Tuesday, July 21, 2015

20 Beers You Should Try At Michigan Brewer's Guild Summer Beerfest

Written by  Erik Smith
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We’re a week away from the 2015 edition of the Michigan Brewer’s Guild Summer Beer Festival at Riverside Park in Ypsilanti, and thanks to the fine folks at the Brewer’s Guild, I’ve had the beer list to ponder for a couple days now. So many amazing breweries and beers, can I possibly create a list of 20 that are top priority? No harm in trying.
The Twenty Beers at Summer Beerfest:
1- Grand Rapids Brewing Company- Parnell’s Flanders. Listed on the beer list as a “Belgian Flanders sour fermented with organic mango puree”, GRBC really knows their organic ingredients, so this treat is bound to be quite interesting.

2- Tapistry- Heart Full of Napalm. This double IPA promises to be extra aromatic with its hop combination of mosaic, galaxy and Amarillo. Tapistry’s IPAs were a favorite of mine on my visit there last fall.

3- Dark Horse- End of the Spectrum. This hoppy Belgium red seems like a match made in heaven, combining Belgian yeasts with the maltiness of a red.

4- Batch- Uncle Bill- Anyone’s who’s had the good fortune of visiting Batch’s Corktown taproom know Stephen Roginson and his crew really know what they’re doing. Big, boozy and balanced is what the taproom draft board says- I’d expect nothing less from Batch.

5- Farmington- Mount Olympus DIPA. Brief confession, I’ve had this one before, but I love the hoppiness of this one from one of the Detroit area’s newest breweries. This is their first MBG Festival!

6- Grizzly Peak/Witch’s Hat- The Bear-Witch Project. Seriously, I’d drink this for the name alone, but a smoked, sour wheat from these two talented brewing crews makes this one all the more desirable.

7- Boatyard- Both Fermenta Beers. Lucie's Lullaby - Strawberry Rhubarb Belgian Blonde & Hipster Buzz Words SMASH, an ale brewed with Hophead Farms hops, are both collaborations with the talented women of Fermenta. Everyone who’s had the Fermenta beers at the last few beer festivals has to be anxiously anticipating these two.

8- Eternity- For 5 Years I was Stranded on an Island with Only One Goal - Survive. This has to be the longest name of any SBF beer, but it’s a Double IPA with tropical fruit added, a combination I can not recall having.

9- Short’s- Alicornucopia. This Brettanomyces fermented saison promises to be one of the funkiest beers of the whole festival. I love Short’s and I zeroed in on this one among the many Short’s beers I want to try.

10- Greenbush- Ice Cream Beers. When the list was released, the social media I watched all seemed to have the same reaction “Did you see Greenbush’s list?” I’ve yet to talk to anyone who really knows what to expect from these, but I’m sure the crew from Sawyer will have the usual long line of curious beer drinkers.

11- Crankers- Esteban the Terrible. When I began my craft beer journey, I didn’t drink stouts and porters. How things have changed, since I’m looking forward to drinking this big stout in the heat of the summer!

12- Falling Down- Bourbon Barrel Aged Ninja Chicken. I’ve always been a big fan of Ninja Chicken, a nicely hopped pale ale that is one of their flagships. I’ve been told the bourbon version is not overly boozy, which is the way I prefer BBA beers.

13- Saugatuck- Tweaked Scott. When looking at Saugatuck’s impressive list, it would have been easy to pick one of the many cask-conditioned beers, but a Scotch Ale with coffee? I’ve had coffee in a lot of different styles, but not this one. Promises to be quite unique.

14- New Holland- Tasmanian Hatter. I was talking with some friends the other day who’d tried this, and their reaction to my confession that I hadn’t gotten the opportunity to try it yet was “What?!?! But you love galaxy hops!” Guilty as charged- so I was happy to see it included on New Holland’s festival list.

15- Unity Vibration- The Elder Wand. I visited Unity Vibration’s small Ypsilanti taproom with some friends this spring and was blown away by all the really cool, offbeat beers (and teas!) they were brewing. This Blackberry Elderberry Kombucha Beer wasn’t on at the time, and it should be a pleasantly light beer to drink on a hot summer day.

16- The Mitten- A League of Their Own. Another beer that makes the list because I like the brewery and the combination is too interesting to pass up. In this case, it’s a Hibiscus Imperial Blonde.

17- Kuhnhenn- Orange Blossom Hydromel. I’m normally not a big mead drinker, but Kuhnhenn’s meads have been killing it lately. I’ve been told by people who know meads that, as a non-mead guy, I might like this sparkling dry mead better than most.

18- Hopcat- Rainbow Universe. I’m man enough to admit it- I really like fruit beers, especially on hot summer days. The description of this beer, a blueberry raspberry lemon-zested fruit ale, makes it sound like it’s going to have a lot going on. We’ll see how the combination all works together, but I suspect it’ll be quite nice.

19- Gravel Bottom- Front Porch. Earlier I mention wanting to try Eternity’s DIPA with tropical fruit. This is a guava IPA and should be interesting in a side by side comparison between the two. Not exactly the same, but close.

20- Stormcloud- Saison du Stormcloud. I’m such a devotee of wine-barrel aging that my wife and I spent out anniversary trip last year at Russian River. I goes with out saying that I was positively giddy seeing another brewery I love bringing a wine-barrel aged beer to the festival this year. This is just one of the 4 such beers they’ll have there, not to mention a gin barrel aged saison, too.

As usual, the list is impressive and daunting. Stay safe everyone, and remember to hydrate!
 
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/