Posts

WHAT:             10th Annual Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival

WHEN:             Thursday, Nov. 16 (5-10pm) | Friday, Nov. 17 (4-10pm) | Saturday, Nov. 18 (1-10pm)

WHERE:           DeVos Place, Downtown Grand Rapids

WHO:               Savor the largest and finest culinary experience in the Midwest during this annual pre-holiday celebration. Drawing more than 18,000 people—from the novice looking for an introduction to the world of  epicurean culture to the connoisseur who appreciates the finest things in life—this is the weekend to gather with family and friends for a night on the town.

*Attendance at this festival is for those 21 years of age and older. ID is required for admittance.

FEATURING:

Enhanced Elite Wine Collection: The nearly 50 offerings are hand-selected by our consulting sommeliers and importing specialists as the “best of the best” top shelf vintages (such as Opus 1, Robert Mondavi Reserve, Cakebread and Dom Perignon) with at least a 90-point value in a recognized wine rating system. Samples require a minimum 10-ticket ($5) tasting fee due to the value of the wines. Hosted by the Tasters Guild and located in the center of The Vineyard, inside the Steelcase Ballroom.

Note: The third Thursday of November is known as “Beaujolais Nouveau Day” to celebrate the release date around the world for this popular vin de primeur, fermented for just a few weeks before being released for sale. On the Festival’s opening day, the Tasters Guild will recognize 2017 Beaujolais Nouveau by hosting special pouring in the Elite Collection, presented by David Stanley—Wine & Beverage Steward at Meijer.

The Vineyard: Over 100 wineries from around the world provide samples of over 1,500 assorted wines – including some hard to find, top shelf vintages. Whether you’re looking for dry or sweet red, white, rose or sparkling wines, they’re all here from six continents for your sampling. Over 200 Michigan wines are featured. Located in the Steelcase Ballroom.

Hemingway Hall: Raise a glass and toast one of the world’s most noted cocktail enthusiasts, Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning author (and former northern Michigan summer resident), Ernest Hemingway. Featuring award-winning spirits, artisan cocktails and passionate mixologists with samples and workshops as part of Cocktail Week GR (hosted by Experience Grand Rapids). Mixers, seltzer waters and carbonated caffeinated products will also be featured. Located along the riverfront, adjacent to The Vineyard.

Craft cocktail workshops presented by Coppercraft Distillery and New Holland Artisan Spirits and provide unique hands-on experiences for those wishing to learn tricks of the trade from top leaders in the new Hemingway Hall. Space is limited to the first 12 who step up to the bar for these 15-minute sessions, with tasting tickets required for sampling. Select sessions with Coppercraft are being hosted by noted author and beverage expert, Philip Greene, from the Museum of American Cocktails in New Orleans.

Beer City Station: Step into the world of creative craft beers, imported and domestic brews, hard ciders and foods that pair well with both. Meet the American craft brewer—the small, independent and traditional producers who display passion and excitement for their unique beverages. Located in Exhibit Hall C, off the Grand Gallery

Cider Row: Tap into the Cider Row at the Festival, featuring more than 20 cider producers from Michigan and nationally-known brands. Hard cider is among the fastest growing craft beverages, on a national scale. It is fermented to produce a range of flavors – from dry to sweet. Featured in the Beer City Station in Exhibit Hall C, off the Grand Gallery.

Pairings: Select restaurants partner with distinguished wineries, breweries and distilleries for special Pairings – gourmet multi-course meals served on-site in a casual yet intimate “bar top” setting. Several seatings are offered each day by each of the restaurants. Tickets are $35-$70 each and may be purchased in advance online, or at the Festival, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Ultimate Dining Experiences: Chefs from a record number of 15 area restaurants prepare and serve small plates of their culinary specialties to enjoy while you stroll around inside DeVos Place.The featured restaurants will be located throughout the Festival and designated by a knife and fork insignia. Use your tasting tickets to enjoy their special presentations. A perfect opportunity for an unparalleled dining experience. You will not leave the Festival hungry!

RendezBREW: The Coffee, Cordials and Dessert Café will be open in the Grand Gallery for the duration of the Festival. Start your Festival experience, or make it a nightcap, with unique pairings of coffee and lattes with a variety of cordials, indulgent sweets and other treats.

Food & Beverage Seminars / Workshops: Esteemed individuals from the culinary world host lively and informative demonstrations on the Meijer Food Stage throughout the three-day Festival. Beverage seminars, held classroom-style in the rooms off the Grand Gallery, give attendees an in-depth look into the world of wine, beer and spirits. These are offered at no additional charge.

 

COST:              $15 – Thursday (and advanced ticket sales for Friday & Saturday)

$20 – Friday & Saturday

3-Day Pass – At $40, this option allows admission each day of the Festival and is intended for those who want to get the most out of their tasting experience. Online sales end Thursday, Nov. 16 at 5pm (Box Office sales for the pass end at 10pm on Thursday, Nov. 16).

Food and beverage samples require varied amounts of sampling tickets of 50-cent denominations (sold at the Festival). We suggest guests start with at least $20 worth of tasting tickets.

WEBSITE:       GRWineFestival.com

A Festival App is available in both the Android and Apple systems, this free app allows guests to peruse beverage lists (including notes, ratings and personalized lists), workshops/seminars, restaurant menus and also purchase admission and pairing tickets. Download it now and plan your visit, as well as use it to navigate the Festival.

 

GRAND RAPIDS – Over the course of the 11 days spanning Cocktail Week GR, Grand Rapids’ only distillery, Long Road Distillers, played a huge role in the week’s events.  

The backbone of a cocktail is in the quality of the liquor.  To prove just that, Long Road hosted distillery tours at a discounted rate throughout the week, sharing with patrons the process it takes to make its different liquors.

Long Road’s beautiful distilling facility houses multiple-story, shiny gold-colored tanks towering skyward.  While on the 45 minute tour, patrons were able to taste gin during its distilling process as well as a tasting of five different liquors following the tour.

Long Road also hosted a few events educating people on how to make a cocktail.  They occupied their new second floor, to create an intimate learning experience.  While on the second floor, you also get a magnificent view of the distillery below.

A similar event to this took place at the Downtown Market, where guests were shown how to make a cocktail using all ingredients from the market itself.  After the demonstration, guests were encouraged to shop the market to make the cocktails again at home.

All across town, participating restaurants joined together to create a Pair and Share.  Many of the cocktails at the participating restaurants featured Long Road liquors in their drinks.  

MittenBrew

Kyle Vanstrien, owner of Long Road Distillers said, “It is an awesome thing to continue to promote cocktail culture that has been lacking forever.  As well as it is exciting to be a part of 30 venues partaking with five other venues using our liquors in their cocktails.”

Not only could you find Long Road’s liquors in cocktails around town, the distillery figured it should have a couple drinks of its own to join in on the fun!  Sourcing all ingredients from local suppliers, Long Road’s drinks are ever-changing with the seasons.  Appropriately enough, calling one of their Pair and Share drinks “Berry’s Last Call,” using the last blueberries of the season with their house gin and local additions.  My personal favorite, “Orange and Stuff,” surprisingly doesn’t have any oranges in it whatsoever, yet delightfully tastes like an adult orange julius. This is either a mistake or genius. I say genius.  And last but not least was “Peared Up,” boasting their vodka.

There are plenty of events scattered around town, featuring Long Road Distillers, still left in Cocktail Week GR leading up to the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer and Food Festival this weekend at the Devos Place.  Check out the schedule to see where you can still catch some delicious drinks and learn more about the beautiful science behind a cocktail.

