Short's Ski BoothBrewers Guild Summer Beer Festival
Ypsilanti, MI Paul Stewart

Mother Nature was the first one there and the last one to leave. The Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival is a two-day celebration of beer and the love of beer. It was a beautiful weekend in the middle of July in which it rained really hard just before the gates opened on Friday the 22nd. Then cleared up and turned into a great weekend until about 2 minutes before the end on Saturday when the heavens opened again and baptized the event’s good times. And I for one thought it was amazing, every minute of it.
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Michigan does not suffer from a lack of breweries.  Living in the Lansing are, I am about a.5 hours away from more than a dozen great breweries.  Unfortunatly, not everyone is so lucky, especially our friends from north of the Mackinaw Bridge.  But just because they don’t have the concentration of great breweries we enjoy down here, does not mean that they are out of luck for getting great beers.  In fact they get to play host to one of the Michigan Brewers Guild’s four annual festivals.

On September 10th, in Marquette’s Mattson Lower Harbor Park MBG will be holding its 3rd annual U.P. Fall Beer Fest.  The festival starts at 1PM (noon for Guild Enthusiast members) and runs until 6pm.  Hopefully enough time to samplesome of the more than 200 different local beers that will be available.  So if you live up north and couldn’t make the trek down to any of the other festivals, or live under the bridge and want to make a journey northward, I recommend you check it out.

More information and full press release after the break

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I’m glad you asked, because I didn’t know either.  But a quick look at the wikipedia page tells me two things, first, that “Kombuchais a is an effervescent tea-based beverage that is often drunk for its health benefits or medicinal purposes,” and second, that the Image they choose is downright frightening.  Why am I talking about this strange and intriguing beverage?  Because Michigan’s own Unity Vibration Living Kombucha Tea has created a Kombucha Beer.  And if that isn’t exciting enough, it will be available at the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beerfest in Ypsilanti this coming weekend.  I will tell you this, I am very excited to give this a try.  If you’d like some more information, I have the full Press Release after the break.

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I hope everyone is enjoying their summer vacation.  I know we are here.  I just wanted to drop in to let everyone know that we will be returning next week with more great videos from everyone here.  I also wanted to note one minor update. If you still haven’t registered for a thisweekinbeer account, you can now log in using your facebook profile.  No password to remember and you can still comment and participate in all of the groups.


So keep enjoying the season and all of the beers that go with it.  I know I will be looking for a fine Belgian Wheat, or maybe some kind of Farmhouse.  There are too many to choose just one, I will have to try them all.  What is your favorite summer beer?

Good news, beer exists and is delicious.  Bad news, my computer suffered a catastrophic hard drive failure and have lost everything relevant to This Week in Beer.  So, I am going to be spending some time rebuilding  the visuals and recording new episodes for you all.  Oh, and I guess some more good news, we are adding a new host.  Now you will be hearing some style-specific reviews using big pretentious words that you’ve probably never heard before from our new pint-sized reviewer, The Hopster.  So look forward to that next week, and wish me luck trying to save _anything_ from this hard drive.

I know I said that I was going to try to upload more videos last week in order to get the winter beerfest content all online, but you may have noticed that I didn’t get around to that.  No, what I got instead last week was “Surprise Appendicitis!” followed immediately by “Bonus Emergency Surgery!” (it sounds much more exciting when I say it like that).  Soooo, many appologie and I will really try to get all of the beerfest videos up in the next week.  I’m looking forward to getting to a new feature soon too, Beer Gadgets! (we are suckers for gadgets here).  But before I get too far ahead of myself, the real reason you are here is for the beer.  which is a wonderful coincidence because that is why we are here too.  So speaking of beer, here is Paul’s review of the Collababiere from Jolly Pumpkin Continue reading

Clean Beer? You “clean” a fish and wash your vegetables, but how clean is the draft beer you drink?

In the words of Brian Wiggs, Dark Horse Brewing Co. Marshall, MI, “Brewing is 10% chemistry and 90% janitorial”. This statement will ring true for any brewer whether they are a homebrewer or Brewmaster. Keeping your equipment and brewing space clean is the first thing you learn. If you’ve ever taken a brewery tour you’ll notice how amazingly clean and tidy the brew house is. Gary S. Nicholas, Quality Assurance & Control with Bell’s Brewery, Inc Kalamazoo, MI spoke about what the kegs at Bell’s are in store for when they make it to the brewery: “They go through a multi-step cleaning & sanitizing process prior to each fill. We also conduct additional pre-cleaning for kegs that have been out in the market for unusually long periods. We go one step further, slowly cycling through our entire keg inventory and completely disassembling the keg spear valve assemblies, replacing worn parts, and visually inspecting the interior….any kegs that fail a cleaning/filling cycle are set aside for detailed inspection.” What needs to be cleaned out of these kegs? “Typically, you’ll see infiltration of a wide variety of aerobic microorganisms (acetic acid-producing bacteria, wild yeasts, etc.) and anaerobes(A type of bacterium that does not require air or oxygen to live). Over time, these will form a bio-film, a mass of slime that is very resistant to simple flushing techniques.”: said Nicholas.

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The 2011 Michigan Brewer’s Guild Winter Beer Fest was everything a beer lover born within these great peninsulas could love.  28 degrees, snow, bonfires and of course ounces upon gallons of some of the best beer made on planet Earth.

It’s amazing to see how Michigan beer has caught fire.  Having been in this business for several years, I’ve seen the struggles that most of the breweries have went through.  The times of being run out of stores and bars with the owner laughing at the thought of craft beer is far behind us.  With nearly 7,000 people in attendance on Saturday, this event sold out a month before the gates opened.  There were many beer lovers that didn’t get in this year, but the tickets went on sale December 1st, 2010.  So those that missed out need to move a little faster next year, for tickets next year will go on sale at the same time.  Mark it on your beer fridge, with a steak knife.

Scott Graham Director of the Michigan Brewer’s Guild said: “165 barrels of beer were poured or Saturday” that’s over 20,000 pints of beer!  If that doesn’t say Michigan loves it’s beer no matter what the temperature, then I’ll buy stock in InBev.”

There were 56 different breweries showing off some amazing brews.  The popular breweries had lines that stretched beyond the tents, but with 56 breweries to choose from getting a beer was never a problem.  Some of the special released beers only made it into the hands of those in line when that beer got tapped, but you can’t expect to get every small batch at such a large event.  Plus getting a beer from one of the brewpubs is why I go.

The breweries that distribute had their guns a blazin’, but getting a beer from a brewpub that I’d have Continue reading

You may have noticed a redesign of the website.  We have added community features to try to make your experience more connected with the other users.  Before you could only comment on individual posts.  But now, if you sign up for a This Week in Beer Community account, you can participate in our forums, or join and create groups of other people who like the same styles you like. We have a map that you can access in the tabs across the top to show places where you can find great craft beers.  Don’t see your favorite spot on the map?  Join the Beer Finders group and suggest a new addition.  Have you tried a great beer that you want to share? Join the Beer Reviewers group and let us know what you’ve found.  DO you have a beer you want us to review? or a brewery you think we should feature? let us know in the main This Week in Beer Group. So Join the This Week in Beer Community account to participate in the forums, discuss reviews share your beers and let everyone know how much you love beer.