Whew, I made it. It was rough for a minute there! The 14th Annual Michigan Brewer’s Guild Winter Beer Festival was a riot, as usual. I will say again this year as I say every year, if you have never been to a WBF, you should. Why should I stand in a parking lot in the winter and drink beer? Two days of the biggest and best beers the great beer state of Michigan has to offer with 10,000 other enthusiasts. That’s why. With more than 1100 beers and 150 breweries, it can’t go wrong.
Well, it can go wrong. It can go wrong like I went wrong on the Friday night festival opener. I don’t have a lot of details, but I know I had a good time. Part of the problem I have with every beer festival is my own excitement. I NEVER sleep well the night before a festival. I sleep like a child does the night before Christmas. After maybe 3 hours of sleep, I was up at 4 am. I figured I may as well get my festival kit together. Meijer is a truly peaceful place between 4 and 6 am. No mom’s with kids spread all over the place, no seniors blocking the lanes with their cart while they compare cans of green beans, and no lines at the checkouts. I got my bag of jerky, Gatorade, and corn chips and Fritos jalapeno “cheese” dip. The Chips and Dip are a Gravel Bottom tradition.
Mind you the party doesn’t start until 4pm. But I always go to festivals as the hype man for Gravel Bottom. I was at the brewery to load up by 10am, on the festival grounds to set up by noon, and set loose by 1:30pm. Loose I was. The day was BEAUTIFUL! Sun shining and 45 degrees. I made my rounds and got some sun on my cheeks. Here is what I found:
· Witches Hat Brewing. Gray Skies at Night Fury. An Imperial Stout aged in a Gray Skies Single Malt Whiskey Barrel with smoked Tahitian vanilla beans. So good, so smooth, not too sweet.
· City Built Brewing. Rye-ger. A rye lager. Never had a rye lager? Neither had I. I am inspired to try one myself this spring. Clean, spicy, noble, and crushable.
· Railtown Brewing Company: Their entire line up of Citra Warriors. The Citra Warrior at Rtown is a Double IPA with Honey that they serve year round in the taproom. They brought 5 other unique variants. A Grapefruit, a Habenero, a Blood Orange, a Raspberry Milkshake, and a Triple IPA. All were good. The granddaddy Triple IPA was the best. Coming in at 15.6% it may be the reason my details are a bit thin.
· Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery. Dangerine Milkshake IPA. Let me be clear, I do not like milkshake IPAs. Dangerine though was a creamsicle. I grew up on push pops.
· Hopcat Brewery. Red Nymph. It just gets me. Next to a vintage Rodenbach, this is my favorite Flanders style Red. So good. Have you had the Red Nymph?
There were more. But these are the ones I remember.
The next day was fun, but I was less enthusiastic. I pretty much stayed near the GBCB booth and fire pit; except for that accidental nap in the truck for 45 minutes. Saturday was colder, and raining. It didn’t stop the crowds though. As usual, Saturday tickets sold out early and we had a packed event.
Remember 4 years ago when Gravel Bottom imploded one of their stainless conicals? No? Well they did. Brett was pumping out of it without venting the top. Oops. After it sat in his driveway for 4 years Matt finally got around to converting it to a fire pit. He replaced the crushed sides with diamond pattern mesh and mounted a custom cut GB Swinging Man logo mounted on the door. Stack that sucker with wood and there was always a crowd.
And now for something completely different. St. Patrick’s Day is coming up. They say that the Inuit have 100 words for “snow”. That’s cute. The Irish have at least 140 for “drunk”. To get you prepared for the most widely celebrated of any national holidays, here are some Irish terms for drunk.
Ar meisce (literally Irish for drunk), baloobas, bananas, banjoed, battered, binned, blathered, blethered, bluthered, blind, blotto, bogmheisce (pronounced bugwiskey, Irish for worm), bollocksed, buckled, cabbaged, car-parked, cartwheeled, composted, c*nted (don’t use this one), deargmheisce (pronounced jargwiskey (Irish for red throat), demented, destroyed, drunk, elephants, fecked, fermented, flaming, fluthered, frazzled, fucked, full, full as a bingo bus, galvinised, gargled, gazebo’d, gee-eyed, gelled, gone, gootered, (like guttered but with an Irish accent), half cut, hammered, horrendified, in a bad way, in a hayp, in a hoop, in a jock, in bits, in rag order, in ribbons, in shite, in tatters, inebriated, intoxicated, jarred, kebab’d, lamped, langered, langers, lashed, legless, loaded, locked, loo-laad, malafoostered, mangled, merry, messy, monkied, mouldy, mullered, off my face, off my tits, off my trolley, Ólta (Irish past participle of drink), ossified, out of it, ouvit, out of my tree, out of my head, out of my mind, over refreshed, pantsed, paralytic, pickled, pissed, plastered, polatic, poleaxed, poled, polluted, postered, pyjama’d, pyrotechnicaled, rat arsed, reactive, roasted, rotten, rotted, rubbered, ruined, salubrious, sauced, schindler’s, scuttered, shit faced, shittered, slaughtered, sloppy, sloshed, sluthered, smashed, snattered, snookered, soused, spaced, steamed, steaming, steamboats, stocious, súgach (Irish for silly), tamangoed, tanked up, tipsy, tit-faced, toasted, trashed, trenched, trína chéile (Irish for confused), trollied, trousered, transmoglified, twisted, twistified, twistifried, two/three sheets to the wind, wankered, warped, wasted, well lubricated, well oiled, wellied, wired, with the fairies, wrecked, wrote off.
For any upcoming club events, as always, it’s on the webpage--DT