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beer and brat festival

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.

beer and brat festival

“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.

 

beer and brat festival

 

Sponsored by Crystal Mountain

 

 

crystal mountain

Memorial Day weekend: a weekend that boasts endless activities, events, and happenings under the hopeful curtain of a warm spring sun. Barbeques, boating, backyard hangouts, downtown strolls, outdoor festivals. So, how does one choose what to do?

The staff at Crystal Mountain think people shouldn’t have to choose—they’ll be there waiting with beer, brats, music, and a welcoming community that Saturday, May 27th, when their 12th annual Beer & Brat festival kicks off at four o’clock.

 

 

“What we found with our festival is that it’s a good time of day,” says Brian Lawson, Director of Public Relations.

“A lot of people might do an early BBQ or might be opening their cottage that morning, and by the time four o’clock rolls around, they’re ready for a little bit of fun. People can cap off their busy days with some fun and relaxation at our resort.”

The relaxation and fun are guaranteed! Crystal Mountain has hosted this event for going on 12 years, with attendance and activities growing every year. To make things extra special, the resort is celebrating their 60th anniversary. To the resort staff and surrounding community, this casts an even brighter light around everything in 2017.

The festival itself will offer its usual awesome array of Michigan craft—local brat vendors, breweries from all around the state, and local musicians.

Skarcasm, a power trio hailing Traverse City, will be returning this year with some original sounds and rock’n’roll covers. Joining them will be newcomers to the lineup, Lookin’ Back, a Bob Seger tribute band who consider themselves a forward-looking group united to perform Seger’s hits at their highest possible standard.

“This band makes it a point to invite Bob Seger to all of their gigs. And they play certain covers in the same key he would, so if he did happen to show up, there would be a smooth transition into him joining in,” says Lawson.

While enjoying the music, festival goers can enjoy the many smells and tastes offered under the food and beer tents. Honor Family Market, Buntings Cedar Market, Maxbauer Market, Ebel’s, Kaleva Meats, Sander’s Meats, and Mikowski’s Meat Market & Deli will be providing the traditional brat fare and sides, and all are local Michigan markets.

Like the Michigan craft industry in general, Crystal Mountain increases in number of breweries represented every year. And for this 12th year, the event boasts the highest number of first-time-in-attendance breweries, including: Pigeon Hill Brewing Company, Creston Brewery, Big Lake Brewing, Tapistry Brewing, Oddside Ales, Roak Brewing, and Latitude 42 Brewing Company.

“The combination of music, breweries, and the brats are a great way to start the summer. Having it all focused on Michigan makes it special, too,” says Lawson.

And what makes this event unique? It’s perhaps the small details that actually have a huge impact on atmosphere.

“We have a cool venue at the base of the mountain, which I guess is kind of obvious. But as a resort, we tend towards a different atmosphere than most. We’re very family friendly and are surrounded by a tight knit community that has grown up here alongside us. The sense of community—it feels very inclusive here. You can just kind of feel it,” says Lawson.

The event offers a child care camp if parents want to slip away for a bit and set up a blanket on the lawn with beers and brats in hand.

The annual Tesla car show will also happen again this year, but event attendees will now have the opportunity to talk to Tesla and Chevy representatives while test driving on-site the morning before the event.

And although the event happens Saturday, Crystal Mountain will extend the fun into Sunday this year. For the first time, the resort will be hosting Micros on Mountaintop, a Sunday afternoon mini-beerfest at the top of the mountain. The event caters to the 400+ North Mitten Race runners who will be completing their 5k, 10k, and half marathon distances early that morning—but anyone is welcome to buy admission to attend later that afternoon. Local brews, food, and music will greet attendees as soon as they step off the chairlift!

Memorial Day weekend traditionally launches all of the resort’s summer offerings. Mountain biking, golfing, rock climbing, archery (new!), chairlift rides, local craft tours to Iron Fish Distillery and St. Ambrose Cellars, guided rides on the Betsie Valley Trail into Frankfurt—where one can stop at Stormcloud Brewing Company—these are just some of the options available to resort guests.

