Door County SMAK: Door County Beer Festival
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I learned a long time ago that trying to micromanage the perfect vacation is always a disaster.That leads to terrible times. -- Anthony Bourdain

Door County

I couldn't have said it any better myself. Going into a vacation with a few things that you'd like to do is alright. But when planning every detail of every day, what enjoyment will come of that? This past weekend I drove four hours North with my family to go to Door County, Wisconsin. The one definitive plan for the weekend? The 3rd Annual Door County Beer Festival in Bailey's Harbor. Arriving early, we spent some time enjoying the beautiful weather and break from the hustle and bustle of Chicago.

Door County Beer Festival

With 48 breweries being represented from across the country, we were able to taste over 150 beers. No, I did not sample every single beer. I can't imagine that I would be here typing this post had I done that.

Beer Festival Lesson #1: Pace yourself. With hours to roam a festival, you will quickly realize that pacing will save you from pain, or a miserable hangover, in the long-run.

Beer Festival Lesson #2: Write down your favorite beers. Here's the thing, I love drinking and trying new beers, but I don't know the first thing about beer. I know that an IPA is an India Pale Ale. I know that light beer tastes incredibly watered down. But that is about it. And there lies the purpose of a beer festival - try new brews, learn something you didn't know before, and find some new favorites!

Three Favorites

Here are my top 3 beers from the festival:

1. Goose Island - The Ogden: Belgian Style Tripel brewed with Citra, Brewers Gold and Saaz hops. 9.00% ABV 2. Left Hand - Good JuJu: Herbed, spiced beer. 4.50% ABV 3. Tyranena - Rocky's Revenge Bourbon Brown: American Brown Ale. 6.00% ABV

Beer Festival Lesson #3: Wear sunscreen. Despite the deceivingly shaded tents, your pale white skin will burn. I may be making this note directly to future Tommy, but trust me, 5 hours in the sun will get you.

Door County Beer Festival

Beer Festival Lesson #4: Design you own t-shirts. Throughout the entire festival our group had people coming up to us asking what tent we had bought our shirts at. We killed 3 birds with one stone: 1. We were easily seen and easy to spot each other among the hundreds of festival goers. 2. We looked pretty bomb. 3. We found a source of revenue for the 2015 Door County Beer Festival - hello screen printing!

The Group

The Beer Festival was an absolute blast and I would recommend any beer lover to check one out if they ever get the chance. If nothing else, it is a great excuse to spend some quality time with friends and drink a good beer or two along the way.