Do you have tickets to the 7th Annual Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival here in Grand Rapids, MI? Congrats!! The Beer Fest tickets sold out in record time this year — if you have a ticket, consider yourself lucky.
You’ve never been to a Winter Beer Fest before?
You are even luckier, because I attended last year and can hold your hand and maybe even share a toast with you there… CHEERS!
- First step of preparation?
I highly recommend revisiting my post on 11 Ways To Avoid A Hangover. Yes, there are many ways you can avoid hangovers. Do your best to drink plenty of water at least 24 hours before you catch a ride to the beer fest.
- Transportation. The Michigan Winter Beer Fest welcomes designated drivers for a $5 entrance fee. DDs will not receive tokens, so no beer, but the food, entertainment & general feeling of community makes it so fun, I do believe I’d attend as a DD if I was pregnant (don’t go getting any ideas, pretty certain that ship has sailed) If you do not have a designated driver, I have other options for you:
- Grand Rapids Cab companies
- GR Hopper
- What do I wear?
Whether you’re a guy or gal — this is a very important step in the preparation process. One rule to always remember: This is an outdoor event in the dead of winter. The guys outnumber the girls 5:1. Therefore, not much of a fashion show. Yes guys, we don’t dress for you, we dress for each other. Secret’s out. If you have a cute little coat you love, but isn’t very warm, keep it home. On the other hand, if you have an adorable, but warm hat — wear it!! With that in mind…
- Dress like you’re going skiing. I even saw a few people wearing ski-goggles last year. I think that’s a little extreme, but you get the idea. Snowpants, boots, maybe even long-underwear. Waterproof ski-gloves or mittens make excellent beer-koozies!
- Dress for the porta-jons. Keep in mind, that you will be drinking about 15 “tastes” of beer. You’re gonna need to use the [nasty] porta-jons at some point during the day. Bibs may not be the best idea (unless you’re a dude). Snowpants that are easy to pull on & off are ideal.
- Comfort is key, from head to toe. Like I said, this isn’t a fashion show. Just like that adorable coat you’ll be trading in for your ski-jacket, make sure your boots are waterproof and comfortable. I saw a couple of
moronsgirls taking off their little flats to warm their pretty shoes & tiny feet by one of the many firepits the last couple hours of the fest. They were miserable. You’ll generally be standing in line for beer, so keep that in mind when you choose your footwear. Last year, I had on super warm boots, and my feet still got chilly.
- What do I bring?
- ID. They need to know you’re 21, and legal to drink beer.
- Ticket. This Festival has been sold out for months. If you don’t bring your ticket, you will not get in.
- Tokens. If you have been to a Michigan Beer Festival and have tokens left over, you can use them here. You will receive 15 tokens with a cup when you arrive. Each token will get you a 3oz sample. You can purchase more tokens for $0.50 each if you desire.
- Folding chairs. This is much different from the Summer Beer Fest, but chairs are welcome. There will be several firepits & heaters to gather your chairs around.
- Food, if desired. There is winter-friendly food available from vendors, like turkey-legs, pasties, brats, etc. But you can bring in your own food if you wish.
- What will I drink?
There is a handy list with new brews popping up daily on Michigan Brewing Guild’s Blog.
- Print out that list, or note it into your iPhone, or at least have a list of beers you absolutely MUST try (with the brewery noted) and hit them up first. The good beer will run out fast. 6000 Beer enthusiasts. 300 Different beers. You do the math. Boy was I disappointed when I went back for 2nds on Short’s Carrot Cake Ale last year.
- There is something for everyone. If you’re not *gasp* a big beer drinker, there are ciders as well as a variety of flavored beer, like That Cotton Pickin Beer (cotton candy beer)
Bourbon Barrel 666 (sarsaparilla vanilla stout) available at Dark Horse along with several other yummy options listed.
- This is a good opportunity to expand your pallat. If you’re not a big hoppy-beer lover, but if it’s a favorite of others, try it!
- I must re-emphasize the importance of hitting up the most interesting breweries first… and if you love what you taste, get in line for another round. Trust me.
- Pretzel Necklaces. Yes, this deserves a bullet-point all it’s own. I made a couple of these fun treats last winter. If you are in line after line, drinking and talking and toasting… you’re going to need something to munch on.
- String a few pretzels and/or funyons, donuts, life-savers, seriously, anything with a hole in it. And Voila! Pretzel necklace = hangover savior.
- Here’s the downside to Pretzel necklaces at the Winter Beer Fest: If it snows like it did last year, your pretzels will turn into a soggy mess. You may not give a shit by the end of the festival, but… If you would like to make a pretzel necklace, keep that in mind and wear it on the inside of your jacket. You’re welcome.
- The Line.
- The line to get in will be long for the first hour or two after the festival opens at 1p. It moves fast. Just be patient. Check in with your iPhone. If you tweet, the hashtag will be #WinterBeerFest.
- Bring it.
- Good luck.