The Hangover: The 9th Annual Michigan Winter Beer Festival 2014


The Michigan Brewers Guild presented the 9th Annual Michigan Winter Beer Festival in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Saturday, February 23, 2014. The morning after I found a tiger in our bathroom and an extra person in our room! Kidding about the tiger, but not the extra person. I woke to the sound of a foghorn and I was pretty sure there weren’t any lighthouses near Grand Rapids. The extra person was the maintenance person fixing the noisy, hot water valve that sounded just like a foghorn. Cripes!

Let the “Hangover” Begin

(Before you judge me, please note there were 89 Michigan breweries and almost 800 craft beers to try at the beer festival.) 

Chuck took hundreds of photos and posted 93 in our gallery. You won’t find all 93 in this post so please visit our gallery to see all the pictures!

2014 Winter Michigan Winter Beer Festival!

51 North Brewing Co.

After the maintenance man left, Chuck crawled from under the covers and said, “Look honey here is your cup from the beer festival, you’ve got a 51 North Brewing Co. sticker?”  “No baby that is not my cup,” I adamantly said.  He produced a picture of me getting a Dogway IPA from 51 North Brewing, so clearly it was my cup. Damn! He was right and now that I see the picture I remember the beer. It was Delicious!

That is NOT my cup!

Great American Brew Trail

Chuck was full of surprises this morning. “Um, baby, here is  Amy Sherman’s Business card?” I don’t remember her,” I said. “I don’t think you were with me, you were hanging by Schmohz Brewing Co.‘s fire pit.” Oh yes the fire pit (Thank you Schmohz! That was an awesome fire pit!) Ok, back to Amy’s card. “Who is Amy?” Chuck looked at me like I’d lost my mind and said, “You know, she produces the television series Great American Brew Trail.” That I recognized but I couldn’t quite connect the dots yet.

The Famous Amy!

Greenbush Brewing Co

Sorting through the clothes scattered around the room, I found more artifacts from the 2014 Michigan Winter Beer Festival. My new event shirt from Greenbush was still tied to the strap of my purse. Whew! It made it back to the room, clean and in one piece. And I remember Greenbush! “A Sheep in Tall Grass – Scottish Ale” was my first beer of the event and I would have had a second but the lines were too long at Greenbush. Thank goodness we are Michigan Beer Enthusiast members — members get into the event an hour before the doors open. Before moving to the next table, I jumped into the Greenbush merch line and snagged my cool event shirt. I was happy to see our friends from Greenbush working the taps and the merch table. We first met Jen and Justin at the  2013 Dark Horse 4-Elf Party. Apparently Justin was the inspiration for this year’s Winter Beer Festival shirt design.

The Greenbush Merch!

I found this guy at Dark Horse on Sunday morning. He got a Greenbush shirt too!

Greenbush Beer Buddies!

Facebook Reveals More Details

As I was admiring my new shirt, Chuck says “Hey, I just got a message from Marty Dunham.” Now the morning was starting to feel like “Ground Hog Day.” Same conversation, who is Marty and where was I while you were making this new friend? Chuck ignored my question and said, “Marty runs the Marty All Over Michigan Facebook Page.” There was just a hint of, why don’t you know this?

Jon and Marty!

More new Friends

I suspect the “Frozen Dickicle” from Arcadia Brewing caused my memory loss on Saturday. I couldn’t find it on 2014 WBF Program today, but I do have a memory of asking for it. My new friends recommended it. I am ashamed, I don’t know their names and I don’t have a business card, but we have a great picture!

Festival friends who turned us on to the dick cicle

I made lots of new friends by the fire pit. These were our new BEST friends from Ohio. They were out of beer tokens so we gave them more. They are from the UK and love MICHIGAN. Again, I don’t know their names.

Our new BEST friends from Ohio

This is what happens when you stand too close to the fire!

What happens when you stand too close to the fire!

More missing pieces…

On the ride back to Ann Arbor,  Jeff and Angie helped fill in more of the missing Michigan Winter Beer festival pieces.

Dark Horse Brewing Co.

