It may seem to some that every week some credo of our love for Michigan craft beer appears in our pages. And since the onset of the summer season, we might even say that is a given truth. And though we are yet again, in this very column, about to discuss another event that features great beers made in the Great Lakes State, we believe, quite earnestly, this is one of the best of those fests to happen here.
Deserving of both your time and attention is the 15th annual Michigan Brewer's Guild's Summer Beer Festival, an event not only celebrating the ballooning craft beer industry in Michigan, but the fine folks who brew it as well as those we call it beloved.
For $30 on Friday night and $40 for Saturday afternoon, patrons will receive 15 tokens that are each redeemable for 3-oz samples (with additional tickets available for purchase). And considering the boatload of beers that are going to be available, you just might want to pick up a few more at the door.
Packing over 60 vendors and 450-plus brews into Hamtramck's Riverside Park, the Guild, as ever, plans to help a crowd of nearly 10,000 sample more beers in a day than they might be able to pack into a summer-long brewery tour.
"We have more beer than ever," says Michigan Brewer's Guild Executive Director Scott Graham. "It's going to be similar to years past, but its definitely going to be bigger and better than ever."
For those who've never attended Summer Beer Fest, though there are plenty of people that pack a park that's no more than a stone's throw from a college campus, this isn't some place you're going to find a bunch of frat dudes shot gunning cans and getting sick. The crowd might range from young novices to seasoned aficionados, but it's a group that is as respectful of their fellow patrons as they are of the beer they're there to imbibe.
Oh and speaking of that beer. Not only will there be some national award-winning brews like Jolly Pumpkin's Sobre Humano Palena 'Ole and Kuhnhenn's DRIPA and old favorites like Motor City Brewing Works' Ghettoblaster and Short's Brewing Co.'s Nicie Spicie, but there will also be some new brews premiering this Friday as well.
"Some brewers will bring things that they only make one batch of," says Graham. Meaning not only will Summer Beer Fest attendees be the first to try certain beers, but they may also be the only ones.
In addition to hyper-exclusive samples, there will also be batches made especially for the event.
"In honor of our 15th anniversary, we asked brewers to make an anniversary ale," says Graham. "We gave them a rudimentary recipe, just Michigan malted wheat and Michigan hops. We didn't want to be too restrictive."
For those who either fall in love with those ales or weren't able to make it out, Graham says breweries will be offering those batches at their brewpubs as well.
The Michigan Brewer's Guild will also be welcoming some new faces to the mix this year. Breweries like Perrin Brewing Co. and White Flame Brewing will be making their Summer Beer Festival debut, according to Graham.
If you're not up for the drive to Hamtown –or maybe you're self-aware enough to know you probably shouldn't make the drive home – there are a couple places around town offering ticket packages that include a bus ride to and from Riverside Park. Taylor's Adventures in Homebrewing, Lansing's Beggar's Banquet and Detroit's Motor City Brew Tours will offer shuttles on both Friday and Saturday. | RDW
Summer Beer Festival • 7/27, 5 p.m. & 7/28, 1 p.m. • Riverside Park • Depot Town, Ypsilanti • mbdmash.org • $30-$40