The 2019 Michigan Summer Beer Festival

by | Aug 5, 2019 | Beer, Music, Travel

The 2019 Michigan Summer Beer Festival on July 26-27, in Ypsilanti, featured more than 150 Michigan breweries. We caught the fun in our photos and interviews.  

2019 Michigan-Summer-Beer-Festival-336

2019 Michigan Summer Beer Festival 

During this year’s 2019 Michigan Summer Beer Festival, the tight-knit beer community rallied to provide support for two important members, Steve Berthel and Cowboy Doug Tetemeyer also known as Hopman. 

Steve Berthel 

Michigan Winter Beer Festival 2017

On July 25th, the day before the Annual Summer Beer Festival, Bert had a successful coronary artery bypass. This is indeed excellent news, but he still needs our support. Bells is throwing a party featuring Michigan Craft beer and great music on August 25th at the Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo. It starts at noon and ends around 6 pm. They are asking for donations at the door. If you can’t make it and want to make a donation, you can through the GoFundMe page that the Friends of Bert created for him.
2019 Michigan-Summer-Beer-Festival-4


Did you get a chance to say “Fuck Cancer” to our very own Superhero, Hopman? If you got your #teamcowboy bracelet to show support for Cowboy Doug who is battling leukemia, share a picture of it via Facebook! 

Beer Interviews

Jeff from Third Monk Brewing reached out to Chuck about an interview after Lyon Pride, their Extra Special Bitter won a Gold Medal in the 2019 U.S. Open Beer Championship. A plan was made to meet at the Summer Beer Festival. We then made a last-minute game day decision to take a camera and record it. While at the festival, we hoped to tap a few friends for more interviews.  

Because of our lack of equipment, there is background noise but the interviews are still fun. Please check them out. Stuff we touched on included:

  • What exciting news do you have for 2019? 
  • Everyone has a favorite beer festival, what is yours? 
  • Do you have a go-to beverage?
  • There is so much in Michigan to explore. What would you recommend to someone who is visiting Michigan for the first time? 

As you’d expect the interviews went a little off-script. 

Third Monk Brewing

Jeff Robinson and Chuck talk about beer and 6 degrees of separation from Wayne Gretzky. 

The Exciting News from Third Monk

Liquid Jesus is on tap at the Summer Beer Festival. The Detroit Free Press beer reviewer Brian Manzullo listed it as one of Summer Festival’s beers to try. But the real story Jeff said is from the US Open Beer Competition. It involved Wayne Gretzky, who apparently is making beer in Canada and had their No. 99 Rye Lager at the competition.

While Jeff was looking at the results from the US Open Beer Competition, he realized the judge who registered the results for Wayne Gretzky’s beer almost immediately registered the results for Third Monk’s beer. It was then he realized that Third Monk and Wayne Gretzky’s beers were in the judge’s stomach at the same time. “It’s like the 6 degrees of separation. It’s not to say we know Wayne Gretzky but…” 

Jeff’s Favorite Beer Festivals

Jeff loves the Mt. Pleasant Craft Beer Festival because of its size, the way it is organized and run. He said, “You can look down the line and literally everyone is out of beer at exactly the same time.” And of course, he loves the Grand Daddy of beer festivals, the Michigan Summer Beer Festival. Somehow the conversation spun around to the creative ways beer enthusiasts are displaying their beer badges.


2019 Michigan-Summer-Beer-Festival-129

Go To Beverages and Michigan Recommendations 

Jeff had a couple of go-to beers he’d recommend, Third Monk’s Lyon Pride which is an easy drinker and Witch’s Hat Brewing’s Under the Red Light which is an Amber Lager. His Michigan recommendations include of the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Beer Festivals and the Grand River Ale Trail, which I had never heard of. So good to know. We explored the Kalamazoo Beer Trail a few years ago, so I was familiar with the concept.  

I found an article on Hometown Life about the Grand River Ale Trail

“Brewers call it the “ale trail.”  The 32-mile stretch of craft breweries roughly follows Grand River Avenue and Interstate 96, between Farmington and Howell.  It makes the perfect summer self-tour for beer lovers. Start at Farmington Brewing Co. and work your way west to Aberrant Ales in downtown Howell.” 

