Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Winter Beerfest 2013 Most Wanted List

Written by  Ben Darcie
Rate this item
(3 votes)

Winter Beerfest 2013 Most Wanted List

There are many different factors that influence this list, primarily of which is dependent on audience demand; who has the biggest lines and draws the biggest crowds. Another factor is beer offerings, what these breweries are bringing to the festival that create a huge demand among those attending.
1. Short's Brewing Company – Bellaire

 Short's is one of the biggest drawings at WBF, and for obvious reasons. Shorts excels in experimental brew, creating some of the most intriguing and unique beers in the state. Their standards are well loved, but it's the specialties that keep the crowds coming, beckoning them to the booth with their signature cylindrical tap setup with the giant rotating Shorts on top.

 Seek Out: Cup A Joe coffee Stout, Bourbon Barrel Aged Wizard Barleywine, Woodmaster Experimental Brown Ale, Lil' Wheezy Heavily Hopped Amber Ale


2. Darkhorse Brewing Company – Marshall

Darkhorse continually gathers a huge response at WBF, featuring bold craft beer across the board for the swarms of beer enthusiasts crowding their tables. Light, dark, or hoppy, they excel at it all. Thirsty patrons visit not only for their excellent standard offerings, but also for their extensive specialty selection, which includes their stunning One through Five Stout Series, One Oatmeal Stout, Too Cream Stout, Tres Blueberry Stout, Fore Smoked Stout, and Plead the Fifth Imperial Stout.

Seek Out: Bourbon Barrel Plead the 5th Imperial Stout, Monster 29, “I Want More” Stout, Double Crooked Tree DIPA


3. Founders Brewing Company – Grand Rapids

One of the best loved breweries in Michigan, most of us are familiar with their exceptional standard line, but their specialty offerings are where Founders really shines at WBF. Many of their hourly releases are some of the best rated beers in the world, drawing mind boggling lines, and is it ever worth the wait! Make sure you stop by the table and check out the release schedule, there are many beers on the list worth checking your watch for.

Seek Out: KBS, CBS, Frangelic Mountain Brown, Curmudgeon's Better Half, Bolt Cutter Aniv. Barleywine


4. Brewery Vivant – Grand Rapids

One of the only Belgo-American breweries in the states, Brewery Vivant has made a huge name for itself this last year, most notably with their collaboration with New Belgium Brewing Company, producing Escoffier, a Bretta-Mild ale, which was the first canned Sour in the state. Vivant has been continually producing excellent and unique beer, and also features some of the best barrel aged sours in the region.

Seek out: Tart Side of the Moon Dark Farmhouse Ale, Ancho Rauchbier, “Love Shadow” Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, “Helen” Wine Barrel Aged Sour Ale


5. Kuhnhenn Brewing Co – Warren

Kuhnhenn is one of our state's great heavy hitters, handling a wide variety of styles with grace and solidity. They win medals regularly, most notably taking home a gold medal for their DRIPA (Double Rice IPA) at last year's GABF. Make sure to make your way over to their table this year and see for yourself!

Seek Out: DRIPA, Raspberry Eisbock, Michigan Mud Coffee Coco Vanilla Imperial Stout, Fourth Dementia Barrel Aged Olde Ale


6. Greenbush Brewing Company – Sawyer

Having just established themselves in the last three years, Greenbush has covered some serious ground since open. They excelled in bold, intense beer right from open, and specialize in American Ales and also dabble in some seriously bold Belgian offerings. You know that you can try any beer from this brewery and your palate is going to be taken for a ride.

Seek Out: RAGE Imperial Black IPA, Pain Imperial Cream Stout, Retribution Belgian Hybrid, Ursus Winter Olde Ale


7. Original Gravity BC – Milan

OGBC doesn't usually bring that many brews to the festival, but the ones that they do are quite impressive. They're one of the smaller breweries representing, but don't be fooled by their short lines, they come to festival to play ball.

Seek Out: Primordial Porter, Southpaw IPA, Bellywasher Scotch Ale


8. Right Brain Brewing Company – Traverse City

The biggest contender from the Traverse City market makes their way back to Beerfest this year, with a slew of new high gravity offerings that have been released on the market these last few months. Right Brain specializes in bold, but balanced, microbrew.

Seek Out: North Paw & Keleda Porter (Paw Paw BC Collaborations), Debauchery Wheat Wine, Fat Lad Imperial Stout, Naughty Girl Stout


9. Oddside Ales – Grand Haven

Oddside specializes in smaller-production experimental beers. Sure, they're not as big as Short's, but that doesn't mean they're not worth checking out. Oddside maintains few standard brands, and the rest are all experimental and adjunct-infused takes on classic American and UK styles.

Seek Out: Bourbon Barrel Aged Mayan Mocha Stout, Derelicte Pineapple IPA, Bean Flicker Blonde, Java Chip Mint Stout



A huge part of why people go to WBF is to check out the new breweries representing. Experience the new players in the Michigan brewing scene! Usually the event grows by around 3-5 breweries a year, but 2012 has brought 19 new breweries to this year's event! Here is a list of the Breweries representing for the first time this year:

  • 51 North Brewing Co.
  • 57 Brewpub
  • Beards Brewery
  • Blackrocks Brewery
  • Cheboygan Brewing Co.
  • Cranker's Brewery
  • Eagle Monk Pub & Brewery
  • Filling Station Microbrewery
  • Grand Rapids Brewing Co.
  • Harmony Brewing Co.
  • MIP Brewing
  • The Mitten Brewing Co.
  • Ore Dock Brewing Co.
  • Our Brewing Co.
  • Perrin Brewing Co.
  • Petoskey Brewing co.
  • Pike 51 Brewing Co.
  • Rockford Brewing Co.
  • White Flame Brewing Co.
Ben Darcie

Ben Darcie

Ben Darcie has been homebrewing since 2006 and is currently the Brewery Representative for Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids, MI. He also provides public and private Beer Education and is a Beer Writer for BeerAdvocate, I'm a Beer Hound and three other Michigan publications. He is also the founder of Experience Beer WM and the 9wk Grand Rapids Beer Tasting Class (est. 2010).