RatFest '09 at Corner Brewery

RatFest '09 at Corner BreweryYesterday was the first-ever "RatFest" at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, featuring 24 different beers all brewed up by homebrewers on May 1. Eighteen of them were brewed within 24 hours on Corner's so-called "Rat Pad," a 10-gallon brewing system used by homebrewers, visiting brewing professionals, and others to create special small-batch beers that the Corner releases and serves to the public, typically every Wednesday. (A video of this insanity is on YouTube.)

Many of the Rat Pad beers featured were poured by the people who brewed them, although several brewers were not present because this weekend also happens to be the National Homebrewers Conference in Oakland, California. I and a few others selflessly volunteered to step in for them.

As a volunteer, I was assigned to pour beer #22, Crispy's Nearly Nirvana Pale Ale, a recipe that brewer Chris Frey of the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild has been honing for years. It's modeled closely on the ever-popular Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, a great go-to beer from California that has become ubiquitous over the years, often saving me from having to order a Heineken at various restaurants just to avoid the BudMillerCoors options.

Beer gnomes check the draft linesAs luck would have it, Nearly Nirvana was probably my favorite out of the other beers I sampled (although I didn't get to try them all). Other standouts included Bridget's Saison Du Mont, which was named "best beer" by an informal vote of those present; Rick's Imperial Breakfast Stout (at 9% ABV, that's some breakfast!); and Matt's BBQ Red Snapper, which, though I do not generally like "smoky" beer had just enough smokiness to make it interesting but not enough to make me gag.

The weirdest beer by far was Logan and Hollis's Ants on a Lager, which featured such adjuncts as raisins, celery, and peanut butter. Tony's Raspberry Coconut Porter combined two flavors I don't much care for, and though it didn't do much for me as a beer, when added to melted ice cream (a pitcher of which was also available), it tasted like a mutant version of Neapolitan &ndash dee-licious!

Breaking down 24 draft beers and storing the leftovers wasn't a large amount of fun, but I was at least buoyed by lots of good beer and too much meatballs and gravy. The usual batch of uninspiring, amateurish photos of all the action is up on Facebook.


Anonymous said...

I gotta post about this on my blog too...I was too busy entertaining Bletchs today!

I didn't care for the raspberry/coconut either. Way too sweet. But the ice cream sounds good! Mmmm, ice cream. (OG had maple porter ice cream and the BEST BAKED BEANS EVER at their one year bday party).

I liked the Mark's bonus batch (hoppy stout), the arrogant bastard clone and the Nearly Nirvana pale ale (I drew big happy faces by them, so I presume those were my favorites). I also did lots of math in my head (to figure out which keg had the least amount of beer left in it) despite having many ounces of beer in me and for that, I'm kinda proud :)

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