Brewers Tell All: What To Expect at Michigan’s Largest International Beer Sampling Event

Cheers! Guest blogger Kirsetin Morello gives us all the details for what you should be expecting from the World Expo of Beer this year. 

Michigan’s largest international beer sampling event, the World Expo of Beer (WEB), is just weeks away from returning to Frankenmuth (Friday & Saturday, May 15-16), and, lucky for you, we’ve got the inside scoop from a few of the festival’s local brewmasters on what to expect.  So, grab your fellow brew lovers and get ready to Go Great Lakes Bay, where you’ll be able experience great craft beers from around the world: nearly 300 different beers from more than 60 breweries, including local brewers Frankenmuth Brewery, Tri-City Brewing Co., and Midland Brewing Co.

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“There are a lot of people, there are a lot of craft beer enthusiasts, and there’s a lot of energy at WEB,” says Paul Popa, Head Brewer and part owner of Tri-City Brewing, based in Bay City, MI. One of the benefits of attending WEB, he says, is that you can sample so many different beers and find out what you like before buying it at a store. “It’s like a big party where people get to try a lot of different beers from a lot of different breweries,” he explains.

Tri-City Brewing typically brings 6 – 8 different beers to the festival. “We usually do a special release that we may or may not have in the taproom at the time,” says Popa. You can look forward to sampling something special from Tri-City Brewing at WEB again this year. It’s in the works, but Popa says they won’t make a final decision about what to bring until closer to the date of the festival.

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Photo Courtesy of Midland Brewing Co.

Midland Brewing Company will also bring some special beers to WEB. “We have a cream ale that we just recent put out that we’ll have there,” says Sam Oswald, Director of Brewing Operations at Midland Brewing Company, “and we’ll probably have a Blackberry Hefeweizen and maybe a Munich Dunkel. We’ll bring fresh beers that people haven’t had yet or haven’t had in a long time.”

One of the big advantages for brewers who attend WEB is the opportunity to showcase their beers and brand to such a large audience. For Oswald, getting to meet the public is a highlight of the event. “We like to educate people on what craft beer is and what it can be,” he says. Oswald explains that the eastern side of Michigan doesn’t have as many breweries as the west side, so it’s important to talk to people about their craft. “With an event this large in our backyard, we like to take the opportunity to talk to people about craft beer and why it’s good for Michigan,” he says. Oswald believes that Michigan is turning out craft beer that can stand up against some of the bigger national players. His take: “Support Michigan. Drink Michigan beer.”

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Photo Courtesy of Midland Brewing Co.

Another benefit for the brewers is the chance to network with other brewers at WEB. “Being able to bounce ideas off fellow brewers is really nice,” says Oswald. “We’re all friendly, we talk about recipes, share ideas, talk about mistakes we’ve made with certain recipes, and help each other out. We’re very collaborative.”

In addition to sampling the wares, you can learn more about craft beer by attending one of two special WEB events. On Friday night, you can enjoy a Fine Food and Craft Brew Pairing, hosted by the Bavarian Inn Lodge. Experts will lead you through the multi—course meal and explain how and why they chose each pairing.

If you like to mix your beer with other ingredients—including liquor—the Saturday night Beer Cocktails and Mixology event is for you! Learn the fundamentals of creating your own beer–based cocktails at this unique event. And while you’re busy creating your signature beer-based cocktail, you won’t go hungry—a delicious selection of appetizers will accompany the cocktail instruction.

Space is limited and early registration is strongly recommended. You can sign up to attend either special event and buy weekend ticket packages here.

If you’re a newbie to the WEB, tap the knowledge of the brewers, owners, and volunteers at the booths. “Our owner is at our booth every year, training volunteers and talking to the public about beer,” says Oswald. If you’re used to drinking macro beers, he suggests asking a lot of questions, including which beer is at the lighter end of the scale. If you like chocolate, try a stout. “Stout can be a light, sweet beer, and just have a dark color,” explains Oswald. “Don’t be scared, be adventurous! You might find a couple you don’t like and you might find a couple you really enjoy.”

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Photo Courtesy of Midland Brewing Co.

Still thirsty for more?  Check out last year’s post on the World Expo of Beer to learn the story behind how this international beer event was started on a cocktail napkin!

Location: 
Frankenmuth Heritage Park – 601 Weiss Street, Frankenmuth, MI 48734 (just 500 feet from the Bavarian Inn Lodge)

Dates & Times:
 Friday, Friday May 15th from 5-10PM and Saturday May 16th from 3-10PM

Admission: 
$10 admission (includes a free collector beer sampling mug; beer sampling tickets sold separately). Proceeds will be donated to charitable causes; 21+ only.

For admission packages, including beer sampling tickets and World Expo of Beer Fast Passes, click here.

 

Guest Blogger - Kirsetin MorelloKirsetin Morello is an author, freelance writer, and mother of 3 boys from Grand Rapids, MI whose family loves to travel and explore new places. In addition to writing about travel, she writes about parenting, business, and specializes in writing profiles of interesting people. Among other publications, you can find her work in Parents, West Michigan Woman, and Teach and Travel, as well as lots of places online, but you’ll most likely find her playing basketball, hiking in a park, or cheering her kids on at their sporting events.

 

 

A Singing Christmas Tree and 3 More Holiday Displays You Have to See to Believe

It’s time to the deck the halls in Pure Michigan! Many Michigan cities are already twinkling with holiday spirit. We’ve rounded up just a few of the most unbelievable holiday displays from around the state – one of them even sings! Check them out below. 

