Central brewing in celebration

Central brewing in celebration

Text: R. Collins // Photography: Ryan Watkins Photography

In its mid-Michigan location amid beer-producing destinations like Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Bellaire, and Traverse City, Mt. Pleasant sits in a perfect position for one to enjoy Michigan’s famous and bountiful craft brews while also providing several of its own. The area is home to community brew pubs and one of the state’s major annual beer events, the Mt. Pleasant Craft Beer Festival. Now in its 7th iteration—after losing one to complications due to COVID-19—the festival is back with an October 2nd launch date, and a variety of food vendors, music and entertainment, and of course, a plentiful round-up of craft beers.

“I think it’s something that’s a little bit different. Our focus has always been making it an educational event,” said Bryan Wieferich, co-president of the Mt. Pleasant Jaycees, the non-profit organization which organizes the event. “Let’s be honest, it’s still a party and its social, but it’s not a beer tent. It’s a charity event too, so people who come there have a different mindset than your college beer crowd just coming to drink.”

Ryan Watkins Photography

The Jaycees founded the festival to supplement its mission for supporting the area’s young citizens in volunteerism and community service. So far, the festival has raised more than $36,000 between sponsors and visitor participation, and it has been more successful than anyone could have imagined from year one, when expectations were merely for the event to break even.

Now, the festival is estimated to bring about 1,500 people downtown between guests, volunteers, vendors, and brewery representatives. As for the breweries in attendance, the festival features star producers of its own such as Mountain Town Station and Hunter’s Ale House, as well as Michigan mainstays like Founders Brewing Co., Short’s Brewing Company, and some from the state’s Upper Peninsula. This year, visitors will be treated to a new Rockford brewing company founded by a Mt. Pleasant family, and several other smaller outfits and “mom-and-pop” productions it is known to introduce to visitors.

“It gives [these brewers] an opportunity to spread the word about their brewery and bring things that may not be in all of the stores, but that are still there,” Wieferich said.

Pre-event tickets for the Mt. Pleasant Craft Beer Festival are available now online, for $25 and VIP tickets are $40. On the day of the festival, tickets can be bought for $30 with VIP tickets at $45. The festival will take place on Broadway Street, right in the heart of downtown, and in range of several of the singular mid-Michigan area’s picturesque golf courses. Plan your trip and discover all that Mt. Pleasant has to offer for golfing and brew tasting at meetmtp.com.

Ryan Watkins Photography
More to explore in the Mt. Pleasant area:

The Emerald Golf Course | 2300 W Maple Rapids Rd, St Johns

Uncle John’s Cider Mill | 8614 North, 8614 US-127, St Johns

Central Michigan University Disc Golf Course | 1200 S Franklin St, Mt Pleasant