Happiest Hour: BrewFest 

In honor of this week's beer issue, and tomorrow's Garden City BrewFest, we're using our weekly Happiest Hour spot to highlight which of the 60-plus brews we're most interested in trying at Caras Park.

To make your own hit-list, check out the event program online here.

Jessica Mayrer:

After sampling Stone Brewery's IPA on tap at Charlie B's and Stone's Arrogant Bastard at the James Bar, I'm excited to try the San Diego-based company's India Pale Ale. I like the sound of the Eel River Organic Amber Ale, too.

Alex Sakariassen (who excitedly broke this down into two different categories):

Light beer: Two leap out instantly from the 2010 BrewFest roster. Bayern Brewing's Dump Truck Summer sounds like an intriguing and distinctly flavorful lager bock, a fusion of high-end German hops, yeast and malt all tailored specifically for Bayern's operations. And with Glacier National Park's 100th anniversary this year, you know the Great Northern Brewery pulled out all the stops with its Glacier Centennial pale ale. Apologies in advance if I knock you down in my rush.

Dark beer: When you have friends who drive from Missoula to Helena just for the beer, you know Blackfoot Brewing is doing something right. And with the brewery's Tartanic Scottish Ale, it should be a treat to taste the flavors of Scottish barley and English hops working in tandem. If I have to pick one beer to prioritize above the others, however, Dick Danger Ale out of Centralia, Wash., wins. The noir-ish name aside, Dick's Brewing promises a truly dark beer with a potentially hoppy finish—meaning I get the best of both worlds. Dick Danger does make me wonder, though, if anyone's working on a Sam Spade IPA?

Matthew Frank:
Our resident "celiac" selects Seeley Axe from Kettlehouse, for obvious reasons.

Erika Fredrickson:

Glacier Brewing's Slurry Bomber: for the name and the chocolate flavor

Cowboy Coffee from Big Sky: My dad used to make cowboy coffee, so it's a nostalgic thing. Plus I love coffee.

Skylar Browning:

I'm with Alex on the Tartanic Scottish Ale, very curious about Mike Hoffer's winning Wee Bit of Mischief India Brown Ale (Hoffer, a member of Zoo City Zymurgists, was selected by the group to have his beer brewed by Big Sky), and looking forward to a glass of Madison River Brewing's Salmon Fly Honey Rye.

Ira Sather-Olson:

I've always had a heart for IPA's, not necessarily because of their high alcohol content, but more so because of the taste. That's why I'll likely have a pint of Flathead Lake Brewing Co.'s Imperial India Pale. Its "explosive citrus aromas" are already starting to make me salivate (and it's only 12:30 PM).

I'd follow up with a pint of the Tartanic Scottish Ale by Blackfoot Brewing out of Helena. As a fan of the Kettlehouse's Cold Smoke Scotch Ale, the Tartanic sounds like a tasty distant cousin, especially with its purported "smooth and sweet" body.

Chad Harder:

Tartanic. Anything that comes from Blackfoot is going to spark my interest. The Cowboy Coffee — never seen that before. Not sure about the description, but I'll try it. And I'm really interested in trying this little beer that came from St. Louis. Bud Light? Yeah.

The Happiest Hour column in the dead tree edition of the Indy next Thursday will feature the winning brews of this year's BrewFest, as judged by the Zoo City Zymurgists.

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