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Winter Beer Festival

The 3rd Annual Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival is scheduled for Saturday, February 23rd, 2008. Due to the success of the event we have outgrown the location in Old Town Lansing where the Festival was held in 2006 and 2007. After much deliberation we decided that we would move the event to the Grand Rapids market. There was some reluctance to move from Lansing but we believe that it will be a positive move and we are excited to be taking this event to the west side of the state. The actual location will be the Fifth Third Ballpark, home of the West Michigan Whitecaps. We will not be on the playing field but will be utilizing some of the surrounding areas inside the park which leaves the event outdoors. Plan to wear long johns, hat and mittens and mark your calendar for February 23rd.

Cheers

49 Comments

  • Rob Canis says:

    OK, GR I can live with, but outside uncovered!!?!?!?

    This is not going to go over to well with people. I hope the cost goes down since you’re not paying for tents and heat.

    Just a bad decision guys.

  • Rob G. says:

    Hey, this is good to hear. From a southern Michigan dude – Grand Rapids isn’t that much further. Lansing was pretty packed, but still fun as hell. I’d like to see it moved around each year. I’d even drive to the U.P. for a Michigan beer festival. Keep up the good work.

  • Just to clarify a couple of items: Yes, the event is outdoors as in the past. There will be more open air space but there will also be an area indoors to warm up. The cost of the event will not change in 2008. While there will be some savings realized with the change in venue, there will also be some new expenses. Part of the reason for a slightly higher cost than the Summer Festival is because there are so many higher strength beers available. We are very excited about the ballpark and think it will add a little entertainment value of its own.

  • Good news for me. That is a little less driving for this Yooper. I’m with Rob G. Lets do one in the U.P. next year. Ha…..I’m sure that would get shot down in a vote.

  • I guess that really isn’t any less driving for this Yooper. Worth it none the less.

  • Joel says:

    Rob Canis needs to stop bitching – who can complain about a festival celebrating the creation of good beer. I am looking forward to having some brews in the cold and enjoying a new area of Michigan. Beer – it is always a good decision.

  • Dave says:

    Wonder when tickets go on sale? Coming from out of town, we need the info ASAP.

  • jeff b says:

    I can’t help but express my disappointment as this was the only bit of craft beer goodness that Lansing had. I wonder if using a combination of both Turner St. and the Lot to the South would have done the job, as it has done so well with other festivals held in Old Town.

  • Annie says:

    Kind of lame. you should at least have it downtown GR.

  • Annie says:

    Also…you are not the ones paying for those”higher strength” beers..so that’s not a good excuse to raise the price. You should have the fest in East town. Very cool area. Fifth Third park is outide GR. Where will all the drunk people go?

  • alewife says:

    Brrrrrrrrr!!!!

  • Eilis Cavanaugh says:

    Please don’t tell me that there will be fewer tent space! Part of being able to relax and enjoy all of the great beers is not having the fear of freezing to death. It is hard enough to get a bunch of girls to agree to going out and drink beer. But at least in Lansing we had the security of a warm enclosure. Do you remember how bad the weather was last year? You have a great thing going, don’t try to fix something that isn’t broken.

  • Patron says:

    To Executive Director: Poor job in addressing Rob C’s vaild concerns regarding the cold and general atmosphere of the new set-up. Not only did you nearly dismiss his concern, you went on to discuss higher prices. Poor excuses on the reason for the higher prices as well. Aren’t you supposed to pump people up for an event rather than irritate them? I mostly enjoyed the line “While there will be savings realized…” Wow. The outside cold didn’t turn me off from the event, rather your message did.

  • I am glad that there is passionate interest in the Winter Beer Festival. I am very optimistic that the change of location will be a positive one and I am excited that we will be hosting an event in the Grand Rapids market. I regret that the change of location will make it more difficult for some Michigan beer fans to attend. This is one of the unavoidable negative aspects of a move such as this. The layout of the Festival will be different than in past events as we will not be housing the entire event under one big tent. We believe this will be a fun and interesting feature of the new venue. We will be utilizing many small tents and will have a warm area in the clubhouse. We hope to see the Winter Festival continue to grow as a unique event which is not simply a smaller version of the Summer Festival.

    Please understand that cost concrens are not what is driving the move to Grand Rapids. We believe that we are doing something positive to promote Michigan beer on the west side of the state. We have not given up on Lansing with this move as there may be another event in the future that would be good to hold there.

    I would also like to clarify that the admission price is not changing from last year. Tickets will be on sale on-line and at participating member breweries in early January. I encourage everyone to keep an open mind and a positive attitude about what will be the Guild’s best Winter Festival yet.

  • Just to clarify a comment posted by Annie, the Guild DOES have to buy all the beer that is served at the Summer and Winter Festivals. State law requires that the Guild purchase the beer from a wholesale distributor and it happens to be, by far, the largest expense in hosting these great beer tasting events.

  • claude says:

    I need more info where can I get tickets,what breweries are attending and hours of operation their just isn’t enough info on the event when it is coming up so fast. Also bad idea on the tent. Either way I still can’t wait for the event I hope it will be as cool as last year.

