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.


  1. Found my way here from your comment on Kasper on Tap...
    I went out to Anne Arbor with a couple of other friends to visit my former roommate (also a homebrewer!) and my fiance, interning there for the summer; we were a week early for the beer festival, but we made up for it by going on a statewide microbrew tour. Aside from the beer, New Holland and Arcadia also serve delicious food in their pubs. We were actually a little disappointed by the atmosphere at Founders - there just wasn't a lot going on, and the staff (at least, our server) didn't seem particularly enthusiastic about the beer the way they were at our other stops. The most impressive for sheer breadth was Dragonmeade, in Warren. We ordered four samplers (choose five) and didn't quite cover half of their draft list!

  2. My brother travels the state weekly for business, and is trying to stop at every brewpub, but there is simply too many. He directed me to Dragonmeade as soon as we got to the festival, and it was totally worth it. It is a Creative and very good Brewery. You should make a note to get out to the Summer Festival next year. It is a great time, with great brews.