Winter Beer Fest Denouement

Paul and I were a little more concerned about enjoying ourselves and drinking good beer than taking extensive pictures (also I forgot my camera) and notes, so we don’t have a ton of original information to share. We are apparently alone though, as several other people have recounted their experiences on the internet:

Any links I’ve missed? I’ll gladly hear them in the comments (especially from other bloggers!)

On another note, if you used the YBD Winter Beer Festival App, I’d love to hear how it worked for you in the comments. What’d you like, what didn’t you like, what other features would you like to see added?

It kinda started out as a lark early last week, and if people like it enough, we’ll gladly update it (and, you know, put more than 3 days worth of work into it) for future festivals.

Winter Beer Festival: The App

If you’re attending the Michigan Brewer’s Guild Winter Beer Festival and have a smartphone, boy do we have something exciting for you. Tech guru Paul has put together a web-based application to help you remember the following:

  • Which beers you had.
  • What you thought (on a “liked/didn’t like”-type scale, not specifics) of it.
  • Which beers were your favorite.

Perhaps the most useful is that it includes the full beer list, conveniently organized by brewery, so you don’t have to rummage around in your pockets for a piece of paper to see which beers are available at each brewery. That piece of paper inevitably ends up tattered beyond recognition by the end of the day, and there’s no risk of that happening to your phone.

qrcode

Without further ado, you can download the app here. It requires registration (free, and no e-mail address acquired, it just helps you keep track of your beers). If your phone is equipped with a QR reader, point it at your computer monitor and snap away here. If not, visit yeastboundanddown.com/wbf.

It’s still a work in progress, so you can test out the app a bit, and let us know on twitter (@yeastbounddown, or there’s a link at the bottom of the app) or in the comments here what we need to frantically work on for the next day or so.

If you’re interested in just helping test, you can do so from your computer’s web browser as well. If you have suggestions, or notice that something is broken, please let us know so Paul can work on fixing it.

Michigan Brewer’s Guild Winter Festival

Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival

Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival

Tomorrow is the big day. We’re ready to take the world of Michigan craft brewers by storm, one beer at a time. Here’s the full list of participating breweries and their beers – though some breweries will bring along offerings not on the roster.

Paul is working on something very special for the MBG Winter Festival that we’ll unveil on Friday. Check back that day (especially smartphone users) to see the goods.

Paul and I have written a couple things about some of the beers that we’re most excited to try:

