I’m happy to report that I can tell you what my first two beers of the fest were (Piece IPA, followed by Surly Bourbon One). What I can’t tell you however is what some of my last beers were. But, such is the way of beer fests.
I’m also happy to say that although there were a lot of beers I realized I had missed upon opening up my cheat sheet the following morning, I tried a lot of new things and enjoyed nearly all of them. One category that there seemed to be quite a lot offered in, and I partook in, was that of the meads and ciders. White Winter is a pretty standard player at beer fests and I know Aeppeltreow Winery has been at the Great Taste in years past. B. Nektar Meadery, however, is newer and Dragonmead Brewery for the first year brought a mead along with their beer, which turned out to be a grape mead (pyment). It was amazing, but at 13% + this one could really knock you out. The pear was my favorite from Aeppeltreow and the vanilla-cinnamon from B. Nektar was surprisingly well balanced (plus, they had some super cool black girly tanks!). White Winter always makes a quality product but compared to the others they were a bit stingy on the samples.
To balance out my sweet tooth I also had plenty of IPAs including Lake Louie’s Kiss the Lips and Emmett’s Jaw Jack. Both gave me the hop fix I was looking for.
I’ve been coming around to the sour beers so couldn’t resist trying Lakefront’s Rosie (on completely the other end of the world from locally loved Barley John’s Rosie) and Jolly Pumpkin’s Roja Du Kriek. Their tables were nearly next to one another so I was able to do a head to head tasting and although Rosie is a lambic-kriek hybrid, it still put Roja to shame. There was a clear difference in quality although Roja was certainly a prettier girl. Looks aren’t everything!
With only a few exceptions, I steered clear of the Minnesota breweries. It's not because they don’t produce a quality product but because I’m lucky enough to get them on a regular basis. Instead I tried to focus on things that at best I can find at quality beer bars or during a run across the river to Hudson, at worst, things I likely won’t be tasting again until the next Great Taste.
Sitting in the rain for 1 ½ hours and sweating my ta-tas off aside, it was again another great Great Taste that I’m thrilled I was able to go to. Thank you, Beer Gods, and please remember me again next year.