For the first time, Detroit’s Eastern Market played host to not one, but two days of beer festivities.
The fourth annual Detroit Fall Beer Festival, hosted Friday and Saturday by the Michigan Brewers Guild and Metro Times, highlighted some of the state’s best beer offerings. And while there were the normal staples of each brewery, most breweries decided to bring a seasonal beer — in this case, revolving around pumpkin — for attendees to enjoy.
Pumpkin-beer wise, two breweries hit it out of the park. Wolverine State Brewing Co. brewed my favorite of the festival — Curcibita Smiles (7.5% ABV). This lager was spot on in my book, featuring lots of spice and cinnamon in addition to what you’d expect out of a pumpkin beer. Very refreshing, not too sweet, and just a perfect combination for a cold fall day.
Taking a close second in my book was Detroit Beer Co., which took a different approach on its seasonal brew, making a Double Chocolate Pumpkin Porter (8% ABV). This black beer surprisingly caught me off guard with an applesauce aroma. But the taste was true to what it advertised — a sweet pumpkin start leading to a slightly bitter, dark chocolate finish. This was very flavorful, and featured a lot of different fall spices as well.
The Hideout Brewing Co. showcased its BeerCity USA collaboration beer — the Grand Pumpkin Milk Stout. This featured a reasonable amount of pumpkin, and lots of nutmeg followed by some cinnamon. Spicy, but sweet, too.
Besides the pumpkin seasonals, there were some exclusive beers at the festival that definitely got my vote. Dark Horse Brewing Co. brewed its Sahti (6% ABV) — a sour ale with a little fruit and nut in taste. This was very good, and very sour. Definitely one I’d have again.
Atwater Brewery brought a unique Blueberry Cobbler Ale (8% ABV). This was very authentic, which is often surprising for a fruit beer, and it tasted exactly like the dessert. If you like sweet, dessert-like beers, this one would be perfect if you can get your hands on it.
Finally, Short’s impressed me with its Black Chai (5% ABV) brew — a spicy beer with vanilla, nutmeg and other tea-like spices. This was a bit of an amped-up version of what you’d see at your local coffeehouse in terms of spice, but it contained a lot of the qualities I would expect out of the typical morning drink.
The next Michigan Brewers Guild festival will take place Feb. 23, 2013, at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park.