Monday, August 24, 2009

2nd Annual Great Lakes Cider & Perry Festival Planned for September 12-13 at Uncle John's Cider Mill

The Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association has announced its 2nd Annual Great Lakes Cider & Perry Festival, September 12-13, at Uncle John’s Cider Mill at 8614 N US 127, St. Johns – just north of Lansing.

Throughout the weekend, samples of the finest cider and perry (cider made from pears) from the states and provinces that border the Great Lakes will be available for tasting, while food vendors sell sweet and savory selections. Activities such as cider pressing, nature walks and the kids’ playground, will be open for family fun at Uncle John’s all weekend long as well.

The festival runs from 11am to 6pm on Saturday, with cider and perry tastings throughout the day at a cost of $10 per person, which includes a souvenir glass for the first 250 people, and 10 tasting tickets. Ben Watson, author of Cider Hard & Sweet – History, Traditions & Making Your Own (2nd Edition) and Sharon Kegerreis and Lorri Hathaway, co-authors of From the Vine: Exploring Michigan Wineries will be on hand throughout the day, selling and singing copies of their respective books.

On Sunday, the festival kicks off with an Antique Apple Tasting from 11am-Noon. Then, from 12:30-1:30pm, a Cider & Cheese Pairing will be held. Both sessions are hosted by Ben Watson and are limited to 50 individuals. The cost for each session is $10 per person. During the afternoon, from 1:30-3:30pm, learn from other non-professional cider makers at the cider makers’ roundtable discussion.
Those looking to partake in all the festival’s activities can purchase a special pass for $25 (limited to 50 people). Tickets can be purchased online at

All profit proceeds from the festival benefit the Great Lake Cider & Perry Association (est. 2008). Find them online at

Porkapalooza Invitational Cookout & Music Festival Celebrates the Bounty of the Great Lakes

A day-long celebration of hog-proportion once again takes over the 14-acre Red Horse Ranch in Fennville on Saturday, October 3. The PORKAPALOOZA Invitational Cookout & Music Festival is a farm party and harvest celebration, running from Noon to Midnight (rain or shine), showcasing the bounty of the Great Lakes’ in terms of food, drink, music, art and land. Red Horse Ranch is located just outside of downtown Fennville, on 62nd Street, ¾ of a mile south of M89.

The Invitational Cookout portion of the festival features well-known chefs from throughout the Great Lakes Region, including:
Chef Chris Pandel from The Bristol, Chicago
Chef Matt Pietsch from Salt of the Earth, Fennville
Chef Rob Hammond from Food Dance Café, Kalamazoo
Chef Matthew Millar from New Holland Brewing Co., Holland
Chef Chad Miller from Restaurant Bloom, Grand Rapids
Chef Brian Perrone from Slows Bar BQ, Detroit

“These chefs were hand-selected to compete in the PORKAPALOOZA Invitational Cookout because they share a common interest in the pursuit of culinary quality and a belief in championing local, sustainable lifestyles,” says Fred Bueltmann, Beervangelist at New Holland Brewing.

Each restaurant is asked to showcase at least one primary pork dish, as well as two regionally-influenced side dishes providing sourcing information that demonstrates the technique and provenance of their food.

The event will shine a light on some of the areas treasures, including not only the products available, but the creative energy of many local artisans and musicians. Well over 1000 people are expected to attend and organizers proudly practice earth-friendly ideals, showcasing the realities of sustainable living and entertaining.

Local beers and wines from New Holland Brewing Company and Fenn Valley Winery will make for pleasant pork pairings. New Holland will present Charkoota Rye – a smoked rye dopplebock brewed to celebrate PORKAPALOOZA and the art of charcuterie. They will bring a host of other beers including the autumn favorite Ichabod Pumpkin Ale, as well as Mad Hatter IPA, Full Circle, The Poet Oatmeal Stout and Dragon’s Milk barrel-aged ale. Fenn Valley, which is located adjacent to the fest site, will serve a selection of their favorite award-winning red and white wines.

Throughout the day, an impressive back-to-back line-up of entertainment will keep the toes tapping, including:
• Various David Teske
• 1:00pm Dave Boutette
• 2:00pm Delilah DeWylde & The Lost Boys
• 3:30pm Ben Bueltmann & Pontchatrain
• 4:30pm Mark Duval & Two Track Mind
• 6:30pm Mountain Men
• 8:00pm Midtown Underground

Blankets, chairs and water coolers are welcome. The event is held in a grass field, so sturdy shoes are recommended. Guests are not allowed to bring food or alcohol into the event. All ages are welcome, but guests 21 and older will need to show ID to receive a wristband to consume alcohol. Special activities are also planned for the younger attendees.

Tickets are available now for PORKAPALOOZA and are $8 per person in advance ($12 the day of) with parking at $5 per car. Admission includes access to the unlimited live entertainment. Food and beverages are sold separately. Admission tickets are available online at or by visiting New Holland Brewing and other vendors to be listed on the website.

For more information about PORKAPALOOZA, contact New Holland Brewing at 616-355-NHBC.

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Suds On The Shore" Craft Beer Festival & Home Brew Competition Planned for August 22 in Ludington

The Suds On The Shore Committee in partnership with United Way of Mason County, beneficiary of the proceeds from the event, will be hosting its first craft beer tasting festival on Saturday, August 22, 2009, from 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m at Ludington City Park. Tickets can be purchased at Artist Market, Jamesport Brewing Company, Ludington and Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Mason County. They can also be purchased on-line at

Tickets purchased in advance are $25 and will be $30 at the gate. Individuals attending the festival must be 21 years of age or older and present valid ID to enter the festival. Upon entrance, individuals will receive tokens for 10, 3-ounce samples of beer and a souvenir mug. Non-drinkers or those serving as designated drivers can purchase tickets on the day of the event for $5, and will be required to wear a different colored wristband from the participants.

According to Curt Vanderwall, Committee Chair, other festivities will also be taking place. Beginning at Noon, John Merchant Acoustic will be performing, followed by the F.O.G. and Powerplay. In addition, there will be several non-profit vendors selling a variety of food.

“We see the festival as a win-win for the entire community, by bringing business to our retail stores and eating and lodging establishments, and providing a means for non-profit organizations to raise money, stated Vanderwall. “The festival is set-up similar to a wine tasting, but rather than wine, we will have several brewers serving various types of craft beer. We are anticipating having up to 25 craft brewers serving three different selections,” Vanderwall added.

For more information contact the United Way of Mason County office at 231-843-8593 or visit the Suds On The Shore website at

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Financial Expert Author Shares Investment Philosophies in New Book - "The Virtue of Wealth: Creating Life Success the Zenvesting Way"

Despite reports to the contrary, the recession continues to tighten its grip on individuals in every economic class, including high-powered bankers and investment brokers, auto workers and service providers. Now comes a refreshing look at the basic principles and investment philosophies underlying a successful life the Zenvesting way. The Virtue of Wealth (Spirituality & Health Books, June, 2009; Softcover/$16.95; ISBN: 978-0-9818708-0-9), by investment and financial advisor Paul Sutherland, provides a down-to-earth voice at the center of the economic turmoil.

A wise, gentle and beautifully illustrated book, The Virtue of Wealth reminds us that true wealth resides in our relationships with others, and that financial success is just one way of ensuring our ability to enjoy these relationships.

Chapters on ethical investing and "Fast-Forward" retirement make this a useful financial primer for all ages and economic groups. Additional chapters on couples and parenting make The Virtue of Wealth a wonderful gift for college graduates, newlyweds and future retirees. Through worksheets like "Gentle Budgeting," "Time for Money," and "Insurance for Life," The Virtue of Wealth helps readers connect with the fact that we trade time for money and shows us how to step off the work/buy treadmill. For example, Money and Time are analyzed in the chart below.

"This book was written to encourage readers to recognize the wealth-related choices made each day so that they might understand and anticipate the results. It is actions--and attitudes--that ultimately shape our future," says Sutherland. "Society, media, friends and family all directly or indirectly contribute to a culture of getting and spending. Wants begin to feel like needs when the neighbors have one, your kids want one, and your mother asks why you don't have one. Are we missing out on life by using precious time to shop for, buy, store and take care of our stuff? Getting and spending has taken the place of earning, relaxing, enjoying life ... , and saving."