When visiting, be sure to check out the newest addition to the resort—a brand new section dedicated not only to more rooms for guests, but also a market and restaurant.

“You won’t be able to miss it, [the new building], says Lawson. “It’s the new centerpiece of the village.”

The addition won’t be open for guest use until later in the summer, with the market and restaurant following in the fall, but Lawson says the plan is to have the Grand Opening coincide with their 60th Anniversary celebrations, a true culmination to a great year filled with new things.

In the meantime, kick off the summer in true Michigan style, by heading up north for barbeque, beer, and family at the Beer & Brat festival.

Tickets available on the Crystal Mountain website.

 

Sponsored by Crystal Mountain Resort

 

crystal mountain

“Memorial day is transformative,” says Brian Lawson, Director of Public Relations at Crystal Mountain.

Memorial Day in Michigan marks the beginning of summer, no matter the temperature. The focus is all about what’s happening. Boat docks are put in the water, summer cottages are opened and aired out, bikes are dragged out of the garage and tuned up, and people are heading north.

Up north, businesses are preparing for the masses — ready to welcome everyone with open arms to enjoy yet another stellar Michigan summer season. For Crystal Mountain, this means transitioning the winter mountain into a warm-weather resort ripe with summer activities.

To kick off the season, Crystal Mountain hosts their annual Beer and Brat Festival, celebrating 11 years this coming May.

“It’s a very smooth-running operation. We’ve been putting on this event for over 10 years now, so setup and preparation are all very familiar. And since everything is so hectic leading up to summer, it’s nice to have an event that the entire staff knows how to run and how to run well.”

Before the Beer & Brat Fest was a tradition, it was an idea. Back in 2005, the inaugural fest hosted three breweries and just over one hundred people, and this was a great success. It was a time when craft beer was just starting to rise in popularity, but the sudden boom of upstart breweries had not begun yet.

crystal mountain

“We featured Short’s Brewing Company, Bell’s Brewery, New Holland Brewing, and Founders Brewing Company. They were kind of the well-known breweries back then, and remain the top four today.”

The decision to pair brats with beer was a no-brainer. The elements of the event make up the quintessential Memorial Day in Michigan. “Most people mark this weekend with barbeque, beer, and backyards; and really, we just decided to create the ultimate backyard barbeque.”

The green space at the foot of the mountain is, indeed, the ultimate backyard. Everything you need to have a lovely day outdoors is right there at the resort — refreshing beverages, scrumptious food, live music, and even child care. Crystal Mountain offers a giant social event where everyone can just kick back.

And the best thing about this event? Every year it improves! Eleven years later, everything about the festival is just more. More breweries. More food vendors. More people. More activities.

“The development of this event goes hand in hand with the development of the resort. We’ve grown as a destination for up north-goers, which brings amazing growth and a loyal following to the fest. It has really transformed our Memorial Day.”

People looking for a more contained holiday weekend end up at Crystal Mountain. In comparison to bigger city destinations such as Traverse City and Petoskey, the resort offers a quieter community without having to sacrifice any amenities.

“We get a mixed crowd to the event. People opening their up north property. People celebrating the holiday. Locals. Visitors. Newcomers and event veterans. Runners from the Bayshore Marathon. It’s a really cool mixed gathering.”

Attendance exceeded 2,500 people last year, with over 30 breweries and various brat vendors. And as the crowd has grown, so have the food and beverage offerings. In the past few years, the resort has also started including Michigan wine, cider, and mead as well as beer, recognizing the growing interest in all things craft.

crystal mountainAs is tradition every year, most craft booths feature specialty pours—unique brews that are only offered so often. From Bell’s: their Hopsolution, a Double IPA made with many tropical and piney hops ringing in around 8% in gravity.

Another gourmet offering comes from Brewery Terra Firma (Traverse City). In collaboration with Traverse City’s Grand Traverse Conservation District, this brew will be a local-centric recipe using ingredients from donated community businesses: wheat from Grand Traverse Culinary Oils, hops from Fresh Roots Organic Growers, maple syrup from Out of the Woods Farm, and cherries from King Orchards. Furthermore, the brew will be conditioned in bourbon barrels from Traverse City Whiskey Co.