  • Jpatrix says:

    This is GReat!. Nice to have an event closer to home but,yes, it would be cool to move it around. The ball park is a good location. Easy access and parking and if the bathrooms are open…even better. There should be a shuttle running to the local brewries.

  • Chip says:

    I’m really looking forward to the winter festival this year. I might be in the minority, but I like the idea of an outdoor winter beer event. Heck, by the end of February, it’s practically time to launch the boat for summer fun.

    Thanks for bringing it to GR, the only better place for me would be Muskegon

  • john, grr says:

    The idea of moving the beer festival around is an excellent one; it does not have to be in Grand Rapids every year, but rotating around in high-demand areas would be best.

    Temperature is a matter of preference. The folks who complain about not having heat certainly do not represent everybody who enjoyed the Winter beer fest these past few years. I would like to have air-conditioned tents at the summer beer fest, but that has not kept me from coming back every year (yet…).

    Annie makes a vaild point about the venue; the Ballpark is not the most conveniently located place in Grand Rapids. What kind of shuttle services might be available to the ball park from other locations (in Grand Rapids)? Will any of the local breweries (Founder’s, Hideout, GRBC, Schmohz) be setting up transportation? The city does not run regular bus service to the ballpark.

  • Dave says:

    I want to share my appreciation for all those involved with planning the Winter Beer Fest. I look forward to having it a little closer to my home on the west side of the state. Although cost is always a factor when deciding to attend an event, an opportunity like this outweighs the cost by far. I appreciate having the tickets available in early January since it is difficult to gather a group without having the info early. Posters or flyers would be nice in pdf format, too. This will help me spread the word to others. Thanks!

  • beerisgood says:

    Sure seems to be a lot of complaining going on about the cold, cost and location. Who cares! It’s a Winter Festival, meaning it’s probably going to be cold so get over it and dress warm or stay home. Most of you wouldn’t have a problem going out and blowing $50 at the bar so spending $35 or $40 for some of the best beer in Michigan shoudn’t be an issue. As far as location, what’s the difference? Everyone is going to have to drive to get there, some from far away and some from close. It’ shouldn’t matter what’s around the location because you need to drive home anyway so stop at your favorite watering hole on the way. I’m just glad they have these festivals that we can go to and enjoy good friends and good beer.

  • Mike McLellan says:

    I was wondering if there has been any thought of using a shuttle bus from any of the host hotels. I’m not sure there is a host hotel, but I know in Lansing a few were recommened. I’m looking forward to another fun festival. Michigan Beer Enthusiast #488

  • Brian Krumheuer says:

    What the hell are you thinking???? We don’t have an awful lot of things going for us in Lansing. And now you want to take something away from us. I really enjoyed the past two festivals, but i think that this is a bad idea taking it out of Lansing.

  • Paul Mooney says:

    Indoor, outdoor, Lansing, GR… so what? Just tell me what time to get there! Start and finish times would be helpful to tell friends!

  • Ryan Smith says:

    I am very disappointed. The Festival just needed a larger tent to stay at the Lansing location. Last year the tent didn’t even use half of the area in the parking lot south of Turner St. This would have been a simple fix to a simple problem. Good luck on correcting it next year.

  • dave tohtz says:

    my only concern is getting my damn tickets…

    get the online thing going… channeling johnny C.

    “If I have a ticket, I will commit.”

  • Jeremy Mason says:

    Well, coming from a Lansing guy, I was a little dissapointed at first. But the fact that we even have this festival to go to is amazing. (just be sure to keep lansing in mind for any future events). As a beer enthusiast, this might be the highlight of my entire year. I think Michigan is one of the best beer states in the country and in large part we can thank the MBG. I am not even a member, but I really appreciate what they are doing. From everything I know, this is definitely one of the best statewide festivals in the country. Last years festival was undoubtably a highlight in my craft beer drinking career. I am positive that the festival will be great again this year. Thanks MBG, can’t wait for the 23rd!

  • Pismo says:

    Thanks for nothin’. Old town was a great venue. Remember the old saying? Don’t fix what aint broke…..

  • M&M Brewing says:

    Where are the tickets? Fifth third is a great location big and lots of parking good idea to have it there

  • Richard Howard says:

    This is January 14th. As a beer drinking Hoosier, I read with interest the story about this festival in the Elkhart Truth. I can’t think of a better event to hook up with in the dead of winter. This is more exciting than the Daytona 500! My Carharts are insulated, I got $35.00. My concern is where am I gonna stay? 12 beers in five hours, I’m guessing it might be prudent to take a bus to a motel. I will keep watching for accomodation information. Sounds like a blast!

  • BzDz says:

    Love the idea of shuttle buses from hotels to beerfest and back. Hotels could even color and number code wristbands to ensure patrons return to their respective hotel, just in case they use all their tokens.

