Story by Abigale Racine, Culture Editor
Photo courtesy of ShowSpan
All three of my greatest loves were served in mass quantity and were conveniently housed under one roof from Thursday, November 19 to Saturday, November 21 at the DeVos Place. As I channeled my inner-Dionysus, I enjoyed some varieties of the over 1,000 wines, beers, and food portions offered at the eighth annual Grand Rapids Wine, Beer, and Food Festival.
I was reminded that it pays to be associated with the press. With this food for thought, I became increasingly aware I was one of the few in attendance who were twenty-somethings of age. It was evident from the beginning that this was a “grown-up thing.” This initial, blatantly uncomfortable situation motivated me to flock toward the wine even sooner than anticipated. To my surprise and delight however, despite my youth, I was treated with respect throughout the duration of the festival. I’m just glad I have some base knowledge on how to spit, gargle, and swish properly.
Upon arrival, I was given the option to chose between a wine or beer glass to remain with me for the evening. I opted for the wine while my accomplice selected the beer glass, assessing that we could share and cover more of the sampling grounds of the 162,000 square foot convention center. Because, yes, there is science behind those differently shaped glasses. Keep in mind and respect those aromatic dynamics, dear readers. After this selection, we had to purchase our sampling tickets, as there was a point system of sorts: comparably like Chuck E Cheese arcade games, but with an adult-twist and being infinitely better.
Naturally, we started our adventure by venturing toward the wine, after sampling some small sausages and other delectable hors-d’oeuvres. Many local Michigan companies were present, such as St. Julian Winery, Robinettes, and Cascade Winery. Other household names (and poor college student staples) were accounted for, including tables of Barefoot Wine and Gatro Negro. Deciding to stray from what we normally could obtain, my partner and I aimed to sample traditional Spanish and French wines, while trying other international spirits as well. A particular gem was a Romanian winery named, Feteasca Alba.
After sampling numerous varieties of the spirits, I was feeling wine o’ clock like Steve Brule. Luckily there was quinoa fried rice present and other food pairings to mention. In the name of true journalism, I later pursued the beer, because as Brule would say, “It’s for your health.”
The beer selection was, to no surprise, Michigan-dominated. This was a tad disappointing to me and my partner, being beer connoisseurs and having already tried many of the local brews offered. Since many of the breweries were serving their essential drafts, the festival, while still enjoyable, lacked variety in regards to beer. One newcomer brewery Roak Brewing Company, was a standout, having been only been open for six months.
There was a variety of margaritas and distillery options as well, for those impartial to beer and wine.
Overall, you if you have the opportunity to attend next year’s Wine, Beer, and Food festival on someone else’s dime or you’re searching to do something out of the ordinary, I recommend going. Otherwise, wait until that college diploma starts paying off and you don’t have to empty your wallet for a fun night out.
Abigale Racine is a senior studying English, with a focus in journalism. She is the Culture Editor of The Saint and does some freelance work on the side, when she isn’t soaking up the scene that is Grand Rapids.