Michigan Winter Beer Fest: The Aftermath

Sunday, February 25, 2007

So, all in all, I am doing better than I anticipated. Because I paced myself way smarter this year, I am actually functional. I can concentrate on moving objects and not get ill. I can eat solid food without barfing. I can move around and do chores without getting queasy and having to sit down for a few.

But don't let the fact that I didn't wake up this morning blowing a .14 let you think I didn't have a riot. I did.

All in all, Founders took the show from my viewpoint. Mind ou, the fest is not a competition. But you taste a ton of beer, you get a good idea of who is awesome. And it was Founders. They rereleased their Kentucky Breakfast Stout, but toned down the bourbon-y taste this year so it was much smoother and less sickly-sweet. They also tried aging their Dirty Bastard (Scotch Ale) in bourbon casks and called it Backwoods Bastard. The result: amazing. The sweetness of the scotch ale was perfect in combination ith the residual bourbon sweetness. They alo brought their Devil Dancer TIPA, which is always a treat.

A close second this year was Darkhorse, out of Marshall. A great showing of 5 beers that ran the spectrum of tastes. Also crammed in the same corner was Dragonmead, which is a Michigan standard of brewing excellence.

The poorest showing this eyar was Bo's brewery's Total Eclipse Russian Imperial Stout. It weighed in at 20% abv, but had no malt or dark roasted malt to balance the juhe amount of alcohol. The result was a massive vodka-like alcoholic burn, the consistency of motor oil, and no other taste beyond that.

Also in a strong showing this year was smoked lager from Grizzley Peak in A2 and another from Rochester brewery. Great smoked malt flavor over the top of a sweet, dopplebock flavor from each of the showings. Great beers.

Not as many boubon-cask ales as last year; the trend must be slowing down a little as brewers are gtting back to some good basics and other beers not normally brewed but have fine traditions (like the smoked lager).

All in all, it was again a happy, congenial crowd full of people there to mock winter and celebrate beer!


Anonymous,  11:19 PM  

I'm glad to hear that you are functioning well. Karin and I were hit pretty hard....it took about 12 hours of sleep and some McDonald's lunch to finish the recovery process. I know we were ridiculous yesterday....we're hoping the rest of you were messed up enough to not hate us for our performance. :) Have a great day!

Smitty 2:58 PM  

Well, if you acted inappropriately, I never would have notceid. WHile I was indeed still functional, I was still nicely "warm" and wouldn't have noticed "inappropriate" behavior...

Mike 4:15 PM  

Sounds like some great stuff. The only time I went to a full-fledged beer festival I was barely mobile the next day.

Smitty 4:56 PM  

That was certainly me last year.

Mike 7:13 PM  

Of course, one part of my body was in full-action mode, to the dismay of my friends, and my own nose.

But that goes without saying, I assume.

B Mac,  11:29 AM  

I did try the Founders Triple IPA; wonderful beer. And I've always been a fan of Grizzly Peak (I don't mind telling you how many times I wandered drunk through the streets of Ann Arbor after an evening at the Peak...). I was not as impressed, however, by their downtown neighbor, Arbor Brewing (though the people who own it, the Greffs, are good Democrats, so I remain a supporter).

I was pleasantly surprised by New Holland and MBC, and the Belgian from Black Lotus was magnificent.

I would also like to thank the good people at Little Caesers; your Crazy Bread was the difference between life and death Saturday evening. It was my own little lifeboat, complete with dipping sauce.

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