And now, the thrilling conclusion to the Royal Oak Beer Fest review…
After quite a few ciders we decided it was time to change it up again and we headed over to the table for Witches Hat. The beer they brought was their Three Kord Kolsch. It was a very light beer with a slightly fruity flavor. This would be a great beer for someone who is trying to make the switch from the mainstream production beers.
Next up was Oskar Blues and they had their Old Chub in both regular and nitro. I picked the nitro version because it’s not a common thing to see come out of cans or bottles. Typically nitro beers are only found on tap at bars and brew pubs because they are served using nitrogen instead of CO2. Nitrogen isn’t something that is created by the yeasts when a beer is carbonated so usually some sort of ball or widget is in the bottle to provide the nitrogen. This nitrogen pack bursts when the bottle is opened giving it that smooth, creamy nitrogen feel. If you want to awe your friends with the cascading effect that a nitro beer has I’d recommend keeping a couple of these in the beer fridge.
Another stand out for the evening was a Sour Cherry Imperial Stout from Blue Point Brewing Company. Quite often Imperial Stouts can be very strong and over powering. Despite being over 9% ABV that was not the case with this one. It was very mellow with a malty, sweet, rich dark chocolate flavor. That combined with the slight hint of cherry made it something that even something an anti-dark beer drinker would be interested in.
In my opinion one of the worst beers of the night was the Old Brown Dog from Smuttynose Brewing. I really wanted to like this beer mainly because their sign had a picture of a chocolate lab on it, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I’ve never been a huge brown fan, this however didn’t do anything to improve that opinion. After a sip or two it went into the glass rinse pail.
The most pleasant surprise for the evening came from Leinenkugel in the form of their Big Eddy Cherry Doppelschwarz. I’ve gotten so used to seeing all of the Leinenkugel “trendy” beers like Summer Shandy that I had kind of forgotten that they made other beers. The Big Eddy series is their line of special beers. The Cherry Doppelschwarz was a very dark, almost black, malty beer with very little roasty flavors. The beer poured with a nice tan head and the cherry flavor was not over the top. I may also be slightly biased because the guy pouring gave me twice the amount for a single ticket.
After a little bit at the Leinie table we were going to call it a night. I had decided to take one last look at the beer list to make sure we weren’t missing anything because we each had 4 or 5 tickets left. Sure enough, I missed something. New Holland was listed as having their Dragon’s Milk with Raspberries. Per New Holland’s press release for the beer it is, “A different slant on the barrel-aged stout. Using the tartness of raspberries against the rich, deep vanilla notes of the stout.” I had to go try it, which meant fighting the crowd to the opposite corner of the building. However, after getting back to their table the guy tending the taps informed me that they had decided not to bring it. With that let down we headed back to the car.
All in all the event was a good time. The tickets were discounted from $90 to $70 for the two of us from Groupon. Based on the beer selections, $70 is about the max I would pay for an event like this. Coming up next month is a similar event but more centered around mac and cheese from different vendors as well as beer and in April is the spring beer fest. Since the World Expo of Beer in Frankenmuth is only a couple weeks later I think we will probably be doing that instead.
Now I’m off to work on one of the latest additions to the Mighty Penguin bar…