DOUGLAS — It was a gorgeous spring Sunday. Blue sky, fluffy white clouds, no snow. You know, the basic requirements for a pleasant day in Michigan. So Annette May, (a.k.a. the first female Ciccerone in the U.S. a.a.k.a. the coolest lady I know) and I took a little jaunt to the west, to Saugatuck Brewing Company to be exact, to join some of our fellow beer ladies in a celebration.
Let me begin by saying that The Singapore Room, the rental hall behind the Saugatuck Brewing Company’s pub is one of the most beautiful venues of its size I have seen. I’m totally jealous of it, to be frank. If you are seeking a space that serves great craft beer and can host pretty much anything for you and 199 of your (seated) friends or 299 of your standing around ones over that neck of the Michigan woods, the Singapore Room is where you need to be.
The day began with a brewing demonstration on Saugatuck’s unique and very cool “Brew Your Own” system that is set up in their pub. Laura Houser, brewer at Founders Brewing and Jenny Vonins from Saugatuck crafted a commemorative “Iris Ale,” specifically for the event.
Proceeds from the sale of this hoppy and flavorful IPA will go to Sylvia’s Place, an agency that provides safe housing for domestic abuse victims, based in Allegan.
Participants were treated to home brewing instruction from Kati Spayde, Ciccerone and award winner, who can be found hanging out at Siciliano’s Market, a well known craft-beer mecca just west of Grand Rapids. One of my personal heroes, Dianna Stampfler, the dynamo lady who founded Promote Michigan and is one of the staunchest supporters of the Michigan craft beer movement around brought us up to date on the state of the union with regard to our industry, including some fun news about a craft beer centric Pure Michigan campaign that will include a Pure Michigan beer and some radio spots featuring our business this summer.
And truly, can you EVER go wrong with beer and cheese? Not if you add in the fabulous and scarily energetic Amy Sherman, host of the TV series The Great American Brew Trail, which has featured my very own Wolverine State Brewing Company, along with many other breweries in the state. Amy is also a chef (which impresses me every time, being the “cook only under duress” type that I am) and imparted her beer and cheese pairing wisdom to the group.
And then Annette took over and gave the crowd her take on what it means to be a part of the “craft beer movement” that continues to gain momentum all over the country. After giving advice about how to get more involved, and learn all you can to be an educated consumer of beer with flavor, we tasted some of the tasty examples of Saugatuck Brewing’s brews, including a scotch ale, Michigan wheat beer, IPA and a doppelbock.
All in all an amazing day full of fun chat about beer (and my bestselling novel, Paradise Hops — yes I write books under the name Liz Crowe). I love meeting and talking with women who are passionate about the beer they consume and want to know more. There is even talk of taking the Celebration of Women in Craft Beer on the road later this year, hitting the four corners of the state, as it were, starting at my own Wolverine Tap Room. But more on that a little later.
I’ve thrown a fair few parties and events myself and fully realize what goes into making sure an event of this size goes off without a hitch. Kudos to Megan Pruim and Kerry O’Donohue for their work.
And seriously, if you need an event venue in West Michigan, look no further than that Singapore Room at the brewery — it is amazing.