Other fun specialties announced so far will be Perrin Brewing Company’s No Rules Vietnamese Porter, a coconut imperial porter recipe conditioned in bourbon barrels, and Short’s Brewing Company’s Hot Loins, an experimental, pub-only brew featuring pomegranate, strawberry, raspberry, vanilla, honey and Long Jack.

There will be others announced as the event comes closer, and avid beer hunters will be pleased to add more rare beers to their taste collections.

If the event is not enough to get you there, one must consider that Crystal Mountain is also a brilliant home base for other summer activities. Over the years, the resort has developed its seasonal offerings, providing a comfortable landing spot for visitors all year. On the resort premise, guests can not only take advantage of the cozy lodging, drinking, and dining, but also a myriad of outdoor goings-on. Get your adrenaline pumping high in the air on their elevated rope course, or take a zip-line ride over their outdoor pool!

Even lacking snow, the actual mountain offers a lot of fun options as well — ride the Crystal Coaster Alpine Slide 1,700 feet down on a sled or take a scenic chairlift ride for some of the best views from the top. Other options include paintball, mountain bike trails, a golf course, climbing wall, disc golf, tennis, hiking, outdoor art installations, and more. If there’s an adventure you want to try, Crystal Mountain will provide.

“Once people are here, we try to offer them everything. We can handle almost all of it if that’s what they want.”

And even if cabin fever sets in, the resort also offers guidance for off-premise activities. In support of the community and other local businesses, Crystal Mountain makes sure all options are available. Take advantage of close proximity to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore—the resort will assist in paddleboard, fat tire bike, and kayak rentals so that you may experience the majesty of beautiful up north Michigan.

It’s also important to know that craft beverages don’t just start and end with the festival. The resort also sponsors tours to Stormcloud Brewing Company and St. Ambrose Cellars, boasting excellent options in beer, wine, and mead in the neighboring towns of Frankfort and Beulah.

So to check out the grounds and offerings, attending the festival is the way to go. There are still tickets available, with both General Admission and VIP options being offered. VIPs receive twice as many tokens and are allowed entrance into the event an hour early. For those who want to taste all of the rare specialty brews being poured before they run out, early admittance could be a real boon to your festivities.

Music for the event will be at the foot of the mountain under the chairlift. Local Michigan bands Scarkasm and The Vintage will be dishing out rock and roll all afternoon and into the evening for festival-goers’ enjoyment.

As tradition, the resort will also host the Twin Bay British Car Club, a unique offering that has always gone hand-in-hand with the Beer & Brat Fest. This year’s theme is sustainability, so alongside the classic models there will be a series of Electric Vehicles showcasing the fact that practicality can also be beautiful in design. All guests are welcome to tour the display and VIPs will have the opportunity to speak with industry officials.

“We embrace outside organizations in the community to take part in the event. It’s just something kind of fun and unique. This year we’ve called it ‘Back to the Future,’ honoring the club’s blending of traditional models with new ones.”

Combining all of the community, rare beer offerings, specialty food recipes, and summer activities, Crystal Mountain is the place to be for Memorial Day. If last year’s perfect weather and happenings are anything to measure it by, it will be a wonderful event. So come celebrate with their staff and other fellow guests to join everyone in ringing in the 2016 summer.

“The guests and staff have made this event what it is. They have made it a tradition.”