  1. Farmington – Farmington Brewing Company 
  2. Northville – Northville Winery and Brewing Company 
  3. Northville – North Center Brewing Company 
  4. Novi – Ascension Brewing Company 
  5. Novi – Michigan Beer Company 
  6. Wixom – Drafting Table Brewing Company 
  7. Milford – River’s Edge Brewing Company 
  8. South Lyon – Witch’s Hat Brewing Company 
  9. South Lyon – Third Monk Brewing Company 
  10. Lyon Township – Draught Horse Brewing Company 
  11. Brighton – Brewery Becker 
  12. Howell – Eternity Brewing Company 
  13. Howell – Block Brewing Company 
  14. Howell – Aberant Ales

Liquid Note Brewing

Mark McPherson shares with Chuck the story behind Liquid Note Brewing’s name. 

Surprise Find! 

I got separated from my pack during the second day of the beer festival. Chuck was taking pictures and I was searching for Jeff when I literally stumbled into Liquid Note Brewing’s booth. Chris LaPonsie, who I’d later learn was their brewer asked if I’d like a beer.


While I was looking over my options one of them noticed the media badge hanging around my neck. Which media outlet are you with? It was a perfectly legitimate question. I’d forgotten about the badge. I felt like a rabbit caught in the headlights of an on-coming car. Chuck talks to the public. I write stuff and eat.


Long story coming to an end here I promise, Chuck found me. By then I’d gotten the scoop on Liquid Note and they were game for an interview.

The Story Behind the Name

It started when they were “spit-balling” ideas for beers. Mark suggested “capturing the styles of an artist’s music would be an interesting spin on beer. “What would Johnny Cash’s music taste like in a pint glass?” You get to decide who they based the beer upon as they don’t have the rights to use the artists name.

Liquid Note Brewing is located in downtown Otsego, just off 131 on the South Western side of Michigan. In addition to a brewery, they also have a music venue. They try to have music four nights a week. Monday night is “Youth Got Talent” when kids 18 and under get up on the stage. The music ranges from A Capella to Zydeco, plus some blues and rock. 

Griffin Claw 

Chuck got the scope from Chris Lasher about Griffin Claw’s new production facility. 

The Exciting News from Griffin Claw

Griffin Claw is finally brewing in their second facility in Rochester Hills. Their main production will stay in Birmingham. Chris says, “What it boils down to, they now have the capacity for fun, small batches like kettle sours and crazy IPAs.”  


Chris’s Most Favorite Beer Festival

Chris’s favorite beer festival is the Summer Beer Festival but his MOST favorite is the U.P. Beer Festival. We have to agree with Chris it is our favorite too. It is coming up soon, September 7th in Marquette. If you are curious about it we’ve got several posts including last’s year.  

UP Fall Beer Fest 2018-3

Chris’s favorite Michigan Destinations 

The UP is definitely at the top of the list. I see a theme developing around the U.P. Pictured Rocks stole Chris’s heart. Michigan’s Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a favorite of ours too. 

Pictured Rocks - Munising - 2015-1

Perrin Brewing

Sure WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit was out at this year’s Summer beer fest and talked with Perrin Brewing. But, did they get to chat with Jay Green in a tropical pink onesie holding a flamingo? Well, we sure as hell did.

Seltzers and Side Hustles

The hot ticket at Perrin this year is their Clear Coast hard seltzer and Side Hustle Series. The Side Hustle Series allows the brewers to play around with all the different hop varieties. This freedom to experiment and try out new ideas is one of the reasons Jay loves being a part of the Perrin team. This willingness to see what else they can do in turn leads to unique new offerings for us, the beer enthusiasts. Side Note on the Side Hustle: The Kveik’n It Real Nordic IPA from this series made Chuck feel like a Viking.

2019 Summer Beer Fest

Jay’s Favorite Beer Festivals

Like some of the other folks we have chatted with about their favorite beer festivals, Jay loves the cool September beauty of the U.P. Beer Festival in Marquette. Another favorite is the Summer beer festival in Ypsilanti; even if the weather can go from bright blue to torrential rain at the drop of a hat. Oh and don’t mind the tornados.

