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During a time of year when the skies are grey and the temperatures are sub-zero, the Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival provides the reprieve so many need. The sixth rendition of this winter festival was held on Saturday and recreated the fun, vibrant and supportive atmosphere that Traverse City has become known for.

While similar to the Summer Microbrew & Music Festival also hosted by Porterhouse Productions, the winter version carries a different connotation, atmosphere and character.

“Winter has a different soul. Folks come out of hibernation and it is a much needed community-energizing cultural medicine for all,” said Sam Porter, owner of Porterhouse Productions.

This “cultural medicine” is light-hearted, energetic and inspiring. It contains more “up north” spirit and spunk. Over 50 breweries were present at the festival, most of which were Michigan based; a majority of the wide range of musical acts also come from Michigan.

Four tents were set up, each containing a different set of breweries and performers. Festival goers could also enjoy food from local food trucks on site, follow the rare brew tour and participate in a homebrewing contest.

“Education is at the front of the craft beer movement and we aim to specialize in building a diverse audience with the different genres of music and market that gathers and grows the market. Craft beer fans are intelligent, curious and ready to learn more about something they love,” said Porter.

Opportunities to learn more and experience something new were aplenty at the festival.The rare brew tour, for instance, created an excitement for new experimental brews. A new brew was tapped each half hour, which led to lines and “tap that keg” chants. And many of the rare beers — including a coffee infused Dragon’s Milk from New Holland — were gone in about 15 minutes.

Breweries large and small were present, which gave festival-goers a chance to find their favorite breweries, while also learning about newer breweries that are also doing amazing things. Short’s once again created their fun ski-bar and brought a wide range brews, including a bourbon-aged Evil Urges and Smugglin’ Plums, a dark stout with a surprisingly tart-fruit twist.

Northport Brewing, which opened less than a year ago, found the festival to be a great opportunity to bring its brews to a wider audience.

“We’ve had a long line all night. It’s been nonstop!” said co-owner Pamela Cain.

Brewery Ferment, another small brewery in the area, had festival goers excited about its unique brews. One of the only breweries in the area known for its sour beers, Ferment featured TC Black, a sour black cherry brew that was tart and refreshing. For those with a sweeter palate, they also had Fluffer Nutter, a stout brewed with marshmallows and peanuts.

While education about and experiencing the craft beer market may be at the forefront of the festival, this event also raises money for the local community. 100 percent of all alcohol net proceeds are donated to the festival’s partner non-profits. The Porterhouse team holds multiple events throughout the state each year, all of which help our state in numerous ways.

“It is a great pairing behind the celebration. We have hosted over 35 festivals in Michigan, including 14 Microbrew & Music Festivals, and raised over $100,000 for nonprofits,” said Porter.

Porter hopes to continue to expand the Porterhouse Production team as well at the Microbrew & Music Festivals, creating new and dynamic experiences along the way. The next brewfest will be the Summer Microbrew & Music Festival, a two-day event held in late August.

Follow Microbrew & Music Festival on Facebook for updates on future festivals.

During a time of year when the skies are grey and the temperatures are sub-zero, the Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival provides the reprieve so many need. The sixth rendition of this winter festival was held on Saturday and recreated the fun, vibrant and supportive atmosphere that Traverse City has become known for.
While similar to the Summer Microbrew & Music Festival also hosted by Porterhouse Productions, the winter version carries a different connotation, atmosphere and character.
“Winter has a different soul. Folks come out of hibernation and it is a much needed community-energizing cultural medicine for all,” said Sam Porter, owner of Porterhouse Productions.
This “cultural medicine” is light-hearted, energetic and inspiring. It contains more “up north” spirit and spunk. Over 50 breweries were present at the festival, most of which were Michigan based; a majority of the wide range of musical acts also come from Michigan.
Four tents were set up, each containing a different set of breweries and performers. Festival goers could also enjoy food from local food trucks on site, follow the rare brew tour and participate in a homebrewing contest.
“Education is at the front of the craft beer movement and we aim to specialize in building a diverse audience with the different genres of music and market that gathers and grows the market. Craft beer fans are intelligent, curious and ready to learn more about something they love,” said Porter.
Opportunities to learn more and experience something new were aplenty at the festival.The rare brew tour, for instance, created an excitement for new experimental brews. A new brew was tapped each half hour, which led to lines and “tap that keg” chants. And many of the rare beers — including a coffee infused Dragon’s Milk from New Holland — were gone in about 15 minutes.
Breweries large and small were present, which gave festival-goers a chance to find their favorite breweries, while also learning about newer breweries that are also doing amazing things. Short’s once again created their fun ski-bar and brought a wide range brews, including a bourbon-aged Evil Urges and Smugglin’ Plums, a dark stout with a surprisingly tart-fruit twist.
Northport Brewing, which opened less than a year ago, found the festival to be a great opportunity to bring its brews to a wider audience.
“We’ve had a long line all night. It’s been nonstop!” said co-owner Pamela Cain.
Brewery Ferment, another small brewery in the area, had festival goers excited about its unique brews. One of the only breweries in the area known for its sour beers, Ferment featured TC Black, a sour black cherry brew that was tart and refreshing. For those with a sweeter palate, they also had Fluffer Nutter, a stout brewed with marshmallows and peanuts.
While education about and experiencing the craft beer market may be at the forefront of the festival, this event also raises money for the local community. 100 percent of all alcohol net proceeds are donated to the festival’s partner non-profits. The Porterhouse team holds multiple events throughout the state each year, all of which help our state in numerous ways.
“It is a great pairing behind the celebration. We have hosted over 35 festivals in Michigan, including 14 Microbrew & Music Festivals, and raised over $100,000 for nonprofits,” said Porter.
Porter hopes to continue to expand the Porterhouse Production team as well at the Microbrew & Music Festivals, creating new and dynamic experiences along the way. The next brewfest will be the Summer Microbrew & Music Festival, a two-day event held in late August.
Follow Microbrew & Music Festival on Facebook for updates on future festivals.

TRAVERSE CITY — When craft beer is aplenty, a beer festival needs to make a unique statement; it needs to provide enthusiasts with new opportunities and experiences. This year’s Traverse City Microbrew & Music Festival, held on Friday and Saturday, did not disappoint.

The Microbrew & Music Festival has continued to evolve in its seven years, educating and entertaining the Traverse City community. With over 200 brews featured, along with a dynamic music line-up and a redesigned Silent Disco, this year’s festival had many opportunities for new experiences.

Festival-goers could find their favorites on tap, as well as try beers brewed with cucumbers, apricots, cherries, coffee, lemons and just about anything else you could imagine. Knowing that I could get my favorite brews outside of the festival, I set to try some of these experimental brews.

Odd Side Ales‘ Bright-Eyed and Banana Tailed was the first that caught my eye. Brewed with Dutch Bavarian Chocolate Coffee from Leelanau Roasting Company, this hefeweizen had distinct flavors of banana and chocolate. It took a few sips to figure out everything I was tasting, but I soon found myself enjoying this refreshing flavor profile.

“Everyone has an IPA; we like to try the weird stuff,” said head brewer Kyle Miller, when asked about the experimental brew.

Also known for trying “the weird stuff,” Short’s Brewing Company featured a wide array of brews. Gitchy Gitchy Ooh La La first got my attention with the title, but I was also drawn in by its description that included cucumbers. Gitchy Gitchy was a nice, light Kolsch style beer with an interesting balance of cucumbers, lemon and lilac. It was surprisingly refreshing and went perfectly with the 85-degree weather.

Griffin Claw Brewing Company had my favorite pumpkin ale, Screamin’ Pumpkin, on tap as well. Not quite ready for fall to hit, I opted to try the Triple Lemon Shandy. This tripel style beer had a medium body and a finish that tasted like lemon drop candy. Triple Lemon was another beer with an interesting flavor profile and was made perfectly for the summer heat.

