I'm not going to run down a list of every brewery that made the trek to Crown Point. If you are interested please visit www.illianamayfest.com. I tried to sample at least one beer from each brewery but I know I missed a handful. Here are the highlights from a very worthwhile venture:
Two Brother's Brewing Company, Warrenville, IL - The Kentucky Bourbon Beer served by Two Brother's was deemed to be "Best in Show" by both my brother and I. In the past, the only style of beer that I've encountered aged in bourbon barrels tended to be stouts or porters. Kentucky Bourbon beer poured almost like an IPA with a darker, honey color. The aroma was sweetly bourbon and the taste was creamy goodness. This one didn't go down as quickly as the other samples, but it was darn tasty. Two Brother's also made a lasting impression on Brett with their White Beer. Much like Blue Moon, the White Beer was laced heavily with coriander and the only thing missing was the orange slice. The floral undertones were quite noticeable and Brett kept comparing it to "biting a bunch of rose petals." He did indicate however that it is the most unique beer he had encountered in a while.
Flat 12, Indianapolis, IN - One of the last beers I sampled was Blanco El Diablo. Now, I haven't taken a formal Spanish class in over ten years, but something tells me if Flat 12 intended this beer to be called "White Devil" they should have went with El Diablo Blanco. Either way, this beer is brewed and then ages in barrels over chili peppers. The spice flavor doesn't come rushing in with the drink, rather it stalks you quietly and zaps the back of your mouth when you swallow the brew. If you let it sit on your tongue too long, you'll get the same burning sensation in your nose. There is a distinct waxy taste to it almost as you finish. I kept hinting to my friends that this would be the perfect beer for your bratwurst.
Moylan's Brewery, Novato, CA - I don't know if this is the same Moylan's that was there, but this is where Google led me. That's okay, because they indicate a Moylan's Irish Red and I definitely sampled it while I was at Mayfest. I'm a huge fan of ambers and you usually get a lager feel when you order one up. This Irish Red was so smooth and I will once again use the word creamy to describe how well this beer flowed and tasted. It was by far the best red I've had in some time. It definitely outshone the other ambers at the festival.
Crown Brewing Company, Crown Point, IN - Of course I have to give a tip of the hat to the hometown hero. Only open since 2008, Crown Brewing has an award winning Imperial Porter. As you may well know, I definitely have an affinity for that style of beer. The Porter was good, but was definitely not the best I've ever enjoyed. There was nothing to distinguish it from the others even at their own sponsored festival. However, Crown Brewing hit it out of the park with their Weizenheimer Weiss. To be fair, I did not try this beer. Brett and Kim both agreed that this was their "Best in Show." Who am I to argue with them?
On a general note, I have to get over myself and jump on the IPA bandwagon. It appears that no brewery can be complete without offering some variation of these hoppy brews. It should be noted, as I was reminded by my brother, that Americans love cold beer. Even though it has been recommended that ales reach a warmer temperature there is no separating the mind from desiring icy cold refreshment.
I will probably never take a notebook with me on any journey involving beer. I have mentioned before that I believe beer should be enjoyed in the best way you know how. I will offer my best description of the beers I try, and hope to lead you in a generally good direction.
Michelle volunteered to be the designated driver so there is no Michelle factor. Remember, drink responsibly and respect beer.
|Brett, Wilk, and Adrian|
|Michelle and Kim|