Much thanks goes out to every member of the Michigan Brewer's Guild that participated in the Summer Brewfest. Everyone came with some top notch brews and managed to get me rather loopy on an 8 oz. glass! As to be expected, there were some aspects of the 'Fest that outshined the rest. We here at the Drinking Buddies never like to let a good brew go unrecognized, nor a questionable brew unpunished (here's looking at you, Samichlaus). Therefore we unleash upon our public the soon-to-be infamous, unofficial, and totally subjective Summer Brewfest "Best Of/Not So Best Of" Awards! The Festies!
Best Adapted Brew- Congrats to the American Homebrewers Association for their day-long celebration of making your own beer. when the Drinking Buddies stopped by the AHA booth, they were cooking up a Sierra Nevada IPA clone. Smell that hoppy goodness!
Most Happenin' Beer Tent- You could argue that tent 1 would take this award home due to its proximity to the band, but for reasons to be explained later, this was not the case. Tent 2 had a healthy and lively crowd, quick and polite lines, and vendors that made the DBs feel at home. Congrats!
Best Not-So-Subtle Product Placement- Did you know that Nick Lidstrom drinks Vitamin Water? Thanks to the giant conversion van ad, you do now!
Best Food- I admit that I sometimes have a beef with Grand Rapids, Mi. The backwards traffic lights where you turn left before your side turns green, the slow drivers, the Amway. But on Saturday, your sausage could not be denied. Well done Grand Rapids Brewing.
Best Surprise Brew- So often I am disappointed when someone puts the words "cream ale" on their beer. To many brewer, that phrase must be equivalent to "uninspired carbonated pee." I thank you for surprising my taste buds, Frankenmuth, by putting the cream back in cream ale!
Worst Surprise Brew- In addition to Dan-o and myself, we brought special guest DB John along for the ride. Our system was simple: everyone gets a different beer and we all sample away. Our system failed us at King Brewing. We got the Weissbeir, the IPA, and the Irish Red. If you kidnapped my future children and forced me to do a blind taste test to distinguish these three beers, my first words to my wife would be "We can always have more kids."
Best Man- Scott from Michigan Brewing Company was very helpful in our drunken inquiries. Not only did he invite us to return to his facility, which has expanded by a factor of ten since we last toured, but he also donated some beer tokens to our cause just to get us to try their Russian Imperial Stout. Wonderful stout, scott. We are definitely coming to visit.
Best Brew- This is the one category that everyone wins! Ok, ok. If you had to force me to pick just one, I was really impressed with what Grizzly Peak did with their Bear Paws Porter. Maybe it was the heat, maybe the drinks. Maybe it was the lead singer in the band who looked like a cross between Grace Slick and Stevie Nicks in the later years, yet sang like neither. I couldn't tell you. All I can say is this: stars were aligned for Grizzly Peak that day and, when asked, the band did give us MORE COWBELL!