Thursday, August 30, 2012

Weekend/Day Adventures: Ypsilanti Summer Beer Fest 2012

This weekend marked my first beer fest experience with New Holland. The Ypsilanti Summer beer fest is a two day event taking place Friday and Saturday July 27-28th. This beerfest was celebrating their 15th year of presenting and worshiping amazing craft beer within the state of Michigan. I was fortunate enough that the week leading up to this event, we were testing the waters with brewing 4 batches a day. Taking the 10 hour shifts throughout the week freed up Friday to drive down to Ypsilanti (Aside for some minor technical difficulties earlier in the week that would push a Dragons Milk to Friday). Thanks to Dave for taking/finishing the rest of the brew so I could go.
Friday 7/27/2012
In any case, I arranged to start the brew at 7:00 a.m. - to get in a couple more hours for the week before leaving. 10:00 rolled around and Steve and I got some last minute things into the Star Rental Truck and we hit the road.
We arrived around 1:30, or so and started the day by blowing a tire right as we entered the festival park. Luckily we the truck had double tires. Unpacking went quickly, unhindered by the brief rain storms that were in an out for the first couple hours. New Holland took the end spot of one of the big tents. We set up "Elvis" alongside one of our 6-tap barrel bars - of which would face the public. The other barrel tap -bar that we apparently normally bring to these festivals was out of action so we used a typical 5-tap tap box cooler for the remainder, ultimately totaling 14 tap-handles. Most of my time was spent preparing the taps and figuring out what beer would go for what taps. We decided Elvis would take Beerhive, Dragons Milk and the 15th Anniversary. The 5 head tap-box-cooler got most of the mainstays and the barrel bar hosted most of the hatter. The day was a blast, even with the sporadic rain. The VIP/Brewers tent was catered by a local restaurant. They even had Veggie burgers (I think I ate 5-6 of them). I sampled some great beers from around Michigan, of which I had never had. Finally, as festival day one wrapped up, we did some cleaning and organizing and I hit the roads for a run (I know, I can do that after a day of drinking). The rest of the crew went to the brewers tent for the time being, and we all planned to be back at the hotel around 11pm. I ended up getting in a solid 15 miles on the roads!
To round out the night, we drove back down to the festival grounds, parked and went and got a pizza dinner at "Aubrey's"?. I was gassed by the end.
Saturday 7/28/2012
I was hoping to get in another run in the morning, just so I wouldn't have to make it so long after the fest. THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN. Groggy and sore, Isaac, Steve and I just got a light breakfast at the hotel and continued down to the festival grounds. It was the big day for the fest.
I had the chance to get a lot more exploring done. With the sun out and the heat rising, it made for the perfect conditions for a summer beer fest. Brett and Fred also arrived today. Similarly, I had a good homebrew friend drive up from Iowa to attend (well, he was more there because his girlfriend just moved to Detroit, but it all conveniently worked out) Thanks Ben!
I had the opportunity to also talk extensively to the folks at Unity Vibration to learn what it takes to produce commercial Kombucha, both with alcohol and not.
Throughout the day I would stop back at the tent and help pour for an hour or two, but we seemed to be overstocked with volunteers, so my job was made easy....get out there and talk/learn.
Around 3:00 was the tapping of the firkins, in which a "Firkin Virgin" was selected to tap their first firkin. It definitely brought on a show!
Because I'm writing this nearly 2 months later, the rest of it lacks much detail, but nevertheless, The festival ended around 7pm? and we packed up the truck (now with a fixed tire). I hit the roads for another run, only 9 this time. Got back to the hotel, showered, and everyone headed to a barbecue bar that was hosting a New Holland Tap Takeover. Much of the menu was meat, so I ended up getting mostly fried okra and mushrooms. However I did try some ribs!
By 11pm I was ready to pass out. We got a cab and headed back to the hotel for a brief sleep, only to get up at the crack of dawn to head back to Holland.

Thanks to all for a fantastic weekend, and I'll try to get these out more on time next time. Below are the photos from the fest:
The tire to start it all

Isaac Shotgunning with some Brewers

Not sure why meat is on there?

Unity Vibration

Next to a tall guy

Firkin Virgin!


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