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Posted on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 : 5:47 p.m.

Monday's Mug: Standout entries from the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Fest

By Patti Smith

Okay, technically I was not drinking out of a mug this weekend... it was a small plastic cup. But it held beer, so that was good. And, because I was at the Michigan Brewers Guild Sixth Annual Winter Beer Fest, that little cup held a lot of beer.

I used all 15 of my tokens, so it is fair to say that I had many tastes of beer. It would also be fair to say that after about 3 p.m. or so, things got a little... fuzzy. I might have run around making a fool of myself. At any rate, here are the top three standouts for me:

1) Kuhnhenn's bourbon barrel aged Fourth Dementia Olde Ale. The folks at the Kuhnhenn table told me that this beer had spent 10 years in a bourbon barrel, and, oh my goodness, was it amazing! Smooth, malty, creamy... absolutely delicious.

2) Frog Island's Old St. Nick Nolte Holiday Ale. Normally, I don't let a clever beer name influence my selections but — not gonna lie — I had to try this. This was a great beer that would have been perfect during the holidays, when I am really in the mood to drink spicy beer. Nice blend of nutmeg, cinnamon and all of the "Christmas" spices you would expect from an holiday ale. And as I drank it, I pictured that really freaky Nick Nolte mug shot, and that made me giggle.

3) Liberty Street's Pooh Beer Honey Porter. I had been anxious to try this beer because I love Liberty Street and because my husband and I call each other Pooh Bear. So I thought the name was cute (drat, there I go again!). Wonderful porter with smooth honey notes (but not too much honey... I don't care for a lot of honey which is why I am not a fan of meads) and easy drinking. Plus there was a picture of Pooh Bear on the tap, and he was saying the "f" word. That's Pooh-riffic!

This was a great event full of great people and great beer. As I've said many times, the craft beer crowd is 99 percent, um, jerk-free. And except for the guy who wouldn't give me a pretzel or a token after I poured him beer from the ice bar (and if you know who that was, let me know cuz I'm gunnin' for him), everyone was super fun, and it was a great day.

If you didn't make it out to the winter beer fest, have heart — the summer beer fest is just four months and 19 days away!

Patti Smith is a teacher who enjoys drinking and brewing beer. She hopes to make Monday's Mug a regular Monday feature. Meantime, you can read her blog at, friend her on Facebook or see her 'round the blogosphere as TeacherPatti.



Tue, Mar 1, 2011 : 2:39 p.m.

Patti, It was nice to meet you in the fine Winter weather. I too, loved the Fourth Dementia. I was very happy to find other favorites near the end of my time there in place where the lines were supper short. One that stands out was a 2009 Bourbon Barleywine from Rochester Mills. That was my top choice. One I had earlier was the Flying Buffalo Imperial Stout from Big Rock, out of Birmingham. I suspect I might see you this evening at Arbor!