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Mead isn’t mainstream. It’s where beer was in the early 1980s, when breweries like Sierra Nevada and Bell’s Brewery were just getting started. Michigan, however, has one of the hottest scenes, and B. Nektar has established itself as one of the major mead players in the nation. So, MittenBrew traveled to its facility in Ferndale for a chat.

With Christmas trees, bonfires, street performers and plenty of craft beer, One-Eyed Betty’s FestivALE filled downtown Ferndale with holiday cheer on Saturday.

The second year event celebrated the start of the Winter season with Michigan and Belgian beers, cold weather comfort food and live music.

While inclement weather posed problems during last year’s FestivALE’s inaugural run, One-Eyed Betty’s owner Beth Hussey made some big changes to help make the event more enjoyable for 2014.

“The weather could not have been worse (last year) — zero degrees and 40 mile per hour winds,” said Hussey.

“It was absolutely brutal.”

After last year’s event, Hussey reviewed lots of feedback from attendees and addressed their concerns for the festival’s second time around.

One of the most noticeable differences this year was FestivALE’s main tent, which was relocated to a different parking lot. The tent was fully enclosed and had a different heating system, so attendees had no problem staying warm.

Hussey also tripled her entertainment budget to showcase a full day of live Americana music, including performances by Delilah De Wylde & The Lost Boys, The Ragbirds and headliner Mountain Heart.

The biggest star of the show, though, was the beer, with even more Michigan breweries featured.

“We really cranked it up as far as the special beers we’re offering,” said Hussey.

FestivALE-goers had three beer booths to choose from — a main booth, a Michigan’s Best booth and a Christmas Belgian booth.

At the main booth, more than 20 seasonal Michigan beers and ciders were available all day, including Dark Horse’s 4 Elf, Odd Side’s Granny’s Apple Pie, Arbor Brewing’s FIGJAM, Bell’s Winter White and Atwater’s Christmas Ale.

At the Michigan’s Best and Belgian booths, rare limited releases were tapped on an hourly schedule. Short’s Bourbon Carrot Cake, Bell’s Black Note, Founders’ KBS and Kuhnhenn’s 2013 Fourth Dementia were just a few standouts on the Michigan’s Best lineup.

In addition, Belgian selections such as Kasteel Winterbier, Delirium Noël and St. Bernardus Christmas added some Old World holiday flair to the event.

Hussey pointed out that any one of the rare beers would be a draw for craft beer fans, so being able to offer so many was especially exciting.

“We’ve got them pouring at the same place on the same day, which is pretty special,” she said.

Food was also a big part of the event, as FestivALE-goers noshed on One-Eyed Betty’s famous fried doughnuts, a tartiflette prepared in a giant skillet and a variety of “roast beasts,” including pig, lamb and goat.

Hussey noted that FestivALE will continue to bring its holiday magic to Ferndale for years to come.

“My vision of this event is that it will grow over the years,” she said.

With Christmas trees, bonfires, street performers and plenty of craft beer, One-Eyed Betty’s FestivALE filled downtown Ferndale with holiday cheer on Saturday.
The second year event celebrated the start of the Winter season with Michigan and Belgian beers, cold weather comfort food and live music.
While inclement weather posed problems during last year’s FestivALE’s inaugural run, One-Eyed Betty’s owner Beth Hussey made some big changes to help make the event more enjoyable for 2014.
“The weather could not have been worse (last year) — zero degrees and 40 mile per hour winds,” said Hussey.
“It was absolutely brutal.”
After last year’s event, Hussey reviewed lots of feedback from attendees and addressed their concerns for the festival’s second time around.
One of the most noticeable differences this year was FestivALE’s main tent, which was relocated to a different parking lot. The tent was fully enclosed and had a different heating system, so attendees had no problem staying warm.
Hussey also tripled her entertainment budget to showcase a full day of live Americana music, including performances by Delilah De Wylde & The Lost Boys, The Ragbirds and headliner Mountain Heart.
The biggest star of the show, though, was the beer, with even more Michigan breweries featured.
“We really cranked it up as far as the special beers we’re offering,” said Hussey.
FestivALE-goers had three beer booths to choose from — a main booth, a Michigan’s Best booth and a Christmas Belgian booth.
At the main booth, more than 20 seasonal Michigan beers and ciders were available all day, including Dark Horse’s 4 Elf, Odd Side’s Granny’s Apple Pie, Arbor Brewing’s FIGJAM, Bell’s Winter White and Atwater’s Christmas Ale.
At the Michigan’s Best and Belgian booths, rare limited releases were tapped on an hourly schedule. Short’s Bourbon Carrot Cake, Bell’s Black Note, Founders’ KBS and Kuhnhenn’s 2013 Fourth Dementia were just a few standouts on the Michigan’s Best lineup.
In addition, Belgian selections such as Kasteel Winterbier, Delirium Noël and St. Bernardus Christmas added some Old World holiday flair to the event.
Hussey pointed out that any one of the rare beers would be a draw for craft beer fans, so being able to offer so many was especially exciting.
“We’ve got them pouring at the same place on the same day, which is pretty special,” she said.
Food was also a big part of the event, as FestivALE-goers noshed on One-Eyed Betty’s famous fried doughnuts, a tartiflette prepared in a giant skillet and a variety of “roast beasts,” including pig, lamb and goat.
Hussey noted that FestivALE will continue to bring its holiday magic to Ferndale for years to come.
“My vision of this event is that it will grow over the years,” she said.

FERNDALE — The “terrible twos” are typically a hectic and dreadful time for most parents. Unless, of course, your child is a craft beer bar. 

One Eyed Betty’s celebrated its two-year anniversary this week by hosting a Barrel-Aged Beer Week.

With nightly tapping’s Monday through Thursday at 6 p.m., the week was chalked full of huge brews and high ABVs.

The idea is credited to Bar Manager and resident “Beer Genius” Michael Fredenburg.

“In the summertime, I was conjuring up ideas on something to do. I wanted to do a barrel-aged night, which was my original plan,” Fredenburg said. “That kind of turned into me hoarding beer enough to do a full week. So it became our birthday celebration.”

While the high-octane beers reigned supreme and some customers jokingly labeled the list “dangerous,” Owner and Operator Beth Hussey wasn’t worried.

“The people who know about these beers and appreciate them, know how to drink them,” she said.

Hussey said of the 17 beers tapped this week, many have been cellared for over a year.

“I don’t know if everyone quite understands how special some of these beers are, but we do,” Hussey said. “There are some big beauties on that list.”

The biggest beauty of them all was tapped on Thursday evening to a ravenous crowd awaiting their pours of the magical liquid known as Bell’s Bourbon Barrel-Aged Batch 9,000.

Hussey described it as “the last of its kind.” Fredenburg proclaimed it as “the star of the show.”

The keg lasted all of 21 minutes and 16 seconds.

“You don’t come across that every day. It was very, very special and we have to thank Bell’s for that,” Fredenburg said.

Other highlighted Michigan beers included Odd Side Ales Barrel Aged Citra Pale Ale and Griffin Claw Brewing Bourbon Imperial Stout. Offerings from Mt. Pleasant Brewing Company, Tri-City Brewing Company and Northville Winery also rounded out the list.

Hussey said the last two years have been “awesome” and can’t believe how much Betty’s has learned in that time.

“Now, the pressure’s on,” she said. “How do we continue to be cool and great? And be the place beer drinkers think of going for good beer?”

Although the pressure is mounting in her eyes, Hussey doesn’t want to veer too far from what’s made them successful.

“We have really high standards,” she said. “Right now, I really believe that we’re right in the sweet spot.”