HUDSONVILLE — To any beer lover the ‘follow your nose’ approach always leads you to the golden nuggets — hop nuggets.

The Mash Mayhem was the opener to this year’s Beer City Spring Fest. Boiling bubbles releasing hop aromas welcomed the attendees as they walked through the entrance. The event brought homebrewers together to create a shared mash, in which they took five gallons of the common mash to add their own unique twists. A display of their boiling pots were the foreground to over 50 breweries, wineries, distilleries and cider makers ready to pour thousands of samples.

The smell was obviously perfect to accompany festival of this nature, but the actual ability to watch brewing up close and personal isn’t a normal scene. Witnessing the wide-eyed looks on some faces, was a sure sign they had never been this close to the beer making process before.

Having the Mash Mayhem truly bridges the gap between a brewer making a beer and the customer who consumes the beer. All attendees to the festival were able to witness first hand the beer making process and ask any question their heart desired.

“It was my first time attending Springfest and I had a great day hanging with other brewers,” said Edwin Collazo, one of the homebrewers. “We couldn’t have asked for better weather in a more friendly group of people.”

Chrissy Walker, Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery & Supply manager, loved “meeting new people whom have the same passion for craft beer. The atmosphere was perfect with craft beer pouring in the background and home brew boiling in the front.”

The Mash Mayhem was truly a great addition to the Spring Fest this year. Minimizing the division between brewers and consumers can be difficult in normal brewing scenarios. Let’s be honest — most of us don’t want to wake up at 4:30 to check out our local breweries brewing beer or know someone that home brews. The ability to share brewing to as many people as possible, in one location, is like winning that golden nugget — forever feeling fortune.

Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery