I cannot believe it has been almost two weeks since the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
So much prep work, anticipation, excitement, last-minute stressors—and then, thousands of people were flooding in, beer was poured, merriment was had, and somewhere in there I tiredly passed out in a nearby hotel room, emotionally and physically exhausted.
I made that sound like it was a tiresome, over-rated thing, didn’t I?
Well, let me set that straight. It might have been a whirlwind, but looking back at that weekend, it was such an amazing experience. The exhaustion—yes, it was there—but for every sore twinge in my back or bead of sweat rolling down my forehead, there was also so many great moments I witnessed and took part in.
So many defining Fermenta moments.
The quintessential foundations upon which Fermenta is built on are community, camaraderie and education. And never have I seen so many examples of those principles at work than at this beer festival.
I saw it in my very good friend and fellow Fermenta member, who was literally running around right beside me to help distribute Fermenta labels to all of the collaboration booths before the fest started. We both had our minds on a million tasks and hated that noxious, sweaty heat of the day, but it is sometimes in those terrible moments when you realize how much terrible fun you’re having.
I saw the hands of generous Michigan communities in all of the breweries who made collaborations alongside our organization. They expressed such enthusiasm and gratitude in working alongside Fermenta. It was amazing to shake hands with so many industry professionals who shared our vision and hopes for the future of Michigan craft.
I saw it in the Fermenta members, both new and veteran, who took the time to go around to every single collaboration booth. So much organization, planning and execution went into making these brews possible, and it was fabulous to see them intentionally seek out the fruits of everyone’s hard labor.
Likewise, I also saw it in strangers who stumbled across Fermenta collaboration signs and labels. The curiosity, interest and willingness to listen and ask questions reminded me that there are so many out there who support our ideas and practices.
But perhaps the best moments for Fermenta at the beer festival were those moments where we all found each other again.
Our organization is regionally successful, with members scattered all across Michigan. This kind of network allows us to coordinate events with all local communities while also recruit new members and interested parties.
However, with our arms branching all over the state, it is hard to see everyone at once. So at large events like the Summer Beer Festival, it is the opportunity to embrace old friends, make new connections and remember that most important pillar of Fermenta practice:
Drinking excellent Michigan craft with brilliant people.
Fermenta was everywhere at the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival, and it was such a great marker in the young history of our organization. Myself, you, us—we should all be proud of the work we did to represent the growing Michigan craft industry. Thanks to all of the great men and women involved in our practices, we will see many more members and projects to come.
I raise a glass in honor of working alongside you all. Cheers to the MBG Summer Fest collaborations, and cheers to the future!
[Side note: I hope to see you all at the Fermenta Anniversary party August 23, 2015. Buy your tickets on our website now, and tell some friends about it!]