Friday, July 31, 2009

The (Michigan) Beer List

This is what we partook of during the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival. Full list of available beers can be found here.

My favorite: Kuhnhenn Brewings Simcoe Silly, a Belgian Pale Ale is made with Simcoe Hops (some of my favorite), leading to a unique beer. I need to have my brother pick up some for me.

Arbor Brewing: Abby Normal, Batch 2000 Strong Pale Ale, Uskratch Mai Bock

Arcadia Brewing: Cereal Killer Barleywine, Sky High Rye

Copper Canyon Brewery: RyePA Double IPA

Dragonmead Microbrewery: Bill's Witbier, Juggernaut Double Red Ale

Founders: Centennial IPA, Red's Rye PA, Barrel Aged Red's Rye PA (no, I did not have the Kentucky Breakfast Stout, I messed up)

Hopcat: Hopopotomus IPA

Jolly Pumpkin: Perseguidor 4, Roja du Kriek, Weizen Bam w/Hibiscus

Kuhnhann Brewing: Simcoe Silly, Solar Eclipse Imperial Stout

New Holland Brewing: Brother Jacob Dubbel

Old Hat Brewery: Bees Knees Honey Ale

Right Brain Brewery: Little Italy Honey Basil

Saugatuck Brewing: Barry's Best Bitter, Bamberg Rauchbier

Sherwood Brweing: Green River Wheat IPA

Short's Brewing: Huma Lupa Licious IPA

Walldorff Brewpub and Bistro: Padawan Pale Ale, Strawberry Rhubarb Cream Ale.

I know I missed some of the beers that my brother had. This is what I remember trying, or him trying. As you can see, the list was pretty extensive, and very diverse. We tried to be creative with our selections, but as you can see, I kept going to the ales anyhow.

Summer Beer Fest an German Park, Part 2

As I continue to figure out the details of the Beer Festival, let me tell you about the German Park. Three times every summer a German club in Ann Arbor hosts a German Park Festival. Basically, food, beer and music are the focus. We had to wait in line to get in, but it was definitely worth the wait.

With the German music playing in the background, the beer flows like water. On one side, the Coors and LaBatt Blue line is 2 people long. On the other side, the Spaten and Frankenweiss line stretches 20 long. You can buy a beer by the cup, or the bucket. Yes, the bucket. We had a bucket of both the Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse and Spaten's Optimator (below).

The food was delicious as well. We just piled it on two trays for the group. Luckily we were able to grab some spots at the picnic tables, since our friends were able to get there early. The place was comfortably packed, with a line still waiting to get in when we left.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Flying Dog is hosting their GonzoFest on September 12, at the Brewery. I am thinking about going. Not sure yet.

What do you think? Have you been there before?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Beer Fest and German Park

I travelled out to Ann Arbor to visit my brother, as well as take in some good brews from the "Great Beer State" (apparently that is one of their nicknames). I after arriving at Detroit Metro and a quick drive to Ann Arbor, I found myself getting ready for the brews. Bell's, one of Michigan's largest breweries, was not going to be present, so we cracked open an Oberon, their most popular beer. Although I do not typically drink wheat beers, this beer is smooth and delicious.

We hopped in the car and made our way to Riverside Park in Ypsilanti. There wasn't much of a line, thank goodness as I heard the line can extend for a while, and grabbed our cup and tokens. This festival gave you 12 tokens to start. At each brew, you could pay one token for half a cup, or two tokens for closer to a full cup. The smarter of the two of us stated that the pourers normally had a heavy draw, so we only ever paid one token, and towards the end of the night- no tokens (it was a long night with strong beer).

Overall, there were 50 breweries there. Some where just typical places that brew typical beer. The bulk of the breweries brewed high quality suds, but what we went for were the breweries that really tried something special with their beer. There were a few breweries that I wanted to get to, since you can't, or it is hard to, get them in Maryland. Founders, Jolly Pumpkin, New Holland and Arcadia were the highlight breweries for me.

Even if we had been to some of the breweries, many brought brew that they have never pushed before. They could have been rejected trials, or could be beers that are coming out. Talking to one of the brewers, they felt like trying it to see what it would do (Strawberry Rhubarb Cream Ale from Walldorff Brewpub). The brewers present were very accommodating to questions, especially from my brother, a home brewer.

The long day pushed into the night. Thank goodness we had a ride home, we surely were not in any shape to drive.

I will post the beer list that we had, as well as thoughts on the beer in a different post.

Obama Beer Meeting

He picked Bud Light. He had the choice to go with a Mass. beer to make the local (to them) connection, or he could have brought in Goose Island (like he had at his election day party). This would have been a show of supporting the little man, buy local or whatever you would want to call it. But he did go with "America's Choice" based on sales.

Who knows?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Coming up, left behind

The past week has been very uneventful on the beer front. We moved into a new place, so that was hectic. I was able to eat some crabs down at Canton Dockside, and they were really good. I am not sure if they were good because of the crab, or if they were good because we were hungry. The best part of the meal was when I saw they had Stone Arrogant Bastard on tap. Arrogant Bastard worked very well with the beer. It remains one of my favorites. I have always felt the beer was a perfect balance of maltiness and hops. It is also one of the maltiest beers that I drink. (Surprisingly enough.)

The highlight of the week is this upcoming weekend. On Friday, I will be boarding a Southwest flight for Michigan to see my brother. The Michigan Brewers Guild has their Summer Beer Festival Friday and Saturday. This is the real reason I am going. I am looking forward to Friday night, 50 breweries and 300 different beers to choose from that I don't get here. Founders, Jolly Pumpkin, New Holland, etc. All calling my name.
I will be sure to report back on what I had, and the other smaller breweries around Michigan.
Saturday, Ann Arbor is having a German Festival. Food, Beer and Music. I am looking forward to this family oriented beer drinking with my brother, sister in law and niece.
Cheers to the weekend.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mid Week Max's

On Wednesday, I did my normal stop in at Max's. I was glad to start me day off with a Belgica from Great Divide. The Belgain style IPA is a delicious brew. After chatting with the Sierra Nevada rep for a bit, I took up his offer of a free SN Harvest (southern hemisphere wet hop). I enjoyed this beer last year when it first came out, and I enjoyed it again this year. The ale poured a little darker than I remembered, but no complaints. It is a basic ale with the hops being in the taste all the way through. The other citrus/sweetness is there as well. Definately something I would drink again and again.

I also had the SN Summerfest lager. I love this lager and think it may become one of my favorite summer beers. It just tastes so good on a hot day. To end the day, I had a Stone Levitation. The amber ale, poured a dark amber color. Smelled very piny, so I prepared for a hopbomb. The piny taste did not slam into my mouth as I expected, but I was able to get a very heavy bitterness, which I enjoy. Overall, this was a nice beer. And at 4.4% a very drinkable beer.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The week

I had a good week in brews. Wednesday at Max's, Newcastle was the Pint Night. So I had one. Made me happy, Newcastle is a beer that I don't mind. It isn't the greatest, but it is ok.

I followed the Newcastle with a Duvel Green, De Ranke XX Bitter and finally an Allagash Confluence.

The Duvel Green is a delicious brew. A bit lighter mouthfeel than regular Duvel (one of my favorites, I don't care how "popular" it is). The Green seemed very spicy in both the mouth and the nose, but not overly spiced. This was, I believe, the second time I had the Green, with the first being at this past year's Belgian Fest, again at Max's.

The De Ranke XX Bitter was good as well. It was nice to sip this beer with no expectations. The golden colored beer smelled of citrus and a little bit of hops. Even though it is an IPA, I didn't want to expect the big hopbomb. The citrusness came through in the mouth as well. The hops were there, but they weren't overpowering. It was a very drinkable beer, one I was happy to partake.

Finally, I had the Allagash Confluence. I picked it because I haven't had an Allagash brew in a while. I was super happy I did. (That seems like a very juvenile phrase, but I was ecstatic on the selection.) The Confluence was listed as a Belgian Style Brett Ale. I normally like beers brewed with Brett, so I was hoping for a good beer. The funky smell (sour apples) came through on the nose, and instantly I was turned on. I couldn't wait to taste it. It also had a somewhat grassy smell to it. (The assumption is the hops, but I am no expert.) Once it hit my lips, I couldn't put it down. This beer is not a heavy beer at all, so it would be very easy to put back multiple in one setting, just don't forget about the 7.5% alcohol, because you don't taste it while drinking.

Overall, it was a good night. I was extremely satisfied with the selection. Thursday, I traveled down to my normal stool at McGoverns. Had a few Duvels, as well as a couple Sierra Nevada Pale Ales. Can't complain.

What have you had lately?