Fall certainly arrived after this past weekend. Colder temperatures, cloudy skies, and cold rain was what Mother Nature provided the festival goers at the 11th Annual Detroit Fall Beer Festival put on by the Michigan Brewers Guild.
The festival featured a little under 130 breweries and around 850 different beers for people to sample from. Each ticket gave a person 15 tokens to spend how they wished along with a taster cup to fill. Additional tokens could be purchased throughout the event if people wanted or needed more.
The Better on Draft crew attended both days to both try out the brews and serve the people at a few of the brewery booths. Perhaps one of the hosts poured you a sample of beer and you didn’t even know it. The team poured for both ROAK Brewery and Ellison Brewery + Spirits between the two days and had a great time.
There were a ton of people in Eastern Market checking out the breweries both at the festival and nearby. A handful of festive beer-related or Halloween costumes graced the festival goers as there were newcomers to the event as well as seasoned beer junkie veterans.
As for our favorites, well, we spanned both days, experienced all types of weather, and sampled as many breweries as we could. Each of us have different approaches whether it is sampling all of one style, trying out brews from places we don’t normally frequent, or going to the brewery tent with the smallest line. Regardless of our approach, here are the 8 winners from the Detroit Fall Beer Fest in alphabetical order by location:
Murk Honcho – Austin Brothers Beer Co – Alpena ~ Ed
By the time I arrived at the Austin Brothers Beer Co tent on Saturday, they had two beers left, which is a good sign in my book. I was blown away by Murk Honcho’s murky look for a NEIPA and it’s juicy yet dank taste. I need to check out more of what Austin Brothers is offering because this one was good!
14th Anniversary Imperial Oatmeal Stout – The Livery – Benton Harbor ~ Bill
This rich beer was big and bold as it celebrated The Livery’s 14th anniversary in Benton Harbor. The Imperial Oatmeal Stout was complex and has turned into quite the tradition for the folks at the Livery to share with festival goers at the Detroit Fall Beer Fest.
Zodiac Keller – North Pier Brewing Company – Benton Harbor ~ Matt
Looks like Matt took my advice to check out North Pier’s Zodiac Keller from my pre-festival list to see how this keller bier faired and he was a fan. I heard that this was a favorite among festival goers as we waited in lines for more beers, under tents to dodge the raindrops, or the infamous bathroom lines later in the festival.
VIPA – Waypost Brewing Co – Fennville ~ Ed
Waypost Brewing Co’s tent was the first one I hit once the Enthusiast floodgates opened at noon. “What’s a VIPA?” I quickly asked as I awaited my pour. The VIPA was explained as a DIPA that was co-fermented with Gewurztraminer juice (aka grape juice). Ultimately, it was one that I could not stop recommending throughout the day.
Triple Crown Brown – The Mitten Brewing Co – Grand Rapids ~ Ken
The Triple Crown Brown is a classic in my book. This English Brown Ale is sessionable and can be enjoyed during any season. It is nutty, malty, and just a solid beer overall.
Kick Start My Hart – Big Hart Brewing Company – Hart ~ Ed
Bourbon Barrel Aged Belgian Brown Ale? Yep. It was all of that and more. The boozy bourbon barrel taste played well with the rich Belgian brown ale. I wanted so much more than a taster cup of this one.
Awaiting Reprisal – Liberty Street Brewing – Plymouth ~ Rob
Joe from Liberty Street stopped by for Episode 194 of Better on Draft and brought Awaiting Reprisal with him. I guess Rob wanted more as this hard seltzer is light yet flavorful and crushable AF.
Strawberry Brewlius – Drafting Table Brewing Company – Wixom ~ Nick
Looks like Milkshake IPAs are not going away thanks to Drafting Table’s spin on the style. The Strawberry Brewlius is similar to it’s infamous Orange Brewlius brother in that it’s got tons of hops for an IPA with a sweet and fruity balance for the creamsicle-milkshake inspiration.
We’re looking forward to the next Michigan Brewer’s Guild festival in February. Bring your layers and all weather gear as there’s no way of knowing what Mother Nature is going to throw at us at that point.
Until then, enjoy the remaining fall and winter beers and don’t forget to tune in to Better on Draft, especially on Friday, November 8 when we celebrate our 200th episode!