[tw-parallax image=”https://mittenbrew.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/silent-disco1.jpg” target=”self” ][/tw-parallax]

In addition to brews like these, the Rare and Sour Beer Tour gave festival-goers yet another way to experiment. These specialty brews were available for just 20 minutes and included Short’s Whiskey Sour, The Workshop’s Wrecking Ball Bourbon Barrel Nitro Porter and Founders’ KBS.

Along this tour, I tried a beer style I had yet to encounter: a sour stout. Leelanau Brewing Company’s Leelanau Line 5 was an impressive marriage of two distinct beer styles. Aged in special bourbon barrels, known as the “Funky Four,” Line 5 had all the great characteristics of a stout, with a sourness that lightened the taste and added complexity to the flavor profile.

Leelanau Brewing Company is currently a gypsy brewery and is brewing at Jolly Pumpkin. Charles Psenka Sr., chief liaison for Jolly Pumpkin, designed the brew and has given it significance within the community. Named after the oil pipeline that runs through the Straits of Mackinac, Psenka is hoping to raise awareness about the risks of the pipeline.

“If you’re a human being and live on Planet Earth, you should be concerned about this,” he said, referencing the perseverance of natural resources in Michigan.

Psenka is working with the National Wildlife Federation, and has dedicated 100% of proceeds from Leelanau Line 5 to help preserve the Straits of Mackinac and to raise awareness of the risks of the aging pipeline.

This sense of community and outreach was felt throughout the festival, as all net alcohol proceeds were donated to the CherryT Ball Drop, which benefits charities and food banks in the Traverse City area. Porterhouse Productions not only aims to provide great entertainment, but also aims to promote awareness and give back to the community. It is festivals like this that bring a more vibrant culture to the Traverse City community.

Locals filled the Adado Riverfront Park in Lansing, MI to celebrate great food, music, and of course, beer, at the Microbrew and Music Festival on Friday and Saturday. 

Over 40 breweries were represented from places all over Michigan as well as the entire country. While the festival brought many favorites for those in attendance, like Bell’s Oberon, it also enabled the showcasing of new brews and new breweries. 

One of the newer breweries at the festival — Beggars Brewery, which started brewing this past fall in Traverse City — took advantage of the spring festival to get their name out. 

“This is our first festival outside of Traverse City,” owner and brewer Michael Rizik, said. “As a brewer, I just want to expose my beer to the widest audience as possible and hopefully get some converts.”

Other breweries, such as Short’s Brewing Company, opted to expose new seasonal brews rather than bringing their more well-known favorites.

While touring the park full of booths from breweries and food vendors, attendees could also enjoy the music that the festival also brought. Two stages allowed for a variety of bands including a headliner each night — Dirty Heads on Friday and O.A.R. on Saturday. 

O.A.R. fans responded to a tweet on Saturday posted on the band’s twitter page asking for song requests. Not only did the band receive plenty of requests to build a set list, but fans also expressed their devotion, noting that they were traveling hundreds of miles for the concert. 

One fan, Lansing resident Chelsea Lewis, mentioned she would be seeing the band for the 34th time.

“I have loved them for years and they always play night after night with the same energy as before,” Lewis said. “I think it helps to bring bigger bands into the Lansing music scene and show what a growing industry it is becoming.”

While the festival provided a great time along with food and drinks, it was all a part of a greater cause. All of the net profits from alcohol sales benefited the Greater Lansing Food Bank and Xero Waste Events.

Greater Lansing Food Band provides food for those in need in Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Shiawassee Clare, Isabela and Gratiot counties, annually serving tens of thousands of people in the area.

Xero Waste Events is a Michigan non-profit organization that provides recycling services and education on sustainable event practices.

