The 2020 Michigan Winter Beer Festival was a gift from the Gods. The sky was a perfect blue, the Grand River was bulging but not overflowing, the beer lines weren’t freezing, the music was badass, and over 133 Michigan Breweries were gathered in one place. It was a gift Michigan Craft Beer Enthusiasts needed.
Michigan Winter Beer Festival
Before the 2020 Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Fest, Amy Sherman posted a link to our 2014 Winter Beer post “The Hangover.” I groaned. I love Amy. She is so kind. She said, “This is still my all time favorite review of a Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival…..my girl (who now totally remembers me) Brenda Sodt Marshall from Life In Michigan nails it.”
(Photo Credit – John Gonzalez)
Thinking about our 2014 post recirculating had my innards turning into jelly. Reading some of our early stuff is so painful. When I’d worked up enough nerve, I read it with fresh eyes and 6 years of experience. I was shocked. It wasn’t too bad so of course, I thought maybe this year I should write “Hangover II.”
Driving to Sidetrack for dinner on Friday before the beer festival, I very casually suggested we watch Hangover II after dinner. In unison, Chuck and Avery asked me if I’d lost my mind. Laughing Chuck said, “Oh are you thinking of using it as a format for this year’s beer festival?” The razzing went on for a bit. The idea got crushed like a stink bug that crawled out from its hiding spot on a warm winter day.
I got the message boys, I won’t write Hangover II.
Let’s Drink Michigan Beer
Just a few of our favorites:
- Fillmore 13 – Peanut Butter Augustus Gloop – super peanut butter and chocolate stout..wow!! So delicious!!
- Grand River Brewery – Karmaknife – Black IPA – not only is this a delicious dark IPA, it includes magical squid ink which renders you invisible.
- Broad Leaf Local Beer – Beamed Propulsion – Pale Ale – great crisp that felt like an IPA. Loved the freshness of it on a sunny winter day
- Flat River Brewing – Taylor Hops – damn nice double IPA – reminded me of summer, but that could be the sun and a nice IPA working its magic
- Stiggs Brewing – Bonecrusher chocolate beer – a big old chocolate taste which would be great pancakes 🙂
- Edelbrau Brewing – Kviek IPA – made with Norwegian yeast. After one drink I was ready to grab my battle-ax and sail with the Vikings! 🙂
Several beers into the festival I was exiting the women’s restroom and ran into Dianna Stampfler the Communications, Public & Media Relations wizard for the guild. While whizzing by she said, “hey is Chuck available at 3:30 for pictures of Mayor Bliss and the Guild’s president, Isaac Hartman?” I was that proverbial deer caught in the headlights. I mumbled “Oh sure” all the while thinking I didn’t have a clue to his whereabouts. Moment of truth, I also didn’t know she was referring to the Mayor of Grand Rapids. I thought Mayor Bliss was a person’s name, admittedly a new-age millennial name. So when I ran into Audrey Martinson from Chelsea Alehouse a few minutes later and said something about finding Chuck and needing a picture of Mayor Bliss this happened!
With the selfie over, we ambled over to listen to the Michigan Brewers Guild Fight Song and tap the firkin.
During Isaac’s speech on Saturday, he mentioned this beautiful couple who met 10 years ago at the Winter Beer Festival!
Ten years ago was my first winter beer festival with Chuck Marshall. Lord have mercy, he passed out in his mashed potatoes during dinner, then went to the room and let all the air out of our bed. Do you remember those beds where you set the level of firmness? Ay, yi, yi!
A ten year anniversary is marked by tin and aluminum. So it is only fitting we showcase a few of the beer cans this year.
Cast of Characters
Because of the Michigan Brewers Guild beer festivals we’ve made a lot of friends. Each year we add a few more to the “Pack”. No blood rituals are required, just the love of Michigan Craft Beer.
One of the newest additions is Teo from Edelbrau. If you mention beer to Chuck, he’ll mention Edelbrau in the next sentence. It is good to fall in love all over again.
