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-   -   3rd Annual Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f197/3rd-annual-michigan-brewers-guild-winter-beer-55201/)

justinmcdevitt 02-15-2008 04:58 PM

3rd Annual Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer
I didn't see this posted so I figured I would post it up
I know I'll be there, hope others show up too :)

Saturday February 23rd:
3rd Annual Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer
Location change, held at:
Fifth Third Ballpark
Grand Rapids, MI

Mock Winter. Celebrate Beer.

An outdoor celebration of Michigan Beer, featuring over
150 different beers from more than 25 breweries.
Dress for winter weather and let each pint warm your
soul. Hot food and live music. Snow, rain or shine.

Admission: $35 in advance, $40 at the door (includes
12 drink tolkens). Additional tolkens available inside
the festival. Must be 21 or over.

Call 517-327-5004 for ticket information or go to

From the Guild Website “After much deliberation we
decided that we would move the event to the Grand
Rapids market. There was some reluctance to move
from Lansing but we believe that it will be a positive
move and we are excited to be taking this event to the
west side of the state. The actual location will be the
Fifth Third Ballpark, home of the West Michigan
Whitecaps. We will not be on the playing field but will
be utilizing some of the surrounding areas inside the
park which leaves the event outdoors. Plan to wear
long johns, hat and mittens and mark your calendar for
February 23rd.”

and more info

Michigan Brewers Guild Third Annual Winter Beer Festival - February 23, 2008 - Grand Rapids, MI
Saturday, February 23rd, 2008. Noon to 5:00 pm. Snow, Rain or Shine. Tickets are non-refundable.

Enthusiast members will be allowed to enter at 11:00am with a valid membership card.

Location - Fifth Third Ballpark, home of the West Michigan Whitecaps, in Comstock Park which is approximately 5 miles north of Grand Rapids. The Ballpark is located just off 131 at the West River Dr. exit. The address is 4500 West River Drive, Comstock Park, MI

Tickets will be available at the gate the day of the Festival for $40 if the event is not sold out prior to February 23rd.

Designated Driver tickets will be available at the gate only for $5 and are not subject to sell out. DDs must be 21 or over.

No one under the age of 21 will be allowed into the festival.

The Winter Beer Festival is an outdoor celebration of Michigan Beer. You will have access to more than 25 of Michigan’s fines breweries and over 150 varieties of Michigan-brewed craft beer. Included with the $35 admission ($40 the day of the event if still available) is entry to the festival and 12 drink tokens which are good for 3oz samples. Additional tokens are available inside the festival for 50 cents each. There will be live entertainment and food will be available for purchase.

The Festival is outdoors and will take place regardless of the weather so wear your hats, boots, gloves and long johns. The Festival will be in the service areas around part of the perimeter of the ball field including the Stadium Club and upstairs party deck, the First Base Deck including the edge of the concourse and the rest of the service areas in between. The brewery tables will be both grouped in small groups and in a few individual small tents with all of the beer service being under tents of various sizes. The larger tents will have side curtains and some heat provided while the smaller tents will mostly cover the beer service and the waiting line will extend outside the tent into the weather. Warming areas including the Stadium Club will be provided and there will be indoor restroom facilities supplemented with porta-johns. We will be covering as much area as practical with tents and side curtains as well as heat where possible but the event is outdoors as in the past. Please hoist a Michigan beer and do a weather dance to help assure a relatively warm and quiet day. If the weather cooperates, we will keep the side curtains to a minimum and enjoy the sunshine.

Hotels: The Comfort Suites of Comstock Park is the closest hotel to the Festival and is offering rooms for $79 per night subject to availability. Call the hotel directly at (616) 785-7899 and ask for the "Special Rate" to secure your lodging and be sure to mention the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival. We are hoping to offer a downtown Grand Rapids hotel with a discounted rate as well.

Additional details will be posted on our blog, The MASH, as they arise.

Thank you for your interest. We look forward to seeing you at the Winter Beer Festival!

Click to purchase tickets or call 517-327-5004 for more information.

Michigan Brewers Guild 11th Annual Summer Beer Festival - July 25-26, 2008 - Ypsilanti, MI

Homercidal 02-24-2008 01:13 PM

Went to this last night. Had a good time. Turns out 12 beer tokens was enough for me after all! Here is my impression of the event:

Packed! They moved to the Fifth-Third ballpark because they outgrew the previous venue. Well, IMO they didn't utilize the stadium properly. I realize they field was probably off limits, but we were seriously walking sideways most of the time, especially in the beer queues.

Also, there was much ice. Maybe next year they should do a better job of salting the walkways and steps. I didn't hear of anyone slipping, but the potential was certainly there.

Weather. Nice! Cold, but not as cold as it has been. 30ish degrees F. I brought a hat and gloves, but never got the hat out. I loaned my gloves to a friend for a while, but he gave them back and didn't ask for them back. So, a winter beer festival CAN be warm enough (Although, here in West Michigan, cold wetaher is still a risk).

Food. I got me a cheeseburger and chips after a couple of beers, and it was great. They had dogs, pretzels, and some people even had pretzel necklaces!

Ok, ok, I'll talk about the beer. There were 33 berweries in attendance, and about 150 beers. You got your IPAs, Your stouts, Your barleywine, etc. Conspicuously absent was the lighter style of beers. I'm talking about your BMCs. Didn't miss them. Of course the whole event was to highlight the craft brewers, who generally MIGHT have that style of beer, just for the BMC fans who wander in, but the festival was essentially for those who prefer the more unusual beers, which the craft brewers are in business to produce.

I got 12 tokens, each of which entitle you to a 3-ounce sampler. This adds up to about 3 12-ounce beers. I started with a barleywine. Never had one before, so it was a real treat. I very different treat! Not really like a beer, but not bad either. Then I wanted to sample a brown ale, but instead I got an IPA. Oh well. They sometimes got confused when pouring the samples. Oh, and one guy who was pouring looked like he had got leg up on all of the attendees!

So, I tried quite a few different beers. Mostly ones that I have never tried before. My friend basically just tried all of the IPAs. That is basically his beer of choice in any given circumstance.

Last weekend I had a bottle of store-bought Lambic (You probably know the one). It was a cherry kriek. So yesterday I tried a Raspberry Lambic framoise (or whatever). UGH!! Not even close to the same thing! Now, lots of people were saying they really enjoyed it, but it just wasnt' for me. I choked it down, but then went to get an IPA to wash the taste out!

I'll admit that I don't have a tasters tongue. I enjoy pretty much every kind of food, but as far as the subtle differences between beers, I really could not pick them out. However, I DID notice one particularly poor IPA that I sampled. That surprised even myself. My friend took a drink of his and also got a funny look on his face. "Not very good, is it?" I asked. He agreed. And he is more of a con-a-sewer of IPAs. (And he makes a VERY tasty IPA, I'll add).

After the beer fest, we headed over to Siciliano's Market on Lake Michigan Drive, west of US131, and I picked up some equipment and some ingredients for a brown ale. Hoping to brew today. Then next door to them is a nice little pizza bistro, where we got a pepperoni pizza (But they got LOTS of different pizzas on the menu, I recommend them highly!)

Conclusion: Great time. Bit crowded. More bathrooms please. Great beers! Looking forward to the Summer beer festival coming up this year in Ypsilanti.

GeorgeH 02-24-2008 07:05 PM

I was there too, I asked a couple times if anyone from the boards was going but I guess we missed the right threads to talk about it in.

This was my third festival and my first winter fest. We took the bus from Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti (Espresso Love keg on board, yay!). A friend was at last year's in Lansing and said this was way more crowded. It was kind of weird that there was a ton of space at the ballpark, but everyone was crowded into the walkways. I think it would have made more sense to brush off the bleachers and let people sit down.

This was the first time the fest has been held on the left side of the state, and I think the crowding was from the pent-up demand. Bells (who skip these festivals for reasons I can only speculate), Founders, New Holland, Arcadia... they're all on the west side but this is the first year in over a decade of fests that the Michigan Brewers' Guild has held an event there. I think even the MBG was caught off guard, the event sold out!

My favorites of the festival were Founders' Kentucky Breakfast Stout (oatmeal stout aged in bourbon barrels) and New Holland's Dragon's Milk (American strong ale aged in bourbon barrels, do you see a trend?) While the winter fest features a lot of big beers and dark beers, there were plenty of other styles going around. Big Rock's Reserve Farmhouse Ale was definitely the most interesting of the fest for me, it had a million different flavors all fighting for your tongue. If you like sour beers then definitely try to find this one.

