The beer really is good at Fiddler’s Hearth… very good. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of months, you’ve heard that Jeremy, Sean and I have been working on the premier craft beer event of the summer. This “2nd showing,” as the tap menu says, was intended to bring together not only some of the most difficult to find and highest rated beers available, but also several specialty beers from our great local breweries. Based on the success of the last “The Beer Is Good at Fiddler’s Hearth” event in November, people knew that this wasn’t a typical tap takeover, evident by the 20 or 30 people standing outside before the pub opened, waiting to get a good seat and their first round. The tap list had been posted a few days prior, but the only specific scheduling details people knew were that KBS would be tapped at 11am and Black Note at 6pm. We know.. it was a bit manipulative to space these beers in such a way that may entice people to stay many hours between tappings, but I didn’t see anyone complaining.
I was honored with the task of writing the tapping schedule for all 33 beers that were planned for the event. My strategy was this – 17 beers on tap right at 11 am (15 regular, 2 cask), giving people 4 hours to “responsibly” sample as many of them as they wanted. At each hour starting at 3pm, 2-3 taps were pulled based on what I thought would be the least popular, and the same amount of new beers were added. Trying to stay somewhat sober during the first 4 hours, I did a lot of people watching, a lot of welcoming, and making sure everyone was having a great time. The atmosphere in the room evolved greatly over the first few hours, starting with many keeping to themselves and talking softly, to a good roar of discussions, laughter and interaction with complete strangers. To me, this is what craft beer is all about – lubricating the social friction of everyday life, and bonding over the most basic of necessities (yes, necessity), beer… really damn good beer. Some of the highlights for those who weren’t able to make it included a tweaked version of ThaI.P.A from Bare Hands in a cask, two one-off beers from Four Horsemen, a first-ever cask of Greenbush 1825 with Michigan Raspberries, a tasting-room only keg of Haggard Jo from Flat 12, very rare keg of Tiger Jelly from 3 Floyds, and of course, KBS and Black Note. The rest of the beers can be found here, but they were all chosen for their quality and popularity. Founders KBS was the first to kick, around 2pm, and I was asked by the owner of Fiddler’s to announce it’s demise. This was unfortunate timing, as the last couple of beers I had went down a little too quickly, thus ensuring my filter completely coming off, and the f-bomb getting dropped for all to enjoy. The next announcement was much more family friendly, informing everyone that the special Four Horsemen beer, American Wheat, had also sold out, Greenbush PhD had been added, and a few other beers had been rotated in. The crowd cheered with excitement after mentioning that PhD is a malt liquor!
The most popular beers yesterday, the ones that sold out, include KBS, Four Horsemen American Wheat and Porter, 3 Floyds Jinx Proof, Flat 12 Haggard Jo, Bare Hands ThaIPA cask, and many more not far behind that. You people were thirsty! Much to my surprise though, Bell’s Black Note was still available on Sunday! This made for enjoying a glass in a much less crowded pub so much more enjoyable, and every sip was fantastic! In addition to the great beer and food available all day, there was surprise entertainment on the back patio! While ducking out for a bit of fresh air, I encountered a group of gentlemen rocking out to the musical stylings of Natalie Merchant on a cell phone. To say they were just singing along would be an embarrassingly inadequate. These crooners hit every high note masterfully, and followed up this performance with a flawless rendition of Will Smith’s “Big Willy Style.” Brava! Often times events don’t live up to the hype, but I think this is an exception. The food lineup was as incredible as the tap list, everyone seemed to have a great time, there was plenty of schwag, brewery reps and distribution reps came to talk beer, and lots of staff on hand to get beer out quickly. Big thanks to my friends Jeremy and Sean, and the entire staff of Fiddler’s for their work with getting this together. Also many thanks to the breweries that participated in this event with incredible specialty beers, without which this would not have been possible – Four Horsemen, Bare Hands, Flat 12, Greenbush, 3 Floyds and Bell’s, you all demonstrated why the Midwest is the best region for beer! This event was another huge success, the pub was busy the entire time, and unlike a typical day at a restaurant, there were no slow times. So what did you think of the beers? Any favorites? Any surprises? Maybe even some that you didn’t like? I’d love to hear your opinion so that we can make next time even better! Thanks for coming, we hope you had a great time, Cheers!