2019 Summer Beer Fest - Saturday

What is Jay’s go-to beverage

Right now Jay has been digging on Perrin Black ale. This schwarzbeir beer is crisp and easy drinking. In the summer, Jay will also reach for a pilsner or a Kolsch. Again the theme is easy and refreshing beers that you can enjoy anytime. These classic styles when done well showcase the skills of the brewer.

2019 Summer Beer Fest

Jay’s favorite Michigan experiences

For scenic beauty, Jay mentioned that you have to track down one of the many waterfalls across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the late summer or fall. Tahquamenon tops many lists, but don’t forget about Canyon Falls near L’Anse.

Canyon Falls-14

While Jay loves the city of Grand Rapids and all the great breweries you can find there, he also gives a shout out to Dark Horse Brewing. You could spend a day exploring historic Marshall and then stop in at Dark Horse and enjoy their excellent beer garden.

Dark Horse Staff Brew-off-36

Batch Brewing

Stephen Roginson and Chuck get funky at the Summer Beer Fest.

Dream team meets the Funkroom

It seems fitting that Batch Brewing’s new Funkroom is setting up shop just down the street from Hitsville (aka Motown Museum) at 2841 E. Grand Blvd in Detroit. The new space is where the wild things live. The technical term is mixed culture fermentation. Letting the yeast get their funk on allows Batch to expand their fermented fruit palate with ciders and natural wines.

As exciting as the Funkroom is the really big news is the expansion of the brewing team at Batch. Joining head brewer Kim Schneider (formerly of Rivers Edge and North Peak) is Mike Bardallis (formerly of Grizzly Peak). Stephen likens the team at Batch Brewing to the late 90’s superstar Red Wings. While we did tag Mike as the Sergei Fedorov in the Batch team, let’s hope he doesn’t leave for the Mighty Ducks.


Stephen’s Favorite Beer Festivals

Stephen mentions that Batch almost exclusively focuses on the Michigan Brewers Guild festivals. The team favorite is the U.P. Beer festival. With a Colorado mountain town vibe on the shores of Lake Superior, the U.P. Beer festival in Marquette is a winner. However, Summer Beer fest is also much loved in Stephen’s book. It was here at Summer beer fest that he became aware of the vast beer community. After years of chasing around his favorite brewers, he is now a part of this Michigan magic.


What is Stephen drinking these days

While Stephen loves beer and enjoys the spectrum of styles available, his new love is cider. Figuring out how to make a good cider involves figuring out what you like best in a cider. This, of course, means you need to do some research. In his quest for cider, Stephen discovered and recommends ANXO cider out of Washington, DC. I dig a refreshing dry cider and look forward to seeing what the masters at Batch come up with.


Michigan Destinations from Stephen

When asked for his recommendations of what to see or do in Michigan, Stephen looked to the sky saying “Oh God, man…there is SO much”. One destination would be to spend a day in Detroit. You could spend that day sampling from the awesome food and beverage locations around the city. Stephen’s must-do list are Hitsville, The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), and the Heidelberg Project. Another destination for Stephen is an exploration of the natural wonders in U.P. In particular, he recommends parking your butt at a bonfire on the shores of Lake Superior. We hardly second all of Stephen’s recommendations for a visit to Michigan.


The People of Summer Beer Fest 2019

Part of the joy of going to all the Michigan Brewers Guild beer festivals is the people. Did we get a picture of you this year? Be sure to let us know


Summer Jams

Ryan Dillaha and The Miracle Men

The main musical event at this year’s Summer Beer Fest is Ryan Dillaha and The Miracle Men. This band can easily be called our own local Bruce Springsteen or Tom Petty. I know this may seem like a bold statement. However, if you have listened to Ryan Dillaha and The Miracle Men, you’ll understand. Like the Huron river rambling by, Ryan and the fellas give us songs of life that rock, roll, and flow. Whether you are ready sit back and relax or get up and shake it up with an Edelbrau Brewing American IPA; Ryan Dillaha and The Miracle Men have you covered.