Anyone who wants to see what they missed out on can the complete beer list at http://www.mbgmash.org/?p=61

Homercidal: They use the same tokens at the Ypsi fest and from year to year, so if you have any left over save them! Also, the Ypsi fest has more people and longer beer lines, but isn't as cramped and has way more bathrooms.

justinmcdevitt 02-24-2008 08:22 PM

I'll keep mine short :)
It was a great time, first beer fest I went to, and now I can't wait till the summer one (plus that one is 30 min from my house not 3 hours)

as to bells not being there Larry Bell has his reasons, and they are very good and I support him for not being there (I will not say why he wasn't there just accept that it is a good one)

As to the beer well michigain is the great beer state :) and we live up to it I do have to say lay out could have been much better, as it was pretty packed and people where falling on the ice, but ice + high grav beers = bad ballance for some

Homercidal 02-24-2008 08:25 PM

I am def planning on going this summer. I did not get to try every beer I wanted. Toward the end some were running low, and they had some not listed too, so I guess it evened out... Also, twice I did not get what I asked for. I tried for a bourbon cask brew, but they were sold out.

I got one token left. Was going to buy an extra for a keepsake, but I ended up getting like two beers for free, so I just kept one. I was unable to get a DD for the event, so I had to keep my consumption to a minimum. Now i don't know what I'd want the keepsake for...

I agree that the place was not utilized efficiently. I think that if they have it again next year on the west side, they better plan for it better! I would think the ballpark would have had ample space for everyone, and they could have sold more tickets easily!

I don't mind standing in line for a few minutes. gives you time to chat and drink the past beer you got. I did not like feeling squished in line, or just trying to get around. I did have a great time, and even if nothing changed, I'd still go again (but maybe with a DD!) ;)

BrianP 02-24-2008 08:50 PM


Originally Posted by Homercidal
Looking forward to the Summer beer festival coming up this year in Ypsilanti.

There was some talk last week that the Ypsi event would be a nice time for a SE Michigan HBT gathering. Perhaps interested HBT'ers could meet somewhere before or after.

As time approaches I'll put a posting up to get the word out.

Homercidal 02-24-2008 10:52 PM

Yeah, I was pretty disappointed that there wasn't any HB sales going on at the Festival, but I guess that really isn't the point. The point was to bring attention to the craft breweries out there. My opinion is that a fair share of HBers frequent those types of establishments, and the two sort of go hand-in-hand.

That said, I think that HBers probalby have their own gatherings. I probalby should get out more and find some of them.

cuinrearview 02-24-2008 11:19 PM

This was my first MBG event, and my second craft beer festival ('03 World Expo in Frankenmuth). The crowd seemed happy, but the vendors and brewers I talked to seemed frustrated. Lots of frozen equipment. There were two beers that I really wanted to try. One had frozen up and the other was out by the time I got there, probably due to it being served in a heated tent:confused: . That said, we have some great brews in our state, and the fact that the aforementioned brewery (which happened to be my favorite) shunned the event continues to confirm what I think the snob Larry Bell thinks of our community. It's a good thing that Dark Horse is showing up with a comparable IPA to Two-Hearted. As for beers, the most memorable I sampled were the the big hefe from Big Rock Chophouse and the Jalapeneo beer from Arcadia, which is a must-try as a change of pace. A friend of mine also sampled the farm ale, and he spoke of the "dill pikle beer" for the rest of the afternoon :ban: .

I also visited Siciliano's today to pick up the ingrediants for my "comeback" batch(three years out of brewing). I was disappointed to find them completely out of cascade and centennial hops. Hopefully I'll be happy with Amarillo, which I bought on a whim without researching, only to get home and find them a very good substitute.:mug: My three-year-old cascade vine will finally be harvested this summer after three years of careful care only to smash bracts and sniff every September:( .

I just joined after lurking for a couple weeks, getting myself pumped up to do another beer. After attending the event I figured I'd chime in for post numero uno. Looking forward to talking with y'all as I re-discover the love.

RadicalEd 02-24-2008 11:26 PM

I'm up for a HBT gathering! Do I know anyone from AABG or FORD on here?

dannypo 02-25-2008 12:14 AM

I didn't make it this year so I can't comment on the event.

As for bells not being there. They aren't a member of the MBG. When the guild started getting invoved in polotics Larry left the guild. He felt it wasn't the place of the guild to do this.

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