TRAVERSE CITY — During a time of the year when Michiganders are tiring of the snow, Timber Ridge’s Suds & Snow brought excitement back to the season.
The seventh annual event was held Saturday, which paired favorite winter activities with microbrews and served as a fundraiser for Children and Family Services.
Upon entering the festival, I was greeted by a fun, casual atmosphere. In the main part of the event, attendees were able to sample beers from Bell’s, Saugatuck and Greenbush breweries. I sampled Saugatuck’s Bonfire Brown, an American Brown Ale that is intended to remind you of a campfire with friends and family. It had a nutty flavor with notes of chocolate and had a slightly smoky finish. Indeed, it paired perfectly with the bonfire right across from their booth.
Food was also available in the main part of the event. Travino’s, Schelde’s and Red Mesa Grill were on site to offer small plates.
After enjoying a great brew, many people ventured down the snowshoe trail or played a few rounds of disc golf. New this year, a three-hole disc golf course was donated by Carly’s Playground (Mt. Holiday). Tilley’s Party Store also donated discs for the event.
If you ventured down the snowshoe trail, you ended up at the infamous trail station, where the atmosphere seemed to be more young and carefree. This is where most people seemed to stay, enjoying brews from Short’s, Right Brain and Schmohz breweries. There was also live music from a variety of favored local musicians.
It has been quite a snowy winter in Northern Michigan, and Suds & Snow utilized that in the best way they could. Most breweries, including Short’s, served over snow bars instead of tables.
“This is great. We didn’t have to bring ice with us this year,” said a volunteer from Short’s Brewery, which created the most elaborate setup for the event. Short’s also had two snow sculptures and a large tap setup.
I sampled Short’s Bloody Beer, which is brewed with Roma tomatoes. Not a big fan of Bloody Marys, I have been hesitant to sample the beer previously. However, I was pleasantly surprised. It had a strong tomato taste, but it was not overwhelming. It was lighter beer with a robust flavor and a hint of peppercorns at the finish.
I was also able to sample the Bone Crusher Stout from Schmohz Brewery. It has an intimidating name, but was one of the smoothest stouts I have tried. With a smooth chocolate flavor, it finishes with a nice balanced malt taste.
“This is a great event. And it’s in such a great place,” said a volunteer with Schmohz.
It was my first time attending Suds & Snow, and I have to agree. Timber Ridge Resort hosts a variety of great events throughout the year, and this has become my one of my favorites.