This Saturday (October 4) the village of Empire goes straight to the heart of craft brewing with the first annual Empire Hops Festival.
The festival takes place on Front Street in downtown Empire from noon-10 PM and there will be a great lineup of breweries in attendance: New Holland Brewing, Right Brain, Stormcloud Brewing Company, Beards Brewery, Workshop Brewing Company & Shorts Brewing.
The Grand Traverse Insider quoted Empire Chamber of Commerce President and festival organizer Paul Skinner regarding the area’s burgeoning hops industry, “Hops farming is becoming the new agricultural product of the county. The majority of local and Michigan breweries insist on Leelanau County hops as the natural ingredient in their brew recipes.”
Workshop Brewing Company Head Brewer Corey Wentworth agrees. “I’m really stoked that the local hops industry is coming into its own in terms of variety and quantity. It’s especially important to us to source local whenever we can, and right now, several of our beers: Ball Peen, Wrecking Bar, Ten Penny, the Pry Bar and also our Oktoberfest use local hops!”
In addition to the great beer, there will be food from Scalawags Fish & Chips, Deerings Market, Baytown Kitchen, Arts Tavern plus several food trucks from Traverse City. Music will be delivered by Ypsilanti’s Black Jake & the Carnies and local heroes The Benzie Playboys.
Here’s a video on the Empire Hops Farm: