Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Festival Time!

As the great poet of our time, Will Smith, once said of summer:

"...School is out and there's a sort of a buzz, but back then I didn't really know what it was..."

Well, as it turns out, he was buzzing about the summer festival season. Either that, he was experimenting with underage drinking during his summer break. Maybe I'm reading too much into this.

Summer is chock full of it's Brewfests, Beerfests, Puckerfests, and Friday the Firkinteenths. While I'd love to do nothing but tour the festivals of this great nation, there is only so much summer to be had. I really only make it out to one: The Michigan Brewers Guild Beer Festival. 

The Brewers Guild runs a well organized event. Spread out over two days (Friday, July 27th, and Saturday, July 28th) across a sprawling riverside park in Ypsilanti, MI, the festival brings breweries from all corners of the peninsulas. Add in food that fills a beer belly and you get an event that is extremely well attended. I remember when you could get tickets a few days before from your local brewery. Nowadays, you would be pushing your luck to get your tickets three weeks in advance!

There seems to be a special effort by many of the brewers to bring a little something extra to the festival. There are frequent tappings of special barrel aged ales and lovingly crafted sours appearing only at the festival. Some were only available for one day, or even only for a few hours. experimental brews also reared their foamy heads. Round Barn had an extremely well balanced Grape Expectations Fruit ale last year. Short's Brewing brought along an India Spruce Pilsner. Yeah, that's Spruce, as in the tree. It was... pine-y. 

Thankfully, as with all good crafters, there is a lovely balance between the "traditional" style and the "out there" experiments.

I'm looking forward to this year and it's tap list. My wife and I signed up for an Enthusiast Membership, allowing us to sneak in an hour early each day and avoid the long line to get in. I'll be sharing my anticipations and observations right here. In the meantime, anyone else attending?


  1. I just remembered to buy a ticket, and Saturday is already sold out (except for designated drivers).

    1. If you go to some of the sponsored breweries, there are some Saturdays floating around. Someone on the MBG blog mentioned Merchant's Fine Wine in Dearborn has some.

    2. Oh, and here's the link to the latest list of ticket holders you can buy from: