11 Oct A Barrel of Reasons to Visit the Journeyman & Friends Barrel Aged Beer Festival on Oct. 16
It’s not as if Walter and I need a bunch of reasons to go to a beer festival – after all, it’s a beer festival and that should be enough. But some festivals really do go out of their way to give you many reasons to visit. The barrel-aged beer festival at Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks, Michigan called Journeyman & Friends (tickets here) is one such event. The list is long as to why this festival is great, but here are the major items:
1) The distillery in Three Oaks is gorgeous. The grounds are beautiful and well kept, and the Featherbone Building dates back to 1883 when it was used as the Featherbone whip and corset factory. There is history all over the place, and the putting course alone is worth visiting.
2) The festival is on the grounds of the distillery, which means you can do tours of the distillery and have a fantastic meal at the restaurant (called Staymaker).
3) The festival has the best of all worlds. It features barreled beers that have been aged in barrels from Journeyman Distillery, but it also has many non-barrel aged beers.
4) It is a festival, but it’s also a competition, where your input helps the panel of judges to award the Golden Barrel Trophy to the brewery with the best beer aged in a Journeyman Distillery barrel.
5) The festival supports an amazing charity, called Islay’s Barrel. All ticket sales are used to fund the charities mission to provide summertime enrichment activities and camps for children in Southwest Michigan.
6) The breweries coming to pour and compete at Journeyman & Friends include, but are not limited to, 18th Street Brewery, Burn ‘Em Brewing, Crooked Ewe Brewery, Great Mead Hall & Brewing Co., Pigeon Hill Brewing Company, The Livery, Exit Strategy Brewing, Whiner Beer Co., Haymarket Brewing, Misbeehavin’ Meads, Wolfden Brewing, Odd Side Ales, Seedz Brewery, Greenbush Brewing, River St. Joe, Virtue Cider, 2Toms Brewing, and Blockhead Beerworks. Several of these breweries are attending for the first time.
7) Because of the craziness of the times (read Covid), the festival has been opened to entries and sampled beers that were aged in barrels other than from Journeyman, which will give attendees a chance to compare beers from the barrels of different distilleries.
8) This idea of delving deep into the nuances of different barrels is highlighted at the festival is aided by the fact that Journeyman has many types of barrels; wheat whiskey, bourbon, Last Feather Rye, Not A King, and gin barrels.
If you are a brewery interested in getting a barrel or barrels for aging beer, Journey has 5, 15, and 30 gallon versions of several of these barrels and when they are available, they typically go for $75, $125, and $150 respectively.
9) It’d be a good idea to visit the festival at Three Oaks this year, because it is possible that the festival in coming years could be held at the Journeyman destination brewery, distillery, restaurant, and event center that is being built in Valparaiso. Journeyman could then be entering their own beers aged in their own barrels.
10) Support Journeyman Distillery, the festival, and the Islay’s Barrel fund because owner and master distiller Bill Welter is a Hoosier. The family farm was in Putnam County and he was raised in Valpo.
That’s it – there’s a double-digit list for why you should consider getting tickets for Journeyman & Friends on October 16. Here are some details for attending; the festival begins at 1pm for VIP and 2pm for GA (it ends at 5pm) with plenty of street parking. The VIP ticket gets you 8 beer tickets while GA gets you 6. VIP also includes a BrewFest gift in addition to the commemorative glass that both Gas and VIPs receive. There will be food at the festival in addition to normal hours for Staymaker. Do yourself a favor for a barrel of reasons and get tickets now here.