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Short’s Brewing Company’s parties are legendary in the state of Michigan, especially since they are never one and the same. While the anniversary party can be described as brilliant madness to kick off the spring and summer, Short’s Fest, which took place at the Short’s production facility, is the relaxing come-down from all of the mania.

Well, mostly.

There were still a lot of things to do, but the atmosphere was definitely one of kicking back with a good brew in hand. Short’s staff, marked in their blue festival t-shirts, were easy to spot, whether they were pouring beer, talking with festival goers or giving tours of the production facility.

“It’s about having a really good, relaxed time. A lot of people still working, but a lot of people out just talking and drinking, too,” said Scott Newman-Bale, Short’s partner and business developer.

“I was on the tour, and it was great—really thorough! But then I ran out of beer, so I came back outside,” said Peter Manthei, an attendee from Beards Brewery in Petoskey.

And of course, the drinking options were many. There were not only the usual summer favorites like Nicie Spicie and Space Rock, but also new releases specifically for Short’s Fest. Mega la Mucho, an Imperial Pilsner with lemon and orange zest, joins the summer series with some sweet and citrusy aromas and flavors. Blanco Suave is a Belgian Wit brewed with lime, agave, coriander, tangerine peel, and grains of paradise, another great complement to this celebration of summertime.

Alongside all of the beers were also concoctions from Short’s newest brand, Starcut Ciders. The appearance of Starcut Ciders at Short’s Fest begins the August countdown to the bottle release happening at the end of the month.

“We’ve had Starcut at a few festivals, and the response has just been great. We’re all getting ready for the launch coming August 30,” said Bridgett Beckwith, Director of Marketing at Short’s.

Short’s Fest also seemed to be the marker for Short’s employees to start thinking about the next year. According to Newman-Bale, the team has already begun discussions around the brewing schedule.

“There are a lot of opinions,” he said, laughing. “Over 300 recipes to choose from, and we’re looking back to some of our older recipes as well.”

He refused to get any more specific than that, but knowing the levels of creativity that Short’s normally delivers, it’s safe to say we can all be excited for next year’s mysteries and adventures.

Excellent performances from The Moxie Strings, Luke Winslow-King and Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers provided fun and easy listening all evening, with fest-goers lounging on the green space or dancing in front of the stage, beer and cider in hand. Fireworks from the surrounding Harbor Days festivities added to the celebration atmosphere, making it truly a glorious night to drink Michigan craft.

A year ago, Fermenta: Michigan Women’s Craft Collective premiered 10 collaboration brews with breweries at the 2014 Michigan Brewers Guild (MBG) Summer Beer Festival. At the Winter Beer Festival this past February 2015, they premiered 19. Over the weekend at the 2015 Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Fermenta premiered 26 new collaborations. With many months of prep work, planning and improvised, last-minute tweaks, Fermenta members and involved brewers got to taste the final products of shared labor.

“We tried some of them last night, but you know, there are so many! We have more to try today. It’s a beautiful day to try some amazing beers,” said Annie Zipser, a dedicated Fermenta member attending the festival both Friday and Saturday.

With 26 collaboration brews marked in the official MBG Summer Beer Festival pamphlet, everyone, Fermenta members or not, had a potential checklist to mark between Friday and Saturday at the fest. The large scope of the festival—over 100 breweries with a combined number of over 900 beers—made finding beers a kind of scavenger hunt, but definitely a good excuse to meet new people and revisit fellow craft beer enthusiast friends.

“I’m really proud of the Hibiscus Wheat—it turned out really nicely. Make sure to get over and try it!” said Morag Goyette of Blue Tractor. And indeed, the collaboration brew was a delicious concoction for the hot summer day—refreshing with a light, floral aroma.

To have this many people in one place at one time for the sole purpose of drinking craft beverage was an opportunity for enthusiasts and professionals alike in the Fermenta organization. Members shared their collaborations and toasted each other’s accomplishments, while many were just discovering the organization for the first time.

“I just bought my Fermenta t-shirt today!” proclaimed an excited Fermenta newcomer. “I heard about you ladies and I’m just so excited to try some of your beers.”

The breweries participating in the Fermenta collaborations were as follows: Arbor Brewing Co., Batch Brewing, Beards Brewery, Blue Tractor, Boatyard Brewing Co., The B.O.B., Brewery Ferment, Cotton Brewing Co., Eternity Brewing Co., Fenton Winery & Brewery, Founders Brewing Co., Gravel Bottom Brewery, grizzly peak, Liberty Street Brewery, Mitten Brewery, New Holland Brewery, One Well Brewing, Ore Dock Brewing Co., Our Brewing Co., Pike 51 Brewery, Pleasant House Brewery, Saugatuck Brewing Co., Short’s Brewing Co., Tapistry Brewing Co., Unity Vibration.

There were so many different varieties of beer due to the great enthusiasm of both the breweries and Fermenta members. Some of the final products boasted unique combinations: a cucumber lime gose from Arbor Brewing Co., a passionfruit and scorpion pepper combo from Brewery Ferment, a saison from Batch Brewing that combined a French yeast with Slovenian hops. Each collaborative brew reflected Michigan as a whole, but also the creativity, innovation and ethos of each individual brewery.

“The spiciness will give you a kick, but not too much that it hurts going down!” said Kirsten and Dustin Jones of Brewery Ferment, who brewed Passion and Pain, made with scorpion peppers and passion fruit.

This Fermenta project captured the purpose and inspiration of the ever-evolving Michigan craft industry. Brewers were eager to lend their time and guidance to those interested in order to share the creative and collaborative spirit of brewing. And with the end product proving to be a satisfying success across the board, it’s a tradition that Fermenta hopes to carry on into the future.

In addition to creating a collaboration brew, many breweries have agreed to donate certain amounts of their proceeds directly to the Fermenta scholarship fund. This new development highlights the importance of education in the Michigan craft industry and the support it offers for future pioneers.

Fermenta will also be celebrating its one-year anniversary this summer. To toast such an accomplishment, Fermenta will be hosting an anniversary party on August 23rd, 2015 at Block Brewing Company located in Howell, Michigan. Besides offering great craft beverages and delicious barbeque, there will also be membership renewals, Fermenta merchandise to buy, raffles, educational seminars, and executive board elections. For more information and how to purchase tickets, please visit www.fermenta.weebly.com.