VanderFest: A celebration of fall, cider, beer, and food

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Vander Mill Cider in Spring Lake (West Michigan) is the host each year for VanderFest

I’m pretty picky when it comes to festivals. Often it seems like even though “craft beer” is advertised, it’s all big name brewers. There’s another festival that I won’t name that bills itself as a celebration of food and beer, but the beer is all imported (a sacrilege in Beer City USA) and the food is hot dogs and other carnie food.

VanderFest, on the other hand, is exactly the kind of festival I love. The cider/beer is all from Michigan makers, the food is great, and the atmosphere is definitely not “frat boy.” Everyone is friendly and seems to be there to enjoy the beer, not get drunk.

 

 

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Vander Mill also sells unfermented cider, delicious doughnuts, and fall decor

If you live in West Michigan, it’s definitely worth putting on your calendar. If you are not, it is definitely worth adding to a trip to our fine state. Spend the morning enjoying ArtPrize or driving to see the colors, and then spend the afternoon at VanderFest.

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Each brewer brings something that features apples made especially for the event

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Pumpkin Stew

I usually skip lunch and head over to the food booths early on. Vander Mill serves great food throughout the year, and their festival offerings don’t disappoint.

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This tasted just as delicious as it sounds.

The food area is cash, and the tastings are for tickets. You get eight tickets with your entry fee ($30 at the door of $25 ahead of time in 2013) and that is usually plenty.

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You also get a souvenir tasting glass with entry, which is so cute and has the pour lines right on it.

After a late lunch it’s time for more tasting. My favorite by far was the offering by People’s Cider.

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Cider that was Bourbon barrel aged for 9 months

The setting is beautiful, too. It reminds me of being out in the woods at a bonfire. Except with way better food and beer than Miller Lite and hot dogs.

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Breathtaking colors are the backdrop for the festival

After sampling some more ciders it’s time for food round two (need to soak up that alcohol!)

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Public is a restaurant in Zeeland and their food is amazing!

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DH and I split the mozz sticks and avocado egg rolls. Delicious!

When we needed a break from food and drink, we sat on the hill to watch some excellent local bands.

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imageAfter dark they add lasers, and the beer starts to run out, but there is free water to keep you hydrated.

It is definitely a very satisfying celebration of fall, food, cider, and beer.