CHARLEVOIX — “Sorry; he told me I needed to dress up.”

Dressed in a suit, a festival goer nodded to the man next to him with a smile and headed to the first brewery table, tickets in hand. Not even a wedding stopped people from coming to enjoy the first annual Charlevoix Craft Beer Festival.

When founders of Bridge Street Tap Room Phil Parr, Adam Engelman and Aaron Hagen brought the tap room to Charlevoix, it only made sense to bring a festival with it. The idea was not only to promote craft beer, but simply to get people downtown Charlevoix.

Both the Bridge Street Tap Room and Charlevoix’s Downtown Development Authority helped to put on the event and the proceeds benefited the Charlevoix’s East Park summer concert series.

The festival spanned two days beginning with Friday night’s welcome reception for the breweries. Charlevoix restaurants featured tap takeovers from different breweries, and the brewery representatives were available to talk with. On Saturday, the festival came together in Bridge Park with 14 Michigan breweries, local food trucks and Northern Michigan artist Chris Calleja.

There was a great turnout from both locals and visitors to the area, as the park began to quickly fill with those excited to try new beers from their favorite breweries, or beers from breweries they’ve never heard of until the festival.

“It was nice to see a variety of breweries from around the state, and I was happy to find a couple of great surprises from a few of them,” Charlevoix local Robbie Rundblad said.

“I hope the event can continue to grow and expand for next year. I’d love to see another similar event in the fall perhaps to highlight some different seasonal brews.”

Bridge Street Tap Room has already mentioned that plans for next year’s event are being discussed. While that is a long time away, the tap room will keep an ongoing focus on its purpose for the beer festival with the opening of the tap room.

The tap room will have 32 taps of Michigan craft beer and will feature local entertainment every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It is scheduled to open this Saturday.

Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery