Winter Beer Fest – Our Reviews

Just a few reviews of beers that we were able to rate on the WBF App before our phones started dying. The scale ranged from “Bad” to “Great,” with five total graduations. I’ve added a couple comments for each beer as well.

Reminder: If you used the app, please comment and tell us what you thought about it, what you’d like to see improved, etc. Hopefully in the future, we can turn it from a glorified beer list (useful in itself) into something really cool down the road.

Great Smoked Chili Pale Ale Odd Side Ales
We’re suckers for a Chili Pepper beer, and this was an excellent entry into the field. Though many that we’ve tried (and all we’ve brewed) have been darker varieties, I’m growing more interested in a lighter variety for a chili pepper recipe. This beer wasn’t too hot, but the smoke flavor came through nicely in the aftertaste.
Great Sour Plead the Fifth Stout Dark Horse Brewing Co.
I think this was our unanimous (voting body of 2!) Best in Show winner. As we said prior to the festival, this was a combination of so many things that we like, it would have been damn near impossible for us to not love it. Plus, Dark Horse had a “tunnel of stouts” which was weird yet awesome.
Great Whiskey Richard Sour Ale Dark Horse Brewing Co.
Aside from the punny name, this was a pretty good beer. It didn’t have so much of the Belgian-type sourness, but rather whiskey sourness. I found that pretty interesting, as usually you get more vanilla and malty-sweet flavors out of bourbon beers.
Good Irish-style Mint Stout Odd Side Ales
Using mint in a beer is no revelation, but I don’t think I’ve seen a mint stout before – obvious though it may seem with stouts often having coffee and chocolate involved. The mint flavor came through nicely, and it wasn’t overwhelming.
Good Ryeclops Imperial RyePA Corner Brewery – (ABC)
I’ve had this beer before, so it was nothing new. Only one of us is a huge rye fan/expert, but we both agreed it was a good, not great, beer.
Good Robert the 4th BOB’s Bourbon Barrel Beer B.O.B.’s Brewery
As we were seemingly on a mission to try every single bourbon-aged beer at the festival (we didn’t come close), there was a lot of competition within the field. This didn’t stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Good Scotty Karate Scotch Ale Dark Horse Brewing Co.
We’ve both had this one before. It’s a good scotch ale (as most Dark Horse offerings are good within their category), but nothing distinctive.
Good Moonsqualler Scotch Ale Frog Island Brewing Co.
Similar to the above, but this was a huge (12%, if I recall correctly) scotch ale. It was good, but it seems that the whole purpose of the beer was “let’s make this really strong” – a goal I don’t necessarily have a problem with, but not at the expense of making it delicious.
Good Hoppopotamus American IPA Hopcat
We’ve had this one before. This isn’t a special IPA, in terms of over-the-top hop additions or really distinctive hop varieties. Just a solid IPA.
Good Bourbon Barrel Aged Fourth Dementia Olde Ale Kuhnhenn Brewing Co.
We’re big Olde Ale fans, and big bourbon barrel fans, so this beer had a lot to live up to. It fell short of our expectations, though that’s probably more our fault for setting the bar high.
Good Lunar Eclipse Amero-Bel IPA Kuhnhenn Brewing Co.
The Solar Eclipse that Kuhnhenn had at the Summer Beer Festival was among our favorites, but this
OK Espresso Love Breakfast Stout Corner Brewery – (ABC)
We’ve had this one before, and it’s a fairly-standard stout. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
OK Reserve Special Black Bier Dark Horse Brewing Co.
Another entry from the “tunnel of stouts,” this was a decent black bier, but there was nothing special about it.
OK Slammin’ Salmon American Pale Ale Hopcat
Eh, this was a standard APA. Again, nothing wrong with it, but nothing to get excited about either. Considering these guys have brewed a turkey beer in the past, I was hoping it would have fish in the recipe, just to be interesting.
Meh Devil in the Details Imperial Stout Frog Island Brewing Co.
As imperial stouts go, there wasn’t much to set this one apart. It was big, but hardly flavorful at all. I was really disappointed, as I’m a big lover of stouts.
Meh BBQIPA Smoked IPA B.O.B.’s Brewery
This was probably the most disappointing beer of the day. I was hoping for a truly smoky, barbecuey flavor (perhaps even some peppers, tomato, vinegar flavors). Instead, it had smoked applewood flavor barely present, and was mostly a standard IPA. Darn.

That’s just a selection of the beers we tried. Our rate of… rating… slowed down later in the day, and we stopped bothering with beer’s we’d had before pretty early in the day.

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.


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

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.