Thursday, February 2, 2012

(More) Winter is Coming?

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A month ago, I wondered what happened to Winter. Of course, the next day the temperature dropped 30 degrees, snow came, and dozens of West Michigan schools had a snow day?

Most of the snow has melted over the past couple of days so much that the weather feels more like the first of April instead of the start of February. We're all familiar how quickly the weather can change, especially in Michigan, and we may yet have more snow on the way.

At least that is what the Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Seer of Seers said today. Yes, Punxsutawney Phil, awoke this morning at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, PA, saw his shadow, and predicted six more weeks of winter.

In honor of Punxsutawney Phil's prognostication; my enduring love for the Bill Murray classic, Groundhog Day; and our fondness here at Michigan Expats for John Kerfoot's Not So Pure Michigan parodies, we're going to share Mr. Kerfoot's, Pure Michigan: Winter Virgins video.

Enjoy the video and enjoy the rest of winter.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Michigan Expats (Unofficially) Declares February MI Beer Month

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February hasn’t started yet, but I’m officially excited for the shortest month of the year. Why? Beer.

Followers of Michigan Expats won’t be surprised that we’re a big beer fans. We also love Michigan. Fortunately, those two loves go hand-in-hand (or mitten-in-mitten, if you will). Michigan is home to some of the best and most innovative breweries in the nation which have made the Michigan craft brewing industry on the fastest growing in the state producing some of Michigan’s best exports.

I know many Michigan Expats will cite the cold winter toward helping making the move elsewhere (e.g. Mr. Sig), but Michiganders have found a great new way to help brave lake effect snow: outdoor winter beer festivals.

Ever since Santa brought me a ticket for Christmas, I have been looking forward to February 25 for the (SOLD OUT) 7th Annual Winter Beer Festival. My anticipation has only grown after discovering the announcement that the festival at Fifth Third Ball Park (Home of the White Caps) will be the culmination of the Inaugural Grand Rapids Beer Week with exciting beer events at various breweries, bars, and restaurants across Grand Rapids.

”This is an outdoor festival taking place under heated tents in the middle of a northern Michigan winter – PLEASE DRESS WARMLY! ”

Not only that, but it also looks like I will be attending the 3rd Annual Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival on February 11.  Unlike the Winter Beer Fest, tickets are still available and the Grand Traverse Resort is offering a special package featuring a room, ticket, and shuttle to-and-from for $97/person (they also offer area beer and wine tour packages). If you go, download the Traverse Travlr app for your smartphone.

With the pair of festivals, GR Beer Week, and the news below have drastically raised our IBU + ABV excitement levels to such levels that I am going to declare February Michigan Craft Beer Month on I hope that many of you will join me, if not at the mentioned festivals or events, then by picking up your favorite Michigan beers and enjoying them this February whether you’re watching the Super Bowl, the Spartans or Wolverines in basketball (rematch February 5), or just relaxing after a long day at work.

There’s plenty more to be excited about the Michigan craft beer scene: