Monday, October 19, 2015

Recap of the Sold Out 2015 Vander Fest in Spring Lake

Written by  Dan VanderKooi
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This year’s sold out Vander Fest featured a reconfigured layout from prior years. Gone was the “beer tent” aspect with a more open design putting added emphasis on the food and live music. In addition to the great beer and cider, the new layout benefited early attendees the most as this year’s incredible tap lineup of beer and cider saw some of Vander Mill’s longest lines as this year’s fest progressed into the evening hours. This year’s fest featured one of the most impressive tap lists yet and proved to be worthy of the longer waits. Also new this year was a tented VIP section which featured food, service, and great seats for the live music.
Vander Mill featured their own booth for hard cider and merchandise. Specialities on tap this year include the Besieged Cyser aged in barrels from Chicago’s Revolution brewery as well as the wet-hopped L L Cool Bayes hard cider. Other cideries shared taps with the breweries and standouts included Uncle John’s Atomic Apple cider and selections from Short’s new Starcut line of hard cider. The always stellar lineup of local breweries this year was complemented by an impressive lineup of out of State breweries with many new to West Michigan including Sun King, Lagunitas, Allagash, and Revolution Brewing. Vander Mill’s recently opened neighbors Dutch Girl Brewery also had their debut at this year’s fest.

This year’s collaboration beers included favorites such as Vanderbush from Sawyer’s Greenbush and Granny’s Apple Pie from Grand Haven’s Odd Side Ales. Food vendors this year included Standard Pizza, GBQ BBQ, and Top Butcher Shoppe. Social Bones returned as this year’s music headliner complete with laser show with additional entertainment this year from Banagarang Circus and an opening set by Julia & The Greensides.

Vander Mill’s new production facility in Grand Rapids is nearing completion which will allow the cidery to compete on the same level as some of the most popular nationally distributed cider brands. Also recently announced is the hiring of Chicago’s award-winning chef Justin Large as the new Culinary Director for both the Spring Lake and Grand Rapid’s Vander Mill locations, Be looking for the cidery to take both the food and cider to the next level with these exciting developments for 2015 and beyond.

Dan VanderKooi

Dan VanderKooi

Dan VK has been following the Michigan Craft Beer scene since before Oberon has been available in 6-packs. Besides making the rounds at all the local craft breweries and beer bars, Dan also supports the local music scene, reads crime fiction, and enjoys playing volleyball with his wife and friends.