Yesterday was the Michigan Winter Beer Festival, which was definitely held in winter-like weather at the parking lot next to Fifth Third Ballpark. Plans to go only came together in the last week, because tickets sold out in January, so I was elated to walk in with a complimentary ticket and a DD to take me home. I went with some coworkers and a few of their friends that I didn’t know, but as luck would have it, Casey and Lauren were there with her Dad and friend, so I spent the whole afternoon with them instead.
I can’t possibly recall all the good beer I had, but I’d say there was only one sample I had all afternoon that I didn’t care for. A few of my favorites were the carrot cake beer from Short’s (which tastes just like you’d expect), a raspberry stout from Dark Horse, and a tiramasu stout from the B.O.B. Brewery (also tasted just like you’d expect). Of course, there were tons of other more standard beers that were excellent as well, but I still have a hard time understanding people who say they don’t like beer. There’s so much variety out there, and I’m only talking about beer from Michigan, that if you can’t find anything you like, you need to look harder. I’d be glad to offer suggestions.
I’d do a few things differently if I go again next year. First, dress a little more appropriately. Yes, it’s still winter in Michigan, and the light snow throughout the event was kind of festive, and I thought I had enough layers, but apparently even thick wool socks aren’t enough to keep my circulation-starved feet warm. The rest of my body was fine, but cold feet can make things a little miserable.
Also, I’d bring some snacks. Many people made pretzel necklaces to munch on in between beer tastings. Obviously, I was a beer fest rookie. However, when I did get hungry, that meant I could pretend I was a Viking and chow down on a huge turkey leg hot off the grill. It was delicious, and felt so appropriate for the setting.
After the event, I went to get some Indian food in GR with my coworkers. On the menu, only the lamb vindaloo was labeled SPICY!!! with three exclamation points, and had a separate HOT warning in the description. I read that and said to myself, “Self, that sounds like a challenge.” The order came, the spice brought a little heat, but then just stayed put. It was an excellent dish, but I was a little disappointed that the spiciest dish on the menu didn’t even make me sweat. Did all of the other dishes on the menu just have zero spice then? I blame west Michiganders and their bland taste buds for the neutralized spices and excessive warnings on the menu.