  • Arbor Brewing Company Crye Baby Rye – “Maybe… low priority. looking to brew a rye in the future” – Paul
  • Arcadia Brewing Company Cereal Killer Barley Wine – “Even though I’ve had it before, I’m a barley wine sucker” – Tim
  • Arcadia Panama Red Smoked Imperial Red Ale – “I’m auto-‘yes’-ing any smoke ales.” – Paul
  • Arcadia Shipwreck Porter – “I hope they have the barrel-aged one” – Tim
  • Atwater Block Brewery US Black Imperial Stout – “Obvs.” – Tim
  • Bell’s Brewery Golden Rye – “Same reason as the ABC rye” – Paul
  • Bell’s Harry McGill’s Spiced Stout – “Interesting” – Tim
  • Bell’s Smoke Stout – “Bell’s sure does like their stouts” – Paul
  • Big Buck Brewery Triple Rye IPA – “We’ll stop here and this seems interesting” – Paul. Translation – I LOVE ALL RYE BEERS AND ALSO IPAs THIS IS GOING TO BE HEAVEN.
  • Big Buck Wild Winter – “Maybe” – Tim.
  • Big Rock Chop & Brewhouse Bourbon Imperial Stout – “Bourbon stout = yes” – Tim
  • Big Rock Blueberry Ice Trippel – “I feel kind of girly going for the fruit beers” – Paul
  • Big Rock Strong Scotch Ale – “Scotch ale also = yes” – Tim
  • Big Rock Sour Raspberry – “I could give this a go” – Paul
  • Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery Bourbon Oak ‘Hands off my Goat’ – “Obvs.” – Tim
  • B.O.B.’s Brewery Robert the 4th BOB’s Bourbon Barrel Beer – “Obvs.” – Tim
  • BOB Peanut Butter and Stout – “See how it compares to our peanut butter beer” – Paul
  • BOB BBQIPA Smoked IPA – “Interesting” – Tim. “Double yes” – Paul.
  • Brewery Vivant St. Peppercorn Pale Rye – “To steal it from Paul’s list” – Tim
  • Copper Canyon Brewery Rocktoberfest – “Token lager” – Paul
  • Copper Canyon Gingerbread Cookie Ale – “Interesting. This might have been at the summer festival though” – Tim
  • Copper Canyon Imperial Mild – “They have a beer named ‘oxymoronic’ and it’s not this one” – Tim
  • Dark Horse Brewing Company GingeRed – “Ginger…” – Paul
  • Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Scotty Karate – “OMG YES” – Tim
  • Dark Horse Whiskey Richard Sour Ale – “Whiskey? Check. Sour? Check” – Paul
  • Dark Horse Sour Plead the Fifth Stout – “Interesting” – Tim
  • Dark Horse Ginger in the Rye – “Rye and ginger? Maybe we should just go to Dark Horse…” – Paul
  • Dragonmead Microbrewery Final Absolution Tripel – “This is a good beer” – Paul
  • Dragonmead Sin Eater Dark Belgian Strong – “Yes” – Tim
  • Founders Brewing Company Imperial Stout – “Yes” – Tim
  • Founders KBS Imperial Stout – “Obvs.” – Tim
  • Founders Red’s Rye (Firkin) – “To steal it from Paul’s list” – Tim
  • Frankenmuth Brewing Company Baltic-style Porter – “If I had to choose one” – Paul
  • Frog Island Brewing Company Old St. Nick Nolte Holiday Ale – “Just because the name is awesome” – Tim
  • Frog Island Stone Bone Old Ale – “I’ll have an Old Ale that’s almost ready to drink [homebrew for comparison purposes]” – Paul
  • Frog Island Witch’s Hat Confusion Barleywine – “Barley wine” – Tim
  • Grizzly Peak Brewing Company Burton-Brussels Express Wood-aged IPA – “If the Brussels refers to Brett in the barrel, sign me up” – Paul
  • Hopcat Slammin’ Salmon American Pale Ale – “They had a turkey beer… is this a salmon beer?” – Paul
  • Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Chocolate, Pineapple, Chipotle Rauch Biere – “Very interesting” – Tim. “You stole this from my list” – Paul
  • Kuhnhenn Brewing Company Bourbon Barrel Aged Fourth Dementia Olde Ale – “Obvs.” – Tim
