The 2018 Winter Beer Festival was the same wonderful festival, just postponed for a week. There were new faces in the crowd and just a few less breweries because of the date change. The BeerFest mobile app provided a notice for the brewers unable to attend.
2018 Winter Beer Festival
This year’s beer festival featured over 1000 beers, and some were pretty high octane. So this post is an interesting combination of photos and creative non-fiction. It is a true story but some of the details are little fuzzy, which is why I’m calling it creative non-fiction.
Flooding prompted the festival date change. Although not welcomed, rescheduling the fest was necessary. As a bonus, the rescheduled date turned into a perfect winter day in Michigan. Sunglasses replaced long underwear.
Unfortunately the date change disrupted travel plans for some. I thought that would be the source of the chatter rippling and skipping amongst the beer enthusiasts as they waited for Victor to start the count down for the beer festival, but, alas, it was not.
We love Dark Horse, so I am biased. I thought their display was clever, but I heard not everyone enjoyed the magazines on display.
Curiously, Scooby Doo provided me with the scoop on Chuck Marshall.
I ran into Scooby while waiting in line for the porta john. You run into all sorts in that line. While chatting with Scooby, Chuck darted by. I said, “Oh, there is Chuck.” I almost called out to get his attention, as he’d ditched me not long after we arrived to get pictures of the brewers, but Scooby cut me off to share with me the inside scoop on Chuck. It was so cute, I couldn’t interrupt. It was flattering to learn Scooby looks forward to Chuck’s pictures. I have to admit I do too. Just so you all know, I don’t get to see them until he is ready to publish them.
Rupert’s Brew House
We also got the low down on Rupert’s Brew House in Kalamazoo from Scooby. His sweet chatter rang a bell in my foggy brain. Thank goodness we blog about our beer adventures! In 2015, we visited Ruperts during our “Beertastic Journey Through Kalamazoo.” All the details are there for you to enjoy too.
Silver Harbor Brewing
We tried two of Silver Harbor’s beers, “Cookie Monsta” and “Psychedelic Pils”. Both were great. They were one of seven Michigan breweries to bring home awards from the Great American Beer Festival in Denver last October. Shipfaced was given the gold award for Barley Wine-Style Ale. We have a map so we can find them.
Chuck sampled the Th3y Way Belgian Trippel from Thornapple Brewing and said, ” It was nice. Not overly wheaty, but still a good Belgian.” These guys were news to me when I got my first peek at Chuck’s photos. Thornapple Brewing is new but they have nearly fifty years of brewing experience between the co-founders. They’ve got vegan and gluten free options on the menu! Two-thumbs up from me. So where is this new brewery? They are just a few miles East of Grand Rapids, not too far from the Ford Airport on 28th Street. Definitely adding to our brewery tour the next time we are in town.
Homegrown Brewing Company
We were happy to find Homegrown Brewing Company at the festival, but sad to discover they were out of Ruck-A-Chuck! We discovered this delicious beer after the Winter Beer Festival was rescheduled, and we became “Grand Rapids Refugees.” Or if you will, displaced beer enthusiasts looking for a new beer to sample. With a few extra hours to explore, we headed to Oxford, Michigan. Not only is their “beer down to earth”, but their food is amazing. Definitely worth the trek.
5 Lakes Brewing
The doors of 5 Lakes Brewing officially opened on December 12, 2016. We’ve not visited the brewery in Dorr, Michigan, but we plan to visit the next time we are on the West Side of the state. I consulted the map and it looks like it isn’t far from Holland, just off 131. Chuck sampled their LazerCat Unicorn imperial stout and said, “Delicious! And it probably led me to forgetting a few beers after that one.”
I know I stopped by Tripelroot from Zeeland. This is where things get a little fuzzy and I’ll be damned if I can find them in the festival guide, so I can’t say for sure which beer I tasted. It was one of the “heavy-hitters.” Anyone else try Tripelroot’s high octane beer?
Tripelroot isn’t new to us and they’ve been brewing beer for a few years. We discovered them after Spring Beer City Fest in 2015. We should have a section of the high octane beers, but these are the hardest to remember. Do we have any volunteers for reporting on these? Did you have any favorites?
Those adorable hop hats! I asked the hop hat owner where he got his adorable hat. He said, but it is one of those fuzzy details. I’m pretty sure his sister-in-law makes and sells them. If the owner of the adorable hop hat reads this post, would you please post in the comments a link? Everyone should have a hop hat.
The Michigan Brewers Guild continues to find outstanding Michigan music to entertain us at their beer festivals. This year’s Winter Beer Festival had some of the best rock music to date. From head banging hard rock to swaggering garage rock, there was something for everyone. Well, I guess unless you dig pop country and then you were shit out of luck.
Reportedly the guys from Slumlord Radio are Swedish refugees on the run from some serious debts owed to a bookie back in Sweden. These former models and truck drivers have relocated to Grand Rapids and have started a band to earn some cash to repay their debts. Thank the Lord they have come to America as this band is steeped in hard rock and infused with feisty punk belligerence.
I felt a bit like I did when I first heard The Muggs at the Detroit Fall Beer Festival a few years ago. Just like The Muggs, the thick and meaty roar of Slumlord Radio pulled me in from across Fifth Third Ballpark as soon as I heard them. I’m a sucker for heavy ass crunchy guitar and power punching rhythms. Slumlord Radio has all this and more. They unleashed fistfuls of heaving hitting riffs. I was in heaven.
The Legal Immigrants
The Legal Immigrants from Grand Rapids were dressed to impress with bedazzling snow suits. Well, everyone that is except their drummer who apparently didn’t get the memo. It was no problem as he was a maestro behind the drum kit. In fact, the whole band was a joy to listen to and watch.
They jammed with the sweaty swagger of garage rock packed with a boatload of gorgeous grooves. I was reminded of the Black Keys, Dead Weather, and the Von Blondies as I listened to them kick it out. Their music was fun, rocking, and had just the right amount of special sauce to get the party moving at the Winter Beer Fest
We have a bunch more photos in our gallery. Please enjoy them, but if you share, we’d like a photo credit.
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