 

Sponsored by: Crystal Mountain

crystal mountain

“Memorial day is transformative,” says Brian Lawson, Director of Public Relations at Crystal Mountain.
Memorial Day in Michigan marks the beginning of summer, no matter the temperature. The focus is all about what’s happening. Boat docks are put in the water, summer cottages are opened and aired out, bikes are dragged out of the garage and tuned up, and people are heading north.
Up north, businesses are preparing for the masses — ready to welcome everyone with open arms to enjoy yet another stellar Michigan summer season. For Crystal Mountain, this means transitioning the winter mountain into a warm-weather resort ripe with summer activities.
To kick off the season, Crystal Mountain hosts their annual Beer and Brat Festival, celebrating 11 years this coming May.
“It’s a very smooth-running operation. We’ve been putting on this event for over 10 years now, so setup and preparation are all very familiar. And since everything is so hectic leading up to summer, it’s nice to have an event that the entire staff knows how to run and how to run well.”
Before the Beer & Brat Fest was a tradition, it was an idea. Back in 2005, the inaugural fest hosted three breweries and just over one hundred people, and this was a great success. It was a time when craft beer was just starting to rise in popularity, but the sudden boom of upstart breweries had not begun yet.
crystal mountain
“We featured Short’s Brewing Company, Bell’s Brewery, New Holland Brewing, and Founders Brewing Company. They were kind of the well-known breweries back then, and remain the top four today.”
The decision to pair brats with beer was a no-brainer. The elements of the event make up the quintessential Memorial Day in Michigan. “Most people mark this weekend with barbeque, beer, and backyards; and really, we just decided to create the ultimate backyard barbeque.”
The green space at the foot of the mountain is, indeed, the ultimate backyard. Everything you need to have a lovely day outdoors is right there at the resort — refreshing beverages, scrumptious food, live music, and even child care. Crystal Mountain offers a giant social event where everyone can just kick back.
And the best thing about this event? Every year it improves! Eleven years later, everything about the festival is just more. More breweries. More food vendors. More people. More activities.
“The development of this event goes hand in hand with the development of the resort. We’ve grown as a destination for up north-goers, which brings amazing growth and a loyal following to the fest. It has really transformed our Memorial Day.”
People looking for a more contained holiday weekend end up at Crystal Mountain. In comparison to bigger city destinations such as Traverse City and Petoskey, the resort offers a quieter community without having to sacrifice any amenities.
“We get a mixed crowd to the event. People opening their up north property. People celebrating the holiday. Locals. Visitors. Newcomers and event veterans. Runners from the Bayshore Marathon. It’s a really cool mixed gathering.”
Attendance exceeded 2,500 people last year, with over 30 breweries and various brat vendors. And as the crowd has grown, so have the food and beverage offerings. In the past few years, the resort has also started including Michigan wine, cider, and mead as well as beer, recognizing the growing interest in all things craft.
crystal mountainAs is tradition every year, most craft booths feature specialty pours—unique brews that are only offered so often. From Bell’s: their Hopsolution, a Double IPA made with many tropical and piney hops ringing in around 8% in gravity.
Another gourmet offering comes from Brewery Terra Firma (Traverse City). In collaboration with Traverse City’s Grand Traverse Conservation District, this brew will be a local-centric recipe using ingredients from donated community businesses: wheat from Grand Traverse Culinary Oils, hops from Fresh Roots Organic Growers, maple syrup from Out of the Woods Farm, and cherries from King Orchards. Furthermore, the brew will be conditioned in bourbon barrels from Traverse City Whiskey Co.
Other fun specialties announced so far will be Perrin Brewing Company’s No Rules Vietnamese Porter, a coconut imperial porter recipe conditioned in bourbon barrels, and Short’s Brewing Company’s Hot Loins, an experimental, pub-only brew featuring pomegranate, strawberry, raspberry, vanilla, honey and Long Jack.
There will be others announced as the event comes closer, and avid beer hunters will be pleased to add more rare beers to their taste collections.
If the event is not enough to get you there, one must consider that Crystal Mountain is also a brilliant home base for other summer activities. Over the years, the resort has developed its seasonal offerings, providing a comfortable landing spot for visitors all year. On the resort premise, guests can not only take advantage of the cozy lodging, drinking, and dining, but also a myriad of outdoor goings-on. Get your adrenaline pumping high in the air on their elevated rope course, or take a zip-line ride over their outdoor pool!
Even lacking snow, the actual mountain offers a lot of fun options as well — ride the Crystal Coaster Alpine Slide 1,700 feet down on a sled or take a scenic chairlift ride for some of the best views from the top. Other options include paintball, mountain bike trails, a golf course, climbing wall, disc golf, tennis, hiking, outdoor art installations, and more. If there’s an adventure you want to try, Crystal Mountain will provide.
“Once people are here, we try to offer them everything. We can handle almost all of it if that’s what they want.”
And even if cabin fever sets in, the resort also offers guidance for off-premise activities. In support of the community and other local businesses, Crystal Mountain makes sure all options are available. Take advantage of close proximity to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore—the resort will assist in paddleboard, fat tire bike, and kayak rentals so that you may experience the majesty of beautiful up north Michigan.
It’s also important to know that craft beverages don’t just start and end with the festival. The resort also sponsors tours to Stormcloud Brewing Company and St. Ambrose Cellars, boasting excellent options in beer, wine, and mead in the neighboring towns of Frankfort and Beulah.
So to check out the grounds and offerings, attending the festival is the way to go. There are still tickets available, with both General Admission and VIP options being offered. VIPs receive twice as many tokens and are allowed entrance into the event an hour early. For those who want to taste all of the rare specialty brews being poured before they run out, early admittance could be a real boon to your festivities.
Music for the event will be at the foot of the mountain under the chairlift. Local Michigan bands Scarkasm and The Vintage will be dishing out rock and roll all afternoon and into the evening for festival-goers’ enjoyment.
As tradition, the resort will also host the Twin Bay British Car Club, a unique offering that has always gone hand-in-hand with the Beer & Brat Fest. This year’s theme is sustainability, so alongside the classic models there will be a series of Electric Vehicles showcasing the fact that practicality can also be beautiful in design. All guests are welcome to tour the display and VIPs will have the opportunity to speak with industry officials.
“We embrace outside organizations in the community to take part in the event. It’s just something kind of fun and unique. This year we’ve called it ‘Back to the Future,’ honoring the club’s blending of traditional models with new ones.”
Combining all of the community, rare beer offerings, specialty food recipes, and summer activities, Crystal Mountain is the place to be for Memorial Day. If last year’s perfect weather and happenings are anything to measure it by, it will be a wonderful event. So come celebrate with their staff and other fellow guests to join everyone in ringing in the 2016 summer.

