Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival - GRNow Details
by Emily Horton, GRNow details blogger
Itís the seventh annual Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival. Itís the "Sold-out since December, Canít Miss Winter Beer Party" that happens whatever the weather, and brought close to 6,000 people to Fifth Third Ballpark this past Saturday to sample over 450 of the best in Michigan craft brews, listen to live local tunes and eat turkey legs. Yes, turkey legs.
If youíve never been to the Winter Beer Festival, here are a few things you missed. You can (and are strongly encouraged) to bring your own snacks. In fact, if you want to build a necklace loaded with meat sticks, cookies or string cheese, go right ahead and showcase it proudly! You can bring your own chair to cozy up by the fire pits while enjoying your go-to IPA. You need to dress like you are hitting the slopes, going ice fishing or headed out on a hunting trip; in fact the more outrageous the winter fashion statement the better. Grab that furry hat, scarf that was hand knit by grandma, green hops-shaped hat, ear muffs, camouflage snow pants or penguin costume. Your friends will appreciate your ability to be easily spotted in the crowd. You can even bring along any leftover tokens you have from previous years to use again. That is, if you have any extra tokens. You will need a designated driver. By the time you sample brews with names like Wassupwiththemonkey Blueberry Ale, Shoot Your Rye Out, Wheat and the Hell was that, Responsibly Pilsner, Willy's Oompa Loompa Stout and Fornicator Dopplebock you will want to leave your car at the ballpark overnight or hitch a ride with friends. You will hear entire tents yell "Booo" when a crowd-favorite keg goes empty. You will stand in a line that wraps around Fifth Third Ballpark and seems endless. But thanks to efficient event organizers and volunteers you are inside with your sampling glass in hand rather quickly and seamlessly. You will taste a brew that is undoubtedly your new favorite.
If you love beer, and so many of us do, we are lucky that Michigan is home to some of the best craft breweries in the country. The Winter Beer Festival isnít only the most sought after ticket in town, but itís a chance for friends, brewers and first time festival-goers to toast, cheer and debate which are the top Michigan brews. One beer enthusiast summed up his experience at the festival very matter of factly by saying, ďMichigan might be #4 in the nation for craft breweries but it's #1 in my heart.Ē And thatís the spirit of the Winter Beer Festival, indeed.