Tuesday, July 22, 2014

10 Intriguing Beers of the Michigan Brewer’s Guild Summer Beerfest 2014

Written by  Erik Smith
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 summer beer festival

Now that the beer list has been released for this week’s MBG Summer Beerfest at Riverside Park in Ypsilanti, attendees everywhere can start to zero in on beers they are interested in trying. After a quick perusal of the list, I’ve come up with 10 I’m putting at the top of my priority list.
1. Fenton Winery & Brewery - Bloomin' Berries Wildberry Shiraz Imperial Blonde. Ok, so I’m not a huge fan of blondes (the beer, not the women), but the rest of this- Shiraz, Wildberry, and Imperial (yes, yes & yes). (Saturday only)

2. Pike 51 - Funk Buddies. The reputation of this Hudsonville-based brewery (& winery) keeps growing and growing. Their eclectic list of brews was already impressive enough, adding a wild ale makes this an early stop on my list.

3. Brewery Vivant - Whiskey Rooster. Great name for this Bourbon Barrel Aged version of one of their standards, Big Red Coq, their hoppy red ale.

4. Greenbush - Rage. This certainly isn’t the most unique beer on Greenbush’s massive list, but I love double black IPA’s and I missed this one at the last three beerfests, and by a day when I visited the brewpub in Sawyer. I’m going early this time.

5. Witch’s Hat - Fermenta Salted Caramel Brown. I’m really excited to try all of the Fermenta beers available at this festival, but this one sounds especially nice, with the salted caramel seeming like the perfect combination with the brown ale style. (Read more about Fermenta, A non-profit organization initiated by Michigan women, committed to diversity, camaraderie, networking, and education within the craft beverage industry, on their Facebook page.)

6. The Livery - Barrel Aged Agent 99. This caught my attention because it’s listed as a ‘Sour Belgian Golden Quad’. I love sours and have never had a golden quad before. I’m expecting something special mixing all of those elements

7. Right Brain - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Barrel. The champion of this year’s Brewery Throwdown at Ashley’s of Westland, Right Brain has upped it’s game with this Rye IPA. It is barrel-aged in whiskey barrels for 14 months, and combined with wild yeasts, promising both ‘funk and bite’, as their website says.

8. Bell’s - A Bull in a China Shop. I know a fair number of people who have had this, at either the Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo, or at various Bell’s events, and all the buzz is that this is one of the most even and drinkable barleywines they’ve ever had.

9. Odd Sides Ales - Josh on the Beach. This one listed as a ‘Pineapple IPA aged in Tequila Barrels’. I love Odd Sides and their Pineapple IPA, and although I don’t drink tequila (anymore), my faith in these guys leads me to believe this one will be a pleasant surprise.

10. Ore Dock - Bordeaux on Blonde – I had a chance to visit Ore Dock back in June on a trip to the Upper Peninsula and was really impressed with the great atmosphere in their brewpub, but also with the quality of their beer. This barrel-aged Belgian blonde is one I have been anticipating since my visit.

I’m sure I could go on and on with selections from the other 75+ breweries attending this weekend, but I need to leave some room for those wild card choices which I always seem to stumble upon (literally and figuratively). Have a great Beerfest everyone!

Erik Smith

Erik Smith

Erik Smith is a relative newcomer to craft beer, having first been turned on to the scene by a chance encounter with "The End of The World" (Unibroue's La Fin du Monde) during the summer of 2011. Since then, he has increased that love of beer by serving as the 'un-official' photographer for the many beer events at Ashley's in Westland, MI. His goal is to visit every Michigan brewery. An avid traveler, beer tourism has played a prominent role in his travels since 2012. 

Find him on Untapped at eriksmithdotcom and at his blog at http://onmyfeetorinmymind.com/