Autumn Brew Review (2011)

20 Oct

11th Annual Autumn Brew Review (2011)


This event was sprung on me by a roommate who stumbled upon 4 tickets and couldn’t pass up an afternoon of drinking free beer so he invited whoever would say yes. I would never pass up the opportunity to experience over 80 breweries from around the country (with a focus here on the midwest) sharing their wares to a crowd of thirsty people.

I can say that this event had me excited for the entire week before it happened, I was ready to go, I tried to come up with a game plan to try as many beers as possible in the 4 hour time limit that was given to us.

I don’t really know how to go about describing the experience, so I think I will go about it in stages. The first will be about the atmosphere, the second the people I was with and the food, and third and lastly the beers I tried. I will try to wrap it up with an overall summary but this could be a long one.

Ok first off, the atmosphere, it was crowded to say the least. There were lots of people but after the first half hour most of these people were just standing around so the lines to actually get the beer weren’t that long which was nice. Everybody there was ready to try good beers which was awesome, however I did see a few people (all women mind you) pour out of half full glasses of beer if they didn’t like them. I consider that blasphemous and would have those people removed if I was in charge. You don’t like beer? Well then this isn’t the place for you.

The people I was with, 3 other guys, however 2 of them more just learning about the amazing world of small time brewing so it was fun to share some knowledge and act like I was a big shot for a few hours and explain some things to them. The other friend was a little more knowledgeable so it was fun to talk to him about what I was really tasting and to see if he experienced the same things or not. So a good mix to the group, definitely a good group of people to go with. There were also some food options available, which we did have to hit up since we were rapidly becoming aware of how much alcohol was in some of these beers. I had a Chicago-style hot dog which was good but I should have eaten more before I came. Some good choices but I stuck with the cheapest and quickest so I could get back to the beer.

Ahh the beer, I will finally get to that. With there being over 80 breweries and each brewery having at least 3 different beers of theirs to sample, we went through a lot. With that being said I did not keep track of all the beers I tried, my pen didn’t keep up with my mouth. I will give you a list of the beers I tried and then any notes I got time to jot down in the midst of all this madness.

  1. Anchor Brewing-Humming Ale
  2. Boulevard – 2010 Harvest Ale
  3. Ommegang – 3 philosophers
  4. Great Divide – Smoked Baltic porter – this one was very smoky but well balanced
  5. Great Lakes – Oktoberfest – not as good as other oktoberfest options
  6. Jolly Pumpkin – La Roja – very tart, sweet a very different beer but this one stuck out more than many other ones throughout the event.
  7. Lakefront Brewing – Pumpkin Lager – this was amazing a great pumpkin beer and a lager at that!

    – India black ale – this was a hoppy beer that really brought forth the spices in the hops

  8. Mendocino – Red Tail Ale – a very malty brew
  9. Moylans – Kilt lifter – solid scotch ale

    – DIPA – very good, hoppy floral, fruity

  10. New Holland – Envious – a great hoppy/bitter IPA
  11. He’Brew – Freaktoberfest – blood red ale very different looking

    – Lenny’s Rye IPA

  12. Stone – Imperial Russian Stout
  13. Two Brothers – Hop Juice
  14. Victory – Hop Wallop
  15. Surly Brewing Co (one of the main reasons for 98% of the people there being there) – Smoke – this was a smoky brew with a light hop finish

    -2 – their 2nd anniversary ale, a very tart and bitter affair

    – tea bagged Bender – a hoppy aroma but then when you tasted it there were not many hops at all, like a normal bender.

So that was all the beers I had notes for. This was probably only a quarter of the beers I actually got to sample at this event. So in total probably 60-70 different beers I tried that afternoon/evening. Not even close to getting to half of what was being offered, I didn’t even see a quarter of the breweries stands as we ran out of time for that.

Overall, this was an amazing event. There were so many beers, so many breweries and definitely not enough time or liver space to make it possible for me to visit every brewery without hurting myself. Regardless I had a great time. Got to try some very select beers (Surly’s 2 being a beer that only a handful of people in the world will ever try) and some classics (Anchor Steam had their classics on hand).

I would say that the only negative things that I came across were that A) there was almost too much where you had to pick and choose, I didn’t like that. I wanted to experience everything, and tried my hardest to. B) there were no brewers on hand to answer an questions, just volunteers who poured. Which was fine but I had some questions throughout that I would have liked to get an answer to. Oh well, I can always write post cards.

This was a great time, I will definitely try to go back next year and with a year under my belt will be more prepared to take on what turned into a 4 hour power hour with beers ranging from 4% to 12%.


Final Grade: A+

One Response to “Autumn Brew Review (2011)”


  1. Brew Review: Russian Imperial Stout (2012 Vintage) « Average Bro's Brew Review - November 2, 2012

    […] beeradvocate agrees.  This wasn’t the first time I have tried this beer, if you go back to the Autumn Brew Review 2011 you can see that I was able to try a sample of this brew, however seeing as how I was at beer […]

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