A high-point of summer in Ypsi is Beer Fest. Michigan has an abundance of amazing craft brewers and tasting a good number of their offerings in the park by the river on a summer evening is just lovely.
So here is the run down from this year...
The drinkers: me, Biscodo, brother, sister-in-law, Stacey, Brooke, Shawn, Julie, KK, the injector, and a few others who I ran into and clinked plastic cups with along the way.
The overall beer scene: seemed pretty balanced this year. The fruit beer and sour beer trends seemed to have been reined in this year (yay! that silliness was going too far). People brought summer wheats and ales, but folks also brought porters and stouts (good). Since we went on Friday night, only a few beers had run out, so most of what we wanted to try was there for us.
The beer: I'm grouping into three categories. Beers in the top category did exactly what they were supposed to do -- solid beers in all ways, no mistakes in nose, taste, texture. The middling sort includes both novelty beers (interesting but not something I would ever buy in a bottle or even drink a full glass of) and more traditional beers that did well, but didn't stand out from the crowd. The last category is for bad beers -- experiments that went wrong (or were never right to begin with) or beers that could not do half of what their name called for. My notes from the night are in quotation marks after the brewery.
Crooked Tree IPA, Dark Horse ("hey, big boy..." "excellent")
Smells Like Weed IPA, Dark Horse
Hoprocket Imperial IPA, Arcadia
Hopmouth Double IPA, Arcadia ("lovely")
Golden Rule Organic IPA, Shorts ("crisp, good, dry English hopped)
Honey Ginger IPA, Original Gravity ("fun, sweet near the front")
The Middling Sort
Boffo Brown, Dark Horse ("fine")
Wheat and Rye ESB, Liberty St ("weird combo")
Kolsch, Round Barn
Full Garde, Copper Canyon
RyePA Double IPA, Copper Canyon ("good, sweet end")
Simcoe Silly, Kuhnhenn ("nice")
Confusion Double IPA, Kuhnhenn
Screw the Hop Crisis IPA, Rochester Mills ("sweet")
Sage Against the Machine Pale Ale, Hopcat ("smell only")
Wood Butcher's Ale, Lily's Seafood ("nice")
Barnacle Bob's Boatyard Ale, Lily's Seafood ("fine")
Little Italy Honey Basil, Right Brain ("Pale, novelty, good smell")
Michigan Malted Red Ale, Kuhnhenn ("blech")
Organic Wit, Rochester Mills ("not very witty")
Solar Eclipse Imperial Stout ("ridiculous")
Oops-a-Hefe Imperial Hefeweizen, Big Rock Chop ("strange")
World Wheat, Black Lotus ("cloudy, watery, forgettable")
Ancho Chile Dutch Double Chocolate Porter, Right Brain
Rye Hatter, New Holland, ("liquor smell and taste, bitter and then nothing')
A few other awards: best "what this beer is" conversation came with the brewer at Shorts in reference to the Soft Parade and the Golden Rule IPA. (He even talked me into trying a fruit beer -- but it was a fruit RYE beer...). Best 'novelty' beer (and there were plenty to choose from in this category) was OG's honey ginger IPA. Best unknown brewery in Michigan is Lily's, which offers pretty straight forward beer, well-crafted, no hype. The most over-hyped brewery title (a title Jolly Pumpkin has claimed ALL other years) goes to Right Brain -- all novelty without having gotten down the basics of basic beers.
And what you've all been waiting for... the worst beer of the evening? I'm going with Kuhnhenn's Malted Red -- part of that may be that the description was sooooo lovely and the beer just couldn't come close to the promises made.
So... that was a whole lot of beer I tasted, eh? Yes, yes it was. But, once I settled in, I enjoyed it enormously. Okay, I maybe could have done with one or two fewer beers, but a lazy Saturday turned out to be just fine.
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