The Michigan Brewers Guild hosted its 19th Annual Summer Beer Festival, July 22, 2016 and July 23, 2016, in Ypsilanti, Michigan’s Riverside Park.
Summer Beer Festival
It was huge! It was Hot! And it was Wonderful. With over 1,300 Michigan craft beers to sample, it was simply the best Summer Beer Festival yet.
Let The Firkin Tapping Begin!
It is challenging to find new and interesting ways to share our beer festival experiences. Our best continues to be the Hangover! from the 2014 Winter Beer Festival. Chuck’s original name or theme or whatever you want to call it for the 2016 Summer Beer Festival was Mich-a-Beer-Go. Every time he suggested it, I’d wrinkle my nose and mumble lukewarm agreement. A merry-go-round kept popping into my head and then thoughts of bed spins followed, but the universe was looking out for me. It sent Garry Boyd the “ringleader” of HopCat/Bar Fly Ventures. This divine intervention happened prior to the festival at the Beer Enthusiast Happy Hour. When we shared with him our idea for this post, without hesitation, he said, “Drink-e-Mon Go!” Thank you Garry! No wonder you are a ringleader for HopCat, you are a genius.
Adapting the Pokemon rules to the Drink-e-Mon Go! game was out of the question. I lost several hours of my life reading about Pokemon, I still have absolutely no idea how to play Pokemon or if there are even rules.
So, I made my own Drink-e-Mon rules.
Become an Enthusiast Member
This is a no-brainer. It gets you VIP access the Michigan Brewers Guild festivals and a cool t-shirt. The VIP access means you get in an hour early to the festivals and can purchase tickets during the pre-sale two days prior to the public sale. Plus some other perks, go to Mibeer.com for more information. I strongly recommend you do this. You are not required to memorize the Michigan Beer Fight Song but it is a lot of fun if you can sing along.
Download the Beer Festival App
If you use the app you can rank the beers. The Free Press published the rankings provided from the Beer Fest app. You’ll also need the paper program; it has the adventure map. Adventure maps are key to fun times playing Drink-e-Mon.
Don’t Annoy Victor
Victor is not the guy you want to annoy. If you don’t have appropriate ID or fail to show security the contents of your bags, it will annoy him and you’ll both be standing on the wrong side of the festival gate.
Some of the crowd favorites like Dark Horse Brewing, Kuhnhenn Brewing, Shorts Brewing and Witches Hat have long, long lines or they run out of beer. So move fast to get in line ASAP.
You get an extra point if can catch Aaron not doing something and I guess you get the bird too. Anyhoo, the Dark Horse crew just opened Dark Horse Commons, so get yourself out to Marshall to check it out. I sampled the “Smells like a Double Michigan Safety Meeting IPA.” OMG, please bottle that! In the interest of drinking responsibly, I refrained from having a second (see the last rule about drinking responsibly).
They are always so happy at Shorts Brewing Company. I wonder what they put in the water in Bellaire. Chuck had the Psychedelic Cat Grass which he said was delicious and very hoppy. I didn’t see him tripping out in the back forty which is a good thing.
We should all feel pretty lucky Jay Green from Tri-City Brewing is brewing beer. In January, we made our first pilgrimage to Bay City and Tri-City Brewing for the Bay City Acoustic Music Fest and the second time was for the Tall Ship Celebration. I made it to the Back Forty and got an Intergalactic Jack – American Pale Ale from Tri-City Brewing. It was delectable.
If you capture Jon Piepenbrock from Kuhnhenn Brewing with his bunny ears on, you get a special two point bonus. It’s easier if you’ve sampled Kuhnhenn Brewing’s Blueberry DRIPA because it gives you a super power. This is the equivalent of a “Rare Pokemon.”
After visiting Whiteflame Brewing, you may have the option of becoming one of Charlie’s Angels.
Granted, you have to visit the van with the candy to get your Angel’s gun. However, they have Gilligan’s Crush – Ginger Pale Ale, which by the way, was perfect for a hot afternoon.
Careful with the New Holland dragon, I have a feeling it will kick you in the butt if you drink too much. Again, see the last rule about drinking responsibly.
