New Brewer’s Loft tops Wine, Beer & Food Festival


Culinary and hospitality students from several area colleges and universities participate in the festival. Photo by Johnny Quirin

A pre-holiday tradition in downtown Grand Rapids, the sixth annual International Wine, Beer & Food Festival, is on tap this week.

It will include more than 1,200 wines and 200 beers, ciders and spirits, as well as the finest foods from the city’s best restaurants and chefs. The event is scheduled for Nov. 21-23 at DeVos Place.

The festival anticipates more than 17,000 attendees and prides itself on providing an experience for every palette, from the culinary novice to the connoisseur.

New this year is the third-floor Brewer’s Loft that will showcase beer from around Michigan and beyond, providing tastes of hand-crafted beverages along with food pairings and entertainment. More than 40 booths will be set up in the Brewer’s Loft.

In response to the booming hard cider industry, the festival will offer the Cider House, featuring cider producers from throughout Michigan along with many nationally known brands.

As in previous years, some of the area’s top restaurants will partner with wineries and breweries for gourmet multi-course meals that will be served on-site in a “bar top” setting. Tickets for these pairings are $35-$45 each and may be purchased in advance online or at the festival on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Meijer Food Stage will play host to some esteemed individuals from the culinary world who will offer demonstrations. Headliners include Angus Campbell, Fred Bueltmann, Neal Dionne, Jennifer Gritters, Tina Miller, Laura and Seth Porter, David Stanley, Shari Steinbach and Andy Wolniewicz.

There also will be beverage seminars and food workshops to provide attendees with a hands-on experience and classroom-like learning opportunities.

Culinary and hospitality students from Ferris State University, the Culinary Institute of Michigan at Baker College in Muskegon, the Secchia Institute of Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Valley State University will participate in the festival, working alongside industry leaders.

Festival hours are 5-10 p.m. Thursday, 4-10 p.m. Friday, and noon-10 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $15 on Thursday, and $20 on Friday and Saturday. A special $15 rate currently is available online for all festival dates. Online sales end Nov. 21. Food and beverage samples require varied amounts of sampling tickets in 50-cent denominations.

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