On the 3rd Saturday of February, The Mystique Casino and Resort hosts the Dubuque on Ice Brewfest. There were around 66 vendors, from various, mainly Midwestern, breweries and distilleries, all offering multiple drinks to be sampled! On entrance everyone was given a Brewfest pint glass, a drawstring backpack, a guide book and a cloth wristband and then let loose on the Mystique Ice Rink (covered of course!! Could you imagine mixing an ice floor and alcohol?!?! Although that could possibly be hilarious…) for 3 hours, 4 for those that purchased VIP tickets!
Disclosure: Thank you to the Potosi Brewery for covering my entrance fee! (I did however pay for my Stein holding entry fee…and I bought a Koozie for me and my Uncle!). As always, opinions are my own.
Dubuque On Ice Brewfest
Food & Drink Sampling
It was organised really well, the vendors were all spread out and you never had to wait more than a few minutes for a sample. You simply handed over your Brewfest glass and the vendor would fill it with about an inch of your chosen drink. Believe me, an inch is MORE than enough!!! You do the maths…66 vendors, with around 4 sample flavours each…if you try EVERY drink, that’s an awful lot of inches!!!
Don’t worry, you could break the drinking up with some food samples! There was a bakery offering bread samples, various meat companies that had both hot and cold meat samples, different cheeses and chocolate tasting. For designated drivers, you could sample coffee blends and sodas.
Wilson’s Orchard – Cherry Crush (Cherry Hard Cider)
Potosi Brewing Company – Steamboat Lemon Shandy
Galena Brewing Company – Helen’s
Cremer’s – Italian Beef (Hot food sample)
Masskrugstemmen Stein Holding Competition
Somehow I was convinced to sign up for the Women’s Stein Holding competition. 10 people line up and battle against each other to see who can hold a Stein of beer weighing 5lb (2.2kg) completely outright in front of you, no sagging arms, no spilling a drop. Sounds easy…but believe me, it’s not! Once the mug handle started slipping I had no chance of being able to straighten it up! I lasted a poor 1 minute 17 seconds. But hey, it’s the taking part that counts!
In the men’s competition, the winner lasted 5 minutes 59…big grown men with arms the thickness of my head couldn’t even reach a full 6 minutes! I visited Brewfest with my Uncle who was over from the UK…and after telling everyone he was the European Stein Holding Champion (…he’s not…) he came 2nd in his heat at 4 minutes 59 before he got disqualified for turning sideways. Needless to say, I was pretty proud of his efforts!
*TIP* During the event there are only 20 places in the men’s heat and 20 women’s places. I would go directly to the sign up sheet if you want to take part as places fill up really fast, mainly by the VIP ticket holders who are let in 1 hour earlier than general ticket holders.
The Stein Holding Competition isn’t included in the main ticket price. It’s $10 extra and the winners get VIP tickets for the following year.
The Hammerschlagen game is a free just for fun competition. Everyone stands around a tree stump in front of a nail that’s been pushed in the log a tiny bit. Then using the pointed end of the hammer AND your non dominant hand, each person has a turn at taking a swing at their nail. The first person to drive it flat into the wood wins! Again, a lot harder than it looks, I’m rubbish at using my right hand, it was all floppy and wobbly!
There was also a band that played for the duration of the festival! Towards the end people were standing around to watch them, other than that it was nice to have the live music playing in the background!
LOCATION: Grand River Conference Center (Previously held at the Mystique Ice Center), Dubuque Iowa
TICKETS: VIP = $59, General Admission = $39, Designated Driver = $15
TIME: 1pm – 4pm (12pm entrance for VIP)
For more information check out www.dubuquebrewfest.com