Michigan Summer Beer Festival 2017 Review

by | Jul 27, 2017 | Beer

The Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival celebrated its 20th Anniversary in Ypsilanti’s Riverside Park on July 21st and 22nd. 


Michigan Summer Beer Festival

More than 145 Michigan craft breweries brought over 1,140 different beers to the festival. Over the two day event, we heard there were over 15,000 people celebrating. The Michigan Brewers Guild knows how to throw a party. The event featured music from several Michigan Bands, a HopCat Crack Fry eating contest, Firkin tappings and beer slushies. 

If you are looking for a list of the “best” beers at the Michigan Summer Beer Festival, the Free Press covered it. Wondering about the history of the guild? John Liberty wrote a great article “Birth of a Brewers Guild” published in the Guild’s Anniversary issue of their magazine. If you are looking for pictures and a bit of colorful commentary, we’ve got you covered. Read on…


(Jay Green from Tri City Brewing and Jon Piepenbrok from Kuhnhenn Brewing Co.) 

It’s a Michigan Thing 

Chuck caught a candid of David Cockel from Watermark Brewing Co providing directions to Stevensville, Michigan. Yep. I’ve never heard of it either. But MLive reporters, Amy Sherman and John Gonzalez have heard of it. They visited last fall and had great things to say about Watermark Brewing in their review. 


A few minutes later Chuck asked Ayla, “Where is Haymarket Brewery located?” And she responded like you’d expect. If you guessed Bridgman, Michigan, two points for you! Haymarket just opened in January. Chuck sampled their Mathias Imperial IPA. He gave it two thumbs. 


Next up was Dark Horse. Everyone knows where they are located, but Kristy indulged us. She also gave us samples of their Nitro Iced Coffee. OMG. So good. 


It just got carried away from there… 

We caught Latitude 42 Brewing pouring Wanda, their Ales for ALS. They played along. They are located in Portage, Michigan. 


The Captain from Baffin Brewing knows exactly where St. Clair Shores is located. 


Sean from Top Hop Farms was a little sassy, but still played along. 


Ellison Brewery & Spirits is located in our Capital, Lansing. They’ve got something for everyone: beer, wine, spirits, cider and mead. 


OpenRoad Brewery in Wayland, Michigan is midway between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. A perfect pit stop if you are on a beer tour on the west side of the state. They are the new kids on the block. They just celebrated their one year anniversary. 


Crankers Brewery has three locations: Mt. Pleasant, Big Rapids and Grand Rapids. I think they are pointing to Mt. Pleasant. Distractions were everywhere, it was hard to focus. 


Biere De Mac Brew Works is located in, you guessed it, Mackinaw City. 


The Snowbelt Brewing Company is located on the middle finger, second knuckle (aka Gaylord). Cute glasses. 


Territorial Brewing was happy to play along with us. They are proud to be from Battle Creek. 


Finally, we found the Wizard from One Well who live in the magical Kalamazoo! 


It was HOT

Keeping cool was tricky…


Beer Slushies to the rescue

But thankfully, Batch Brewing was serving slushies! I’ll admit I sampled SEVERAL. My favorite was the Blood In Orange Out Slushie. It was Amy Sherman’s BEER OF THE YEAR! 



Jon Piepenbrok

The guy who does things at Kuhnhenn Brewing and has a lot of fun at the beer festivals. 


Beer Fight Song

Created by the beervangelist Fred Bueltmann and sung with gusto at each and every Michigan Brewers Guild beer festival.


Crack Fry Eating Contest

The World Championship Crack Fry Easting Contest on Saturday was a sight to behold. The finalists competing on Saturday were winners of competitions in their home town HopCat. After eating over 3 pounds of crack fries, the World Champion Matt Holowicki (Ann Arbor regional champ) won $2000 and year of FREE HopCat Crack Fies. It was kind of a big deal. 





Stone Clover

This band kicks ass. That’s my review. The awesome green machine from Detroit known as Stone Clover has the uncanny talent of putting a big ass smile on my face. While seriously good musicians, the band is all about having fun. If you happen to have a beer in your hand as you listen to them, so much the better.



They played a great mix of tunes off their album called ‘Proper Villains’ and a few covers for good measure. Now if you ask me what that setlist was, well I can’t say. Because my friends, I had a few beers by the time the band came on and I was just too happy to see them to write them down. You can trust that their set was awesome.







Matt Wixson’s Flying Circus

Matt Wixson’s Flying Circus unloaded a pantload of punk rock fun from Detroit on Saturday. They were the perfect band to light the fuse for the start of another hot day of beer drinking. The music was fun and geared to rev you up into high spirits. I was so happy after listening to them that I bought their EP called “About Time” which is out on vinyl.





The Tosspints

Representing Saginaw were the sex machines known as the Tosspints. Ok, I can’t verify the sex machine moniker, but they gave a swift kick in the pants with a furious set of Celtic punk. We had the extreme pleasure of seeing this band tear it up at Dark Horse Brewing’s 4 Elf party a couple of years ago. Their music bleeds with the authenticity of raw emotion. The upraised fist of punk rock pairs perfectly with a big mouthful of Michigan beer.




The Native Howl

When I read the term “thrash-grass” being used to promote the band Native Howl, I was intrigued. As many of you know, I’m a huge music fan and a bit of a metalhead. The idea of combining metal and bluegrass sounded genius. I mean, bluegrass is thrash metal without the Marshall stacks.



I’m happy to say that Native Howl did not disappoint. They blended up a spicy mix of hard rock and acoustic tunes. The bluegrass tradition of storytelling got a lift from the added intensity of heavy metal. It was a bit of a twist from the typical punk fueled bluegrass.




The Reeferman 

The Reefermen from Detroit laid down some groovy jams and smoking rock. These guys are smooth operators who know how to have a good time. They took the pulse of the crowd and laid into some grooves by Hendrix and a wailing cover of Black Sabbath.



DJ Danny Boy

Danny had the crowd hoping with some funky tunes and old school hits.


Beer + Music = Dancing

Sure it was 90 degrees, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dance like nobody is watching.



Drink Michigan

Spotted Drink Michigan! Another organization dedicated to promoting Michigan beer!


A Few More…






Many More Photos

We have more pictures in our gallery. If you share, we’d appreciate a shout out. Links to the galleries: Friday and Saturday

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