Stalking the Empire Asparagus Festival: OMG. ASPARAGUS BEER
Here at Jaunted, we spend considerable time and (virtual) ink drooling over weird food festivals. So, this summer, we've decided to visit a few. All this week our Michigan embed Lara Zielin will report back from the Empire Asparagus Festival.
I’ll be honest: If I were going to an asparagus festival and they didn’t have asparagus beer, I’d be pissed. After all, the tangy, bright flavor of asparagus is an ideal complement to beer’s bready body. So good thing Right Brain Brewery agrees with me and stocked Empire, Michigan’s ninth annual Asparagus Festival with an asparagus beer that gives you the best of a good beer without losing the flavor—and flare—of the weekend’s favored vegetable.
Right Brain Brewery’s asparagus ale is light and potable. Maybe even a little too potable, judging from the numbers of people who quaffed a glass (or five) at the festival’s Friday night kickoff, then grooved to the sounds of local musicians, The Benzie Playboyz. The band’s name is possibly awful, but you don't need another pint to appreciate the fact that they have not one but two members who play a washboard. And one of the players is under age twelve.
Right Brain Brewery founder Russell Springsteen says that this is the fourth year the brewery has supplied the Asparagus Festival with asparagus beer. He describes how, on a Weber grill, his brewery roasts thirty pounds of local asparagus and then mixes it one single beer batch. The delicious results are served just this weekend—on tap—and can’t be found anywhere else.
“We might be the only brewery doing an asparagus ale,” Springsteen says. Certainly they’re the only ones doing it this well.
Now that Right Brain Brewery has perfected their recipe, beer lovers can plan a pilgrimage to Empire in 2013 to taste the unique brew. And for everyone else, it’s worth it to tag along, because the beer totally makes your pee smell the same way regular asparagus does. And even if you’re not a beer snob, that’s kind of awesome too.
[Photos: Lara Zielin]