Surfing the Beer-Laden Wave of Chaos: Adventures At MI Winter Beer Fest

I was one of the lucky folks who rode the beer-laden wave of chaos that was the 8th Annual Michigan Brewer’s Guild Winter Beer Fest this past weekend. 

Wait, did I say lucky? Or something about surfing with a beer? 
Sorry, my brain is still fuzzy recounting the event in my scrambled head. 
One thing I failed to mention in my super organized, well thought-out Winter Beer Fest Guide was this beer-laden wave of chaos that every attendee must ride.
You better believe it will be one of my first tips next year: ride the wave, or it will ride you. Or, hmmm… something to that effect. 
Because going with the flow is exactly what I did. I was absolutely mentally prepared to do so, as this wasn’t my first ride to this wintery beer festival.
However… at some point, that beautiful beer-laden wave of bourbon-barrel & hoplicious IPAs you’re riding may just take you away to a place you’ll have to eventually unscramble in order to write a recap post of the event.

Full disclosure: this, my friends is not your typical recap post. There are plenty of well-written, thought out MI Winter Beer Fest recaps available. If you want to hear details about notes of cascadian hops or malt-infused goodness… you’re in the wrong place. If you want honesty… and a good laugh at my expense, keep reading! 

So let’s start at the very beginning, I hear it’s a very good place to start.
Did you see my beer-soaked interview on eightWest last week? Exciting, yes? Remember what I just said about full disclosure? Before I left my house to head to the WOODTV8 studio… I puked my guts out. I thought it was nothing more than anxiety. Once I got out the vomit, I was good to go. And before you assume it: no, I’m not pregnant. 
Friday, I woke up feeling groovy and declared to whoever would listen — ok, so I said it out loud in the shower — my tummy-troubles were not a bug, just anxiety. 
The adrenaline of the crew we were gathering got me through Friday with excitement & anticipation. We enjoyed hitting up the Greenbush Takeover at Big Bob’s (seriously people, if you haven’t been to Big Bob’s, do yourself a favor and get your ass over there — Rob & Jen are beyond fantastic — tell them I sent you! You’re welcome.) Then we hit up Village Inn for what was left from their Right Brain takeover… 
I enjoyed a couple delicious selections from Greenbush at Big Bob’s — their Anger Black IPA & Brother Benjamin, an Imperial IPA (if you enjoy IPAs, I highly recommend trying BOTH!) and then stuck to Right Brain SAMPLES at Village Inn… Good WBF warm up, yes?
I woke up with a wicked migraine Saturday morning.
I scrambled to medicate as best as I could, until my stomach gave me a run for my money. I did my best to ignore. The hubs said I just needed to put a little alcohol on it. Wise man, yes? 
On the cab-ride to 5/3 Ballpark, my tummy-trouble kicked in again — so I discussed it with my cousin, who assured me she had my back. So we buried the thought of my flip-flopping tummy under some alcohol. 
A couple heavy 3oz pours of beers later… people started recognizing me. This… was odd… but another rush of adrenaline! I was running into awesome folks I had worked with & discussed beer with virtually and was geeked to be meeting them IRL. This isn’t the beer talking: have I mentioned how much I love you guys? Brewers, bartenders & fellow beer lovers I had only known via twitter & facebook waved me down; Amy Sherman even tracked me down to interview me for the Great American Brew Trail. I told Amy how happy I was we ran into each other early, because I was pretty certain that even though it was just after 1pm… I had already tasted at least 6 beers. 
Uh-huh. It was 1pm… and I had not only shot through 6-ish tokens like they were water, but a few people saw me & wanted to toast me, but when my cup was empty, they poured half their sample into my cup so we could toast properly. Oh yes, this, THIS is the story of my day. This is the beer-laden wave of chaos I rode… fairly steady & happily for a good portion of the day.
Adrenaline is a powerful drug, isn’t it? 
Little did I know: not only would I whip through all 15 of my tokens… but I had extra tokens that I was tapping into as well. 
And… I hadn’t eaten yet.

I know this may seem like a stretch, but it was like I was at my own flippin’ wedding. Every time I’d head in one direction, someone would pull me in another. Anyone else experience this at their wedding? Just trying to get something to eat or drink was a huge chore because you’d keep getting side-tracked? Like I said, this was fine with me at the time, because I loved embracing the day & every single person I got to spend even an ounce of time with… I didn’t care or bitch about the slush the hubs dragged me through that rendered my feet soaking wet for the last couple hours. 
Random folks met me, some dragged me to this brewery or that brewery… and I rode the wave, smiling, happy as a drunken-clam.

And then I realized, again, that I needed to eat something, so I forced a few bites of a turkey leg down about a half hour before we were scheduled to meet our cab. Unfortunately, I was too late. Learn from my mistakes, friends: eat early & often! Pretzel-necklaces can only take you so far. 
We were wise to attempt to meet up with our crew before WBF ended at 6p. But meeting up with a dozen people, when I was made up of 75% alcohol was not going to happen. I’m sure I pissed some people off because I’m usually very focused and organized when it comes to events like this… but… when you’re being pulled in 20 directions, trying to maintain anything isn’t gonna happen. I think I need some sort of an agent, producer, angel or devil on my shoulder next year… any volunteers??! The hubs & I finally met up with each other & at least 2 from our crew, and the rest of the crowd arrived back at my house about 10 minutes before we did. 
Despite the massive, beer-laden wave of chaos I rode — this Momma enjoyed every second of the Winter Beer Fest. Even if I didn’t get to spend as much time with my friends, in soaking wet boots; even if I went blank at which breweries the last half of my beer samples came from… even if that meant that I puked out the cab-door a mile away from my house, then proceeded to sleep from 6p onward… you never heard a complaint out of me. No, really. Shit happened… and I didn’t let it get to me. 
I may have been a terrible host to my dozen guests. But I hope I was at least fun to be around up until puke-fest ’13. 
On the not-nearly-as-personal side of the coin, I did manage to scrape together a few notes I’d like to share. 
Dark Horse & Greenbush get 10 gold stars. For being a newer brewery, Greenbush brought it. And Dark Horse has always known how to work these festivals by offering SO many options… their lines moved & didn’t get clogged up like a few other breweries. Dark Horse also won the title of my favorite beer of the day: HomoBourbon Sapien with their Artic & Double Crooked Trees coming in a very close 2nd. Dear Dark Horse, will you marry me?  

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