If it's fall in Detroit, it's time to drink one thing ... Michigan craft beer.
The Michigan Brewers Guild Detroit Fall Beer Festival is fast approaching, and you won't want to miss it: More than 100 brewers serving up more than 800 beers, brewery staff on hand to talk about their beer, food, beer, music, beer, fun ... and beer.
The festival, now in its eighth year, takes place from 5-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, and 1-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at Eastern Market. (Yes, it's outdoors. Dress warm. Or maybe Michigan will surprise you.) These events often sell out, especially Saturday, but as of Oct. 7 tickets are still available.
(Insider tip: Friday is less busy than Saturday and tickets are $5 cheaper. Plus, you've got two days to recover should you get overly enthusiastic.)
"Our membership continues to grow," said Michigan Brewers Guild executive director Scott Graham."They love to promote themselves, and what better way than to give out samples?"
The access to Michigan brewers is one of the pluses to the Brewers Guild festivals. And Graham said the brewers love to talk to beer lovers about their craft and their brews.
What should festivalgoers expect? Great beer, fun names and creative interpretations, Graham said. There will be lots of different fall seasonals -- of course there will be pumpkin, but also spiced beers, harvest beers and more.
"It's fun if you are a pretty experienced craft beer drinker, but also fun if you think you don't like craft beer," Graham said. "There's so much to try."
Graham expects there will be a number of fresh or wet-hopped beers this year: It's a unique process, where the brewer plans a beer, and the day the hops are picked they go into the brewing process.
"They're best fresh, and now is the time," Graham said.
In terms of overall number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #5 in the nation. It's also one of the nation's top hop producers, boosting an already healthy industry.
"There's still room for the quantity of Michigan beer to grow," Graham said. "It's an expanding industry with more growing up around it -- financial, equipment, manufacturing, packaging, work trucks."
There's a new app this year for the Detroit festival. Download it here.
Michigan Brewers Guild Detroit Fall Beer Festival
Where: Eastern Market, Detroit
When: 5-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21; 1-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22
Details: Tickets are $40 (Friday) and $45 (Saturday) in advance, $45 at the door if available. 15 drink tokens are included with admission and each drink token is redeemable for a 3 oz. sample of beer. Additional tokens will be available inside the festival for 50 cents. 21 and over only; no kids, no pets; event takes place rain or shine.