Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Recap of Ludington Oktoberfest 2013

Written by  Dan VanderKooi
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Bell’s sponsored this year’s Oktoberfest celebration in Ludington which included a chili walk, bike race, and music and craft beer tent.
The evening before the event, Bell’s also provided downtown Ludington’s premier Michigan-themed The Mitten Bar with many exclusives for a complete tap-takeover. With the beer tent opening mid-afternoon, my friends and I arrived a little early to check out the downtown chili walk featuring many local restaurants and retailers.

Participants of the chili walk were able to vote on their favorites. While we only had time to sample a few of the locations, we were fortunate to try both the Blu Moon’s chili which won overall as well as best restaurant category, and also the Redolencia Coffee House which offered several excellent choices and took best retailer. From the chili we tried, runner up would have gone to The Mitten Bar/Barley & Rye where we stopped in to take advantage of the Bell’s tap takeover. Beers consumed included Uberon, a 10% ABV Barrel-aged transformed Oberon, as well as the Special Double Cream straight from the cask.

The Mitten Bar’s neighbors, the whiskey-themed Barley & Rye were also featuring a pumpkin beer tap takeover of their own, and both restaurants were sectioned off to make way for the MITTCRIT bicycle race organized by the Shoreline Cycling Club, which featured cyclers actually racing through the adjoining bars via a series of heats. The experience of sitting at a packed bar with bicyclers racing through made for an interesting afternoon of drinking to say the least! By mid-afternoon, we made our way over to the beer tent.

The music and craft beer entertainment tent featured all of Bell’s seasonal favorites including  their Octoberfest, Best Brown Ale, and Lager of the Lakes. V.I.P. passes also included co mplimentary stein which boosted all pours to 20 oz. Food vendors inside the tent included Barley & Rye which proved popular with delicious (and gluten-free) rice bowls and smoked turkey legs, and other vendors including Firehouse Italian Sausage. Chad Rushing opened with a short set, followed by Gasta’s set of Irish music. I was particularly impressed when they opened one song with the didgeridoo. While we didn’t stay late, an impressive lineup of headliners including The Crane Wives, Seth Bernard, and Rootstand closed out the night.

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.