Frankenmuth, MI World Expo of Beer 2012

         Within the recent years I have developed a love of craft beer and have traveled to many beer festivals and special beer release even parties.  My first event was the 2012 World Expo of Beer held normally the third weekend in May in Frankenmuth, Michigan.  I booked my hotel room at the Bavarian Inn Lodge, which I have always stayed at when I am in Frankenmuth.

         The festival is on Friday night from 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm and then on Saturday from 1:00 pm - 10:00 pm.  I only attended on Saturday, due to work conflict of time on Friday night.  I had per-bought my ticket and extra drink tokens, and was able to get in the fast pass line and was in the festival making my way to see what beers I wanted to try.  You are given a small 3 ounce plastic cup in which you keep the whole festival to have your beer samples in. The first place I went was to Jolly Pumpkin stand, they specialize in sour beers.  These beers are left to ferment in the open air and whatever wild yeast that occur in nature is what ferments the beer giving it the sour quality.  My favorite of the sours, since I am not a huge fan of them is the I.O., it is their least sour beer and has an almost sweet smooth flavor.  Next, I moved to Kuhnhenn Brewing Company for one of my favorite beers the Kuhnhenn Crème Brûlée Java Stout.  This is a smooth sweet coffee stout that makes me so happy just to smell it.  Whenever I go to Kuhnhenn's this is the beer I order.  At only 5.80% ABV it is a great tasting beer and won't knock you on your butt if you have more than one.  After sampling several other breweries such as Leinenkugel, Samuel Adams, Dragonmead, and Rochester Mills Brewery I found the lines for the special timed release beers.
         I was second in line for Founder's KBS (Kentucky Bourbon Stout).  Then again second in line for Bell's Black Note (now my favorite beer to drink, but since it is so limited in it's release I tend to only get it at festivals and Bell's tap takeovers.  While waiting I made friends with a couple people and we were given an opportunity to taste a super rare beer, King Henry, which was brewed and released once from Goose Island  All these beers are stouts that have been aged in bourbon barrels, they all have huge amounts of raisin and plum notes on the nose, and the smoothness of the beers blends with the oak and bourbon giving it a wonderful taste.  From my first sip of these beers I was hooked on stouts that have been aged in bourbon oak barrels. 

         I also got to try B.Nektar Meadery, which is honey wine.  My favorite meads from this meadery are the Vanilla Cinnamon and Zombie Killer Cherry Cyser.  This was an unexpected find for me, I am more of a red wine drinker and to find honey wine was a plus in my book. 

         Besides all the amazing beers I was able to try, the festival also had food from the local Frankenmuth restaurants available for purchase and merchandise for the event and even some unique beer steins available for purchase.  In the middle of the large indoor area their was a beer pong tournament going on, which you could sign up for earlier in the day.  Their were police officers walking around the event making sure everyone was safe and no issues arised.  I was completely impressed that all the local hotels and accommodations provided shuttles to and from the event so the attendees did not have to drive.  I was fortunate to be staying a short walk across the parking lot from the event location to my hotel.  This event was full of surprises and you never knew when you were going to see a giant chicken!

         I really enjoyed this event, being my first beer event.  I am looking forward to attending the 2013 World Expo of Beer this May to discover all new beers that I will then fall in love with, along with the amazing people who attend these events.  You can volunteer to work on shift and get into the event for free on the opposite day.  Tickets do sell out and it is 21 and over only event, due to the nature of the type of event. 

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