The time is once again upon us to get excited for the Summer Beer Festival, coming to Ypsilanti's Riverside Park on Friday, July 26 and Saturday, July 27. Presented by the Michigan Brewers Guild, the festival is celebrating 22 years of highlighting the immense selection of craft beer Michigan has to offer. "Beer Fest" is tremendously popular - it feels like everyone in town comes out - and with good reason.

Here you'll find over 100 breweries and over 1000 different beers to sample, and with your 15 tokens, you can choose your own adventure. Into refreshing sours? Lighter lagers? Dark and strong? A little bit of everything? They've got you covered with selections from all around the state, as well as hyper-local picks from Washtenaw County. Rarely do you find the opportunity to try so many styles of beer in one place. Not enough tokens? You are welcome to buy more on-site and lengthen your sampling session. (Fun fact: if you have leftover tokens from festivals past, they are still accepted!)

With so much choice, one might wonder where to get started. A great sampling strategy, preferred by local brewer Kuma Ofori-Mensa of Cultivate Coffee and Taphouse, is to start with meeting the brewers. Whether you seek out breweries you know and like, or walk up to a brand new booth, asking the folks who put their hard work into creating the beers what they are proudest of or most excited to drink themselves is a surefire way to not only try the best and most interesting beers, but to learn about the process and community involved in bringing beer to your glass. Summer Beer Festival This is also a great way to be led to exclusive releases. Other tried and true options are to open up the beer guide and choose by silliest name, by style, or head straight for the familiar - or unfamiliar.

Hot tip for the day - and I mean hot: Stay hydrated! The weather is often really warm in late July, and you want to be in top shape for enjoying all the beer. The festival goes on rain or shine - so expect to have a grand time regardless of precipitation. Don't forget shades and sunscreen!

You are welcome to bring folding chairs, umbrellas, small tents up to 10x10, picnic blankets, and most importantly, snacks. There are, of course, many food vendors throughout the event with all kinds of beer-friendly options, but one of the more popular portable snacking options is the DIY pretzel necklace. Build your own basic one by stringing pretzels around your neck, or kick it up a notch with creative additions. Some have been known to add sausages, string cheese, large soft pretzels, and even a whole bagel to their hands-free food jewelry. Whatever you can dream up (and commit to wearing around your neck) you can do!

You are welcome to bring snacks and non-alcoholic beverages in non-glass containers. Be sure to bring cash, as there is no ATM in the event and not all food vendors accept credit.

There will also be great entertainment to keep up the energy, featuring live bands and musical acts. There is also a Michigan Beer Fight song, and a beer-fueled attempt to sing it together is made each year, so prepare yourself.

Get your tickets now - they go quickly, especially for Saturday - and set aside a day for community and celebration in the best beer state around. Don't forget to plan for a safe ride home at the end of the day. See you there!

22nd Annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival - 2019
Get your tickets here:
Friday, July 26, 2019 - 5 -9 p.m. ($45 in advance, $50 day of and at the gate)
Saturday, July 27, 2019 - 1- 6 p.m. ($50 in advance, $55 day of and at the gate IF available)

A drinking ticket includes admission to the festival and fifteen 3-ounce samples. Designated driver tickets are available at a reduced cost.

Michigan Brewers Guild Enthusiasts are admitted into the festival 1 hour before the general public - with some special beer samplings.

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