Monday, February 27, 2012

2012 Michigan Winter Beer Festival Recap

Michigan Expats - Commentary - See All Commentary

The NBA All-Star game and festivities were the highlight in Orlando, the Academy Awards drew red carpet coverage in LA, and the Daytona 500 was scheduled to start yesterday, but for 6,000+ people there was no better place to be this weekend than standing outside in a minor league baseball stadium parking lot in freezing temperatures surrounded by fellow Michigan beer enthusiasts with over 450 Michigan beers to sample from 61 different Michigan breweries at the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival.

With Ice Guru, Randy.
I have to begin by saying a big thank you to Bob and Jop of The Grillin' Guys for allowing me to join them Saturday morning at Fifth Third Ballpark and help them produce their radio show live from the festival. They had a great guest line-up featuring Dianna Stampfler from PromoteMichigan.comRight Brain Brewery founder, Russ Springsteen; Schmohz Brewery beer engineer, Chas Thompson; Randy Finch from Food Network's Ice Brigade; Travis Glenn from Dark Horse Brewery; and Tri-City Brewing founder, Kevin Peil. It's definitely worth listening to their interviews.

Throughout the day, I was most impressed with the creativity and passion present at the festival by the promoters and organizers, festival attendees, and especially by the brewers and entrepreneurs. This is an industry and festival that wasn't possible twenty years ago. Look for me to go into further detail about the creativity, passion, and entrepreneurship later this week, but for now lets stay focused on the festival and the beer.

There were maybe a couple dozen people at the ballpark when we arrived to do the radio show (9AM airtime), so I got to watch the festival evolve throughout the day. There was the calm before the storm as brewers, staffers, and volunteers arrived in the morning, booths began to take shape, kegs rolling across the parking lot, and the aroma of turkey legs and humongous meatballs began to fill air as grilles and smokers were lit. Anticipation and energy was building outside the gates as the line began to form and stretched from way beyond the right field stadium wall all the way past home plate. 

I admit, I didn't miss having to arrive early to wait in line to get in. In fact, I took full advantage of my media pass with the radio show to begin sampling beers in the hospitality area and at the booths before lines formed inside the gates. Although, the biggest benefit of the media pass was probably being able to use heated indoor bathrooms and avoid the port-a-john lines.

Disclaimer: Professional beer drinker. Do not attempt at home.

Sunday, February 26, 2012 Podcast Episode 29


Michigan Expats – Culture – See All Culture

By Mr. Sig

Yes, that’s right everybody, I actually made it 2 weeks in a row.  This week’s episode is packed as usual with excellent songs by artists from or having connection to the great state of Michigan.

Here are this week’s songs.  I hope you enjoy the episode and throw a little money to these guys by picking up their songs on Amazon.

Madonna – Vogue – Purchase on Amazon

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Purchase on Amazon

Uncle Kracker - You Can’t Take Me – Purchase on Amazon

Rick James – Super Freak – Purchase on Amazon

Commodores – Nightshift – Purchase on Amazon

Gladys Knight & The Pips - I’ve got to use My Imagination – Purchase on Amazon

Madonna – Hollywood – Purchase on Amazon

Michael Jackson – Earth Song – Purchase on Amazon