Summer Beer Fest 2016

It’s that time of year, the time of year in which the days are longer the sun is hotter and the beer festivals are beer festing. Starting on Friday July 22nd the 19th annual Michigan Summer beer festival will kick off in Riverside Park in Ypsilanti Michigan.  Hosted by the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Fest will host over 100 Michigan breweries, thousands of Michigan beers and also highlight local foods and local musicians all for the love of craft beer. We had some time to chat with Ryan Cottongim from Witch’s Hat Brewing Company to talk about Summer Beer Fest and Witch’s Hat’s involvement with the festival; he even let us know  about some of the limited edition beers that the hat would be bringing to the festival!.

IMG_1156Check it out!

Sommbeer: “Summer beer fest is hosted by the brewers guild, what are some of the things that the brewers guild do to help brewers in the local area?”

Ryan: “The guild is basically just a group of us brewers in support of Michigan craft beer.  So the guild is here to help us get our beer to market, support and advertise and represent this great beer state that is Michigan beer.

SB: Witch’s Hat has been established since 2011, over the years since you’ve been participating in the event how has Summer beer fest changed?

Ryan:  It’s just getting bigger and better every year. We we opened were, I think, licence #102 and now there’s over 270 licences.  We have over 200 members in the brewers guild right now so when you think of just the pure number of breweries that are at our four fests and the amount of beers that’s definitely the biggest thing that changed. It’s also everyone’s chance to get out there and knock it out of the park and impress everybody so everyone brings their A game everyone brings their great beers everyone brings their coolest displays. The best part of the fest is walking around and seeing every body else. It’s incredible.

SB: Is there anything new of fun that Witch’s Hat is bringing to Summer Beer Fest this  year?

Ryan: New for us this year we are bringing some of the sour beers that we’ve been toying around with.  Each 100th batch of beer we’ve done we have made special versions of our flagship beers, batch 100 was a double Train Hopper, so this time we did batch 500 which was this past winter and we started playing around with some brett and some American Wild Ale so we’re going to have a batch 500 Sour Train Hopper aged in wine barrels, new to us, very sour very tart and very interesting beer.  It actually ended up being a blend of a couple different barrels a lot of unique character. We also have a beer called the Royal Canadian Kilted Mirror Thief which is brewed in honor of Joe from the palate, we basically took a scotch ale that was aged in bourbon barrels with extra scotch barrel chips and we blended it with our royal rumble aged in wine barrels and we created a really unique beer with some unique artwork to go along with it that we’re going to release at beer fest.

SB: Is there anything at Summer Beer Fest that you are looking forward to or like to check out while you’re there?

Ryan: Really I just enjoy walking around and trying to hit as many of the new breweries as I can. Running a small business you’re always at your small business and it’s hard to get away so it’s hard for us to travel around the state and go to all these new breweries that are opening up and making really great beer.  That is probably Erin and my favorite thing to do is just try the new breweries, see what everyone is bringing and get together with other people that we only get to see at this event.


Tickets are still available for Friday night of Summer Brew Fest and can be purchased through the Michigan Brewers Guild.  I’ll be at the festival after 4:00pm on Friday, make sure to say “Hey” and we can grab a beer!





Senior Editor at
Fan of Hockey, Football, and Mexican Food. Preferes beers in the style of Stout, Porter, IPA, and Red Ales.
Not a fan of Pumpkin beer or Sours