Beerfests, they’re all the rage. Seems they are popping up everywhere. Thing is, that’s a good thing. We are in the middle of a beer renaissance and as crazy as this might sound to those inside the “bubble” not everyone actually knows anything about it all.
I know that last sentence sounded a bit off but let me explain. Michigan is a huge beer state. Heck, Beer City USA is in Grand Rapids and the city that came in second for the votes is Kalamazoo. Go figure that the city’s of Michigan that made it into the votes ended up within the top five placements. Craft beer is big in Michigan. But if you were to ask most people they would still not know exactly what you are talking about when it comes to craft beer.
This is why fests are so important. For many people it is their first exposure to the world of craft beers and what they have to offer. I was pretty psyched when I heard that the Kalamazoo Vine Neighborhood Association would be throwing the first Kalamazoo Beerfest.
They lined up sixteen Michigan breweries in the Arcadia Creek festival site. The plan was to run the fest during the day and then open the festival to Oktoberfest for the evening. The day of the fest was fantastic. It was bright, sunny, warm, not at all what you could expect from October in Michigan.
My trip through the different breweries centered on what it is I normally go for in the fall. Most of the breweries Represented had a version of an Oktoberfest or a pumkin beer available for samples. Add in to that Vandermill and Virtue cider were also there.
A couple of the standouts of the day for me came from Virtue. I had not sampled them until now. Their Cidre is everything I love about cider, crisp and dry, with strong apple notes. Another new brewery for me, Tapestry offered a decent number of their beers. Enigma, their double IPA, was a good beer to break up the number of Oktoberfests I drank that day.
As a first year fest, it wasn’t as crowded as it will be in the coming years. The breweries made a good showing. I think the tap/serving trucks were a great idea for keeping beer cold and controlled. It was a pretty good fest and will continue growing.
Time for a pint…