Text: R. Collins
Manistee County is home not only to many destinations for early fall golf, but also to a variety of activities and events to herald in the new, colorful season. In Manistee, Michigan, one such event off the fairway, Hops and Props on the River, combines the best of the region’s crafted beverages and boating for a single day along the serene bend of the Manistee River, which extends from the heart of Manistee Lake to the eastern edge of Lake Michigan.
Now in its eighth year, the event has grown by approximately 700 annual visitors, according to Kathryn Kenny, executive director of the Manistee County Visitors Bureau. Despite its growing number of fans and participating local organizations, however, Kenny said the event still provides visitors throughout the country with a relaxed setting to enjoy new brews and long-standing favorites alike.
“You get a better chance to taste all the beers that you want to taste because [the event] is not overcrowded or overpopulated,” Kenny said. “The entertainment is also amazing, and the venue and atmosphere are park-like.”
Hops and Props will include more than 100 regionally-crafted beverages from a variety of Michigan distilleries, breweries, wineries, and cider houses such as Roak Brewing Company in the southeast, Virtue Cider in the west, Iron Fish Distillery in the north, and many more throughout the state. Local food trucks will also be in attendance along with 23 craft breweries, which Kenny said often participate in a surprising local tap takeover at the end of the event.
Amongst its many brews and live entertainment—which includes local folk, blues, and jazz acts—the next two editions of Hops and Props will feature a unique twist courtesy of the nearby Century Boat Club, according to Kenny. The club was organized in 1979 out of an interest and appreciation for the classic wooden boats built by the Century Boat Company since its establishment in 1926. During Hops and Props, the club will host a boat show along the Manistee River channel, where visitors can observe classic antique boats amid their modern counterparts.
“People come from all over the states, especially when the Century Boats are around,” Kenny said. “The Century Boats were built in Manistee so the boat club brings people from all over the United States who are bringing their boats back to the harbor where they were built. So, it’s really a special time.”
Hops and Props on the River will take place September 21, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. in downtown Manistee. Tickets for the event went on sale August 1, 2019 and can be purchased online or in person at the Manistee Chamber of Commerce, or at North Channel Brewing Company, or Ludington Bay Brewing Company, both of which will be in attendance.
Photography: Manistee County Visitors Bureau