Saturday morning, Kriddy and I headed on up to Madison for the Great Taste of the Midwest. It's about a 4 hour drive from CU up there, and it takes just about a tank of gas in the Aveo. We left around 8 and got up there just before noon. The GToM has set up shuttles from several breweries to the park. We parked at Ale Asylum and got on the second shuttle, so we had time for a beer. We shared the Hopaliciouis. When we got on the bus it took about 15 minutes from the brewery to the park; it was spent listening to people singing songs and discussing being thrown out of bars.
We got to Olin Park with about 10 minutes to opening, and got in line. Once the doors opened, the line moved relatively quickly. We got up to the gate and were handed our commemorative glasses and picked up some of the programs, and headed off to find some beer. With so many options, it was tough to figure out what to have first. I'm not sure the order of the beers we had, but we had quite a few. I do know that the last thing I had was Three Floyds Dark Lord. (I took a picture of it and sent it to J, as he sent me a picture of a state fair Guinness)
My favorite beer on the day was from a brewery I'd never heard of before, Dragonmead, they are out of Warren Michigan, near Detroit. Interestingly enough, the people who were in line in front of us, left the line to go be let in by their friends, who were the brewers at that brewery. The beer that I liked so much was "Ring of Fire" which was like drinking Monterey Pepper Jack Cheese. It was awesome. I've had some pepper beers before, but nothing that was quite this good. We also had their Wee Heavy and Triple Bock. This place makes some good beer. If you can find it try it, if you can get there, even better.
We didn't have any beers from Illinois brewers and only one beer from Indiana (Three Floyds Dark Lord). Michigan was good to us, with Dragonmead (3), Founders (2), and Short's (2). Short's had a stout that was rumored around the festival, so we tried that and weren't disappointed. Cup-a-Joe Coffee Creme Stout was one of the better stouts we had on the day. Minnesota provided Flat Earth (1) and Surly (6). From the Real Ale tent we had two offerings from O'Fallon. Out of Ohio, the Ohio Brewing Company, we had 6 of their beers including both of their special tappings. From Wisconsin, we had Angry Minnow (2), Pearl Street (2), and Tyranena (1). I'm not sure what that all adds up to, but I think between us we had about 34 samples.
We started out the day just wandering aimlessly, until Kriddy heard someone say her name, and it was Emily of the CU Beer Club. Emily had a plan of the things she wanted to get to, special tappings and other beers, so we followed her around. It seems that with three people you can get a much better representation of each brewery. Each person gets a different thing and then you just rotate the glasses. If you like something better, you can drink more of it.
The special taps we got to were:
Dragonmead Bourbon Cask Conditioned Wee Heavy
Founders Backwards Bastard
Sherwood 1492 IPA
Surly Bourbon One
Ohio Maple Porter
Ohio Smokin' Scotch Ale
Pearl Street Dankenstein!!
From the Real Ale (Cask) tent we had:
Surly Tea Bagged Furious
Surly Oak-Aged Cynic
Surly Darkness 2008
We started the day walking around from tent to tent, then went to the Real Ale tent, then Kriddy and I got something to eat, then walked around some more. We saw several friends from the CU Beer Club and talked about good beer. It was easy to make friends there, as there were 5000 people who had the exact same interest as you, BEER!
Was hoping to run into Wilson, but didn't see a guy with a red goatee (and I figure a Duck Rabbit shirt). I was wearing my new Terrapin shirt that I picked up in Asheville, and received a few compliments on it, along with some questions about what they make.
If you can get to Madison for the GToM next year, you won't be disappointed. You definitely get your money's worth for a $35 ticket. Kriddy picked up a shirt from Tyranena, I just picked up various things from around the festival; menu's, stickers, anything else they were handing out. It's a good time. Tickets for next years go on sale the first Sunday in May, so mark your calendars.
(We went back to my sister's by Chicago on Saturday night. Sunday morning went to Archer Liquors, and got some beer; Southern Tier Creme Brulee Stout, ST Cherry Saison, ST Pumking, 3F Fantabulous Resplendence XI and some other things. After that we headed to Flossmoor Station for lunch, then headed back to CU)