If you’ve been lucky enough to snag a ticket to the annual Grand Rapids Winter Beer Festival, you’re in for a real treat. This Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival takes place on Feb. 25, 2023 at the LMCU Ballpark in Comstock Park, near Grand Rapids.
This popular Michigan winter festival draws thousands of people each year to sample hundreds of local beers from some of Michigan’s top breweries. In addition to trying dozens of great beers, festivalgoers will be treated to live music, performances, delicious food, and plenty of fire pits to warm up in the chilling February cold.
So, what do you need to know about this fun-filled West Michigan winter thing to do? These festival facts will tell you everything you need to know. Whether you’re a newcomer to the event or a multi-year veteran, here’s the lowdown on the festival.
The Venue & What to Wear for the Grand Rapids Beer Festival
This Michigan winter beer festival is an outdoor event, and it’s held in February at the LMCU Ballpark. It’s wise to check the weather ahead of time because you could be in for everything from sunny mid-40s to cloudy and snowing. Then, you can dress accordingly.
There will be plenty of fire pits to huddle around for warmth, but you’ll likely want to dress in layers so that you can enjoy your time at the festival without shivering. We recommend pulling flannel long-sleeves out of the closet along with a scarf and gloves. Don’t forget a heavy jacket to bundle up, and wear comfortable shoes.
On the other hand, you could opt for a warm costume, like many other do. The atmosphere at the Michigan winter festival is full of fun and laughter, and you don’t want miss any of it!
Winter Beer Festival Ticket Prices & Other Details
For $55, you’ll get admission to the festival and 15 tokens for 3-oz. beer samples. You’ll be able to enjoy yourself and feel good about your purchase because the money supports the Michigan Brewers Guild and offsets the costs of the festival. If you’re a beer enthusiast, your money is being poured right back into future events like this.
You’ll need to have your ticket with you to be scanned for entry. If you prefer paper tickets, you’ll need to print them to be scanned at the entry gate. You can also use electronic tickets, and have the bar code scanned right from your phone.
If you’re an Enthusiast Member and have a valid ID or a VIP pass, you’ll be permitted early entry at noon, which is one hour prior to general admission at 1 p.m. You can sign up to be an Enthusiast Member prior to the date of the festival.
All festival attendees need to be 21 years of age or older. This is true even if you’re acting as a designated driver and not drinking. To gain entry, you’ll also need a valid ID.
The Refund Policy
Tickets to the festival are nonrefundable, but the event will take place even in the harshest of wintry conditions. For instance, all festivalgoers are encouraged to self-screen and stay home if they’re not feeling well. If you find yourself unable to attend the festival, you can transfer your ticket to someone else.
The only refund exception is if you test positive for COVID-19 during the week of the festival. In that case, you’re encouraged to send a copy of your test result along with your name, order number, and email to email@example.com for a refund. The deadline for that is Feb. 26.
Transferring a Ticket
Just how do you transfer your tickets? Each festival ticket has a bar code, and that bar code can only be scanned once. You don’t need to do anything specific or special to transfer your ticket because the ticket purchaser’s name isn’t checked against a festivalgoer’s ID at the gate.
Tickets are available for designated drivers at the LMCU Ballpark Will Call station for $10 on the day of the event. Simply have the designated driver or group of drivers go to Will Call with proof of purchasing a regular festival ticket.
Be advised that no server will pour for a DD at the festival. Any DD that’s caught drinking will be removed from the event.
Beer Sample Tokens
You may wonder why you need sample tokens if you’ve already purchased a ticket. Tokens are used at events like this festival because state law requires it. Specifically, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission requires the use of tokens or marked cups so that there’s a controlled means to serve beer to festivalgoers.
Using tokens ensures attendees follow state law and makes it easier for everyone to have a good time. Tokens and cups will be given to festivalgoers as they walk through the LMCU Ballpark main gate.
About the Michigan Beer, Food, & What to Bring
Over 800 beers will be available for festivalgoers to try from more than 100 different breweries and microbrewers. As the festival draws closer, enthusiasts can check out the full list of beers by scanning the QR code on the Michigan Brewers Guild’s website. There’s sure to be no shortage of the best beer you’ve ever had.
The Festival Food
There are vendors open at the event selling sausage, pastries, and the ever-popular turkey leg. All of these cooked foods are a perfect option for keeping warm.
One of the staples of the Grand Rapids Beer Festival is the various food accessories. Pretzelaces are the most common choice, but if you really want to stand out, cookies, meats, cheeses, and crackers are good options and delicious too.
What to Bring & What Not to Bring
There are plenty of things you can bring into the ballpark, including food, chairs, coolers, and nonalcoholic beverages in non-glass containers. Outside alcohol, glass containers, children, and marijuana are among the things you’re not allowed to bring.
Where to Stay for the Grand Rapids Winter Beer Festival
If you’re planning to attend this Michigan winter festival, one of the best things about it is the location. The LMCU Ballpark is mere minutes away from Grand Rapids, so if you’re staying in the city you won’t have to battle traffic forever to get to the festival.
Where you stay in or around Grand Rapids really comes down to how much you might be willing to spend on lodging and what kind of amenities you’re looking for. The Radisson Hotel Grand Rapids Riverfront, for example, offers rooms for as little as $105 a night with amenities like a pool.
If you book a room in downtown Grand Rapids, you’ll be right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle and within a short distance of many downtown bars and restaurants.
Tripadvisor offers a list of some of the best hotels in the Grand Rapids area and you really can’t go wrong wherever you stay. The earlier you can book a room, however, the better off you’re going to be.
Big events like this can fill up hotel rooms fast, and the last thing you want is to have to scour the web for any open rooms just a few days before the festival.
More Winter Things to Do in Grand Rapids
For beer enthusiasts, there’s no shortage of fun to be had at the Grand Rapids Winter Beer Festival. But, if you’re planning on attending the beer festival as part of an extended stay, there are lots of other fun activities in Grand Rapids, especially during wintertime in Michigan.
Food & Drink
If you’re looking to get out of the cold after spending all day at the beer festival, you can find plenty of coffee shops, cideries, distilleries, and restaurants to warm up and eat and drink your fill.
If you want to experience even more outdoor fun near Grand Rapids, there are plenty of chances to ski, snowshoe, and cross-country ski. You can really soak up the season at the Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids and at any area parks nearby. These are perfect places to take kids to play, go for a nature walk, or even have a family snowball fight.
At many of the Grand Rapids snowshoe trails, you can rent a pair of snowshoes if you don’t own any, and you can go at your own pace. The snowshoe trails are of varying lengths and difficulties, so you can pick the one that works best for you.
If you packed your ski gear and were planning on hitting the slopes, there are plenty of ski areas in Southern Michigan worth checking out. Cannonsburg Ski Area sits just 20 minutes from downtown Grand Rapids and Mulligan’s Hollow and Bittersweet Ski Resort are just half an hour away.
If you, friends, or family members are into snowboarding, all three of these spots offer that too. Additionally, there are some fantastic cross country ski trails in West Michigan.
What are some of your favorite memories from GR Winter Beer Fest? Let us know!