A winter plagued by the polar vortex couldn’t keep thousands from celebrating the craft brew community Saturday at the Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival.

The festival, now in its fifth year, has become a regional favorite and features a large selection of beloved Michigan breweries and live musical acts. Festival organizers added many new features this year to keep the festival interesting and engaging for the evolving craft brew community.

Festivities began Friday night at the first Brewer’s Dinner at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. The dinner featured 11 pairings and was hosted by Fred Bueltmann, Beervangelist and Partner at New Holland Brewing Company. Upon arrival, guests were given a ticket package which allowed them to visit each pairing station at their own will. 

“The casual format was conversational for the guests as well as chefs and brewery personnel,” Bueltmann explained. “I like that the chef who created each dish was there to talk to, so we could hear their thoughts on the pairing and the techniques behind the dish.” 

Bueltmann designed the experience so that attendees could take the time to explore various flavors. I started my adventure with Dirty Bastard Fire Roasted Chili, paired with Founders Brewing Dirty Bastard. Each featured a bit of spice and smokiness which complimented each other perfectly.

I chose to try the pork tenderloin paired with New Holland’s Night Tripper as my main course. The pork tenderloin was seared with a cocoa and cayenne rub and was topped with a Night Tripper infused pork stock reduction. Night Tripper is an Imperial Stout with a deep roasted flavor. This roasted flavor came through beautifully in the pork reduction. The cayenne rub gave a spicy kick at the end, which left a need on the palate for another sip of Night Tripper.

Dessert being my favorite part of a meal; I couldn’t wait to try the Blueberry Stout Crumble Cupcakes paired with Dark Horse Brewing’s Tres Blueberry Stout. Pastry Chef Stephanie Elwell left the blueberries out of her batter and instead chose to use the Tres Blueberry Stout to build flavor. Filled with a stout blueberry jam and topped with a cream cheese mousse, the Blueberry Stout Crumble Cupcake was the perfect way to end the Brewers Dinner.

This creative and innovative energy carried over into the Microbrew & Music Festival Saturday evening in downtown Traverse City. Bueltmann made another appearance with food truck pairings on the TC Cycle Pub. Additionally, festival goers could follow the exclusive Rare Beer Tour while enjoying a wide range of live music throughout three heated tents.

The first ever Rare Beer Tour made its way through the festival by tapping a new exclusive brew every 20 minutes. Sixteen small batch brews were featured from breweries throughout the state including Bell’s Brewery, Short’s Brewery and Brewery Vivant.

As excitement built for the tour, lines formed and chants could be heard for Petoskey Brewing’s Wookie Kisses. An imperial stout that was aged for nine months in bourbon barrels, Wookie Kisses had a wonderfully complex flavor. With rich roasted flavors of chocolate and coffee, it finished nicely with hints of bourbon.

Tyde-One-On by Beard’s Brewery was also featured on the tour. It was a barley wine hybrid with strong herbal and caramel malt flavors. Opened just over a year ago, Beard’s Brewery has found great success as a smaller brewery in Petoskey. Brewer Peter Jon stated, “It’s a great industry. It’s growing, but it’s not overly competitive.”

In fact, the expanding industry has brought about many opportunities for collaboration. Beggar’s Brewery, which opened in November, collaboratively brewed its Private Eyes Dunkelweizen with the Microbrew & Music Festival team. Private Eyes was a full bodied dunkelweizen with a lovely balance of clove, banana and hints of earthiness.

The Michigan beer community has vastly grown over the last couple of years. This year’s Microbrew & Music Festival wonderfully represented the creative ways in which it has evolved.

“I loved talking with so many people that were having fun trying new things and enjoying an evening of adventure with beer and food,” Bueltmann stated as he reflected upon the weekend’s festivities.

A winter plagued by the polar vortex couldn’t keep thousands from celebrating the craft brew community Saturday at the Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival.

