Being born and raised in Michigan, I grew up with four different seasons throughout the year. As I have gotten older, I have grown to appreciate being outside in the summer the most. You just can’t beat sitting out on the patio, deck, porch, boat, campfire, beach, pool or where ever you like to enjoy the summer weather while sipping a favorite beverage, listening to tunes and spending time with friends and family. I would put Michigan summers up against any other area in the United States!

Michigan also has a lot of amazing festivals throughout the year. We have music festivals, art and craft festivals, and food festivals, but nothing beats a good beer festival. My favorite has always been the Michigan Brewers Guild summer beer festival in Ypsilanti. I have been attending it for 12 years now. There are so many things that make this the best beer festival in the summer. Let’s start with the location of Riverside Park in Ypsilanti. It is a linear park full of beautiful trees that sit next to a lazy river. The setting gives you plenty of space to spread out and enjoy people watching as you enjoy some new tastes. The sheer size of the summer beer festival is just as impressive. This year, the Michigan Brewers Guild celebrates the 20th year of the festival. They have 147 breweries in attendance and 1,140+ beers to try. The variety is mind blowing, and the only other Michigan beer festivals that compare are other Michigan Brewers Guild festivals.

Cedar Chan and Steve Johnson on the bus to the 2015 Summer Beer Festival.

Although I love the location and the variety of beer, the people are my favorite part of the summer beer festival. I have made amazing friends over the years in the beer industry, and they all come to this festival. For the past six years, as part of my tour business, Motor City Brew Tours, I have been running buses to the Ypsilanti beer festival. It started out as a way to get my friends and myself to and from the festival safely. Selling enough tickets to breakeven or even to make a little money was a bonus.

Over the years, we had expanded our bus service to other beer festivals, but the Ypsi beer festival bus crowd has always held a special place in my heart. I have many folks who come on the bus every year. It’s like a family reunion, but instead of going to an aunt’s house, we are going to a festival where we get to drink beer all day. This year, I changed things up a bit and am offering a bus to visit the beer festival on Friday instead of Saturday. Although I will miss my Saturday bus folks, I wanted to experience the festival on Friday. Hopefully I can start a new tradition by getting folks to take a half-day off work and attend the festival on Friday evening. Regardless of the day I am attending, I am just as excited as ever to attend the Ypsilanti summer beer festival and drink some of the 1,140 Michigan made beers! Cheers to the Michigan Brewers Guild for 20 years of amazing summer beer festivals! –Beer Tour Guy


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