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The Beer Spot Blog - August 2010 Archives

Official TBS Blog

Great Taste Of The Midwest 2010 Review
Posted Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 by James Kitchens

1822The 2010 version of the "Best Fest Not Only In the Midwest" was a big success this past weekend. Being a veteran of three fests, as of this year, I was obviously immune to the siren call of the "special releases" as well as the Real Ale Tent. I was likewise not at all distracted by the wave of fantastic sour beers at the fest this year. Nope, none of that stuff made any difference to me this year.

Actually, this year the hallmark of this fest (to me) was the increased presence of the sour beers in their many forms. Being a big fan of sours, this certainly did not disappoint me. I must admit that the best of the bunch were the Pooka Boisenberry Sour from Brugge and the Raspberry Wild One from Bell's. I also liked the Central Waters Exodus on Friday at our pre-party.

My favorite non-sour was probably the Blood Orange Wheatwine from Short's, AKA their Anniversary Ale. My favorite "odd" beer had to be Kuhnhenn's E.T.'s Reece's Pieces. That one was special in my opinion, with a solid amount of peanut butter and chocolate on the nose. The taste was much less peanut butter, and much more chocolate along with a bit of coffee. Having said all that, keep in mind that I did in fact miss most of the special releases.

Otherwise, this was actually a fairly tame fest for me personally. I certainly did not go after the special releases as vigorously as years past. Not sure why, but a lot of them weren't styles that I personally wanted to test on a somewhat moist August Saturday in Madison. I do regret not getting the Vanilla BCS from Goose Island though. As well as a few others.

Once again this year I managed to miss entirely the Presentation Tent. Next year, I have to make a commitement to get there. The "Beer and Food" and "Beer and Cheese" presentations were on my early radar screen, but I failed to make it. I really need to fix that mistake next year. I did attend the TBS 2010 Great Taste Cheese Off! though. As noted in the thread on the forum, I was big fan of the Camembert from Bakes and McBruver's triple cream Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam. Those were my top two, with the smoked Bleu in third place.
I have to say that I am already excited about the Great Taste of the Midwest 2011 weekend. The fact that it is 51+ weeks away makes me somewhat sad, but hopeful. Now I have something to look forward to every day. The Beer Spot is already considering some ideas for the fest next year, as well as securing the same spot for the pre-party at Brickhouse BBQ.
Speaking of Brickhouse did a great job on both Friday and Saturday nights. The third floor space for the party was fantastic. The brewery lineups were also great. Although with only one sour beer in the lineup, it seems that list didn't follow the impression I took away from the actual fest. I will say that the Central Waters Exodus was great though. Note for next year: more sour beers.
If you didn't make the events on either night of the weekend at Brickhouse, I recommend trying it next year. The food was great, on top of the special beers from Central Waters and Short's. I had the burger on Friday and the ribs on Saturday. Both were top notch, although the burger had bacon on it. As we all know, EVERYTHING is better with bacon, so they may have cheated on the burger. The ribs, though, were outstanding on their own. We are absolutely looking forward to seeing everyone there again next year.

Thanks again for everything at the fest to the Madison Homebrewers and Tasters Guild and all the breweries and their employees and volunteers. As usual, they put on a first-class fest. Thanks to Brickhouse for the great pre-party on Friday. Next should be even better.

--- James Kitchens, AKA Nucular George



Great Taste of the Midwest Event Map
Posted Tuesday, August 10th, 2010 by Tip Top

GTOMW 2010Today, one of our members posted something that was so good that I thought we had to share.  Thanks to MacBruver for putting together an event map that shows where all the Friday Night Festivities are, where a couple of hotels that a lot of the members here are staying, and of course where the festival itself takes place. 

In additon to the event locations, he added spots where the shuttle picks up along with public parking spots.  All in all, a great tool for anyone heading to Madison this weekend to take part in the best beer festival around.

Heck, John even got the Great Taste logo up for the festival grounds and The Beer Spot's logo for our Pre-Party location.  Click on each icon, and you'll get more details for the events.

To check out this great tool, follow this link.


What the Great Taste of the Midwest Means to Me
Posted Sunday, August 8th, 2010 by Tip Top

GTOMW 2010I've written about the pre-parties and the preparation for the Great Taste, but I've never really mentioned what this event means to me.  There seem to be two major things that make it one of the highlights of my year each and every year. 

One is just the Festival and all that surrounds it.  The Pre-Parties are top notch.  The Festival itself is the best and most organized I have been to.  The Madison Homebrewers and Tasters Guild seem to have perfected the art of throwing a beer festival.  Perfect venue.  All of the brewers come to it trying to impress.  Hell, even the port-o-let situation seems to be under control.  I can set camp and feel comfortable during the whole thing.

The other thing I look forward to each year is seeing so many good people that I just don't get to see enough.  I've come to meet so many people that I call friends through beer it's ridiculous.  This is the one event I know I will see people that I haven't seen for a year.  I have some people come stay at my home on Thursday before we drive the next morning.  Then when I get to Madison it's like a class reunion.  So many good people that I haven't seen in too long.

Oh, there's great beer at Great Taste too I guess, but believe it or not, that's not what makes the weekend.


Great Taste Pre-Party Tentative Beer List
Posted Monday, July 26th, 2010 by Tip Top

Although nothing is for sure, we've got a good idea of what beers we'll have available at Brickhouse BBQ.  Mind you, this could change and more could be added or something could be unexpectedly taken off the list, here's what you will likely see on tap in addition to Brickhouse's always impressive tap list.

Central WatersCentral Waters kegs being tapped especially for the event...

Peruvian Morning - "A Bourbon Barrel aged Imperial Stout made with freshly roasted Emy J's Coffee. This beer is as complex as it gets. Flavors of vanilla, tannins, and coffee meld together to create a flavor as deep as the ravines of the Peruvian Andes!"

Bourbon Barrel Barleywine - "Flavors of bourbon, malt, and hops meld quite good

Served at cellar temp like it should
Unified in one voice, Our fans can rejoice
Charlie now comes aged in wood!
** 2008 Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal Winner in the oak and barrel aged strong beer category **"

Bourbon Barrel Stout - "The brewery's most highly sought after beer, this imperial stout is aged to perfection in oak bourbon barrels. Look for this tasty treat to contain hints of bourbon and vanilla with roasted overtones that is sure to please any connoisseur's palate. Serve this beer at cellar temperature from a snifter glass, and enjoy this expression of our passion for brewing."

Illumination Double IPA - While there is no description for this one up on the brewery's website, I can tell you it's a big balanced Double IPA that's 9% abv.  Despite it's 108 IBUs, I find this to be well-balanced and quite drinkable.

ShortsShort's kegs being tapped for the event...

Huma Lupa Licious - "Named after the hop flower Humulus Lupulus, this best selling India pale ale style beer has enormous amounts of hops which really seems like a punch in the face.  Hop flowers from the numerous strains used in this recipe render a delicious bitter taste and enticing citrus aroma.  Flavors from a hearty malt bill meld with the hops to balance this ale and provide a ridiculous urge to sample more."

Hangin' Frank - "Ale hopped like IPA and drinks like a Pale Ale – Also know and a strong pale.  Unlike its un-identical twin brother, Stellar Ale, this hop monster employs more toasted grains and high alpha hops. Hops are the focus of this ale, but not to be undermined with a hearty malt base. Big hop aroma is followed by the cool refreshment of a toasted sourdough biscuit covered which is then covered with zesty citrus hop marmalade."

Agave Peach Wheat - There is no mention of this one on the Short's site, but it sounds like a nice easy drinking summer brew...

The Woodmaster - "High gravity brown ale brewed with earthwork maple syrup and toasted pecans."  You may have been lucky enough to try this one out of the bottle at the Great Taste the last couple of years.

[Update: 08/03] -> Well, I did say that this list could change.  Gone are Hangin' Frank, Agave Peach Wheat, and Woodmaster.  Welcome to Key Lime Pie, Good Humans, and Black Licorice Lager.

Remember, this beer list could change.  Also, sounds like Brickhouse has some nice surprises in store for people.  No matter what, this promises to be a great event with all sorts of great people to hang out with.  

Thanks again to Short's and Central Waters for working with us to get some great beers on tap and for Brickhouse BBQ for hosting and doing a lot of the behind the scenes work on this!



The Beer Spot's 2010 Great Taste Pre-Party Update - The Breweries
Posted Monday, July 12th, 2010 by Tip Top

TBSUpdating our announcement of the location of this year's Great Taste of the Midwest Pre-Party, I thought I would finally officially announce the breweries that we will be working with for this year's party.  Previously, we had worked with Surly and Founders.  This year, we decided to change it up a little.  Being a smaller site, we wanted to work with breweries that were a little smaller.  I was ecstatic that our first two choices both said that they would love to help out.

Central WatersWhen looking at the first brewery for our party this year, I wasn't only looking at a smaller brewery with great beers, but also a brewery that was close (sort of) to the Great Taste's location.  The logical choice was Central Waters.  Central Waters is a brewery that is highly regarded by the beer community, but especially by us here at The Beer Spot.  In my opinion, they make superb Barrel-Aged brews and excel in the darker side of ales.  Brickhouse will be offering at least 4 different beers from Central Waters.

ShortsThe other brewery working with us this year has been pushing the flavor profiles of beers for a while.  Short's Brewing knows no boundaries when it comes to what beer should taste like.  Key Lime beer? Check.  Bloody Mary beer? Check.  Peanut Butter and Jelly beer?  Check.  You never know what they will come up with next, and they seem to make these odd flavors work.  Add to that they have an IPA that could be the best made in Michigan (yes, I know that is a strong claim), and you have a brewery destined for greatness.  As of when I'm typing this, I have no idea what beers we'll have from Short's, but it looks like they will fill four tap lines as well.

All of the festivities at Brickhouse BBQ will start off at 6pm.  In addition to the breweries mentioned above, Brickhouse has been stashing away some other fun kegs for the party.  Their normal lineup is great, but the lineup on August 13th should be something to remember.  Come along, and meet up with all the people that you've come to know at The Beer Spot.