The festival, now in its fifth year, has become a regional favorite and features a large selection of beloved Michigan breweries and live musical acts. Festival organizers added many new features this year to keep the festival interesting and engaging for the evolving craft brew community.

Festivities began Friday night at the first Brewer’s Dinner at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. The dinner featured 11 pairings and was hosted by Fred Bueltmann, Beervangelist and Partner at New Holland Brewing Company. Upon arrival, guests were given a ticket package which allowed them to visit each pairing station at their own will. 

“The casual format was conversational for the guests as well as chefs and brewery personnel,” Bueltmann explained. “I like that the chef who created each dish was there to talk to, so we could hear their thoughts on the pairing and the techniques behind the dish.” 

Bueltmann designed the experience so that attendees could take the time to explore various flavors. I started my adventure with Dirty Bastard Fire Roasted Chili, paired with Founders Brewing Dirty Bastard. Each featured a bit of spice and smokiness which complimented each other perfectly.

I chose to try the pork tenderloin paired with New Holland’s Night Tripper as my main course. The pork tenderloin was seared with a cocoa and cayenne rub and was topped with a Night Tripper infused pork stock reduction. Night Tripper is an Imperial Stout with a deep roasted flavor. This roasted flavor came through beautifully in the pork reduction. The cayenne rub gave a spicy kick at the end, which left a need on the palate for another sip of Night Tripper.

Dessert being my favorite part of a meal; I couldn’t wait to try the Blueberry Stout Crumble Cupcakes paired with Dark Horse Brewing’s Tres Blueberry Stout. Pastry Chef Stephanie Elwell left the blueberries out of her batter and instead chose to use the Tres Blueberry Stout to build flavor. Filled with a stout blueberry jam and topped with a cream cheese mousse, the Blueberry Stout Crumble Cupcake was the perfect way to end the Brewers Dinner.

This creative and innovative energy carried over into the Microbrew & Music Festival Saturday evening in downtown Traverse City. Bueltmann made another appearance with food truck pairings on the TC Cycle Pub. Additionally, festival goers could follow the exclusive Rare Beer Tour while enjoying a wide range of live music throughout three heated tents.

The first ever Rare Beer Tour made its way through the festival by tapping a new exclusive brew every 20 minutes. Sixteen small batch brews were featured from breweries throughout the state including Bell’s Brewery, Short’s Brewery and Brewery Vivant.

As excitement built for the tour, lines formed and chants could be heard for Petoskey Brewing’s Wookie Kisses. An imperial stout that was aged for nine months in bourbon barrels, Wookie Kisses had a wonderfully complex flavor. With rich roasted flavors of chocolate and coffee, it finished nicely with hints of bourbon.

Tyde-One-On by Beard’s Brewery was also featured on the tour. It was a barley wine hybrid with strong herbal and caramel malt flavors. Opened just over a year ago, Beard’s Brewery has found great success as a smaller brewery in Petoskey. Brewer Peter Jon stated, “It’s a great industry. It’s growing, but it’s not overly competitive.”

In fact, the expanding industry has brought about many opportunities for collaboration. Beggar’s Brewery, which opened in November, collaboratively brewed its Private Eyes Dunkelweizen with the Microbrew & Music Festival team. Private Eyes was a full bodied dunkelweizen with a lovely balance of clove, banana and hints of earthiness.

The Michigan beer community has vastly grown over the last couple of years. This year’s Microbrew & Music Festival wonderfully represented the creative ways in which it has evolved.

“I loved talking with so many people that were having fun trying new things and enjoying an evening of adventure with beer and food,” Bueltmann stated as he reflected upon the weekend’s festivities.

Offering a creative way to try new craft brews, the Traverse City Ale Trail officially launched Friday evening at the Ales by the Rails Summer Music Festival, a new Porterhouse Productions event.

The Traverse City Ale Trail is an exciting new way for tourists and locals alike to experience the growing craft brew scene in the area. Those traveling the trail visit eight local breweries and get a stamp on their passports.