“The guests and staff have made this event what it is. They have made it a tradition.”
 
Sponsored by: Crystal Mountain

crystal mountain

THOMPSONVILLE — When there is no snow on a ski mountain, what is there to do?

Plenty! Well, at least there is at Crystal Mountain. It’s Memorial Day weekend, and to kick off a day of remembrance there is first lots of sunshine, beer and food to be enjoyed at the 10th Annual Michigan Beer & Brat Festival.

The beautiful day ushers in families from all over the state, all happy to relax and celebrate courtesy of Crystal Mountain’s hospitality and Michigan’s craft industry.

“We built the event around who we are and we are a family resort,” said Brian Lawson, Director of Public Relations. “The other part of it is—it’s a unique event. I mean, how many beer events can you say happened at the base of a mountain?”

A great time can be had by all. The mountain offers slides, a rope course and an outdoor activities area for children.  Parents can rest easy for a time, knowing their children are entertained while they enjoy some of the more adult offerings.

And there are many offerings! Craft beer, cider, mead and even exclusive Crystal Mountain wine—there are over 30 booths to choose from.

On top of that, a majority of the booths had limited specialty pours available throughout the day. To name a few: Beards Brewery’s Tree Blood Maple Sap Stout, Asparagus Spear Beer from Right Brain Brewery and Schmohz Brewery’s Barley Wine.

“A lot of these breweries have served here since the beginning — Short’s Brewing Company, New Holland Brewing Company, Bell’s Brewery [and] Founders Brewing Company,” said Lawson. “Ten years ago the beer industry in Michigan was radically different, so they were kind of…it.”

The 10 years Crystal Mountain has hosted this event prove the overwhelming growth of not only the festival itself, but also the Michigan craft scene.

“The first festival we had numbered 115 people. Back in 2005, a lot of what you see here [now] just wasn’t there. We have grown astronomically since then. But in the beginning we were challenged to create an event that brought people in,” said Lawson.

To compare numbers now, 400 VIP tickets alone were sold out a month before the event. Guests received a special 10 year anniversary drinking glass, drinking tokens and a festival t-shirt to commemorate their time.

In between beers, festival goers lounge on the grassy lawn, soaking up the sun, and listen to the Sweetwater Blues Band play some mellow rock’n’roll. And maybe when there’s enough drink, it’s time to visit the food tent which features eleven different brat options, all from local Michigan meat markets and shops.

“It’s all about keeping it local. People seem to like that we run the brat side of it like we run the beer side of it,” said Lawson.

Indeed, it seems like everyone likes how Crystal Mountain throws this event.

“We come up here every year to celebrate, and every year it’s a perfectly sunny day with awesome beer and delicious food,” said Beer & Brat attendees Matt and Jamie from downstate Michigan.

crystal mountain

THOMPSONVILLE — When there is no snow on a ski mountain, what is there to do?
Plenty! Well, at least there is at Crystal Mountain. It’s Memorial Day weekend, and to kick off a day of remembrance there is first lots of sunshine, beer and food to be enjoyed at the 10th Annual Michigan Beer & Brat Festival.
The beautiful day ushers in families from all over the state, all happy to relax and celebrate courtesy of Crystal Mountain’s hospitality and Michigan’s craft industry.
“We built the event around who we are and we are a family resort,” said Brian Lawson, Director of Public Relations. “The other part of it is—it’s a unique event. I mean, how many beer events can you say happened at the base of a mountain?”
A great time can be had by all. The mountain offers slides, a rope course and an outdoor activities area for children.  Parents can rest easy for a time, knowing their children are entertained while they enjoy some of the more adult offerings.
And there are many offerings! Craft beer, cider, mead and even exclusive Crystal Mountain wine—there are over 30 booths to choose from.
On top of that, a majority of the booths had limited specialty pours available throughout the day. To name a few: Beards Brewery’s Tree Blood Maple Sap Stout, Asparagus Spear Beer from Right Brain Brewery and Schmohz Brewery’s Barley Wine.
“A lot of these breweries have served here since the beginning — Short’s Brewing Company, New Holland Brewing Company, Bell’s Brewery [and] Founders Brewing Company,” said Lawson. “Ten years ago the beer industry in Michigan was radically different, so they were kind of…it.”
The 10 years Crystal Mountain has hosted this event prove the overwhelming growth of not only the festival itself, but also the Michigan craft scene.
“The first festival we had numbered 115 people. Back in 2005, a lot of what you see here [now] just wasn’t there. We have grown astronomically since then. But in the beginning we were challenged to create an event that brought people in,” said Lawson.
To compare numbers now, 400 VIP tickets alone were sold out a month before the event. Guests received a special 10 year anniversary drinking glass, drinking tokens and a festival t-shirt to commemorate their time.
In between beers, festival goers lounge on the grassy lawn, soaking up the sun, and listen to the Sweetwater Blues Band play some mellow rock’n’roll. And maybe when there’s enough drink, it’s time to visit the food tent which features eleven different brat options, all from local Michigan meat markets and shops.
“It’s all about keeping it local. People seem to like that we run the brat side of it like we run the beer side of it,” said Lawson.
Indeed, it seems like everyone likes how Crystal Mountain throws this event.
“We come up here every year to celebrate, and every year it’s a perfectly sunny day with awesome beer and delicious food,” said Beer & Brat attendees Matt and Jamie from downstate Michigan.

Memorial Weekend marks the beginning of the summer season, and Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville celebrated with its 8th Annual Michigan Beer and Brat Festival on Saturday.

The festival has grown dramatically since it started eight years ago. “We started with around 200 people and 20 beers. This year, we’re expecting nearly 2,000 people,” said Tom Kramer, Public Relations Manager for Crystal Mountain.

Festival-goers were able to enjoy 99 different Michigan beers, meads, ciders and wines, alongside a large variety of locally made bratwursts.