It is the year of the Horse! It is a time of fast victories, unexpected adventure, and surprising romance! The Horse Loves FreedomPerfect for Dark Horse.

The Year of the Horse!

I’m just gonna put it out there. We love Dark Horse — not just the beer, but the whole Dark Horse experience. You won’t find AC/DC music or “Hipsters” in the taproom. (FYI–Chuck had a bad Hipster experience at Founders after the festival. Please don’t get him started on hipsters.)  We had Dark Horse’s Sarsaparill 666 and the Mighty Peach Basil. We love both of these and look forward to having them every chance we get. We were hoping to have Demeter’s Lament — the winner of the Dark Horse Taproom Beer Competition but it wasn’t quite ready to roll for this event.

Cabe is ready roll

Kristy is super busy

Kuhnhenn Brewing Co.

Chucks’s favorite beer was Kuhnhenn’sForbidden IPA – Double IPA w/ Black Rice. For three tokens I got the Blueberry Eisbock. I liked it, but I was kinda bummed it was three tokens.

Great Hat at Kuhnhenn

Blackrocks Brewing

I know that I had the 51K IPA from Blackrocks Brewing and I think Chuck had the Bushytail Old Ale. I was so overwhelmed by their orange jumpsuits that is all I remember…

Blackrocks a study in Orange

Blackrocks a study in Orange

Andy from Blackrocks

It was near the Blackrocks table that we meet our Yooper Friends. It took them 23 hours to reach Grand Rapids from Marquette. They were stranded at the bridge. Now that is dedication. They produce a show in the UP.  Hopefully they will post a comment and tell us more about it!

Our Yooper friends

We visited many more breweries: Stormcloud, Unruly Brewing (which was Chuck’s favorite new brewery), Odd Side Ales, White Flame Brewing, Our Brewing andof’ course, Shorts! We made more friends. I’m sure they have stories to share about their encounter with us! Stop by our gallery and scan the photos! Leave a comment and share your Winter Beer Festival experience with us. Or better yet, follow us on Facebook.


  1. This might be the best beer festival review ever! At least the most accurate in my experiences. I always come home with a pocket full of cards and stickers and no recollection too. I do remember being really impressed by Unruly from Muskegon. I got to try some of my husband’s Blueberry Eisbock from Kuhnhenn, which was really good. Totally worth 3 tokens when you consider the time and materials that go into producing it. I didn’t see the cute t-shirts at Greenbush, but I did get a new Witch’s Hat one.

    The guy in the picture with Marty is Jon Pipenbrok, the Minister of Beerformation at Kuhnhenn, among other things.

    • Thank you Donna! I was a little worried about this post! I’m glad you enjoyed it…

      • Oh… And we’ve correctly spelled “Kuhnhenn” in the blog post. OMG I’m so embarrassed. I’m blaming on the beer.:) Blueberry Eisbock rocked and probably contributed to my memory loss on Saturday 🙂

  2. Great write up, Brenda. It was great seeing you and Chuck and 5000 of my closest friends. Michigan beer is the best!

    • Hi Cowboy Doug! We always enjoy seeing you! I’m looking forward to the next Michigan Beer Festival…How many days?

  3. OMG! Brenda you NAILED IT. I was laughing out loud while reading, because all of this is true. Then I tagged my friend who I was with and said the only thing you missed was the mysterious bruise that appears the next day….because that what happened to her. She thought that maybe it was from doing some fabulous high kicks and falling…do I tell her she wiped out (three times) upon exiting the port a john? I might just keep that to myself. And the fact that I didn’t help her up until the third time because I was laughing so hard. Really really (drunk) laughing.

    • Amy! So glad we finally get to meet and that you enjoyed the post. It is funny you mention the mysterious bruise as I was just looking at one on my foot and wondering how it got there…LOL. Let us know the next time you are close to Ann Arbor. We need to meet in person 🙂

  4. My wife Holly and I are the You person from near the Blackrocks table. It was one he’ll of a rude and fest for sure. I ended up with a concussion at the end of the day too. The show is called Black Shirt Beer Review. The episode for the Fest should be up in a day or two. Thanks foe gettin’ down with us. CHEERS!!