Once all eight breweries have been stamped, the passport can then be turned in at The Filling Station Microbrewery for a commemorative Silipint. There is even a chance to earn extra credit and receive a bonus prize by visiting the Grand Traverse Distillery.

Creator and organizer Troy Daily believes the Ale Trail “will bring the beer community together and will enhance the TC Cycle Pub experience.”

The TC Cycle Pub, another one of Daily’s creations, started offering tours this spring in downtown Traverse City. The two concepts combined provide people in the Traverse City area a great opportunity to experience the expansive craft beer scene.

Daily coordinated with the Filling Station and Porterhouse Productions to launch the Ale Trail during the Ales by the Rails Summer Music Festival, a family-friendly music festival held throughout the weekend. Those who attended were able to enjoy a variety of music and locally handcrafted food and beverages.

Filling Station brews and pizzas were offered at the event, accompanied by musical entertainment at the old railroad depot.

Blake Elliot got things started on Friday, followed by local favorites Seth Bernard & May Erlewine. Greg Brown was the headliner that night and attracted many locals to enjoy his folk music.

Festivities continued on Saturday with a Silent Disco featuring DJ Dominate. Sunday’s musical acts featured Mike Moran and Luke Winslow-King.

Children were also encouraged to attend the festival. Shetler Dairy ice cream and Northwoods root beer floats were available for kids to enjoy. They were also able to partake in many activities in the Children’s Garden, located next to The Filling Station.

A portion of the proceeds of the festival was given back to the development of the Grand Traverse Area Children’s Garden. Other proceeds from the festival went to other developments in the area, including TART Trails and Habitat for Humanity.

The Ales by the Rails Summer Festival was a great way to spend a Friday night. There was entertainment for all ages to enjoy, and it celebrated many great things the Traverse City area has to offer.

Visit tcaletrail.com to get details on how to complete the Ale Trail, and stay up to date on Porterhouse Production events by visiting porterhouseproductions.com.

For the fourth year, Porterhouse Productions created the summer festival atmosphere in February with the Traverse City Winter Microbrew and Music Festival.

The festival was held in downtown Traverse City on Saturday and featured over 200 microbrews from over 50 breweries.

“We’ve got quite the setup here,” said Sam Porter, owner of Porterhouse Productions, as he made sure patrons weren’t waiting in line too long.

Festival goers, outfitted in winter clothing and extravagant hats, were able to enjoy fine craft beer alongside local food. Food trucks Roaming Harvest and Antrim Catering were present along with other local favorites.

Music could be found in each heated tent and ranged from the Grand Traverse Pipes & Drums (a traditional Scottish bagpipe and drum ensemble) to Funktion (a high energy funk band).

Breweries from around the country were present, including Big Sky Brewing Company and Magic Hat Brewing Company. However, Michigan craft beer, mead and wine were the focus of the event. I was able to sample beers from some of the largest brewhouses in the state, as well as some of the smallest.

Perhaps one of the smallest, Beards Brewery in Petoskey, opened in October and operates with a single barrel brewing system.

“We are actually behind two stores. You have to go down a 50 foot hallway to get to us,” said owner Ben Slocum.

I sampled Beards’ Brimley Stout which was a rich yet smooth stout. It had the bold taste of a stout, but was lighter than others. The oatmeal made it a smooth brew with a subtle finish of hops.

Also representing the Petoskey area was Petoskey Brewing Company, which opened just a couple months before Beards Brewery. I tried the Dark Knight IPA, a Black IPA with a rich, dark color and a bold roasted flavor with a hint of almond.

With the temperature cold and the snow falling, many dark, rich beers were available. Among my favorites were Rochester Mills Beer Company’s Milkshake Stout and New Holland Brewing’s Dragon’s Milk.

Michiganders love the chance to come together and enjoy the things their great state has to offer. It’s refreshing to not have to wait until the snow disappears to do so.

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