Monday, May 05, 2014

Recap of Beer City Spring Fest in Hudsonville

Written by  Dan VanderKooi
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A mere few years ago when Hudsonville was still a dry community, who would have ever imagined that the City could be home in the near future to a successful beer festival drawing breweries from all over West Michigan and beyond? However, those few short years included the whirlwind of activity in Grand Rapids and surrounding areas culminating in the region’s two year climb to ascension leading to the now undisputed national recognition as Beer City USA. Hudsonville was not left out of this frenzy, with two of it’s own breweries being established during these years: White Flame Brewing Co. and Pike 51 Brewing Co. in conjunction with the Hudsonville winery.
Beer City Spring Fest including the festival debut of the newest brewery out of Grand Rapids being Elk Brewing which included their Porter and IPA among their offerings. Pigeon Hill of Muskegon also made their impressive festival debut with a solid lineup including their flagship Russian Imperial Stout. Muskegon’s Unruly also tapped their 14% B.A. Barracus RIS which sold out quickly. Brewery Vivant of Grand Rapids launched their new flagship Undertaker dark ale which will be replacing Solitude as a mainstay in the repertoire. Gravel Bottom of Ada’s collaborative Beer Hound Brown with an espresso kick also proved popular. The festival also showcased many local wines (including Cascade and Hudsonville wineries,) hard ciders including Virture and People’s Cider Co., and spirits from Copper Craft and New Holland. Food trucks on hand included RnR comfort foods as well as a stage for local bands for entertainment.

With last year’s triumphant victory of Grand Rapids in attaining the sole title of Beer City in 2013, the polling has been discontinued this year after 5 years of highly contested voting. For 2014, Beer City Spring Fest is at the fore of what would have been a subsequent year of voting. With the discontinuation of the voting, the reputation of Grand Rapids as Beer City has been cemented and this festival services as the launch of a new “Beer City Week” intending on keeping the spirit alive with nightly toasts at Brewery Vivant, special tappings at Cranker’s in Cutlerville and Rockford Brewing, and additional tastings during the week.Additionally proceeds from Beer City Spring Fest are being used to benefit local veterans through the American Legion.

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.