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  • James Townsend


Portland turns 150 this year, and Beerfest on the Bridge will help celebrate the milestone anniversary when the event comes to Veterans Memorial Bridge in downtown Portland, at 3 – 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10.

Mid-Michigan’s premier beer festival is something to be anticipated even more this year, according to Portland Downtown Executive Director Tina ConnerWellman. “It’s exciting that our fifth Beerfest on the Bridge is coinciding with Portland’s Sesquicentennial Celebration,” said ConnerWellman. “We can’t wait to welcome our local fans, as well as guests from around the state. Be prepared for an extra special Beerfest, because we’re adding in more fun and unique take-aways.”

It’s about the people and, of course, the craft beer, wine, cider and soda — all provided by artisans including Bell’s Brewery, BrickHaven Brewery, ConfluxCity Brewing Company, Cranker’s Brewery, EagleMonk Pub and Brewery, Ellison Brewery, Dark Horse Brewery, Dimes Brewhouse, Forbidden Fruit Cider, Grand Armory Brewing Company, Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery, Lansing Brewing Company, Looking Glass Brewing Company, The Port, Saugatuck Brewing Company, and Uncle John’s Hard Cider.

Also featured this year will be Portland Strong Mulberry A La Mode Porter, brewed by Portland’s own Confluxcity Brewing Company. Brewery owner Jim Hilligan can’t wait to share his creation.

“When we go to most beerfests we're excited, but there is something different about Beerfest on the Bridge. We're not just saying that because it's in our hometown, but because of its vibe, its location and the people we get to meet there,” Hilligan said. “We've been going to the festival since its inception as patrons, but this is our second year as ConfluxCity Brewing Company and it's taken on a whole new meaning.”

Hilligan said his company was given “quite the honor” by being selected to make this year’s Portland Strong beer, Mulberry A La Mode Porter.

“Dark and roasted malts, a sweet mulberry finish and creamy mouthfeel,” said Hilligan. “Cheers!”

Food will be provided by Sweet Caroline’s BBQ and Catering, Maria’s Tacos, and Gobblin’ Good to Go. Live music by Shelby and Jake will open the festival and Skip and the Dude will close.

On top of the drinks, food and music, there is something new this year to celebrate Portland’s 150th birthday. Beerfest on the Bridge will include a contest that invites attendees to don the garb from their favorite decade or time period — and everyone to vote for their favorite. Prizes are given in Portland Prime Gift Certificates; 1st place $75 2nd place $50, and 3rd place $25; choose between over 20 businesses to spend them at. Be sure to come to Beerfest dressed to dazzle!

The event unites the community and provides an opportunity to show off Portland and all it has to offer to visitors of the City of Two Rivers, said Portland Downtown Development Authority board member Leo Madarang.

“Beerfest on the Bridge is a great event for Portland. The community really comes together and gets involved to make sure the event runs smoothly and is a success,” Madarang said. “I've heard from people that they come back because they want to canoe or kayak on the river or take a walk or bike ride on the river trail. And the beerfest itself is very enjoyable and a great time — lots of fun, laughter and good tasting beer. The organizers of the event do such a fantastic job.”

Tickets are $40 for VIP entry, which includes an extra hour of Beer Fest (with entry at 2 p.m.), a logo tasting glass and 15 tasting tickets – 3 oz. each. The regular, advance ticket includes a logo tasting glass and 10 tasting tickets – 3 oz. each. Advance tickets are available through 11:30pm on Aug. 9. If any tickets are available the day of the event, they will only be available at the gate for $40 General Admission and $50 VIP. Advance tickets are also available at the Portland Party Store, where ticket purchases will include a free Beerfest on the Bridge pint glass while supplies last.

Beerfest on the Bridge supports the Portland Downtown Development Authority and helps fund other events in downtown Portland like Holiday Fest.

For more information on the festival and to purchase tickets, visit

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