It was a weekend we planned for what seemed like an eternity. From choosing and storing beers, to brewing small batch after small batch, to getting the crew together in a never ending caravan to Grand Rapids, our very first Michigan Brewer’s Guild Winter Beer Fest is one we’ll likely never forget. (I should say that the following opinions are those of me, Jill, The Ambassador, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Greenbush Brewing Company as a whole. Even though, well, basically…)
There were 12 of us at any given time, cruising around Grand Rapids Friday and Saturday. Friday night we convened at San Chez, for a much needed nourishing menu of tapas and cocktails. Then off to Hopcat for a $5 snifter full of Barrel-Aged Retribution (a keg the bar sat on for quite a while, only adding to its deliciousness.) A lot of friendly hellos, and some seriously tight quarters led us out of HC and over to our final destination for Friday; Pyramid Scheme for the Short’s takeover. I’d be lying if I said Jen and I weren’t uber-excited (yes, beer heads… pun intended) for some Short’s. I fell so madly in love with Bourbon Sustenance that I couldn’t switch beers, but had more than my share of sips of Cornholio. (For the record, I wasn’t sold on this Dogfish/Short’s collaboration until we tried it. This beer is damn good!)
Once we realized we had an entire day of drinking ahead, our smarter, adult-minded selves trumped the fun we were having gallivanting in the snow. I’d love to tell you we all went home and hit the sack in our comfy hotel beds at this point, but there are certainly those of us (who shall, for necessary reasons, remain nameless) who scarfed endless hotdogs before bed.
We all arrived at the ballpark the next morning ready for action, and a sample of…well, everything. Sadly, the Guild-provided Bloody Mary’s ran out before most of us got one, but we set up the booth, the merch, and the jockey boxes like experts. Very, very cold experts. When the Enthusiasts were let in at 12, we were like a well oiled machine. For the first 12 seconds or so. Then it was a flurry of tastes of Rage and pours of Barrel-Aged Mr. Hyde and Scottish Fiction, and the other 20 beers we showed up with.
We were out of beer by around 5, most of us capping off the day with a sip of Founder’s CBS, which seemed fitting. We waited for the crowd to thin, packed up the cars, and were out of there dreaming of Cottage Burgers and Dark Horse takeovers. The first happened, the latter somehow morphing into a killer tournament of Ms. PacMan. Perfect.
More than anything, the weekend was a great chance to see our fellow Guild members, talk shop (and more importantly, not-shop) and enjoy the thing we are all so very passionate about. Really good beer.
Your turn. Tell us about your favorite moment from this year’s fest?
Special thanks to our staff and volunteers, and of course to the Michigan Brewer’s Guild for all their hard work.