As I mentioned yesterday, August 9 marked our third trip to the Great Taste of the Midwest, my favorite of all the beer festivals I’ve attended. Tickets are limited, the setting is beautiful and the Midwest-focused beers are stellar.
This year did not disappoint.
Instead of attending as a regular beer lover, our presence was made possible by the good folks at Millstream Brewing Company. After the ticket sales were complete, a Midwest Regional Guild meeting coalesced on Great Taste Eve, so I weaseled in by taking a shift helping one of the Iowa Brewers Guild members pour beer.
Though we spent time in that capacity, we still had hours to scour the festival grounds for tastes of the beers on offer (and we were parked in the neighborhood of breweries like Surly, Metropolitan, Jolly Pumpkin, and Boulevard, where we could easily turn our love light on). We didn’t make a dent in the thousand beers that were pouring that day, I didn’t carry a map, and I didn’t take any notes, so my list of stand out beers is going to be terrible, I’m afraid.
What I did accomplish this time was to actually take some photos during setup and throughout the festival. You can find a complete album on Brewvana’s Facebook page.
Some standout beers from my cloudy memory: DESTIHL’s lambic, Metropolitan’s Zwickel Lager, Door County’s something-or-other, New Glarus’ Oktoberfest, Jolly Pumpkin’s I-don’t-remember. On the sly at a booth I won’t name, I also had a little whiskey that had been cold-brewed to make the best effing coffee on the planet. Splash that bastard with some pumpkin beer and even a pumpkin beer tastes good. I know, because that was step two of the tasting experience.
There were others, let me assure you. I’m disappointed as hell that I didn’t make it to Off Color’s booth and probably a few others I’m blocking from my mind so I don’t start crying any worse than I already am. You know how it is.
If you’re gluten-free like my poor wife, I’d recommend Greenview’s GF IPA. After much deliberation, Michelle reports that her favorite mead of the day was B. Nektar’s Black Fang (blackberry, clove, and orange zest).
I don’t know where you live, but this is a festival/festival weekend that is worth a flight from afar—if you can get tickets.