The space was well organized, the atmosphere was enjoyable and family-friendly and live music kept the summer spirit alive. There was also a great exhibition of Michigan-made products.

Local markets including Pleva’s, Ebel’s, Maxbauer’s and Buntings brought their best brats. I particularly enjoyed the Asparagus-White Cheddar brat from Maxbauer’s alongside local grilled asparagus.

Breweries present ranged from well-established ones like Bell’s to smaller breweries like Brewery Ferment of Traverse City. There was also a large selection of ciders and meads.

Upon entering the festival, I was told Bell’s Brewery would be featuring something special.  Bell’s had six beers on tap, including my favorite summer beer, Oberon, and the exclusive stout, Black Note.

Black Note was indeed something special. The flavor and mouthfeel of Black Note Stout was unlike any other, in which Bell’s Expedition Stout and Double Cream Stout are blended and aged in oak bourbon barrels. The result is a complex cream stout which has a slight chocolatey taste with bourbon highlights.

Brewery Ferment was also at the festival and has gotten a lot of attention in the Traverse City area for doing things a little differently. They had Mitten Wit, 45th Parallale and Worker’s Daily on tap. I sampled 45th Parallale, a pale ale brewed with locally grown hops. To emphasize the fresh hop flavor, a HopRocket is used when serving 45th Parallale. The HopRocket infuses fresh hops into the beer as it is tapped.

“It’s my tribute to the hop heroes of the area. We are working hard to support local hop growers,” said Dustin Jones, owner of Brewery Ferment.

As the craft brewing industry continues to grow in Michigan, it is exciting to see breweries experimenting with both unusual and local ingredients. The Michigan Beer and Brat Festival proved to be the perfect venue to experience everything breweries from across the state have to offer for the summer season.

Memorial Weekend marks the beginning of the summer season, and Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville celebrated with its 8th Annual Michigan Beer and Brat Festival on Saturday.

The festival has grown dramatically since it started eight years ago. “We started with around 200 people and 20 beers. This year, we’re expecting nearly 2,000 people,” said Tom Kramer, Public Relations Manager for Crystal Mountain.

Festival-goers were able to enjoy 99 different Michigan beers, meads, ciders and wines, alongside a large variety of locally made bratwursts.

The space was well organized, the atmosphere was enjoyable and family-friendly and live music kept the summer spirit alive. There was also a great exhibition of Michigan-made products.

Local markets including Pleva’s, Ebel’s, Maxbauer’s and Buntings brought their best brats. I particularly enjoyed the Asparagus-White Cheddar brat from Maxbauer’s alongside local grilled asparagus.

Breweries present ranged from well-established ones like Bell’s to smaller breweries like Brewery Ferment of Traverse City. There was also a large selection of ciders and meads.

Upon entering the festival, I was told Bell’s Brewery would be featuring something special.  Bell’s had six beers on tap, including my favorite summer beer, Oberon, and the exclusive stout, Black Note.

Black Note was indeed something special. The flavor and mouthfeel of Black Note Stout was unlike any other, in which Bell’s Expedition Stout and Double Cream Stout are blended and aged in oak bourbon barrels. The result is a complex cream stout which has a slight chocolatey taste with bourbon highlights.

Brewery Ferment was also at the festival and has gotten a lot of attention in the Traverse City area for doing things a little differently. They had Mitten Wit, 45th Parallale and Worker’s Daily on tap. I sampled 45th Parallale, a pale ale brewed with locally grown hops. To emphasize the fresh hop flavor, a HopRocket is used when serving 45th Parallale. The HopRocket infuses fresh hops into the beer as it is tapped.

“It’s my tribute to the hop heroes of the area. We are working hard to support local hop growers,” said Dustin Jones, owner of Brewery Ferment.

As the craft brewing industry continues to grow in Michigan, it is exciting to see breweries experimenting with both unusual and local ingredients. The Michigan Beer and Brat Festival proved to be the perfect venue to experience everything breweries from across the state have to offer for the summer season.


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