America’s Tallest Singing Christmas Tree – Muskegon
This Muskegon area event presented by Mona Shores High School has become a tradition for families near and far as a way of kicking off their holiday and getting into the spirit of the season. With its 25,000 colored lights, 15 tiers that reach 67 feet up into the majestic Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts, over 275 singers, the Singing Christmas Tree must be seen to be believed.

Photo via Singing Christmas Tree - Mona Shores Choir on Facebook

Photo via Singing Christmas Tree – Mona Shores Choir on Facebook

Michigan’s Official Christmas Tree – Downtown Lansing
The 2014 official state Christmas tree is a 63-foot blue spruce tree harvested in Kingsford in the Upper Peninsula. Nearly 9,000 lights wrap the tree outside the Capitol Building in Downtown Lansing. Each year, Michigan’s official Christmas Tree is lit during Silver Bells in the City which draws thousands of spectators (nearly 70,000 in 2014!).

Photo via Instagram user @brettking

Photo via Instagram user @brettking

Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland – Frankenmuth
The world’s largest Christmas store with over 90,000 square ft of decorations is a shopper’s dream! Bigger than 1 1/2 football fields in size featuring over 50,000 trims, gifts, and collectibles. There are more than 350 decorated Christmas trees displayed in Bronner’s salesroom, and approximately 100,000 outdoor Christmas lights that illuminate Bronner’s grounds every evening throughout the year. Get more Bronner’s fun facts here.

Photo courtesy of Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland

Photo courtesy of Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland

Menorah in the D - Campus Martius Park, Detroit
Celebrated this year on December 16th, Menorah in the D is a community-wide menorah lighting event at Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit.  The 26 ft tall menorah was designed and built by the artists Erik & Israel Nordin of the Detroit Design Center in Corktown.

Photo courtesy of @MenorahintheD on Instagram

Photo courtesy of @MenorahintheD on Instagram

Have you seen any unbelievable holiday displays near you? 

Four Reasons to Head “Up North” to Frankenmuth this Memorial Day Weekend

Photo by Facebook Fan Thomas Warner

Photo by Facebook Fan Thomas Warner

Memorial Day weekend is nearly upon us! For many Michiganders and visitors, that means barbecues, boating, and quality time spent with family and friends. Today, guest blogger Christie Bierlein from Frankenmuth Convention and Visitors Buereau tells us four reasons to spend some time in Michigan’s Little Bavaria this Memorial Day weekend.

For many Michiganders, Memorial weekend is the official kickoff to the “going up north” season.  So what does that “Michigan speak” really mean?  Well, it depends on which part of lower Michigan you are from or perhaps where your summer memories live. In Grand Rapids, it might mean heading to any number of West Coast Beach Towns.  In the greater Detroit area, it can mean many inland lake and river communities across the state or even up the sunrise side.  Regardless of what your definition is, there are many ways to enjoy this special weekend in Michigan.

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 9.50.02 AMFrankenmuth launches the summer in a big way with 3 big events over the long weekend.  Besides the obvious reasons to visit Frankenmuth: Bronners CHRISTmas Wonderland – the world’s largest Christmas store, world famous family-style chicken dinners, shopping, wine tasting, boat rides and so much more, Memorial Weekend includes even more reasons to visit. The Dogbowl, Balloons over Bavaria and Zehnder’s Tour De Frankenmuth events all collide for a fun-filled (mostly free) weekend in Michigan’s Little Bavaria!

Drawing more than 4,000 dogs and 40,000 humans is the Frankenmuth Dogbowl, the nation’s largest Olympic style event for dogs.  This high energy event gives you something to howl about. Dogbowl features unique events such as the dock diving competition and the famous wiener dog races (which last year gathered together more than 200 of the furry hotdogs to race across River Place Shops lawn).  Add in silly pet tricks, a pet parade and a canine cruise down the Cass River and you have yourself a tail wagging good time.

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 9.48.08 AMThe fun doesn’t stop there, while in Frankenmuth for the Dogbowl, don’t forget to keep your eye in the sky looking out for Balloons over Bavaria.  And at dusk, over 15 hot air balloons converge on the River Place Shops lawn for their annual hot air balloon glow.  Spectators can watch as they compete for the Michigan State Championship Friday-Monday. If you’d rather get up close and personal you will have the opportunity to watch the crew and pilot inflate their balloons and then interact and ask them questions during the evening balloon glow.

After eating the famous Frankenmuth family-style chicken dinner and loading up on fudge, you may feel the need to burn off the extra calories. Zehnder’s Tour de Frankenmuth is a USA Cycling sanctioned competitive event that allows participants of every athletic ability to participate. The race starts in Frankenmuth and takes a scenic tour through the downtown and out into the countryside. With a purse of up to $5,000, this is one race you’re not going to want to miss. To register and receive additional details check out http://www.tourdefrankenmuth.com.

10155726_10152009635820373_2512205073974287129_nAnother great way to round off your weekend in Frankenmuth is with a visit to the Michigan Military & Space Heroes Museum to pay respect to those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  And on Sunday night, remember them when you look into the Frankenmuth sky for the big firework show; The stories of many of these courageous men and women told in this exceptional Michigan Museum.  The museum is home to the largest collection of Medals of Honor anywhere in our County.

Planning on visiting Frankenmuth this weekend? Join the conversation and share your photos using #muthfun on Twitter and Instagram or share your photos at www.facebook.com/frankenmuth.