On a drizzly June Saturday a few years ago my husband and I took a drive to Baileys Harbor. We’d heard about a beer festival and, as microbrew enthusiasts, we thought we should at least take a gander at what our local festival had to offer. We found parking easily on a side street and wandered over to the huge tent which covered table after table of beer purveyors. Though still early in the day, the tent was already populated with plenty of festival-goers happily sipping ales and lagers from their miniature tasting glasses. The scene was inviting, and the weather outside the tent remained damp, so we committed and bought tickets to the festival.
Once outfitted with bracelets and our very own tasting glasses, my husband and I stepped into the tent of the Door County Beer Festival. We were greeted with a happy din of talking, laughing and clinking of glasses. Breweries from all around the state were represented, and we slowly worked our way through as many as we could, tasting porters, IPAs, and even sour beers. A few breweries specialized in ciders or made root beers, tempting all of the areas of our palates. As the day went on, the tent filled, and we bumped shoulders with jolly neighbors. Brewery representatives were enthusiastic to tell us as much about any brew as we cared to hear. Unconcerned that we might not know the difference between a lager and a pilsner, they patiently explained the different processes that resulted in our taste experiences. We tried new beers from some of our favorite Wisconsin breweries and discovered new beer makers from other midwestern states and beyond.
Everyone under the tent shared a passion or at least an appreciation for beer, making the atmosphere truly like a pub rather than a ticketed event. We chatted with tourists and Door County natives alike. We even ran into a favorite celebrity of ours, Kyle Cherek, host of the show Wisconsin Foodie, who was also enjoying the festival. After tasting as many beers as we cared to, we sidled over to the food booths, which had fabulous local options.
This year’s Door County Beer Festival is again in June in Baileys Harbor. It will boast hundreds of beers from more than 50 breweries, with an impressive showing of Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota purveyors as well as beers hailing from Colorado and California. This laid-back festival is a great all-weather event for beer lovers and their loved ones. Cyclists in Baileys Harbor for the Peninsula Century Spring Classic can enjoy the festival after a scenic bike ride.
Distance from Blacksmith Inn: Walkable in 2 minutes (about 500 feet)
Pre-registration required: No
Cost: $40-55, depending on ticket type and date of purchase
No need for a designated driver if you stay a block away at the Blacksmith Inn! Check the Blacksmith Inn’s availability here.