2011 is ending with some serious partying. I’ve had birthdays, office celebrations, even a Festivus. But in terms of beer offerings, nothing is likely to top Greenbush’s Feliz Mazel Tov Holiday Extravaganza.
We knew we were in for a big night with a 26 tap menu featuring “barrel-aged beers, high-gravity specialties and some rare odds and ends,” so Hillary, her brother and I decided to hunker down for the night at the nearby Marina Grand in New Buffalo.
When we arrived, the buzz was already lively and the taproom had already busted out into the brewery where Scott’s impressive jockeyboxes were pouring a seemingly endless array of beers. We didn’t waste time diving in.
I started with the much-anticipated Isole, a heady, heavily sugared Belgian Dubbel with caramel notes and plenty of effervescence. Then on to Smokey, a Scottish ale with a light peat-smoke flavor and Brother Benjamin, a huge but mellow imperial IPA that set me back a little. At this point we started ordering from Joel’s tiny kitchen to keep our legs under us.
Mingling like you do at holiday parties, I was lucky enough to meet the extended Greenbush family, including Scott’s wife Kristin, various nieces and nephews, and co-owner Justin Heckathorn (a childhood friend of brewmaster, Scott Sullivan). Justin showed us some of the new bottling labels and carriers, which are currently available for purchase at the brewery for the first time. We also chatted about the barrels sent up from Owen and Engine and In Fine Spirits in Chicago that will leave the brewery soon, filled with some of Greenbush’s first distributions into the Chicago market.
Behind the scenes, Hillary and I exchanged gifts with Scott and Jill. Their desk was littered with boozy presents from other friends of the brewery, and we added a jar of Evelyn’s Twice-Pickeled Olives and a pomegranate to the mix. I do not understand the relevance of the pomegranate. Jill called us hipsters.
After plenty of goofing around in the back, I returned to the taps for a Mr. Hyde, a rich stout with an edge, and perhaps my favorite of the night, the barrel aged Terminator X. What started as a fantastic collaboration between City Provisions owner Cleetus Friedman and Greenbush, this beer builds on its American Strong Ale base to provide an epic nightcap with its oak-y goodness.
More than just a holiday party, this event also marked the 6 month anniversary for Greenbush — it’s incredible rise evident by the sheer joy and diversity of the crowd, and the quality of so many great, unique beers. Here’s to a great 2012 Scott, Jill and company.