A note before we start. Great Taste organizers have decided to not publish timed tap schedules in this year's program, so it's entirely possible that a lot of these beers are going to come on at set times. Check the booths noted below for a posted schedule during the festival.
The rookie class of brewers at this year's event is outstanding, and it's not just a "Hey, these guys are here now" kind of thing; the noobs are bringing some really buzzworthy and exceptional beers. Here are a few of the beers of note from the rookies, no more than one per Flyover Friday state just because:
- (515) Brewing (Iowa) OJ IPA, Booth 515, appropriately.
- Dangerous Man (Minnesota) Peanut Butter Porter, Booth 614
- Oliphant Brewing Co. (Wisconsin) Party On Wayne black IPA, Booth 125
- Penrose Brewing Co. (Illinois) Wild 10 with tart cherries, Booth 106
- Rochester Mills Beer Co. (Michigan) Blueberry Pancake Milkshake Stout (naturally), Booth 112
- Sun King Brewing (Indiana) Cherry Busey, Booth 119
- The Civil Life Brewing Co. (Missouri) Rye Pale Ale, Booth 405
I've been embracing my adjunct stout love all week, and Great Taste's bucolic park setting is where these beers are let off the chain to run wild. Some of the adjunctiest:
- 4 Hands Brewing's Madagascar, a vanilla bourbon barrel stout, Booth 912
- Brau Brothers' Red Velvet Moojoos, an oatmeal milk stout with candied red velvet cake, Booth 207
- Off Color's Coffee Dino'Smores, a Russian imperial stout with marshmallow fluff, vanilla beans, cacao nibs, and coffee, Booth 219
- Toppling Goliath's Mornin' Delight, an imperial stout with vanilla and maple, Booth 416
In my recent conversation with him, Page Buchanan of House of Brews joked menacingly, "Where do the bad beers go? They go in the barrel!" Good ones go in there, though, too. Here are a few barrel-aged beauts.
- Central Waters' Black Gold, Booth 216
- Destihl's Saint Dekkera Barrel No. 10, Booth 618
- Great Lakes' Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout, Booth 902
- Indeed's Whiskey Queen, Booth 617
- Leinenkugel's Jack Daniels Barrel-Aged Cherry Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout, Booth 916
- New Glarus' Bramble Berry Bourbon Barrel, Booth 906
- Potosi's Ice Breaker, Booth 911
- Solemn Oath's Full Mallow Jacket, Booth 522
- Temperance's Manhattan Might Meets Right, Booth 108
- Three Floyds' Barrel Aged Dark Lord, Booth 101
I've got to get my limburger sandwiches made for the festival, so here's a top five Best of the Rest:
- Orbital Drift and Apparent Horizon, the next two Noble Star beers from Schell, Booth 430
- Headhunter IPA from Fat Head's, Booth 501
- Wheaze Da Juice and Weaze the Juice, unrelated, from Flat12 (Booth 521) and O'so (Booth 612) respectively
- Black Friday from Lakefront, Booth 301
- Suburban Beverage from Perennial, Booth 624
Cheers, beer geeks! Find me at the fest, and you may get yourself a free limburger and salami sandwich.