Summer Beer Fest 2019 - Ryan Dillaha and the Miracle Men
Summer Beer Fest 2019 - Ryan Dillaha and the Miracle Men
Summer Beer Fest 2019 - Ryan Dillaha and the Miracle Men
Summer Beer Fest 2019 - Ryan Dillaha and the Miracle Men

Stone Clover

A hot Saturday afternoon at the summer beer fest is exactly the right time to jump around with Stone Clover. This band defines good times with their uproarious rock that taps into Celtic roots. A great crowd had gathered in the shade not far from the stage to raise their glasses and sing their asses off with Stone Clover. As with each time I’ve seen the band, their music, and uplifting performance make me feel good. Then again, who could sit there with a sour lemons face when Stone Clover is jamming “One More Beer”. I’d recommend a Citra 7 IPA from Waypost Brewing to savor with this tune.

Summer Beer Fest 2019 - Stone Clover
Summer Beer Fest 2019 - Stone Clover
Summer Beer Fest 2019 - Stone Clover
Summer Beer Fest 2019 - Stone Clover
Summer Beer Fest 2019 - Stone Clover

Black Tie Circus

My first taste of Black Tie Circus later in the afternoon on Saturday was wonderful. They make a brew steeped in rock, funk, and soul. The tight groove these guys weave guarantees that you will want to move with the music. On top of the vibrant pulse, the vocals soar. At one moment I’m thinking of Elton John and Jamiroquai, and the next I’m thinking of The Band and Leon Russell. Grab a thirst quenching Boo-hemian Pilsner from Great Baraboo Brewing and enjoy a taste of summer with Black Tie Circus.

Summer Beer Fest 2019 - Black Tie Circus
Summer Beer Fest 2019 - Black Tie Circus
Summer Beer Fest 2019 - Black Tie Circus
Summer Beer Fest 2019 - Black Tie Circus

The Reefermen

Detrot rock stalwarts The Reefermen lit up the back forty again at this year’s Summer Beer fest.  The back forty definitely had a summer yard party flavor. The classic rock goodness of The Reefermen was a big part of that vibe. They laid down killer sets on Friday and Saturday. A standout moment was their Led Zeppelin covers. No quarter was asked and none was given. The summer time jams of the Reefermen were a hit with a 5 O’Clock Whistle IPA from Big Hart Brewing.

Summer Beer Fest 2019 - The Reefermen
Summer Beer Fest 2019 - The Reefermen
Summer Beer Fest 2019 - The Reefermen
Summer Beer Fest 2019 - The Reefermen

Behind The Times

With their musical souls planted firmly in Americana, Behind The Times bring traditional bluegrass and country music into the spotlight. This three piece of mandolin, guitar, and bass conjures images of summertime in Appalachia. I imagined walking down a country lane through green hills and smelling the comforting heat of the sun all around me. Then I’m sitting on a porch with an Earthen Ales Arbeiter Bier as the music of Behind The Times tumbles on.
Summer Beer Fest 2019 - Behind The Times
Summer Beer Fest 2019 - Behind The Times
Summer Beer Fest 2019 - Behind The Times

Squidling Brothers Circus and Mindscape Talents Side Show

As in prior years, the Squidling Brothers and Mindscape Talents were over near the river side beer tents. We caught a few of their amazing acts while enjoying a Michigan beer or two.



Yes, there are more pictures in our gallery for Friday and Saturday. Please take a look and share on social media. We only ask for photo credit. 

Become a Supporter!

Would you like your very own Life In Michigan t-shirt? Become a Patron! Patronage from people like you who enjoy our stories is what keeps Life in Michigan going strong. If you have the means, consider showing your support on our Patreon Page.

Share the News

If you enjoyed the story, then share it on your favorite social media venue or send it as a link to your friends and family. This is good for everyone!

Stay Connected

We’d really love it if you’d like our Facebook page. After you subscribe to our newsletter, Life In Michigan posts are delivered directly to your email box. You can also find us on Instagram. Cheers!

Recommended Reading