There are two things that March brings us that mark the coming of Spring. The first of course is March Madness, the games leading up to the end of college basketball season. The other is the release of Oberon. Though there is quite a bit of hoopla associated with March Madness, it is possible that the fans are not nearly as ravenous as the fans of Bell’s Brewery’s biggest hit beer.
Oberon day is the official release day for the beer, celebrated around the state of Michigan at many of the fine establishments that carry the beer through the spring and summer season. Most fans are happy to wait for the day, to have their first sip. But there are some, raving fans if you will, who are willing to wait till midnight to get their first taste, before everyone else.
On Sunday March 24th at 7pm, Shakespeare’s Pub in Kalamazoo started the party for the midnight release. The bottom floor of Shakespeare’s is where they hold their venues. They have soundstage and a fully functioning bar for special events. The bar on Sunday was stocked with Bell’s beers on tap.
As you might find for special releases elsewhere, this was an event it paid to arrive early. For those who showed up between 7 and 9pm there was no cover and a free buffet. It was a great opportunity to sneak in dinner and a few pints before the entertainment started.
The entertainment for the evening consisted of three acts. The first was a local dance group, Urban Repertoire . This led into the smooth sounds of the band Indigo Sun . The final band of the evening was Dōpapod out of Chicago. These alone would have made the night great. But in the end those gathered were there for a reason.
At midnight the King of Oberon was granted his crown. This was done democratically of course, by raffle. The King had the illustrious privilege of the first pint of Oberon. After this with pint and scepter in hand the king issued proclamations (or at least tossed out some great Bell’s shwag to the crowd).