As we don’t get to all that many beer festivals, both of us (Seraphine and Skyler) had very much been looking forward to Beerfest at the Ballpark in downtown Lansing, MI. Even though the weather was looking a little iffy that day, we lined up outside Cooley Law School Stadium ready to enjoy a beer-filled day at the ballpark!
Right off the bat (zing!), there were a number of things that we both really enjoyed about this event. First, since this festival takes place inside the ballpark, attendees have access to real bathrooms! With real toilets! And running water! Oh my gosh! Porta Potties are normally a begrudgingly accepted fact of beer fests, so having actual flushing toilets is a miracle of science! Second, since the event takes place both inside the ballpark and on the outdoor grounds, the layout is very user friendly. The area is very large and spread out, so there’s a lot of space to move around, providing a nice amount of breathing room and far less crowding than we’ve seen at other fests. Third, there are bbq pulled pork parfaits. Enough said.
While the customary pretzel necklace is always welcome at an event like this, if you’ve forgotten yours at home, don’t fret. Inside the ballpark, we found no lack of options for soaking up all that delicious beer in your guts. Many of the ballpark concessions were open, offering a wide selection of hot dogs, brats, burgers, pizza, snacks, and did we mention BBQ PULLED PORK PARFAITS?!
Amid the brewery tents set up inside the ballpark was a small stage, featuring musicians crooning the inebriated crowd with their acoustic tunes. In the beer village set up outside the park, there was a full-size stage hosting a number of bands jamming out an upbeat, energetic drinking soundtrack throughout the day. Not far from this stage, in the center of all the beer tents, stood a sight we were very pleased to behold… a giant inflatable tavern! How could you not be pleased with a giant inflatable tavern? It even included a tiny fireplace to enjoy your beer by! It wasn’t throwing off a whole lot of heat, but it sure looks cozy, doesn’t it?
While all of these sights and sounds were great fun, a beerfest wouldn’t be much of a beerfest without the beer. We can happily say that the beer list for this festival is off the chain! With nearly 80 breweries, cideries, meaderies, & wineries serving over 300 tasty, boozy beverages, there really is something for everyone here. We weren’t able to get remotely close to trying everything but we made sure to use all of our tickets to sample a wide variety of beers, meads, ciders, and even a cocktail or two. In no particular order, some standouts include:
Michigan Mule – American Fifth Spirits (Lansing, MI)
I can’t NOT have some hard stuff at an event like this. Craft vodka, Vernors and cranberry make this one hell of a good cocktail. And boy, is it strong. – Skyler
Küsterer Original Weissbier – Cedar Springs Brewing Co. (Cedar Springs, MI)
This is an excellent Belgian with a very well rounded flavor. Added to my list as an absolutely must visit brewery. The Dopplebock was excellent too. – Seraphine
After we’d made several loops around the park and the rain started to fall, we bid the fest farewell and headed to Taco 911, because, come on, it’s called Taco 911. We’d sampled ton of great beers, met a bunch of fun beer enthusiasts and brewers, and miraculously only heard a couple people drop their rad sample glasses on the concrete.
We would strongly recommend this event to newcomers to the beer fest scene and seasoned veterans alike… with a wide variety of breweries, pleasant facilities, easy parking and access, and an awesome beer, cider, mead and wine selection, this is a hell of a way to spend a Spring afternoon.
We’ll see you there next year!