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It was a triumphant week for the Michigan craft scene in Charlevoix this weekend. Building on the success of Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company’s grand opening at the beginning of the week, the town hosted the second annual Charlevoix Craft Beer Festival on Saturday.

The venue was spectacular, located on a patch of green space right inside the Round Lake boat harbor.  The day was helped along by blue skies and sunshine.

With over 15 breweries in attendance, including a few cider producers, it was a smaller Michigan festival than most, but there was still plenty to discover and enjoy.

“We were just passing through town on our weekend trip up north, saw the tent setup and made an impulse decision to stop in for a bit,” said a couple from downstate.

They were joined by lots of enthusiastic attendees from all over the state. Plenty were supportive locals from the up north region, but everyone driving through Charlevoix that day seemed to make it inside the tent for a few afternoon beers.

“It’s a beautiful day for beer. Why not change plans and slow down the day a little bit?” said a member of a wedding party (the wedding started at 4 p.m. — as far as I know, they made it on time).

Some highlight beers garnering many happy mentions were Gravel Bottom Brewery & Supply’s Bucketfoot Black IPA and Short’s Brewing Company’s Power of Love shandy. While the Bucketfoot was deliciously dark and bitter, the shandy was extremely pink, fruity and frothy. The startling differences between these two revealed the wide range of craft beer available as well as the creativity supported by the Michigan craft industry.

Framed by the Bridge Street Tap Room and Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company, the festival definitely showcased the growth of the Charlevoix craft scene. For its second year, the festival grew in every aspect — more brewery options, the addition of ciders, more food trucks and music hosted and sponsored by a local radio station.

“Much more commotion,” said Adam Engelmann, part-owner of both the taproom and brewery. “It’s been a crazy week. Busy! And actually, I have to get back to the kitchen and help out,” Engelmann said, running back to the taproom next door.

Along with his partners and Lake Charlevoix team, Engelmann had a pretty hectic week opening the brewery while celebrating the anniversary of both the Bridge Street Tap Room and second successful year hosting the craft beer festival. This didn’t stop Rich Bergmann, Charlevoix businessman and another part-owner of the taproom and brewery, from making sure everyone was having a great time.

“You having a good time? Yes? Good! Thank you so much for coming out and enjoying our great town,” Bergmann said.

Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company (LCBC) has opened its doors just in time for the summer season. The new brewery boasts a lakefront location, where customers can enjoy craft beverages and food in its harbor-side outdoor seating.

LCBC offers five taps devoted to their own brews alongside three guest taps. Wine, cider and spirit options are also available for those less beer-inclined.

“Michigan craft is a lifestyle. We have people of all ages in here tonight — because everyone loves a good drink,” said Phil Parr, part-owner of LCBC and its neighbor Bridge Street Tap Room.

Its aim was to appeal to everyone.

“We wanted to provide more vibrancy for the city. People go to Petoskey or Traverse City, but we have a lot of good stuff here. So we are working towards creating a better draw for all ages to come and stop and visit. We have to give them something to do.”

Tucked into the boat harbor in the heart of downtown, LCBC represents a creative re-working of space. Before it was a brewery, the space belonged to the Coast Guard for years, and even after that it was only community storage. It took determination and vision to totally transition it into a usable and enjoyable atmosphere.

The successful progression of time between opening the Bridge Street Tap Room to opening LCBC — just one year — shows how quickly Michigan’s craft industry is evolving, even in smaller, up-north communities such as Charlevoix.

“We opened this location because it’s next to the Bridge Street Tap Room. It’s something that’s going to give us more seating, but offer the same great views and allow us the ability to brew our own beer,” said Parr.

With two customized 2.5 barrel systems made by Psycho Brews from Greenville, LCBC looks forward to working with more Michigan companies in the future to brew all-Michigan made beer.

“Right now we just want to make sure we’re brewing good beer for good people.”

LCBC aims to have four flagship beers, with Michigan Beach Blonde expected to be the most popular. Its craft beer menu also includes a British-style red, a smoky porter, a pale ale and a grapefruit saison. Most of its recipes have been adapted from homebrew concepts, which were then adjusted to be brewed on a larger, more sophisticated system.

“It was good to start there — to be able to experiment with smaller batches before trying it on a larger scale,” said Parr.

Besides creating and experimenting with their own beer and food menu, LCBC also hopes to create its own sustainability practices. They want to work with the city and Charlevoix community as a whole to continue to make improvements and learn about all the opportunities the craft industry offers.

“There’s a lot of community pride in here tonight, and we are all a huge support system for the city of Charlevoix.”

The Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company’s grand opening is followed by the second annual Charlevoix Craft Beer Festival, which takes place Saturday. LCBC will be joined by about 20 other breweries to celebrate summer and Michigan craft beer in the city of Charlevoix.

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.