Inaugural Harvest Festival in Detroit

This month, the Michigan Brewers Guild held their Inaugural Harvest Festival in Detroit’s Eastern Market. This was the MBG’s second new festival of the year, the first taking place in September in Marquette.

Right in the heart to Detroit, the setting of the Harvest Festival went a long way to bringing a local flavor to the event. Several tents ran the perimeter of an expanse of pavement, with plenty of room in the center for mingling. Beyond the tents, glimpses of smokestacks, weathered brick buildings and the small shops and stalls that compose the Market contributed to the urban vibe.

The attendees were the usual boisterous, jovial beer festival group, although a few costumed revelers and several “in character” representatives of the Detroit Derby Girls added extra flair. One thing I noticed is that there seemed to be a lot more smoking going on at this event than others. However, the fact that it drizzled on and off and therefore many people lit up beneath the tents likely contributed to this impression.

As for the beer, the offerings tended toward the bigger brews, with plenty of Imperial Stouts from which to choose. As this was the Harvest Festival, and set about a week before Halloween, pumpkin beers also made a good showing.

Food offerings have varied greatly from event to event, but this one started off right. The soup and chili-filled bread bowls were very popular, and the locally-made cheeses were delicious, and made for some interesting beer pairings.

What I like most about this event is the way it boosts the flagging city of Detroit while promoting Michigan Beer. In fact, this event was the culmination of the first-ever Beer Week in Detroit, a week-long series of beer-centric events such as brewery tours and food pairings. Although the city itself may be facing hard times, greater community support of and state pride in Detroit remains strong. Tapping into these assets, and linking them to Michigan Beer, is certainly a winning combination. I can imagine this event eventually growing to become the biggest of the four yearly MBG festivals, due mostly to the enduring allure of Motown.

Published in: on October 28, 2009 at 10:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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