Nothing says Memorial Day weekend like a giant cookout.
For the last 12 years, Crystal Mountain has been hosting just that, bringing together Michigan breweries and unique takes on that favorite summer staple: the brat.
This year, Crystal Mountain will host its 13th Annual Michigan Beer and Brat Festival on May 26 from 4-8 p.m.
The festival takes place at the base of the four-season resort’s ski slopes—a unique, outdoor atmosphere that keeps attendees coming back every year.
“Everyone is ready for summer to begin, there’s nothing more summer-like than beer and brats,” said Brian Lawson, director of public relations at Crystal Mountain.
Attendees to this year’s festival can look forward to a variety of twists on the age-old combination. Thirty-five Michigan breweries will be present along with over 100 of their craft beers. Those attending will be able to pair those selections with 24 different kinds of brats from local markets. Past favorites have included flavors like asparagus, morel mushroom and Roadhouse salsa.
Lawson said the festival has become a favorite way to spend the holiday for guests and brewers alike.
“It’s a big cook out, in a lot of ways. It’s like one big Memorial Day party” Lawson said.
He added that he is consistently surprised, and flattered, by how enthusiastic the Michigan brewers are about the festival.
“We’ve gotten a sense from the brewers that they’re just as excited to come here as the guests,” Lawson said. “We’re grateful and flattered to get such great participation from the breweries on a holiday weekend.”
A few non-beer beverage makers will also share some offerings at the festival. Iron Fish Distillery is a neighbor to the resort and the two often collaborate. They’ll be pouring drinks made with their craft spirits at the festival. Traverse City’s Brengman Brothers winery will also have some special offerings.
As is tradition, the festival will also feature a car show. The British Car Club will show a selection of vehicles. Lawson said this component of the festival started as a happy accident. Now it’s a favorite part of the festival. In the last few years, Tesla and electric vehicle owners have also brought their cars to display. As advocates of sustainable energy, Lawson said the resort is proud to host them.
Musicians Drew Hale and The Rock Show Band will provide live music.
Tickets can be purchased online. General admission tickets are $30 in advance and $35 the day of and come with a 9 ounce glass and five tokens. VIP tickets are $60 in advance and come with a 9 ounce glass, 10 tokens and access to the festival an hour early at 3 p.m. Kids are welcome to attend at the general admission ticket price, with tokens usable towards food and pop.
The Michigan Beer and Brat Festival takes place the day before the North Mitten Half Marathon, 10K and 5K. For those who’d like a taste of the action but don’t want to consume beer and brats the day before their race, the resort will host Micros on the Mountaintop that Sunday, May 27. The event features a chairlift ride to some of the Michigan brews celebrated at the Beer and Brats Festival. Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 the day of.
Sponsored by Crystal Mountain