Joint Beer Fest
There are SO many beer fests, how are you supposed to know which ones are worth the sometimes lofty price tag? I typically go off of the quality of the breweries present, venue and the amount of time allotted to hang. Last week I went to Eagle Park Brewing’s Joint Beer Fest. The idea of this fest is genius. In Wisconsin, a brewery is not allowed to sell beer made outside of the state so in order to bring in the best of the Midwest, Eagle Park did some awesome collaborations. The logistics of the fest were completely different than any fest I've been to in that your ticket included a 6 pack of cans to take home! The cans were only available at the fest which, let's be honest, makes them so much more fun to brag to your friends about. Let's get into the 10 (!) collaboration brews.
Big Lake, MN
Triple Dry Hopped New England IPA – 8% ABV
This one was sneaky...you'd look at the list of exotic beers and think "why would I want to try just another NE IPA?" But you're wrong! This was one of the best NE IPAs I've had, packed with citrus flavor but in no way "juice." This still has a bitter finish for the perfect blend of citrus and dankness. Side-note Lupulin is starting a sour program which is sure to kick some butt too! Can't wait to check those out!
Southern Grist Brewing Company
Bahama Mama Fruited Sour -5% ABV
This one might have been my favorite of the festival. The low ABV made it super easy to drink all day, especially when you have to drive back to Chicago that night. Somehow this beer completely tastes like a Bahama Mama while still tasting like a beer. It has all the classic cocktail flavors of pineapple, coconut, cherry and just a touch of sour on the finish. Wish this beer would be around all summer!
Drekker Brewing Company
Blueberry Pie Kettle Sour -5.8% ABV
This one legitimately tastes like a blueberry pie was put in a blender and into your glass….in the best way possible. The blueberry comes through with a touch of tartness followed by the cinnamon graham cracker crust. This was another beer that I kept coming back to. Also shout out to the Drekker guys for letting me hang with them all day...you da best.
Elk Grove, IL
Chunky Monkey Stout -10.5% ABV
I really enjoyed this beer! I talked to some people that said the walnuts didn't really come through for them, but I got a bit of it on the finish. The most stand-out thing for me with this beer was the banana on the nose. It smelled a bit artificial but tasted amazing! I also enjoyed that this beer had some good body to it.
Phase Three Brewing
Salted Pretzel Chocolate Stout -11% ABV
Phase Three is the newest brewery with the most hype in the Chicago area. I was really excited to try their stuff after their first release sold out in minutes throughout the city. I would definitely let this beer warm up a bit, once warmer the salted chocolate flavors really come through. I wouldn't say I really got pretzel flavor but it was delicious regardless!
Joint IPA -8% ABV
I'll admit, I'm partial to 1840...these guys make some awesome stuff so I grabbed this beer with high expectations. Kyle didn't let me down! This Northeast IPA had the classic haze and tropical fruits to accompany it. I was getting a lot of pineapple and mango which I love. It also had a bit of a dank finish with some pine flavor.
Twinkie Golden Stout -7.5% ABV
I still don't know how I feel about the golden stout style. I almost feel like it should be called something totally different but naming weirdness aside, I really liked this beer! They really nailed the vanilla cakey flavor of a twinkie. It was a touch sweet, but hey...I'm into sweet beers. I was a little bit sad that this one wasn't canned.
Working Draft Brewing Company
Mango Jalapeno Gose -5% ABV
This one was not my favorite, I felt like it had too much jalapeno and not enough mango. It wasn't spicy but had that kind of "green" taste of a jalapeno. Kinda tasted like salsa...just not my thing.
Lemon Meringue Hazy IPA -7.5% ABV
I liked this one a lot more than I thought I would. Lemon normally isn't my favorite thing, I find its easy for it to taste like pledge. Haha! Luckily, the addition of marshmallow made this beer more of a soft pillowy lemon (if that makes sense!) At 7.5% ABV it was surprisingly refreshing, can totally picture enjoying this beer by the lake!
Berry Crunch Milkshake IPA -8% ABV
I finally had my first cereal beer! I'm a big fan of berry crunch cereal, so the addition of actual berries just made it so much better! The lactose and vanilla came in to give you the illusion of milk really bringing the whole beer together nicely! I'm glad I finally got to try some Dangerous Man...they were wayyy to crowded to visit when I was in MN.
This fest allowed me to try so many great beers from places I can't normally get and I even got to take some home to share with friends. I think Joint Beer fest was really special because it brought together so many awesome people. I had the best time chatting with breweries and other guests, really making the experience one I will never forget.
Shout out to the guys at Eagle Park for throwing an amazing fest. The whole process was seamless from bathrooms to food to beer distribution. I was really happy that they set the guest number at a good level where you didn't feel like you were in a can of sardines. I already can't wait for next year....please do it again next year! :)
In the meantime...visit Eagle Park Brewing next time you're in Milwaukee. You won't regret it!