Monday, October 27, 2014

2014 Vander Fest scores a winning Trifecta with food, bands, and beverage

Written by  Dan VanderKooi
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Vander Fest is the annual fall festival of Spring Lake’s Vander Mill Cidery bringing craft breweries and cideries together each year for an amazing evening of food, fun, and music. 2014 marked the 5th year for this event, and the continual fine-tuning from year to year has paid off with this year featuring the perfect balance of beer, food, cider and entertainment. A variety of outdoor food vendors competed this year with the Mill’s own very busy kitchen. While the cold and rain couldn’t keep fest-goers away from the outdoor tented event, inside the mill proved busier than ever with many seeking temporary shelter from the weather.
This year’s beverage tent was well-stocked with collaborative beers from breweries including Arcadia, Big Lake Brewing, Old Boys, Greenbush, and Odd Side Ales. Muskegon’s Unruly Brewing Company made their impressive Vander Fest debut this year with offerings including Pomme De Mort, a Belgian golden strong with Vander Mill cider clocking in at a whopping 14% ABV and also the Neanderthal 11.6% ABV double IPA infused with fresh hops from a homemade “Randall” hops transducer. Guest breweries featured this year including Epic Brewing, Great Lakes Brewing, and Lagunitas. Vander Mill included a “Don’t Mess with the Zeus” hard cider dry-hopped with Zeus hops among their offerings for this year.

Food choices this year included What the Truck with a taco menu including BBQ pork and Thai chicken options. For those preferring pizza, Standard Pizza was on hand with their mobile wood-fired oven and Vander Mill’s famous donuts made the rounds in the outdoor tents as well. Inside the mill, a new seasonal menu was featured including some interesting options such as a pumpkin soup and pumpkin sandwich. Headlining the music lineup this year was Social Bones with an electrifying performance complete with laser show and dancers.

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.