  • patron2 says:

    I too am disappointed about the move to GR. promote MI beer in the GR market? the west side of MI already owns a stronghold in terms of quality handcrafted beer. lansing has little to nothing, and having one of the greatest annual festivals certainly gave people something to look forward to in the capitol area in february. I don’t see the 14-18 of us making the journey to GRaps this year, it won’t be the same and much harder to handle logistically. bummer.

  • Andy L says:

    Is there a list of the brewers that will be attending? My friends and I have been looking for a beer festival to attend, and Grand Rapids is much closer to Chicago, so we may attend. However, I do not see anywhere to buy tickets online…nor a list of the brewers that will be there.

  • Rich N. says:

    Might as well give up on Lansing, everyone else has. Lansing blows. We don’t even have a brew pub or microbrewery here. Way to take away one good thing we had going here.

  • Dave says:

    Great news! I’m looking forward to having the festival in GR.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how you do the layout. Parking will definitely be better!

  • Christian Colby says:

    Looking forward to the event. I look forward to dressing warm and having a few winter warmers too. Coming from Petoskey and I hope Joe Short and the guys from Short’s Brewing are present.

  • Mike Reardon says:

    Well, if you need a near by hotel, I would recommend the Radisson Hotel at 270 Ann Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI, US, 49504
    It is only two miles from the ball park. Or even closer is the Comfort Suites Comstock Park at 350 Dodge Street
    Comstock Park, MI 49321

    just some valuable info for those coming from out of town, I am only 10 minutes from Fifth Third Ball Park.

  • Joshua Duggan says:

    As a resident of Grand Rapids, I’m a little biased towards this new location. However, I think it will be an awesome venue. Other than not being super close to downtown, I can’t think of any real drawbacks. There are a decent number of hotels up on Alpine that are a short cab fare away. And even downtown is only a 6 mile shot straight south.

    I think that the way that 5/3rd is laid out will allow for an excellent setup. In my perfect world, the weather would be a crisp 25-30 degrees, not much wind, and there would be a nice beautiful snowfall falling. There would also be plenty of places to loiter and drink beer and plenty of places to warm up. I think the ballpark allows for both of these. We’ll see what reality brings us. 🙂

    Also, any out of town beer fans will want to be sure to visit the new beer bar downtown, Hopcat. (www.hopcatgr.com) 48 taps and 150 bottles, great food, and an awesome logo. Non-smoking with a cool smoking section hidden away in a 2nd floor loft. They’ve done this place up right and it is awesome. According to the event calendar on their website, they will be having live entertainment and other goings on to celebrate the Winter Beer Fest.

  • Phil N. says:

    So when will the list of confirmed participating breweries be posted? for that matter when will the list of beers they will be pouring get posted?

    I’d be curious to know before I buy the tickets, even though I probably plan on going no matter what.

  • mw says:

    Any list of Beers/Brewery offered?

    Any shuttles going to/from certain hotels?

    How many drinks included with ticket? Are the sample sizes or full pints?

  • Nate Nicholson says:

    Beer… in the Winter… Outdoors… It doesn’t get any better!!! We will see those with a pair and those that have their wives/girlfriends who keep them in a jar in their purse.

  • Hilton Grand Rapids would like to offer a $82/night rate for guests attending the Michigan Winter Beer Festival. We are also planning a scheduled shuttle service to and from the event. To make reservations contact Gayle @ 616-957-0124 (grustenburg@HiltonGrandRapids.com). Be safe and plan a Great Day enjoying Michigan Beer!

  • Kim Fox says:

    $35.00 entrance fee! What a gouge! That comes out to be around $1.00 per oz. of beer! Seeing as though the beer is supplied directly from the brewers without a middleman you could afford to give the public 12 for ounces for each $1.00. I won’t be participating for that price.

  • Craig Reed says:

    Please don’t put Founders and Dark Horse right next to each other again. That wasn’t a very smooth move last year. That corner was way too crowded. I’m looking forward to the change of venue. Even though my drive time was doubled it’ll be well worth it.

  • Btown says:

    one more question: will a list (even a preliminary one) of the breweries involved at the fest be listed in advance? Again, maybe it’s posted, but I’m not seeing it anywhere. Thanks!

  • Kevin says:

    Any word on attending breweries and / or beers they are bringing?

  • Dan says:

    Is there a list of breweries/brewpubs that will be represented at this event?

  • Lansing Lass says:

    I have to admit that I’m disappointed that the event is being moved to 5/3 in GR, but it is more convenient for my sister who came to Lansing from Rockford area last year. Last year the giant beer tent in Lansing’s Old Town was great! I like crowded and it was large but cozy and intimate. Many events in Old Town are spread out to more than one tent; hopefully, this event will return to the cozy, intimate atmosphere of Old Town, which can be made bigger. Although, I am looking forward to the event again this winter with an open mind and hope that all have a great time!

  • The SpringHill Suites North by Marriott has a special rate for the 2009 Beer Fest – 75.00 per night! There will also be a shuttle to and from the hotel but there will be a fee. The phone number to the hotel is 616-785-1600. 450 Center Drive, GR 49544.

    Only a few minutes from the ballpark!!

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