  • Kuhnhenn Lunar Eclipse Amero-Bel IPA – “I hope it’s like their Total Eclipse Stout: read 19% ABV” – Paul
  • Liberty Street Brewing Company Pooh Beer Honey Porter – “Interesting” – Tim
  • Liberty Street Resinator Hemp Doppelbock – “We’ve talked about hopping with hemp before” – Tim. We haven’t tried it yet because we aren’t stoners.
  • Lily’s Seafood Grill and Brewery A Strange Oatmeal Stout – “I wonder what strange about it…?” – Paul
  • Lily’s Yukon Cornelius Spiced Porter – “If I had to choose one” – Paul
  • Lily’s O’Grady’s Cherry Stout – “Maybe compare to the subpar Bell’s cherry stout” – Tim
  • The Livery – “Almost all of these sound cool” – Tim. “I say we post up here for a while…” – Paul
  • Michigan Beer Cellar Double Black Magic Double RyPA- “Why the hell not” – Paul”
  • New Holland Brewing Company Charkoota Rye Smoked Doppelbock – “Yes” – Tim
  • New Holland 2010 El Mole Ocho – “AHHHHH YEEEEEEAH” – Paul
  • New Holland 2010 Beer Hive Trippel w/honey and ginger – “Yes” – Tim
  • New Holland Mutinous Battle Chai Saison – “I’ve been into saisons lately” – Paul
  • New Holland 2006 Pilgrim’s Dole – “Old. I’m kind of curious” – Paul
  • Odd Side Ales Fig Brewton Pale Ale – “Hmmmm” – Tim
  • Odd Side Irish-style Mint Stout – “Interesting” – Tim. “Mint beer is next” – Paul
  • Odd Side Black Peppercorn Pale Ale – “I’ve been a sucker for peppercorn beers” – Paul
  • Odd Side Smoked Chili Pale Ale – “Obvs.” – Tim
  • Old Boys’ Brewhouse La Belle Apple – “Maybe” – Tim
  • Old Boys’ Toffee Stout – “A twist!” – Tim
  • Old Hat Brewery and Grill Bees Knees Gluten-free Ale – “I’ll admit: I’m a little interested” – Tim
  • Olde Peninsula Brewpub Stout Chocula – “I approve of this name” – Paul
  • Original Gravity Brewing Company 440 Pepper Smoker – “Obvious, even though it’s one of their standards” – Tim. “Love this beer” – Paul
  • Original Gravity Bellywasher Scotch Ale – “I like this style. Haven’t had it before” – Paul
  • Original Gravity Bourbon Barrel Ginger Ale – “Only if it’s alcoholic ginger ale, and not like bourbon-aged Canada Dry or something” – Tim
  • Right Brain Brewery Random Alpha Docious Collaboration IPA – “Collaboration with whom?” – Paul
  • Right Brain Bonaduce Ginger IPA – “Ginger…” – Paul
  • Right Brain Barrel Aged Black Eye IPA – “This has a lot of different words smashed together that I recognize as things I like” – Tim
  • Rochester Mills Beer Company 2009 Imperial Stout – “So we can try both” – Paul
  • Rochester Mills 2008 Bourbon Barrel Barleywine – “Obvs.” – Tim
  • Round Barn Brewery Grape Expectations – “I hope it’s aged in one of their wine barrels” – Paul
  • Royal Oak Brewery Das Brittania Export Ale – “Yes” – Tim
  • Royal Oak Brewery Abbey Normal Belgian Pale Ale – “By default” – Paul
  • Saugatuck Brewing Company Rauch Bier – “SMOKE” – Paul
  • Saugatuck Neapolitan Ale – “Milk Stout” – Tim
  • Sherwood Brewing Company Mistress Jades Hemp Ale – “Gotta compare to the Liberty Street hemp offering” – Tim
  • Sherwood Mole Stout – “I wonder if this is molé of moles…” – Paul
  • Sherwood Resinator Hemp Doppelbock – “Yes” – Paul
  • Short’s Brewing Company Carrot Cake – “Hmmmm” – Tim
  • Short’s Almond Joy – “I could be down” – Paul
  • Waldorff Brewpub and Bistro Cobain’s Double Dark IPA – “Closest thing to my parents’ hometown place” – Paul
  • Woodward Avenue Brewers Vanilla Porter – “Eh, I could try it” – Tim

