For the fourth year, Porterhouse Productions created the summer festival atmosphere in February with the Traverse City Winter Microbrew and Music Festival.
The festival was held in downtown Traverse City on Saturday and featured over 200 microbrews from over 50 breweries.
“We’ve got quite the setup here,” said Sam Porter, owner of Porterhouse Productions, as he made sure patrons weren’t waiting in line too long.
Festival goers, outfitted in winter clothing and extravagant hats, were able to enjoy fine craft beer alongside local food. Food trucks Roaming Harvest and Antrim Catering were present along with other local favorites.
Music could be found in each heated tent and ranged from the Grand Traverse Pipes & Drums (a traditional Scottish bagpipe and drum ensemble) to Funktion (a high energy funk band).
Breweries from around the country were present, including Big Sky Brewing Company and Magic Hat Brewing Company. However, Michigan craft beer, mead and wine were the focus of the event. I was able to sample beers from some of the largest brewhouses in the state, as well as some of the smallest.
Perhaps one of the smallest, Beards Brewery in Petoskey, opened in October and operates with a single barrel brewing system.
“We are actually behind two stores. You have to go down a 50 foot hallway to get to us,” said owner Ben Slocum.
I sampled Beards’ Brimley Stout which was a rich yet smooth stout. It had the bold taste of a stout, but was lighter than others. The oatmeal made it a smooth brew with a subtle finish of hops.
Also representing the Petoskey area was Petoskey Brewing Company, which opened just a couple months before Beards Brewery. I tried the Dark Knight IPA, a Black IPA with a rich, dark color and a bold roasted flavor with a hint of almond.
With the temperature cold and the snow falling, many dark, rich beers were available. Among my favorites were Rochester Mills Beer Company’s Milkshake Stout and New Holland Brewing’s Dragon’s Milk.
Michiganders love the chance to come together and enjoy the things their great state has to offer. It’s refreshing to not have to wait until the snow disappears to do so.