Mark your calendars for Saturday, November 23, and don't plan on doing anything else. One-Eyed Betty's is hosting a monster FestivALE – a fall festival for all! (Or a festivus for the rest of us, if you must.)
What started out as a beer tent to coincide with the Ferndale DDA's 5k obstacle course nighttime run (a fundraising effort for their holiday events) has turned into a full-scale holiday festival with lots of food and beer and entertainment – like fire dancers, aerialists, and stilt-walkers, plus music from Americana bluegrass bands like the Appleseed Collective.
The DDA approached Beth Hussey, owner of One-Eyed Betty's, about hosting a beer tent for the 1,000 runners they expect at their event. She agreed, then figured, "If I'm going to do a beer tent I might as well turn it into a thing and make it a big deal."
And oh, IT'S A BIG DEAL. FestivALE will feature all seasonal and holiday beers, including some very special limited releases and rare imports. The whole concept is based around Christmas beers – those high-octane specialty releases like St. Bernardus Christmas Ale and Delerium Noel. There will be several local breweries pouring samples of seasonal and limited releases from Bell's, Dark Horse, and Arbor Brewing, all set up in an outdoor tent like at the Michigan Brewers Guild festivals. Plus Short's will have a 30-tap takeover going on inside. There will also be a special one-off Christmas beer booth with scheduled tappings of extremely limited kegs of rare and unusual beers from St. Bernardus, Petrus, Unibroue, Van Eeecke, and more (some of these kegs are the only ones allotted to the state of Michigan). Harpoon with also be there with kegs of their Winter Warmer and their ciders, available for the first time in kegs.
Since this is the Saturday before Thanksgiving and right as we all get into the full holiday swing, the food will also be equally as special as the beer. They'll have a "roast beast" dinner of whole pig, goat, and lamb, all served as finger food in rolls or tortillas with complementary sauces. Beth is also having a giant tartiflette pan custom-made by local metalworker Richard Gage to make the traditional cold weather comfort food of Franco-Swiss origin made with potatoes, Reblochon cheese, lardons and onions (they'll put their own spin on it, naturally). And there will be a six-foot-long apple strudel.
"We're really going for a different kind of feel than other festivals," Beth says. "We just want it to be a really awesome party with really great beer, really great food, and a really great atmosphere."
Another awesome food and drink festival in Ferndale that puts all others to shame? I'm in.
Tickets to FestivaALE are now on sale! $20 advance/$25 at the door.