When the Michigan Brewer’s Guild puts on a party, they really put on a party. When you consider the fest featured 60 Michigan Breweries with over 500 Michigan beers, you have the makings of a really great time. Of course there are some lessons to learn when going into an event like this as well.
Our first lesson of the day was always arrive early. This seems like something we should all already know considering it is beat into our brains all the way through school. But then when you see how long the line is at 1230 in the early afternoon (general admission entered at 1), you have to wonder, “is there a better way?” Why yes of course there is, the Brewer’s guild had a special opening for enthusiasts at noon. As crazy as it is, when you get that hour before everyone else you get some time with the brewers that you might not see again the rest of the day.
The Ann Arbor Brewer’s Guild was on hand making up some fresh wort (a pale ale if memory serves me correctly). They were the only ones there making some beer.
Next lesson, when you plan on getting pics of the fest, make sure you have plenty of battery time on your camera. We managed to get a few shots before our camera died but most of these were before the massive groups of people arrived in the mid afternoon time frame. And I do mean massive. At one point for a special tapping of a Founder’s Brewing Company beer the line was about as long as the line to get into the fest at 1230. And still the fest was packed.
We sampled quite a few tasty beers throughout the day. One of the standouts for me was Grape Expectations from Round Barn. Made with Niagara grapes and 100% Belgian pale malt, this beer was a great one for hot sunny days.
During the day as we made our way through brewery after brewery I began to wonder. At first my thoughts were to the breweries that were not present. But then I started to think of who was there. The interesting thing to note was that many of the breweries there were ones from the east side of the state (not my normal stomping grounds) brew pubs and smaller micros that are just not to my side of the state yet. And this is where it struck me as one of the biggest lessons of the fest. This is a chance to find and taste the beers you just don’t see on a daily basis. We should all take a minute to thank the Brewer’s Guild for the opportunities they have given us with the different beer fests. It is through these that we find the vast scope of beer that makes up Michigan.
Time for a pint…