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Notes from the 2010 Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival By Guest Blogger, Tom Shea

Photo courtesy of Michigan Brewers Guild

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for this important beer broadcast. The 2010 Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival has just wrapped up over the weekend and it was another successful showcase of Michigan’s microbrew moxie.

The annual Ypsilanti event featured 50+ home-grown brewers, 60+styles and 400+  beer varieties this year. From statewide heavyweights like Bell’s and Founders, to regional favorites and spunky upstarts – Michigan’s brewers are surely a robust and wiley bunch. On this sticky summer Saturday, the clouds opened, sun shined and our band of hopheads set off into the Ypsilanti afternoon with only our wits and a fist full of wooden nickels.

There’s much to do, see and taste at the Beer Festival and what follows is by no means an exhaustive review of the festival, its offerings or Michigan beers as a whole. I have my beer proclivities – wheat ales, brown ales, IPA’s and Pilsners – and I tasted accordingly. Below are some of the most notable beers we tasted during the day. Read the rest of this entry »

A Tale of Two Michigan India Pale Ales

Click image to enlarge.

I drank almost no beer throughout the ’90s and well into the new century.  The reasons for this are roughly equal parts of the following: the usual boring suspects (Budweiser, Molson, etc.), the thrill of exploring the endlessly fascinating world of wine and the vain (but ultimately futile) attempt to retain my once-girlish figure.  About the only times I would indulge in any malt and hops beverages were the occasional Chimay Trappist Ale at Christmas, or in the middle of March, when I would take advantage of St. Patrick’s Day promotions, grab a discounted case of Guinness Stout, gain five pounds in a matter of days and swear the suds off until the following year.

About four or five years ago, it became necessary for me to gain some knowledge of the considerable stock of beers and ales in the retail department that I managed in order to better serve my customers.  My distributors were generous with samples and I got up to speed fairly quickly, in the process discovering that the hoppier the beer, the more I liked it, and India Pale Ale quickly became my preferred style.  There are plenty of great American IPAs being brewed, from the likes of Dogfish Head, Stone Brewery, our own Short’s and Bell’s here in Michigan and many more. (I’ve already expressed my admiration for Bell’s Two Hearted Ale in previous blog entries here.) My Bell’s rep at the time, Todd Hill of Rave Associates in Ann Arbor told me, “If you like IPAs, you’ll LOVE Bell’s Hopslam.”

Oh my, how right he was! Read the rest of this entry »

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