Amy Sherman and John Gonzales from MLive are on the road at this very minute searching for Michigan’s Best New Brewery. Seriously, how do you get a job like that? Stormcloud Brewing is one of the nominees. We have enjoyed Stormcloud Brewing’s beer on the S.S. Badger crossing from Wisconsin to Michigan and at the various Michigan Brewers Guild beer festivals. I mean, who could forget “A Yooper and a Troll Kissing In A Tree” at the Detroit Fall Beer festival or “Tijuana Buddha” at the Winter Beer in 2015. Stormcloud Brewing is a gem; we know because we visited over the winter.
Chuck defines a new brewery as “new to the 2016 Summer Beer Festival.” He counted 26 new breweries at this year’s Summer Beer Festival and we found just a few of them.
Baffin Brewing Co in St. Clair Shores was one that Chuck found early-on. He tried BOB (Bob Barley) Imperial Stout and said it put hair on his chest. I’m looking forward to this.
Kickstand Brewing Company in Commerce Township.
Quite a few people mentioned Kickstand as a place to check out, so we did. They were running low on beer, but we got the Deralia IPA. This fine brew was crisp with that wonderful dry finish you love in a great IPA.
Third Monk Brewing Co. in South Lyon.
Chuck sauntered over to visit with the fine fellows at Third Monk and gave their Lyon Pride a shot. You’ll feel like you are in a London pub enjoying this traditional English ale with a bit of a malt finish.
Texas Corners Brewing in Kalamazoo.
Chuck can’t wait to go visit Texas Corners. First off, their beer and cider rocked. The Summer Stampede Imperial IPA had a nice punch and lip smacking finish. Secondly, they are in Kalamazoo home to our friends at One Well and the mighty rock band Bonehawk! Plus there is a ton of great breweries to explore along the Kalamazoo Beer Trail.
Salt Springs Brewery in Saline wasn’t really new to us. We visited in early April and found great food and tried to find the actual salt spring but we got lost. It’s a complicated story, but we’ve got it all documented for you. None the less, we were happy to see them at the Summer Beer Fest where they were serving up their Dire Wolf Barleywine which will definitely get you ready to take on some white walkers.
Stay Cool and Hydrated
Wear a Pretzel Necklace
Stephen from Batch Brewing was either impressed or speechless, I’m not sure. Since we are talking about Stephen, I need to mention the The Feelgood tap, which started out as a rotating tap at Batch Brewing shortly after they opened their doors in 2015. I bet you are wondering what is a feelgood tap, right?
The Feelgood Tap raises funds to support local and regional nonprofits throughout Michigan with a focus on community, culture, and wellness. The funds raised will further the work these nonprofits do within communities throughout the state. Simply put: beer bars, breweries, and other craft beer-loving restaurants pick any beer from their menu, raise the price by $1, and let consumers do the giving. At the end of each month, those $1 contributions get passed to us and we deploy the funds throughout the State of Michigan to nonprofits doing good work.
I think they were comparing their um-ah, pretzel necklaces, no wait, they were just drinking beer.
The Back Forty
This is where you go for entertainment and to chill with cool tunes.
The Reefermen were the perfect band to kick back on a hot day of beer drinking. They played some soulful, rocking originals and some outstanding covers of Hendrix, Johnny Cash, and I’m pretty sure they did some Rolling Stones. If you get a chance to check them out live, do it. They are even better when you are with your friends and looking to boogie down.
Your Team aka Your Drinking Buddies
In PokeMon, your team must work together to capture or defend gyms. (I have no idea what that could possibly mean.) In Drink-e-Mon you have drinking buddies!
So Let’s Drink Michigan Beer (But Responsibly)
Sometimes it just creeps up on you and you just need to take a nap. Stay hydrated and remember, a beer festival is a marathon not a sprint. You’ve got to pace yourself.
We are all winners at the end of the day!
We’ve more pictures in our gallery. We don’t mind if you download the pictures and share on your favorite social media sites, but please give Chuck or LifeInMichigan photo credit and don’t remove the watermark.
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