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burning foot

Organizers of the Lakeshore Brewers Guild know how to throw an epic end of summer bash. They hosted 65 breweries from all around the shores of Lake Michigan, brought in several legendary bands to play live music, set up a couple community bonfires, offered overnight camping on the shore of Lake Michigan, and mixed it all together at Muskegon’s Pere Marquette Beach.


The park’s vast stretch of white sand and fresh water was the ideal location for the appreciative crowd of attendees to savor gathering with friends at this year’s 3rd annual event. Cool breezes off the lake kept everyone smiling on a day of perfect summer sunshine.

A friendly reminder printed on the event program says “Be sure to enjoy yourself while you’re here, which shouldn’t be too hard since you’re on one of the most beautiful beaches on Lake Michigan, taking in the sights, and sounds, and friends all around you, cheers!”

Beer enthusiasts had a fair share of options from local and regional breweries. Participating guild members are mainly located in counties that border Lake Michigan, with a few inclusions from further inland.

burning foot fest

burning foot fest

burning foot fest

Music filled the air throughout the event, including Melophobix, Southpaw, and Tropidelic‘s synergistic sounds. Festival favorites Badfish returned this year to please the crowd with retro Sublime hits. Headliners Less Than Jake ended the evening with a raucous pit of revelers in front of the stage doing their thing. Guests left the festival grounds with grins on their faces.



“Where else can you go and enjoy beer from over 60 breweries on arguably the most beautiful beach in Michigan? Burning Foot has become one of our most anticipated days of the year—we liken it to Christmas for the beer-lover. It’s worth every penny that we spend to enter. We already have it on the calendar for next summer!” said Amy Silvis, who has attended all 3 years along with her husband Josh.

Next year’s festival is slated for Saturday, August 25th. Tickets will go on sale in June.

 

 

Photography: Steph Harding

burning foot

Imagine you and your friends on a sandy beach along Lake Michigan, encircled by the area’s best breweries, jamming out to some awesome live music; could there be a better way to end summer?

Well, on August 26, the Burning Foot Beer Festival will once again take over the Pere Marquette Beach in Muskegon, MI. Burning Foot is set directly on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, where you can roam barefoot throughout the circle of breweries, enjoying the best the area has to offer.

The Burning Foot Beer Festival was started just three years ago by the Lakeshore Brewers Guild with 36 breweries and 4 live bands. The first year was fairly low-key, but as the Guild has grown, so has the festival.

burning foot

 

The Lakeshore Brewers Guild is a regional guild that encompasses breweries that surround the Lake Michigan shoreline. This includes breweries in Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

“We’re really paying attention to our area, and taking the base that was Burning Foot and expanding,” said Allen Serio, a board member of the guild.

Burning Foot brings the mission of the Lakeshore Brewers Guild to life and exemplifies the “lakeshore lifestyle.” If you’ve spent any time along Lake Michigan or in the shoreline’s vibrant communities, you’ll understand why this festival incorporates more than just beer. There’s a certain “energy” to a lakeshore lifestyle—it’s uplifting, creative, and free-spirited.

“We are a part of this circle, this family for just a brief period of time, and we really want to create a great experience,” said Serio.

This year’s event will boast 65 breweries and 5 live bands, including two national acts. The festival has evolved in many ways over a short period of time, as the guild continues to expand its representation of all that is great about communities along Lake Michigan.

“Every year you should see an increase in music and quality. The atmosphere is really a focus for us; the sound, lighting, and colors all are all part of the experience. The energy level is something you don’t get in many places,” said Serio.

In the center of last year’s festival was a stunning hop tower art installation. Expect to see more brewery art this year, as well as the return of a shoe check-in, beach camping, a bike valet, unique “cross-lake” brewery collaborations, and a VIP lounge area.

The shoe check-in and bike valet services are not only nice festival add-ons, but also serve as ways to give back to the community. Donations from the shoe check-in will again go to Noah Project, a no-kill animal shelter in the area. The bike valet will be set-up and run by Habitat for Humanity, with donations from that service returning to the organization.

The newly added VIP area will be an exclusive space in a prime location close the stage. It will include a covered tent area, a tiki bar, fire pits, lounge area, and access to food and beverages.

And, as part of the experience, there is also the unique option to camp along the lakeshore. Tents can be set up along the sandy beach and campers are placed in the parking lot (sites do need to be reserved in advance). Muskegon’s trolley service is also available to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.

Tickets for this year’s festival can now be purchased online.

 

burning foot

The Saturday morning of August 27 looked dicey. There was lightning cracking and rain coming down sideways. Perhaps this was the curse of Burning Foot? After all, the festival’s inauguration last year was marked by the same dismal weather.

But perhaps not a curse—a tradition instead. Last year’s festivities were still enjoyed by many, and hey, we Michiganders never let weather get in the way of good, fun craft beverage consumption.

And maybe it was because of this optimism that the weather did a complete turnaround. Festival-goers were met with the perfect beach day by the time festival gates opened—the sun was shining high and the lake was sparkling.

And oh yes, the beer was pouring.

The festival was a crazy fun beach party—beach blankets all over, rockin’ live music, 54 craft beer tents, local BBQ food fare, and cozy bonfires. People were running around in bathing suits, building sand castles, and ultimately living the beach dream. There was even some extreme skydivers who landed next to the festival grounds! Everyone was having a blast.

Organized by the Lakeshore Brewers Guild, Burning Foot embraced Michigan breweries as well as breweries from our neighboring Lake Michigan states—Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Everyone had a chance to expand their craft beer knowledge with these new offerings, not to mention they also got to make new friends.

Une Annee from Chicago, IL brought their own unique tap list. Known for brewing recipes in the Belgian and French styles, they recently began a sour program, adding the infamous brettanomyces to their Saisons. The huge flavor profiles and extreme tartness was enjoyed by many who kept going back for more—well worth the involuntary puckered face after the first sip.

Mob Craft, a brewery and taproom out of Milwaukee, WI, had some pretty neat offerings, one being their Helles Ginger Bock, a traditional Bock made untraditionally with ginger—spicy and malty and delicious!

Lisa, a representative of Mob Craft and festival attendee for the second year, says the festival has built on itself.

“The weather has topped last year’s. It’s fun regardless, but it’s amazing on the beach in this atmosphere.”

Asked why this festival is so potentially important for breweries, she said, “We love Michigan. It’s fabulous to be over here. It’s all about collaborating—we’re next-door neighbors!”

BurningFoot (33)

The spirit of camaraderie and collaboration could be seen everywhere on the festival grounds. It was in the setup—festival-goers were surrounded by an inclusive circle of breweries that opened right into Lake Michigan. At the center was a spectacular hop art installation that saluted the burning man, a symbol that inspired the festival origins.

The true community feel of a beer festival is one of its most defining characteristics, and Muskegon made everyone feel most welcome. So although the rain may come again next summer to Pere Marquette Beach, it will be met with happy grins and great beer.

 

Photography: Steph Harding


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