Thursday, July 23, 2015

Summer Beerfest Is Here And Mi Beer Dude Has His Top 20 List

Written by  Ben Darcie
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Summer Beerfest is upon is!
It’s time to return to Ypsi for another fantastic two days of Michigan Beer! I’m looking forward to seeing thousands of smiling faces as thirsty festivalgoers enjoy nearly 1,000 different beers from over 100 Michigan breweries!

I’m back with another top 20 list for this year’s Summer Beer festival, and man, it was a tough one! My original list of eye-catching brews sported 35 options that had to be trimmed down for the top 20, so there will be some runners up at the bottom of the list – there’s far too much good beer to be had this year!

A note on the list: this is just one beer lover’s opinion! These are the beers that stood out to me as an individual, and I always encourage you to make your own!

A note on the beer & how they were chosen: I’m very excited to be spending my 7th year with the Guild festivals and have seen many, many beers presented – highly sought beers, super rare beers with big, recognizable names, but that’s not what this list is about. You won’t find mainstays here, you won’t find the big names (that’s because you already know them) – but you will find a list of very interesting and unique offerings that caught the attention of this particular beer lover.

With that being said, we’re off! This list is presented in no particular order, this is not a ranked list. Enjoy!

Top 20 Beer List:

1. Batch BC - San Andreas Beachfront – Rye California Common

2. Witch’s Hat BC – Andrew Gose Series (2) – Andrew Gose Way – Gose w/ Coriander and Sea Salt & Andrew Gose Grapefruity – Gose w/ Grapefruit and Sea Salt

3. Darkhorse Brewing Co – Demeter’s Lament – Imperial Pomegranate Brown Ale & “Offerings 24-40 – To Be Announced IPA Series”

4. Stormcloud BC – Chardonnay BA Silver Lining Saison

5. Griffin Claw BC – Blueberry Ice Tripel & The Good The Bad and The Bitter – Spelt IPA

6. Brewery Vivant – Paris (Red Wine BA Sour) & Cherry Doppelbock (Collab. With Victory Brewing Co.)

7. Cranker’s Brewery – Burgundy Shirt – BBA Wheat Wine on Cherries

8. Short’s BC – Bucktricutioner – Strawberry Lime Berlinerweisse

9. Bell’s – Wildberry Rye – BA Rye Pale Ale w/ Berries on Champagne Yeast

10. Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery & Supply – Cedarino – Cedar Aged Pale Ale

11. Hopcat – Naughty Nicodemus – Cucumber Juniper Lime Gruit

12. Bastone – Private Stock #472 – BA Oak Aged Saison

13. Jolly Pumpkin – Roja Du Kriek – 2013 La Roja Blended w/ Michigan Cherry Juice

14. Greenbush – Ice Cream Series (all taps) – Particularly Peach Sorbet, Salted Caramel & Superman

15. New Holland BC – Tripleweizenbock Lager

16. Ore Dock BC – Jack the Tripper – Raspberry Belgian Tripel

17. Kuhnhenn BC – Cherry Oude Bruin – Flemish Brown Ale w/ Cherries

18. Arbor – Belgian 2x4 (BA Belgian Dubbel & Quad Blend) & Sodibo (2 year sour BA Belgian Blonde)

19. Saugatuck – Cask Conditioned Series (16 offerings) – Particularly: Stout aged on Rum- soaked Oak & Starburst Wheat on Orange Zest & Mandarina

20. The Mitten BC – Batch 500 – Triple IPA

Runners up:
  • Grand Rapids BC – Philanthropist – BBA Barleywine
  • Pleasant House BC – Snobbler – Northern English Nut Brown
  • Black Lotus Brewery – World Wide Weizenbock
  • Mountain Town BC – Mystery Beer #1 (FRI) & Mystery Beer #2 (SAT)
  • Frankenmuth BC – Siamese Goat Doppelbock
  • Founders BC – Blushing Monk (Timed)
  • Lattitude 42 – 4 Hour Pils – Imperial Pilsner
  • 51 North – Bitter Sweet 40’s – Sweet Stout
  • Territorial BC – Optimus Lime – Omani Lime Kolsch
  • Wolverine – Spektrum – Roggenbock
  • Traffic Jam & Snug – Dinklebier! – Spelt Ale
  • Sleepwalker Spirits & Ale – Piwo Grodziskie – Historic Smoked Wheat Ale
  • Pike 51 – Jeff’s Birthday Barleywine – BBA English Barleywine
Experimental Award:
  • Eternity Brewing – Deep Fried Twinkie Ale
Runners Up:
  • Royal Oak - Pina Colada Wit

Make sure you keep your eyes open for the 24 FERMENTA collaborations that will be spread all throughout the festival this year. Fermenta: Michigan Women’s Craft Collective is a wonderful group who I highly suggest checking out (they have a page on facebook!) and supporting if you can, they’re doing wonderful things in the Michigan beverage industry.

I’m so happy to see their collaborations continue across the state, and Summer Beerfest is a great chance to catch up with them and what they’ve been doing and brewing! Without further ado, here are all 24 Fermenta collaboration beers that will be at this year’s Summer Beerfest!

  • Arbor Brewing Company -Gose with cucumber & lime
  • Batch Brewing Company -French Saison 
  • Beards Brewery -English IPA
  • Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery -Hibiscus Wheat (Beep Bop Biscus)
  • Boatyard Brewing Company -Strawberry Rhubarb Belgian Blonde and SMASH with Zeus hops 
  • Brewery Ferment -Passion fruit and Trinidad Scorpion Pepper 
  • Cotton Brewing Company -Mango Saison
  • Eternity Brewing Company -Pomegranate Belgian Tripel
  • Fenton Winery & Brewery -Scotch Ale
  • Founders Brewing Co. -Summer Wheat w/ lemon and orange zest 
  • Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery & Supply
  • Grizzly Peak Brewing Company -Table Pilsner 
  • Liberty Street Brewing Co -Gluten Free Beer (Glutinous Minimus)
  • The Mitten Brewing Co. -Imperial Blonde 
  • New Holland Brewing Company -Belgian IPA 
  • One Well Brewing
  • Ore Dock Brewing Company -English Bitter
  • Our Brewing Company -Double IPA
  • Hudsonville Pike 51 Brewing Co. -Double IPA 
  • Pleasant House Three Oaks & Pleasant House Brewing Company -IPA with Hibiscus (Drunk Tank Pink)
  • Saugatuck Brewing Company -Pineapple IPA
  • Short's Brewing Company-Thyme IPA (It's About Thyme)
  • Tapistry Brewing-Dunkelweiss
  • Unity Vibration Living Kombucha Tea LLC -Coffee Vanilla Session Kombucha Beer

There you have it! I hope you all have a wonderful Summer Beer Festival! Enjoy, be safe and CHEERS TO MICHIGAN BEER!

Ben Darcie

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).