Wine and Beer Meet at Door County Beer Fest

“Really?” I thought when I saw Golden Knot and Crimson Crossing being offered at the Door County Beer Fest held on June 15.

Perhaps you haven’t heard of the strange pairings of chardonnay and merlot, respectively, with wheat ale. They are a product of the Blue Moon Brewing Co., which is part of Tenth and Blake Brewing Co., the craft and import division of MillerCoors.

Well, beer fests are all about trying brews you’ve not had before, so I had to sample what seemed to me the most ridiculous beverage I’ve seen at a beer fest, and, surprise, I liked the pairing, especially the Crimson Knot chardonnay/wheat. Finally, wine with some life to it!

I noticed one corner of the main tent was a hub of activity. Checking it out, it was easy to see why: One server was doling out both the delicious New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk Imperial Stout and Southern Tier Brewing’s equally delicious Crème Brulee. Yum!

However, it reminded me that not everyone understands beer fest etiquette. When you receive your pour, move away from the table and let the next taster in. Don’t stand there conversing and blocking others from trying the beer otherwise the cattle prod might have to come out.

Brewer Danny McMahon serves a beer at the Door County Brewing station.

In a section all to themselves, the new Door County Brewing Co. was garnering a lot of attention and people started appearing in the cool Polka King Porter sweatshirt.

Jeanne and Joe Majeski of Door Peninsula Hops were also attracting a lot of attention with a bowl of fresh hops and two potted hop plants. We’ll be doing more on their business in the near future.

Shipwrecked of Egg Harbor was also in attendance with several tasty beers, including its summery Kolsch, which will go on tap at the pub as soon as someone empties the Lighthouse Light keg (would someone please do that, soon?).

I also attended the VIP beer and cheese pairing that preceded the fest. The cheese and beer pairings looked and sounded great as described by cheesemakers Marieke Penterman of Holland’s Family cheese in Thorp, Wis., Chris Roelli of Roelli’s Cheese Haus in Shullsburg, Wis., Sara Hill of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and the very enthusiastic Cliff Kaplan of Beechwood Distributors, but 11 am is just too early for me to start drinking beer, so I watched as the 50 or so VIP folks tasted Penterman’s award-winning gouda with Bos Wildflower Mead from Madison and her fenugreek gouda with Central Water’s Barleywine, and Roelli’s blue-veined Red Rock cheddar with Geneva Lakes Amber or the Carr Valley Casa Bolo with Central Waters Exodus Sour Ale (this is one I really regret missing for sour ales are one of the great pleasures in life, but, again, just too early for my taste buds).

The food vendors were also a great part of the day, from the bacon-wrapped dates from Parador to the pulled pork sliders and whitefish chowder from The Cookery to the cherry tarts from the Northern Door Rotary. Never got around to the pretzel bun brat or the many other tasty morsels provided by a variety of vendors, but it all looked and smelled fantastic.

I heard a lot of great information at the VIP event and from the servers dispensing beer throughout the day, and that, ultimately, is the mark of a great beer fest.


Door County Beer Festival Homebrew Contest Results

Best of Show

1st:  Justin Minikel, Taddy Porter

2nd:  Dan Dahl
, Midwest Farmer Cream Ale

3rd:  Jim and Hugh Vondracek, Cherub Nectar Belgian Golden

Porters & Stouts

1st:  Justin Minikel, Taddy Porter

2nd:  Jacob Casper, Jake’s Milk Chocolate Stout

3rd:  Tyler Everson, Dry Stout


1st:  Mark Westmeyer, Westy Topper

2nd:  Jim and Hugh Vondracek, Midnattssol IPA

3rd:  Joe Putzer, Cracked Rib IPA

Belgian and French

1st:  Joe Putzer, Bruer’s Wit

2nd:  Michael Sorenson, 6 Years In Evil Medical School Belgian Pale Ale

3rd:   Thomas Dahl, Old Hatchet Saison

Light Ales and Lagers

1st:  Dan Dahl, Midwest Farmer Cream Ale

2nd:  Jared Mathys, Cream Ale

3rd:  Dan Dahl, Stupid American

Wheat and Rye Beers

1st:  Ken Megal, Wisconsin Heifer Weizen

2nd:  Jon Grafton and Dennis Boelter, Krunkelweizen

3rd:  Kevin Frost, Frosted Honey Wheat

Pale Ales

1st:  Tony Conrad, Lost Man ESB

2nd: Ken Megal, Ol’ Glory Pale Ale

3rd:  Nick Schultz, Wimpy RyePA

Amber and Brown Beers

1st:  Jacob Casper, Dank Brown

2nd:  Scott Ehlers, Maibock

3rd:  Thomas Dahl, Chinook Hook

Strong Ales (Barleywine, Old Ales)

1st:  Jim and Hugh Vondracek, Cherub Nectar Belgian Golden Strong Ale

2nd:  Kevin Frost, Across The Bay Barleywine

3rd:  Aaron DeBoer, Belgian Golden Strong

Specialty Beers

1st: Tony Conrad, Lost Man Bourbon Barrel Porter

2nd: Ken Megal, Black Eye Brown

3rd: Aaron DeBoer, Smoked Baltic Porter

Fruit/ Vegetable/ Spiced Beer

1st:  Aaron DeBoer, Spicy Brown Porter

2nd:  Roger Sorenson, Pudgy Pie Vanilla Porter

3rd:  Aaron DeBoer, Chocolate Cherry Stout