If You Brew It

What occurred at The Village Saturday afternoon was no small feat. Had the sun simply offered her face in typical August fashion, hosting a Microbrew & Music festival would have been worry enough. Add to the challenge: rain, rain, rain. Still, not a grim face in the crowd. Smiles protruded from hooded hatters toting biodegradable koozies thermally insulating samples of amber ale and chocolate stout. Huddled and gathered beneath large and small tents, attendees dodged rain drops pelleting the lawn. Despite Mother Nature’s drab set decoration, Traverse City’s Microbrew & Music Festival proved to be a brilliant affair, as folks flooded the lawn of the old State Hospital grounds, sipping suds in the (sometimes) pouring rain.

The event, hosted by Porterhouse Productions, gathered 34 craft breweries, accompanied by a musical line-up, and steaming hot food from area restaurants and venders. Enthusiasm for the event poured as freely from the hearts of participants as did liquid gold from kegs. Honoring the fact that brewing beer is as much science as art, while music rang from the Main Stage, a second, “Hops Stage” intermingled music with topics ranging from sustainable hops production to beer activism. Award-winning author, Chris O’Brien flew in from D.C. to discuss the noble endeavor of beer drinking. Seriously.

Debate may ensue as to whether or not the rain deterred microbrew fans and beer afficianados from the event, but I suspect that the same people that love beer–love to make beer and drink it–do so because they have adventurous spirits and prefer something new to the same old, same old. Plus, if you live in Northern Michigan and do not have a raincoat, today was a wake up call, long overdue. I suspect that a few people considered the brouhaha and decided to stay home, those who either forget that the human body is composed mainly of water or those fearing that the parts per million of hops would be compromised by the unbridled raindrops.

At the finale of his lecture on the facets of hops production, Dr. Robert Sirrine from the Michigan State Research Station quoted Ben Franklin, saying, “beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” After Saturday’s event, the only hard evidence we have is that nothing–not even cool wet weather–will stop Michiganders from their microbrews, music and good eats. And yes, they seemed happy. Northern Michigan’s thirst to celebrate with friends and family can neither be quenched or denied. Rain or shine–if you brew it, they will come!