25 Beers We’re Excited For At 2020 MBG Winter Beer Festival
The 2020 Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival is only two weeks away, and the list of all 133 breweries attending and the 835 beers they will be bringing has been released. We spent some time going over the list this week, and now at least know a few booths we will be starting the day at. The big change to this year’s event at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park is that the former two-day Winter Beer Festival is now only a one-day event, taking place on February 22nd. For a full list of beers and breweries, head over to https://www.mibeer.com/ or download the Beer Fest List app at https://beerfestlist.com/#/home. Here’s a look at the beers we’re most excited for this year:
Fruit Draft, HOMES Brewery (Ann Arbor) – This fruited sour is a collaboration effort between arguably the two best breweries in Michigan at producing sours, HOMES and Speciation Artisan Ales (Comstock Park). This mixed culture collaboration was “fermented in puncheons, aged in rum barrels, re-fermented w/ plum, boysenberry, lemongrass, blueberry & apple.”
Strawberry Mango Defloured/Cookies ‘N Cream Night Fury, Witch’s Hat Brewing Co. (South Lyon) – Defloured is already a favorite in the New England IPA category, and we can’t wait to see what the addition of Strawberry and Mango does. Night Fury is an excellent beer on its own, but a festival highlight is trying out the variants – this year we can’t wait to try the Cookies ‘N Cream variety.
Northwoods Hospitality, barrel + beam (Marquette) – “A big, bold blend of wild ales finished with raisins. Montmorency cherries, pineapples and Grenadian cinnamon sticks.” We’re big fans of the barrel + beam sours we’ve been able to try, and assume this one’s going to be great as well. It’s also 11.2% ABV, which is a great fit for this winter festival!
BBA The Great Stoutsby, Railtown Brewing Co. (Dutton) – The Great Stoutsby won the 2019 7 Monks Grand Rapids Stout Challenge, and the Buffalo Trace barrel-aged version of this breakfast stout that features coffee and maple syrup is sure to impress.
Modern Times Coffee Flying Buffalo BBA Imperial Stout, Griffin Claw Brewing Company (Birmingham) – No matter how many barrel aged stouts we try at these festivals, the Flying Buffalo variants from Griffin Claw always end up near the top of our favorites list. This year we’re excited for the new version that adds Colombia Silvia coffee from San Diego’s Modern Times Coffee.
Purple Nurple/Marvelous Molasses, Looking Glass Brewing Co. (Dewitt) – Two different offerings from Looking Glass Brewing Co. caught our eyes while checking out the list: Purple Nurple (a grape kettle sour with lactose) and Marvelous Molasses both present some intriguing flavor profiles that should help break up a day filled with heavy, dark beers.
Lingonberry Eisbock, Kuhnhenn Brewing Company (Warren) – Few breweries attempt the eisbock style, but Kuhnhenn is known for being very good at it. Having never tried one before, this will be one of the first beers we seek out on the 22nd.
Soursmith Pear, Arclight Brewing Company (Watervliet) – Some of the best sours we’ve ever tried come from the Soursmith line at Arclight, and this year we look forward to trying the pear variety – one of the few flavors we haven’t had yet!
Paczki Porter, Brew Detroit (Detroit) – Fat Tuesday falls just a few days after Winter Beer Festival this year, so what better way to start celebrating early than to try this porter from Brew Detroit that has the flavor of the traditional Polish jelly-filled pastries.
DHB Smoothie Series: Smoked Mango, Draught Horse Brewery (New Hudson) – This is a “milkshake style IPA brewed with lactose, fermented on smoked mangoes, and infused with vanilla beans” – if that description doesn’t get you interested immediately, we can’t be friends.
Pecan Pie Massacre, Wolverine State Brewing Co. (Ann Arbor) – Massacre is a great dark lager from Wolverine State, and over the years they have added flavors to the base beer with amazing results. Mexican Hot Chocolate Massacre, Vanilla Bean Massacre, and Chocolate Cherry Massacre have been delicious and we hope Pecan Pie Massacre is just as good.
Strawberry Letter 23, Townies Brewery (Ann Arbor) – With WBF taking place a week after Valentine’s Day, it seems like a perfect time for Townies’ strawberry beer: “this one of a kind brew combines the sweetness of a milkshake beer with the tartness of a kettle sour, finished with insanely fruity Michigan-grown hops, IPA style.”
Ginger Bread Imperial Stout, Our Brewing Co. (Holland) – Gingerbread is a great flavor choice for a winter beer festival, and we’re hoping this stout from Our Brewing is able to capture the spirit of the season!
RR Dark Sour Pomegranate, River Rouge Brewing Co. (Royal Oak) – We love sours, and while looking over the list this one immediately stood out thanks to its use of pomegranate. River Rouge continues to impress, so we’re pretty sure this one will be delicious!
Across The Aisle: Texas Corners, Presidential Brewing Co. (Portage) – The “Collaboration Convention” theme continues with this one, which pairs two solid Kalamazoo breweries for what we hope is a phenomenal New England IPA.
Imperial Peanuts & Crackerjack/Ty Cobbler, The Mitten Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids) – The brewery releases of Imperial Peanuts & Crackerjack have seen it disappear in a few hours, so we hope to finally get our hands on a taste of the imperial version of The Mitten’s flagship porter. Ty Cobbler sounds awesome as well: a “barrel fermented mixed culture sour beer has been blended with peaches, cinnamon and vanilla.”
Peanut Butter Augustus Gloop/Raspberry Augustus Gloop, Fillmore 13 Brewery (Pontiac) – One of Fillmore 13’s best flagship beers is their Augustus Gloop milk stout. It will be exciting to see what the addition of peanut butter and raspberry does to its flavor.
Tropical Heat Wheat, Rockford Brewing Co. (Rockford) – One of the hottest beers we’ve ever tried was the Ghost Pepper IPA that Rockford brought to last year’s festival. This year they’ll have a wheat beer with pineapple and jalapeno added, which sounds like a great and delicious balance.
Perked Up Kilts, Trail Point Brewing Co. (Allendale) – A 12.5% wee heavy would already have our interest, but add in some caramel hazelnut coffee and it suddenly ends up on our must-try list. When we visited Trail Point, our favorite beer was their Perk Ya Later (coffee blonde), so we know they know their way around a great coffee beer.
Thiccnessphere, Transient Artisan Ales (Bridgman) – Transient makes some amazing stouts, so it wasn’t easy trying to pick just one from this year’s tap list. The description for Thicnessphere was all we needed to see, though: “imperial stout with vanilla, chocolate and Neapolitan astronaut ice cream sandwiches” – sounds delicious!
Candy Cane Haze, Big Lake Brewing (Holland) – Big Lake nailed the base recipe for their Lake Haze and continue to add fun flavors. Cotton Candy Haze was a hit in Marquette at the Fall Beer Festival, and now Candy Cane Haze promises to at least be interesting and hopefully tasty.
Have you had a chance to look over the beer list for this year’s event? What are you looking forward to trying? Let us know in the comments and be sure to say hi to Jon if you’re attending this year’s Winter Beer Festival.