so enough with dissing people of culture. About the beer. There were seventeen tables with no less than four styles of beer per table. Not bad indeed. My favorite was an import, Flag Porter. Flag Porter is brewed from a traditional 19th century British recipe, fermented with original 1825 yeast salvaged from a sunken vessel in the English Channel. Good stuff very English, it had the sour thing going on. Try it if you ever get the chance.


Kalamazoo Brewing Co was there. Their Stout was terrible. I will give them the benefit of the doubt maybe it was just that bottle. Founder's had a nice Porter, very hoppy, good stuff. Roffey Brewing Co. knows how to make good beer. Their Lake Effect Stout rocks the boat. Their Forecaster Pale Ale is also an excellent pale ale. Motor City brought their Amber Wheat. It tasted like crap. Sorry Motor City maybe you should take up contemporary art or something.


Butte Creek from Chico, CA came with their Organic Porter. It was good but it tasted pretty organic if you ask me. Could we please give up on Organic Beer! Who's idea was it anyhow? Organic granola bars; great idea. Organic beer??? Don't we have anything better to do folks? Why not experiment with organic contemporary art or something.

Beer In Billings Montana

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Well today I am headed off the the eighth annual Billings Brewfest, in Billings, MT. More info will be coming soon. Last weekend I visited Montana Brewing. I had their 'Custer's Last Stout' it was a very good Dry Irish Stout, not too dry. It's head rivaled Guinness, I would love to see what it would be like on nitro. I also sampled their Amber, also very good. Last I tried their Wheat Beer, VERY dissapointing. It was all watered down. Now here is where I go off on watered down beer.


Watered down beer has NO PLACE IN THE WORLD. Here is why. If you want Bud or some crap American horse wizz beer, that's what you want. Let's face it no Bud drinker is happy with some other watered down beer. They want the original Bud strait from the Clydesdales stable. If you drink Real Beer, you want it true to style not watered down. No one likes a Real Beer, that has been watered down to try and fit in. If you want to do something to convert the American beer drinker over to the real thing you make a Vienna Style Lager. Anything else falls flat on it's face. Ok so there are some other good 'conversion' beers. But NEVER is a watered down beer the solution. Montana Brewing should have enough guts to drop the wheat beer or do it right!


I just finished typing a five page epilogue about the Billings Brewfest only to lose the whole thing due to the fact that this is the worst computer I have ever used. So here goes, I'll see what I can remember. Just two weekends ago I attended the 8th Annual Billings Brew Festival, in Billings Montana. Their live music was terrible, but since this site is about good beer I will skip that part. Seventeen Breweries were represented, nine of which were from Montana. My hat goes off to Overland Express Brewing Co. of Billings MT. If you are a hophead you will love their Overland Express IPA. Missoula Montana is not only my birthplace, it is the birthplace of great German Beer. Bayern brewing has a genuine German Brewmaster, and it is very evident through their distinctive German Brews. Harvest Moon was there with their Pigs Ass Porter. I should just stop their since I am definitely biased about any good Porter. Let's just suffice it to say that next to Anchor's it is some of the best Porter I have ever had.


I was a little disappointed (ok a lot) that one whole wall was bottled beers served by volunteers who didn't know beer from Sprite. Pyramid Brewing was one that did not send a rep or or even a tap for that matter. In general Pyramid Brewing is a great company and think this was really an exception to the rule. So I'll forgive them this once. The other wall was corrupted by malt alternatives as they call them. Let me just say this once. THEY HAVE NO PLACE AT A BREWFEST. Yes I love Martini and Rossi just like everyone else, but they better not show up at any beer event I'm hosting. That said the trip was worthwhile. I may just show up next year at the ninth annual Brewfest in Billings, MT.


The Brewmaster


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