We met Iron Chuck as we were leaving. Chuck was pretty impressed. Iron Chuck ran an Ironman in Hawaii.
I’m trying to figure out Sharkman. Chuck loves his battle vests.
The Wizard of One Well who are bringing their beer to the East side of Michigan in shiny new cans!
Mike from Stiggs Brewery in Boyne City.
The Metal Brigade from Cognition, minus our buddy Jay Clancey who they left in the UP.
Dan “I get no love” Potter.
Captain Hollywood aka Tommy Erickson from Slumlord Radio, Mr. Sunshine aka Pauly from Stone Clover, and the God of Thunder Michael Todd.
Marty from Odd Sides and Mike from M4 CIC
Jay “The Magic Man” Green who we met way back when he was with Tri-City Brewing. He is now with Perrin and is killing it!
Chris “Mr. Sunshine” Lasher from Griffin Claw.
If we missed you, we are sorry! Be sure to grab us next time.
Winter Beer Festival 2020 Music
One thing that doesn’t change from beer fest to beer fest is a mix of great local music. This year’s Winter Beer Fest is no exception with Slumlord Radio and Stone Soup and the Broken Teeth offering up hot music on this sunny winter’s day.
Making a return visit to the Winter Beer fest is the Swedish rock warriors known as Slumlord Radio. They are actually from Grand Rapids, but could easily be rolling through Norway with Kvelertak or grooving in the desert with Kyuss. Since our first encounter with Slumlord Radio in 2018, we have come to know and love them.
As you would expect, Slumlord Radio comes out swinging. Michael Todd and Matt Claucherty deal out booming bass and hard-hitting drums that recall the masterful rhythmic duos of Entwistle and Moon or Jones and Bonham. Meanwhile, Captain Hollywood (Tommy Erickson) takes command of the microphone while putting his acrylic axe to work chopping up some Herculean riffs. Slumlord Radio brought the hammer down with originals such as the rocking “Holy Smokes”. A few awesome covers are thrown in for good measure including their fantastic take on the Stooges “Now I Wanna Be Your Dog”. Once again Slumlord Radio delivers a ray of hard rocking sunshine on this brilliant day at Winter Beer Festival 2020.
Stone Soup and the Broken Teeth
As I’m standing by the side of the stage waiting for Stone Soup and the Broken Teeth to start up, drummer Michael Brown pats me on the shoulder. “Thanks for coming out,” he says to me with a smile. Then vocalist Nathan Walton (who is also the brewer extraordinaire at 5 Lakes Brewing) points to me and says “I know that guy, he takes great pictures”. The band hasn’t played a note and I’m already a fan.
There is some music still playing over the sound system and instead of waiting for the sound man to drop it out of the mix, Stone Soup and the Broken Teeth start to jam along. Trumpet player Andy Jarema picks up the melody with Nathan. Meanwhile, guitarist, Michael Coburn adds some counterpoint lead guitar. Turning this into more of a musical stew is the rhythm section of Colin McCorkle (keyboards), Branden Garner (guitar), Doug Watkins (bass), and Michael Brown. There are laughs, smiles, and a few “What the hell are we doing?” shrugs as they jam a bit before setting into their own music.
The sign behind the band says “Real Music for Unreal Times”. While the world may seem a bit crazy, we are all soaking up the sunshine with a delicious beer in hand as we swing to the soulful sounds of Stone Soup and the Broken Teeth. They play a few songs from their new album called Simmering such as “Lordly Prophits” and “Money”. The Stone Soup and the Broken Teeth sound combines a bit of bouncing jam with R&B soul and a dash of country. They had me thinking of Widespread jamming with The Teskey Brothers. In any case, they give a shot of musical sunshine to boost our Winter Beer Festival 2020 buzz.
We have a few more pictures from the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Fest 2020. Enjoy the images. Contact us regarding any use.
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