The above photo of Bryon Tonnis epitomizes Gitchee Gumee Brewfest for me… AAAHAHAHGH! Craziness. I had fun. I did. I’ll probably go back. I’ve had more fun at our local events (Autumn Brew Review, Winterfest, etc.), but I think we can still learn from those crazy Wisconsinites. Details below the fold…
The Good: Minnesota breweries & brewpubs. Good, solid beer. Though people have been skeptical, I think the Cold Spring beer was as good, if not better than some of the offerings from some of the Wisconsin brewpubs. Rock Bottom’s Angry Hippie really tasted good to me that night as well, though the entire Minnesota gang came through with tasty beers. Wisconsin threw down with some tasty beer too… Muskie Capital Saison, New Glarus Raspberry Tart, Sand Creek Oatmeal Stout, Thirsty Pagan Ginger IPA and Tyranena’s Black Ale stood out in my mind after four hours of imbibing.
Aside from the beer, some of the organizational elements that I liked were the water stations at every table (along with a dump bucket or two) and volunteers who emptied said buckets. I also thought it was smart for them to head out into the line and start putting wristbands on people 20-30 minutes before the event.
The bad: Lots of very drunk people. There were clearly a number of people in line who had already chosen to tie one (or four) on before the event. This happens at our local events too, but the people seemed to be more drunk at this event.
Macro beer. I guess they have their place, but I’d rather see more small and regional breweries than BMC-owned labels like Land Shark and Blue Dawg and things like Smirnoff Acai Ice.
No shows. It looked like J.T. Whitney’s and Minocqua were the no-shows for this event. I was looking forward to giving them a try. I was also bummed that Fitger’s and some others didn’t go this year.
The ugly: Maybe all glassware needs this sort of warning, but it was odd to receive a pint glass from the event that notes “California Prop. 65 Warning: The materials used as a decoration on this product may contain chemicals known to the state of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.” Hmm. Good thing the glass is ugly and will likely find it’s way to Goodwill.
Feel free to share your feelings, good or bad, in the comments. Constructive criticism is cool, too…