LANSING — Lights went on at the Cooley Law School Stadium on Friday night, as many took the field prepared. Complete with hats, glove, and a glass, Lansing’s semi-annual Beerfest in the Ballpark commenced.
It wasn’t time for the first pitch, but instead the first pour. The Lansing Lugnuts’ season is over, after all.
Despite the weather being chilly for mid-September after warm temperatures just a week before, the festival’s second start turned out to be another win, as hundreds gathered around the vendors and breweries set up around the field.
The festival featured nearly 40 Michigan breweries, as well as a special appearance of out-of-state and import Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers.
Some breweries held on to summer, with fruit and citrus beers, while others moved on, showcasing their pumpkin beers, porters and ciders. Settling in between, both Paw Paw Brewing Company and Crankers Brewery brought a coconut porter — a dark, malty brew with a light hint of a summer coconut.
When Paw Paw’s Coconut Porter tap ran out, a festival attendee expressed her disappointment after looking forward to trying the interesting blend of flavors.
“There’s a coconut porter at a brewery over there, too,” a fellow craft beer fanatic said, pointing across the field.
While I was not able to compare the two, the appearance of both at the festival displayed the creative minds behind Michigan brewers and their vast variety of products.
Attendees kept their palates clean between tastes of the different styles with a bite off their pretzel necklaces, but Bad Brewing Company sought to use a tortilla chip to complement one of their specialty beers. Salsa? — it was displayed on a chalkboard in front of their booth, brewed with tomatoes, cilantro and jalapeño.
Serving normal, seasonal and specialty brews, breweries brought Lansing what locals often miss, as far as a variety of breweries goes.
“We don’t have a lot of breweries here in Lansing, so it’s cool when beer festivals come to the area,” Lansing-area native Eileen Lederle said.
Although Lansing is not known for its craft beer festivals, September’s Beerfest at the Ballpark marked the festival’s second event, with the first having occurred in April.
In addition to this festival, the Lansing area also enjoyed its first annual Lansing Microbrew and Music Festival and second annual Lansing Beer Festival earlier this year. Lansing’s first annual Cider Fest is still to come, planned for Oct. 11.