Monday, September 17, 2007

All We Could Drink

It was a beautiful, cool afternoon on the lake shore in Racine, WI. I took David to the annual Great Lakes Brew Fest for his birthday. Neither of us had ever been to one before, so we didn't know what to expect. On one hand I knew we would get the chance to try some really great beer. There was a nice long list of very small breweries from Wisconsin and the Midwest. I'd probably never get the chance to try beers from most of them. On the other hand, I was also expecting to have to wait very long for a tiny sample. The line getting into the place was a bit intimidating. With only 3 hours to peruse, I didn't think it was enough time to get even the least bit tipsy. So, I'm happy to say that this fest totally surpassed my expectations. There weren't really any lines, and with 4 cups between the both of us, we could sample everything a brewery had to offer. Among 100 breweries, about 5 hundred different beer offerings, and a few thousand beer lovers, we easily drank all we could drink with a nice deep buzz on top of it all.

In no particular order, and of the beers we sampled, here's a list of the ones we found to be quite good...

Barley Island Brewing Co.: Black Majic Java Stout, Dirty Helen Brown Ale

Rogue Ales: Chocolate Stout

Mickey Finn's Brewery: Imperial Stout, Brown Ale and Belgian Blonde

Furthermore: Peat Smoked Stout & APA

Upland Brewing Co.: Saison & Bad Elmer's Porter

Dogfish Head: Festina Peche & Punkin Ale

Babble Homebrew Club: Raisin Mead, and a split batch with American & one with English yeast

Society of Oshkosh Brewers (SOB): Blackberry Stout, Amarillo Hopinator IPA

After looking over the long list of brewers today, I realize how many good ones we missed. I guess we'll have to go again next year!


Adam said...

Nothin' like exploring a new event with a friend. Ahhhh...the anticipation...the energy...the beer!

Heheh...Bad Elmer's Porter

Split IPA...hmmm...interesting.

Brian said...

Sorry we missed you! We were up from about 2:30-6pm, had a great time.

I agree with you that we were able to sample many midwestern brews that we would not even be aware of, the only downside to the festival was that I was hoping to find a greater selection from the more well known breweries there (Dogfish, Avery, etc). No major complaints though, it was a great time!

Ted Danyluk said...

Hey Brian, I'm sorry too. I'm surprised we didn't bump into one another. But after only a handful of samples, our vision was much more like an infant, with a range of only about a couple feet. At least mine was.

I get the feeling that these big breweries bring out their special brews at the GABF. I read in DRAFT magazine that Sierra Nevada offered an oak-aged barleywine special for the event. I'm sure the rest of the big guns do that too.

But David and I did find some Imperials and other interesting beers to keep our senses sharp.

Brian said...

Cool-did you see that due to your participation you get a free 1 year subscription to DRAFT?

While not my favorite beer magazine by any means I think I'll be taking them up on it...

Ted Danyluk said...

Oh, I had no idea that they were offering a subscription for free. What...all we had to do is sign up? Well, I do like the mag because it talks about beer in general, and has some fairly entertaining articles with some good writers. A very attractive magazine in terms of all the graphical stimulus. There really is a lot to look at. Seems like there's no room for any white space. I seem to get one free once in a while, and at this point, thats good enough for me.