2016 Winter Beer Festival Review

by | Feb 29, 2016 | Beer, Michigan, Music

The 11th Annual Michigan Brewers Guild 2016 Winter Beer Festival was in Grand Rapids, Michigan over the weekend (Feb 26 & 27).

Winter Beer Festival

The weather forecast for the weekend was unbelievably perfect – sunshine and unseasonably warm temperatures. Thank You Obama!

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125 Michigan Breweries and 1013 beers!

You need a plan for the Michigan Winter Beer Festival. Going without a plan is a lot like going to IKEA without a list. You wander around for several hours and leave with $200 of stuff you didn’t even know you needed or even wanted. It is perfectly fine to attend without a plan and truth be told, our plan flew out the window in the first 30 minutes, so we were basically “plan-less,” which is why we never go to IKEA.

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Winter Beer Festival Plan

Keeping with tradition, Chuck developed an intricate plan during the car ride to the festival.

This year, he had a two-pronged approach that integrated the BeerFest List App, and in case technology failed, a beautifully coded beer adventure map he made from the festival brochure. Sadly, within minutes of entering the festival he lost his beer adventure map, we never found it. I lost Chuck after we crossed the Mackinaw Bridge to the Land of Dark Horse and it took nearly an hour to find him. Technology and beer don’t always go well together; juggling tokens, tasting glass and an iPhone proved to be a bit much after just a few beers. The app was abandoned after I dropped my iPhone the second time. Jeff lost his iPhone and it took a lot longer than an hour to find it on Sunday morning. (Install find iPhone if you haven’t already!) It is good there is a fence keeping us contained within the Fifth Third Ball Park.

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Those who drink Michigan Beer are never lost!

We may not always remember every single detail! But we are never lost!

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Dark Horse Brewing Co.

We crossed the Mackinaw Bridge to the land of Dark Horse to try their “Blueberry Double Crooked Tree.

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One Well

The Wizards of One Well were pulling their “Puppet Strings” to cast yet another spell over us.

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Blackrocks Brewery

From the North in their Nearer Bus, the Blackrocks knights arrived with the “Murray Project” and “Chuck’s Banger IPA.”

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Lake Charlevoix Brewing

The “Soul Smasher” emerged from Lake Charlevoix Brewing. This delightful brew put a smile on our face, even if the name is sort of scary.

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Cellarmen’s “Belgian Abbey Broggot” packed a punch and brought Chuck to his knees.

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The TripelRoot crew were in fine spirits even though Nate was nursing a broken leg from too much hockey fun. We were thinking that another shot of Improved Brain Function Stout would be just the ticket to ease any pain. I know we enjoyed is full bodied satisfaction.

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White Flame Brewing

Hot Kevin” from White Flame Brewing was gone, so Chuck had Weakness their Imperial Porter. I had their Lumpy Space Princess – A Pineapple Pink Peppercorn IPA. Not exactly Hot Keven but we were good.

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Shorts Brewing Co

Shorts melted my brain and Chuck went wild with their Erracticus.

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We also met these lovely ladies while waiting in line at Shorts.

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Macatawa Ale Company

Mister Fister from Macatawa Ale Company didn’t disappoint. And it was fun to say!

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New Holland Brewing Co.

The Dragon’s Milk Reserve Tripel Mash was the memory eraser of this year’s festival. Thank you New Holland! The Detroit Free Press has a great write-up on the 17 varieties of New Hollands bourbon barrel-aged Dragon’s Milk. My personal favorite Vanilla Chai.

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Old Nation Brewing

Old Nation Brewing took us by surprise with their “The Detroit Dwarf – Alt Bier.” It is a beer you can drink all day long and not get tired of it. Plus, they’ve got the cutest staff!

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Fetch Brewing

Fetch Brewing was in Tent 4 and for some reason not on our original plan. I would have remembered “Elvis Crack.” (Sometimes it is good to not have a plan!)

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Rubert’s Brew House

Chuck said, “Show me your Bloobies” several times. I didn’t realize he meant the beer.

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Greenbush Brewing

“Wait a minute!” I said when I met this guy! You don’t work at Greenbush! Everyone laughed and then I realized I walked right into that one. If you’ve not figured it out, look at his shirt. Yes, he looks just like the guy on the Greenbush T-Shirt but in fact the guy on the shirt is a composite of several different people.

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Pure Brews America

Shannon Long from Pure Brew America was in the house on Saturday. Pure Brew produces a television show about the Michigan Beer Industry. Got an idea for a show? Contact Shannon Long at [email protected]!.

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It just wouldn’t be a festival without Hopman!

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The Thirsty Perch Blues Band got the party started with a heaping helping of blues. Their music was upbeat and deep in the groove. With some great keyboards, harp, and guitar playing riding on top of a big old bottom, we were surprised more people weren’t dancing.

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The Slim Gypsy Baggage band were a real hit with us. Their music had a soulful psychedelic vibe that made you want to swing with the groove. Perfect tunes for chilling with your friends and enjoying some fantastic Michigan brew. Go check out their latest release Undercurrents, and hear what all the fuss is about.

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After a couple of beers, people are ready to start moving at the Winter Beer Festival.

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We have a ton more pictures of the Michigan Winter Beer Festival in the gallery.

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