It’s that time of year again, the time when the beer people dress up a little (maybe), and the wine people dress down a little (maybe), and meet in the middle for the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival.
This one’s always a little different from the yearly and seasonal beer festivals filling the calendar. It’s indoors and a more tightly contained; the crowd is more diverse and perhaps less casual and the beer vendors themselves are more diverse. Bigger names like New Belgium and Sam Adams, and out-of-state brands like Blue Point from Long Island and Summit from St. Paul set up booths next to Michigan breweries.
But still, as the Michigan craft beverage industry has grown and evolved, so has this festival. It always finds new ways to highlight Mitten State products, and this year was no exception. This year, in addition to the Brewer’s Loft, the festival featured a craft cider area as well. (Maybe a cider “back porch?”). It also welcomed Michigan craft distillers like Coppercraft and Michigan meaderies like B. Nektar.
Michigan brewers always welcome their place in this festival. Greg Korson, one of the owners of Tapistry Brewing in Bridgman, says it’s good for beer to share the stage with food and wine. “There’s a growing awareness that beer pairs with food as well as, if not better than, wine,” he said. “We want to be a part of helping people understand that. There’s flavor to this; there are subtleties.”
Tapistry had a couple of beers on tap that showcased the wide flavor profile Korson spoke of. Its Mr. Orange blood orange wit featured a balanced sweetness flavored with, of all things, rose petals. On the darker side, its Autonomous Unit oatmeal raisin cookie ale offered dessert in the form of a brown ale warmed with cinnamon and smelling just like grandma’s cookies.
Tapistry was actually one of only a few breweries offering draft beer (another notable difference between this and most beer festivals). Christopher Mier of Right Brain Brewery had an explanation: marketing and branding is a big deal here. Because so many industry reps, distributors, and vendors attend this event, the brewers want to show them what they’ll be stocking or buying in stores. Cans and bottles showcase the brand; taps don’t.
Again, that’s a change, but the brewers see it as a good thing. With so many people from the industry, “you get that one-on-one time,” said Mier. “You can meet the decision-makers.”
Right Brain brought three of their four canned beers to help influence those decisions: CEO StoutNorthern Hawk Owl amber, and Smooth Operator cream ale. Smooth Operator is a newer release, and you should definitely give it a try. It’s a pilsener beer brewed like an ale and sweetened a bit with some corn in the batch. It is indeed really smooth. “Like it says on the can,” Mier pointed out, “‘for when you just want to drink.’”
Another good newbie showcased at this festival is Atwater’s just-released Lebkuchen Christmas Ale. In keeping with Atwater’s German heritage, this ale is brewed to taste like a popular German Christmas cookie (named, as you might have guessed, the “lebkuchen”). Whereas many Christmas ales bring the spice, this one brings the sweet with a mixture of honey and almond, tempered a bit by ginger. It smells good, it tastes great, and you should definitely ask Santa for some.
And while you’re at it, you should put a Duba & Company Steak and a bottle of Ciderye from Crow’s Hard Cider on your wish list. Obviously, neither of these things is craft beer, but each does represent another aspect of the craft industry in Michigan.
Duba & Company was one of the food vendors tucked between breweries in the Brewer’s Loft. Jeff Duba, the company’s owner, says that wasn’t by design, but it still seemed like a good fit. Duba himself works in the beer world as a server at Brewery Vivant, and he sees a clear parallel between the food and the beer that he sells. “Heritage [beef] is the microbrew of meats,” he said. “It’s the last frontier of the craft industry.”
Benjamin Crow of Crow’s Hard Cider (and also Good Neighbor Organic Winery) told a similar story. His products — including the rye whiskey barrel aged cider he’s named Ciderye — are made in Michigan using Michigan-grown ingredients. And though his booth may have been downstairs, he definitely had the brewers’ easy-does-it attitude. “We like to be the laid back guys down here,” he said.
Wherever you turn at the Wine, Beer & Food Festival this weekend, you’re sure to find craft. It’s a testament to the quality of that craft that Michigan beer can take such a prominent place at an event like this.

It’s that time of year again, the time when the beer people dress up a little (maybe), and the wine people dress down a little (maybe), and meet in the middle for the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival.

This one’s always a little different from the yearly and seasonal beer festivals filling the calendar. It’s indoors and a more tightly contained; the crowd is more diverse and perhaps less casual and the beer vendors themselves are more diverse. Bigger names like New Belgium and Sam Adams, and out-of-state brands like Blue Point from Long Island and Summit from St. Paul set up booths next to Michigan breweries.

But still, as the Michigan craft beverage industry has grown and evolved, so has this festival. It always finds new ways to highlight Mitten State products, and this year was no exception. This year, in addition to the Brewer’s Loft, the festival featured a craft cider area as well. (Maybe a cider “back porch?”). It also welcomed Michigan craft distillers like Coppercraft and Michigan meaderies like B. Nektar.

Michigan brewers always welcome their place in this festival. Greg Korson, one of the owners of Tapistry Brewing in Bridgman, says it’s good for beer to share the stage with food and wine. “There’s a growing awareness that beer pairs with food as well as, if not better than, wine,” he said. “We want to be a part of helping people understand that. There’s flavor to this; there are subtleties.”

Tapistry had a couple of beers on tap that showcased the wide flavor profile Korson spoke of. Its Mr. Orange blood orange wit featured a balanced sweetness flavored with, of all things, rose petals. On the darker side, its Autonomous Unit oatmeal raisin cookie ale offered dessert in the form of a brown ale warmed with cinnamon and smelling just like grandma’s cookies.

Tapistry was actually one of only a few breweries offering draft beer (another notable difference between this and most beer festivals). Christopher Mier of Right Brain Brewery had an explanation: marketing and branding is a big deal here. Because so many industry reps, distributors, and vendors attend this event, the brewers want to show them what they’ll be stocking or buying in stores. Cans and bottles showcase the brand; taps don’t.

Again, that’s a change, but the brewers see it as a good thing. With so many people from the industry, “you get that one-on-one time,” said Mier. “You can meet the decision-makers.”

Right Brain brought three of their four canned beers to help influence those decisions: CEO StoutNorthern Hawk Owl amber, and Smooth Operator cream ale. Smooth Operator is a newer release, and you should definitely give it a try. It’s a pilsener beer brewed like an ale and sweetened a bit with some corn in the batch. It is indeed really smooth. “Like it says on the can,” Mier pointed out, “‘for when you just want to drink.’”

Another good newbie showcased at this festival is Atwater’s just-released Lebkuchen Christmas Ale. In keeping with Atwater’s German heritage, this ale is brewed to taste like a popular German Christmas cookie (named, as you might have guessed, the “lebkuchen”). Whereas many Christmas ales bring the spice, this one brings the sweet with a mixture of honey and almond, tempered a bit by ginger. It smells good, it tastes great, and you should definitely ask Santa for some.

And while you’re at it, you should put a Duba & Company Steak and a bottle of Ciderye from Crow’s Hard Cider on your wish list. Obviously, neither of these things is craft beer, but each does represent another aspect of the craft industry in Michigan.

Duba & Company was one of the food vendors tucked between breweries in the Brewer’s Loft. Jeff Duba, the company’s owner, says that wasn’t by design, but it still seemed like a good fit. Duba himself works in the beer world as a server at Brewery Vivant, and he sees a clear parallel between the food and the beer that he sells. “Heritage [beef] is the microbrew of meats,” he said. “It’s the last frontier of the craft industry.”

Benjamin Crow of Crow’s Hard Cider (and also Good Neighbor Organic Winery) told a similar story. His products — including the rye whiskey barrel aged cider he’s named Ciderye — are made in Michigan using Michigan-grown ingredients. And though his booth may have been downstairs, he definitely had the brewers’ easy-does-it attitude. “We like to be the laid back guys down here,” he said.

Wherever you turn at the Wine, Beer & Food Festival this weekend, you’re sure to find craft. It’s a testament to the quality of that craft that Michigan beer can take such a prominent place at an event like this.


Home     About     News     Services     Contact Us



Sign Up To Get The Latest Brews