Dark Horse Brewery Annual Staff Brew-Off 2016

by | Feb 24, 2016 | Beer, Michigan

The Dark Horse Brewery Staff Brew-Off was Saturday, February 20, 2016, in the Beer Garten. The Snow Sculptures were missing because of the balmy temperature, but the ice sculptures were pretty amazing — although not naughty but definitely impressive.

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Seriously, who can make a motorcycle out of a chunk of ice. I can barely make ice cubes.

Dark Horse - Staff Brew-off - 2016-20

The Dark Horse Staff Brew-Off Winners

We had to leave before the votes were tallied, Chuck was covering the last Speedgod show in Lansing so this information was swiped from the Dark Horse Facebook page.

Honorable Mentions

5th Place – Gin & Chronic – Team Troy, Sam, Shaun & Mike
4th Place – Cinnamon Toast Brunch – Team Troy, Max & Steve


3rd Place – Hold the Tail Experimental Ale – Team Noonie, Andy & Kevin


(Photo credit: Dark Horse Facebook page)

2nd Place – Marshall Breakfast Club – Team Justin, Massie, Patrick & Flo


(Photo credit: Dark Horse Facebook page)

1st Place – Whisper Biscuit Imperial Cherry Porter – Team Zack & TJ


(Photo credit: Dark Horse Facebook page)

Look for Whisper Biscuit Imperial Cherry Porter at all Michigan Brewers Guild Beer Festivals this year & rotating in the Dark Horse Taproom.

Beer List

The Dark Horse staff members were paired with a brewer to make a recipe and brew their own beer.

The beer list was impressive! (I must say a few of the beer names would be a bit hard to market. Chuck liked asking, “Did you try the Syrupy Slit Sauce?”)

1. Gin N’ Chronic Double IPA – 8.8%
2. Syrupy Slit Sauce Coffee Stout – 11%
3. Cinnamon Toast Brunch Brown Ale – 6.5%
4. With Out a Paddle Belgian Sour – 7.5%
5. El Rituale Dark Ale – 8%
6. Death Wish Triple IPA – 13%
7. Pee Know Beerio Belgian Strong Ale – 9%
8. Hold the Tail Experimental Ale – 7%
9. Java SprinklesBrown Ale – 5.5%
10. Beeramisu Stout – 6.8%
11. Morning Star Baltic Porter – 8.5%
12. Marshall Breakfast Club Imperial Stout – 10.4%
13. Baco-Maple Porter – 5.5%
14. Salted Choco-Stout – 8.1%
15. Pecan Pie Porter – 7.6%
16. Death Before Decaf – 7.75%
17. SP2 Blackberry Cashew Porter – 6.4%
18. Champagne Magic Ale – 13%
19. Thai Peanut Butter Tyrant Porter – 8%
20. Whisper Biscuit Imperial Cherry Porter – 9.3%
21. Outta Your Element Stout – 8%
22. FJR Habanero Porter – 7.5%
23. Rio Guave Imperial IPA – 8%
24. Nessy Quick Monster Porter – 7.5%
25. Butter Nut Be Jelly Porter – 7.8%
26. Lung Duster Rauch Bier – 7.25%
27. Red Rocker Rye Imperial Red – 9%
28. Pure & Simple Sock Monkey Joe Porter – 10%
29. Lorraine’s Spiced Rum Raisin BA Imperial Red – 9.5%
30. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Imperial Pale Ale – 9%

Tasting Glass

If you chipped in another 2 bucks you got a 5 Oz. Tasting glass with the Dark Horse logo. Not only are these beautiful but sturdy too. Another patron in the beer garten dropped her’s and it bounced but didn’t break.

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Tasting Notes

Our tasting notes are very limited, so if you’d like to add yours in the comments please feel free. I love Gin so my first stop was the “Gin N’ Cronic Double IPA”. It was well done and actually got my vote. If I’d had two tokens, I would have also voted for the “Cinnamon Toast Brunch Brown Ale”.


As was expected, the marketing competition was fierce, and each team employed a slightly different tactic.

Lung Duster Rauch Bier – 7.25%

Their posters were low tech, but they had food and Wiggs campaigning for votes. Chuck voted for the Smoked Pole. I’m thinking he went based on the name alone, but he did say it was a damn fine beer.

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Dark Horse - Staff Brew-off - 2016-34

Lorraine’s Spiced Rum Raisin BA Imperial Red

This team had the best posters, T-shirts and food. I think having Kristy on your team is a clear advantage. I heard talk of finding the T-shirt gun. If it was unleashed, it was well after we’d departed.

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Dark Horse - Staff Brew-off - 2016-52

Dark Horse - Staff Brew-off - 2016-17

Marshall Breakfast Club Imperial Stout

This team pulled out all the stops to buy, no wait, to solicit, no wait, to inform the general public about their product. For each vote, they were donating $1.00 to St. Jude’s. Plus, Massie was giving personal infomercials. It was very effective!

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Champagne Magic Ale

We are fans of the wizards! And the bubbly brew they crafted.

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Death Wish Triple IPA

Love the use of the #6 as a boarder on the poster. The Death Wish Triple IPA was awesome, everything you’d expect from a Triple IPA.

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Dark Horse - Staff Brew-off - 2016-64

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Imperial Pale Ale

Who doesn’t love Black Sabbath? This beer inspired by the masters of metal was outstanding. They really should let you vote for more than one beer!

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Pecan Pie Porter

A subtle “Pinterest” influence don’t you think? I didn’t try, but I noticed several people going back for seconds.

Dark Horse - Staff Brew-off - 2016-7

Pee Know Beerio Belgian Strong Ale

Neither Chuck or I tried this one, but we loved their poster.

Dark Horse - Staff Brew-off - 2016-14

We’ve got more pictures in our gallery. The Dark Horse Staff Brew-Off is a wonderful and unique beer festival. We are already looking forward to next year.

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