There’s a damn good chance we don’t get to try everything on this list, and I can guarantee that we’ll try a couple things we haven’t singled out yet. That’s part of what makes the Brewer’s Festival so much fun, right?

In order to make this easier on ourselves, we’re going to drink the two preceding nights as well. Wait, wait, wait: hear me out. We plan on spending Thursday night (I’m writing this in advance because who knows how much I’ll feel like writing in between sessions of debauchery) checking out what Ann Arbor has to offer – and drinking some beer festival beers I’ve already bought – and if we can cross anything off our list ahead of time, it’ll make things easier for us Saturday afternoon. We plan to do the same Friday night in Grand Rapids. Who knows, maybe we’ll pick up a recipe and brew a batch of our own on Friday afternoon.

Should be an excellent weekend.

MICH BEER

Michigan Breweries: The Biggest and Newest

Michigan Breweries: The Biggest and Newest

Since it’s the week leading up to the Michigan Brewers’ Guild Winter Festival, we’re excited about beer in the state of Michigan. The mainstream media seems to be similarly stoked. First, the top 10 brewers (by volume) in the state of Michigan, per MLive’s Kalamabrew blog:

1. Bell’s Brewery Inc., Kalamazoo (153,973)
2. Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids (28,516)
3. New Holland Brewing Co., Holland (12,314)
4. Michigan Brewing Co., Webberville, (9,856)
5. Arcadia Brewing Co., Battle Creek (8,759)
6. Short’s Brewing Co., Bellaire (8,420)
7. Dark Horse Brewing Co., Marshall (6,179)
8. Keweenaw Brewing Co., Houghton (5,420)
9. Atwater Block Brewery, Detroit (4,700)
10. Arbor Brewing Co./Corner Brewery, Ann Arbor (4,057)

It’s shocking to me (though it probably shouldn’t be) just how much bigger Bell’s is than Founders. I’ve been to almost every brewery on the list, but haven’t hit up Short’s or Keweenaw in the flesh.

Various newspapers are gearing up for the MBG Winter Festival by profiling breweries. The Kalamazoo Gazette talks Dark Horse, which I’m glad to hear is in the stages of some expansion. The Marshall-based brewery has to be one of the more underrated producers of craft beer in the state. Speaking of expansion, it’s no secret that Founders is is trending upward as well. They project 45,000 barrels of production this year.

There’s a ton more information on MLive about the state’s beer economy and the MBG Winter Festival itself, so check it out. We’ll be talking about Michigan beer all week on YBD because we are very excite indeed for the weekend.

Michigan Liquor Law Thoughts

Michigan: The Great Beer State?

Michigan: The Great Beer State?

I’ve already posted on Michigan Liquor Laws once, but I think it’s also important to say not only what those laws are, but what I think they should be. I’ve traveled to many states, and though Michigan is often known as one of the most beer-friendly, that doesn’t mean there are some things I’d like to see changed. Shockingly, considering the nature of this site, most of my suggestions involved loosening restrictions.

Pennsylvania

The Keystone State was founded by Quakers, and it is notorious for its ridiculously restrictive liquor laws. Beer can only be purchased in state-run stores (for now) or to-go restaurants, and anyone who’s visited Pennsylvania has been frustrated by the archaic legal restrictions.

That said, there is one thing that I’ve experienced in Pennsylvania that I’d like to see the State of Michigan adopt: free samples. When I visited Philadelphia in the fall, I went into a beer store (state-run, of course) and was able to try samples of several different beers. In Michigan, you can only give out free samples that are brewed on-premises, or in an establishment owned by the brewer.  The restrictions have eased up slightly since the recent legislation went through, but samples still have to be purchased (though they’re now allowed to sell them at pacage liquor outlets).

Illinois/New York

This is certainly the case in many other states as well, but statutes limiting the closing of bar establishments to 2AM at the latest are an annoyance in Ann Arbor. In Paul’s new hometown of Chicago, 4AM is the time du jour, and Nevada (particularly Las Vegas) famously has 24-hour service.  I understand some of the reasons behind this, as it’s possible to be a public nuisance, and there’s risk of leading to overserving patrons, but aren’t there other statutes that already take care of this?

In Ann Arbor, a law passed a couple years back allowing establishments (i.e. nightclubs) to stay open until 4 if they stop serving at 2, but what purpose does that really serve?

Others?

Beer distributors are a big lobby in every state that has robust alcohol trade, and though there are some positive aspects to this (anybody who’s taken Econ 101 knows about natural monopolies), but there are also problems with state-mandated exclusive distributorship.

The biggest problem comes from restricting the availability of certain products in a location. If Distributor X controls Bells distribution in your area, and they don’t carry Oberon, for example (oh hai Chicago, until recently), you’re out of luck. The lack of Yeungling availability that your friends who are Pennsylvania ex-pats keep bitching about is another example of this – showing that it’s not a Michigan-specific problem.

I understand that the strong distributor lobby is going to make this tough to change, but there has to be some way to allow for exemptions that will increase the availability (and therefore sales) of craft beer across the country.

What else would you like to see changed?