    • *….are the YOOPERS. Stupid auto-correct

      • OMG! The Yoopers. I’m going to look for the show “Black Shirt Beer Review”. We had a great time hanging out with you and Holly. We left the fest without any injuries beyond a mysterious bruise and headache! We are looking forward to the Summer, UP and Detroit Beer Festivals. Hopefully we will see you again either at a festival or online.

  5. Arcadia Frozen Dickicle was our Big Dick’s Older Ale with the water frozen off of it. An ice beer if you will.

    • LOL… Thanks Joshua for confirming that it was real and not something I dreamed up! It was very good, but I don’t recommend drinking a lot of it. 🙂 As I think it causes memory loss. We are headed to Arcadia on Saturday for a mini beer tour. May be we will see you there!

  6. Glad you liked the fire pit. Helps attract the ladies to my tent! See you at and event soon!

    • Schmohz! You had the BEST fire pit! Holy cow… Thank you… We will be at the Jackson Winter Festival next weekend and of course the Summer Beer Festival. We are looking forward to meeting the Brewer behind the fire!

  7. Brenda – those charming semi-frozen Brits (currently stuck in Ohio) are Ian and Debby Roberts. All the beers we tasted were top drawer and Grand Rapids itself is a totally brilliant little city.

    It was my Birthday on Tuesday (always proud of the fact that my Birthday is the same day as George Harrison) and amongst my prezzies was a really smart insulated jacket from Nautica, plus a pair of snow boots. As I unopened them, Debby casually said “Let’s try and get tickets for next year’s Winter Festival…”

    Thanks for the beer tokens!

    See you at the Summer Fest?

    • The semi-frozen Brits! You were so much fun! You really need to get out of Ohio… We hope you make it to the Summer Festival and hopefully the 2015 Winter beer festival too. We’ll be there for sure. Wouldn’t miss it. We usually go on Friday (FYI) to the Summer Festival. The Detroit Fall Beer Festival is a lot of fun, not as crazy as the other ones, but more festive — many great costumes as it is near Halloween. When you are in Ann Arbor next giving us a shout. Off to shovel snow! 🙂 Brenda

        • Brenda – Greetings from the two homesick (for Michigan) Brits in Ohio.

          Our favourite gastro-pub in Cowlumbus, the 101 Beer Kitchen recently had a Dark Horse tap takeover. I took a photo of the beer board, but can’t work out how to send it to you. Anyway, on tap was Crooked Tree IPA and CT Double IPA, Plead the Fifth, Tres Blueberry Stout, Fore Smoked Stout and Sapient Trip Ale. We obviously went for the rare stuff, so we plumped for the Double IPA, Plead the Fifth and Sapient Trip. All were STELLAR! A friend of ours had four Double Crooked Trees and then called me the next day to say he has no recollection of the hours between 8pm and Midnight. Honestly, these lightweight beer drinkers!

          It’s been total chaos since the 2014 version of KBS came out of Michigan. Jay, our beer manager mate at Whole Foods Market texted me to say that there was a line waiting outside the door before 9.00am yesterday and it was all gone inside 2-hours. There weren’t even selling the 4-packs; they made it a limit of two bottles, so that everyone had a chance of getting something. He saved a bottle for me, so I’m happy. Another beer store we frequent is releasing their stash of KBS tomorrow, so I expect the line will be a mile long.

          We’re definitely doing the Michigan Summer Fest – we tend to go on Friday too. We’re trying to plan a trip up to Traverse City as Debby wants to visit Short’s…it’s a work in progress. Cheers!

          • Ian and Debby! So glad our Brit friends are doing well in Ohio! 🙂 You’ll have to visit our facebook page and post the Dark Horse tap pic – KBS! Wow! We know its crazy popular, but good lord! Let us know your plans for the Summer beer fest and we’ll be sure to find you guys. We will be in Cleveland the weekend of 5/17 for the marathon, if you happen to be out that way. Take care! Chuck & Brenda

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest