Saturday, July 20, 2013

The 25 Beers YOU MUST TRY at 2013 Summer Beer Fest

Written by  Ben Darcie
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The 25 Beers YOU MUST TRY at 2013 Summer Beer Festival

Summer Beerfest is just around the corner! Music, countless beers to sample and the Michigan Beer Family! More breweries, more beers – this year is going to be the biggest Summer Beer Festival yet.
Here's a list of the 25 beers I'm looking forward to the most!

25. Right Brain Cool Hand Cuke: Cucumber Basil Saison

24. Cranker's Brewery KolschA classic Kolsch to keep you cool, brilliantly clear with a soft honey presence.

23.Petoskey Brain Freeze - Wafflecone Raspberry Cream Ale. Beer. Ice cream goodness. Need I say more?

22. Short's PB & Banana WheatAn interesting alternate take on their classic PB&J, this summer wheat is going to be tasty!

21. Hopcat Blambic - Blueberry Lambic. For you sour heads, this is your beer! Very intensely sour with a delicious residual blueberry presence.

20. Saugatuck Continuum DIPA

19. Greenbush BA Vanderbush American TripelAn American take on the Belgian Tripel, made with Vandermill Cider.

18. Oddside Ales BA Aged Mayan MochaA Barrel Aged Stout brewed with chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg and habaneros.

17. Perrin Rye Wine

16. Our Brewing Pilsner Wine

15. White Flame Bourbon Barrel Black Sheep - BA Black IPA

14. Arcadia B-Craft Black

13. Griffin Claw Red Rock Flanders RedFlanders Red is one of my favorite sours in the state. Delicate, balanced, and will keep you coming back for more. From the freshly opened Griffin Claw BC, formerly Big Rock Chophouse.

12. Grand Rapids Brewing Co. Polish Eagle Organic BA Imperial PorterThe only organic beer producer in the State, GRBC released this BA Imperial Porter this spring to great response. It's big and balanced with a wonderful barrel presence that doesn't overwhelm the presentation.

11. New Holland Barrel of Monkeys – Mead BA Saison. New Holland teamed up with BNektar Meadery to produce this one. NH aged their Saison in a used BNektar Mead Barrel – this one is going to be crazy!

10. Pike 51 Pulp Friction - American Hefeweizen with fresh Lemon Juice and Orange Zest. This beer was made for hot weather refreshment – a clean American Hefeweizen with fresh Lemon Juice and Orange Zest that will keep you coming back every time you get a little too warm!

9. Mitten Brewing Co. Brewing Death to Flying Things BA Imperial Stout

8. Greenbush Barrel Aged Dystopia Russian Imperial Stout

7. Griffin Claw Wheat Wine

6. Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9k Imperial Stout

5. Founders Bolt Cutter / DOOMMake sure you keep an eye out on the Founders booth for release times on these specialties! Bolt Cutter is the Founder 15th Aniv. Ale, A massive 15% barleywine. DOOM is a Bourbon Barrel Aged version of their acclaimed Double Trouble DIPA, and sits at 10%abv.

4. Brewery Vivant Monkswood - Whiskey Barrel Aged Solitude Belgian Amber. Not only does Vivant make unique and accessible Belgian style beer, they also have an excellent barrel program, and Monkswood is a prime example. The barrel and sourness accent the amber backbone deliciously – I often find myself getting right back in line!

3. The Livery BA Maillot Juane - BA Biere De Garde. The Livery is bringing two versions of their Barrel Aged Maillot Juane Biere De Garde this year, the standard, and then they will be tapping a 2yr BA version on saturday, so keep an eye out! Not many breweries make a BDG, and Livery's is exceptional.

2. Kuhnhenn DRIPA & TRIPA (Double/Triple Rice IPA) Kuhnhenn won a Gold for DRIPA in the 2012World Beer Cup, and the are bringing TRIPA to this fest, which comes in at 11.25%abv – a unique chance to enjoy this offering!

1. Darkhorse Alternate Series - F.F. Kekoorc Eert, Edascac Dekoorc Eert, Artic Dekoorc Eert; Rosehip Trip Ale, Hibiscus Trip Ale. Darkhorse is bringing the most beers in Beerfest history this summer, coming in at over 90 brews to select from. Within the list there are quite a few surprises that I'm particularly excited about which are alternate takes on some of their well-known standard offerings.

Eert Dekoorc Series: Crooked Tree Alternates (and also, the name is “Crooked Tree” Backwards)

Eert Dekoorc F.F. - Single hopped with Falconer's Flight

Eert Dekoorc Edacsac – Single Hopped with Cascade

Eert Dekoorc Artic – Single Hopped with Citra

Trip Ale Series: Sapient Trip Ale (Belgian Tripel) alternates

Rosehip Trip ale – made with Rose Hips

Hibiscus Trip Ale – made with Hibiscus

The Cooked Tree series was released in April this year, but many people didn't have a chance to try them all – let alone side by side! There are countless other delicious offerings coming from Darkhorse this summer!

There are a mindboggling amount of beers at this festival – here were a few others that popped out at me.


  1. Unity Vibration BA Peach Kombucha American Wild Ale
  2. Corner Brewery Rabe's Anniversary Ale - Blonde w/ Jamaica Flowers & Raspberries
  3. Atwater Brewing – Decadent Chocolate Brown Ale
  4. Bastone – Dubbel Vision
  5. Bell's Black Note, Quinnanan Falls Cedar Aged Lager
  6. Dragonmead Dead Monk Abbey Ale
  7. Darkhorse Smells Like a Safety Meeting IPA

For the complete beer listing, see
www.mbgmash.orgDon't forget, it's going to be a hot one! Make sure you bring a water bottle and stay hydrated!

Ben Darcie

Ben Darcie

Ben Darcie has been homebrewing since 2006 and is currently the Brewery Representative for Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids, MI. He also provides public and private Beer Education and is a Beer Writer for BeerAdvocate, I'm a Beer Hound and three other Michigan publications. He is also the founder of Experience Beer WM and the 9wk Grand Rapids Beer Tasting Class (est. 2010).