Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rat Fest 2011 a Smashing Success

The final numbers aren't in, but I'd guesstimate somewhere north of 100 beer lovers turned out Saturday for Rat Fest 2011 at Corner Brewery, and I think I can speak for every last one of us when I say it was a great time.

Twenty-three different beers were pouring, all brewed by local homebrew clubs – including Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, Brighton Brew Club, Maize and Brew, Sons of Liberty, and Motor City Mashers – on Corner's 10-gallon Rat Pad system. (It was to be 24 beers, but one keg somehow got misplaced.) There were many experimental brews, with everything from AABG's Hawaiian Pizza Party Lager (brewed with oregano, pineapple, and smoked malt) to the Brighton brewers' My O'Mayan Stout  (which included a hot cayenne finish) to Sons of Liberty's Golden Grahams Brown Ale, made with the cereal of the same name.

The fest lasted a wee bit longer than its official three-hour length, and at the end three winners were announced: the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild for "Best Booth," the Brighton Brew Club for "Best Overall Selection," and the Sons of Liberty for "Best of Show" for their Arrr PA, a rye IPA dry-"hopped" with chamomile. (Best of Show was voted upon by festgoers.)

Corner's Joanna Hollyday and John Ritenour announce the winners.

For my money, I thought the chamomile in the Arrr PA was excessive, throwing the beer out of balance; my choice was the runner-up beer, Lady Marmalade Triple Wit from the Mashers.  It was light, delicious, and had a nice understated black pepper finish.

For $20 all festgoers got unlimited beer samples; access to an appetizer buffet of pretzels, meatballs, weenies, chips, and veggies; and a Rat Fest keepsake sampler glass. All in all, it was totally worth it, and Corner's own Renaissance man Dannyboy Peron is already talking about organizing an even bigger and better Rat Fest next year. Can't wait to see (and taste) it!


  1. You know that the AABG won "best booth" because of my awesome, hand written labels! :) :)

  2. Very impressive tasting, all around. Encore!!