Paul Sutherland is an expert in the world of finance, and a recognized voice of authority through interviews with Bloomberg News, Barrons, The Wall Street Journal, Kiplingers, Money Magazine and many more. He is a regular columnist for Spirituality & Health Magazine. President and Chief Investment Officer of FIM Group, he is the author of the AMA Guide to Financial Planning and Zenvesting: The Art of Abundance. He has been involved in the investment and financial advisory business since 1975 and lives in Traverse City, Michigan with his wife and three children. To learn more about Paul, visit or

For more information about THE VIRTUE OF WEALTH, to request review copies or schedule an interview with the author, or to book the author to speak to your group (rates available upon request) please contact: Sara Harding at FIM Group | | 231-929-4500

Monday, August 3, 2009

Epicurean Classic Announces 2009 Chef Dinners

One of the highlights of The Epicurean Classic – the Great Lakes’ premier food and wine event, planned for August 28-30 in St. Joseph, Mich – is the line-up of Guest Chef Dinners. Six unique restaurants in and around St. Joseph are participating, each offering a special menu featuring favorite dishes from the acclaimed cookbook of one of this year’s featured chefs. Most notably, the guest chef will dine that night in the restaurant, greet other diners, and sign cookbooks. All dinners will take place on Friday evening, August 28. Seating is limited and reservations are required.

“These dinners provide the ultimate foodie experience. Guests enjoy a fantastic dining experience and get a chance to meet with one of the top chefs in the country,” says Matt Sutherland, co-founder of The Epicurean Classic. “The restaurants love the challenge of cooking new dishes and are honored to have the guest chef in their restaurant. These dinners are the epitome of what this event is all about – getting personal access to the esteemed culinary world.”

The Guest Chef Dinners for 2009 include:

• Dine with Andy Pforzheimer, author of The Barcelona Cookbook at Bistro on the Boulevard
For reservations please call the Bistro at 269.983.6600

• Dine with Giuliano Hazan, author of Thirty Minute Pastas @ Tosi's Restaurant.
For reservations please call Tosi's at 269.429.3689

• Dine with Jennifer McLagan, author of Fat (2009 James Beard Cookbook of the Year) at the Grande Mere Inn
For reservations please call the Grande Mere Inn at 269.429.3591

• Dine with David Leite, author of The New Portuguese Table at Port 412
For reservations please call Port 412 at 269.982.0412

• Dine with Jonathan Schuler, author of The Schuler's Cookbook at Schu's
For reservations please call Schu's at 269.983.7248

• Dine with Scott Uehlein, author of Canyon Ranch Nourish, at Tabor Hill Restaurant & Winery.
For reservations, please call Tabor Hill at 800-283-3363

The annual three-day celebration features an impressive list of chefs and culinary artisans gathering on the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan in St. Joseph, Mich. Throughout the weekend, The Epicurean Classic attendees can choose from over 40 cooking demonstrations, 10 wine/beer/olive oil tasting seminars, six Guest Chef Dinners, the Grand Reception and the daily Tasting Pavilion.

Day Passes for The Epicurean Classic are $119 (Friday or Saturday), $89 (Sunday) and $339 for a three-day “Gourmand Pass” which also includes admission to Friday evening's Great Lakes BBQ, and Saturday evening's coveted Grand Reception. Individual tickets to the Grand Reception and Tasting Seminars are sold separately and advanced registration is suggested. Complete event and program details, as well as online registration, are found at

The Livery - Benton Harbor Celebrates its 4th Anniversary with Hand-Forged MicroBrews & The Fabulous Thunderbirds

Proving its reputation as a premier entertainment venue -- as well as award-winning microbrewery -- The Livery in Benton Harbor proudly welcomes The Fabulous Thunderbirds to its 4th Anniversary celebration, August 14-15. It will be a weekend full of hand-forged microbrews, mouth-watering food and, well, fabulous music!

“Our passion for beer is equal to our passion for great and eclectic music,” says brewmaster Steve Berthel. “We have a long-standing reputation for both and it is with great pride that we welcome the Fabulous Thunderbirds to our 4th Anniversary celebration.”

On Friday, August 14, the Thunderbirds will perform at 9pm (tickets are $30 in advance and $35 day of show). Then, on Saturday, August 15, they will perform at The Livery's 4th Anniversary Festival. Festivities start at 2pm with an all-you-can-eat bar-b-cue and complimentary glass of each beer served throughout the day. The band takes to the stage at 7:30pm. Tickets for this day-long celebration are $65 in advance or $75 the day of.

“During the festival, patrons will receive a token for 8oz. samples of each of the four special release beers,” Steve says. “Besides our three real ales on the beer engine, and eight mainstay selections, we will be featuring four special releases.”
These include Carvaceous - a blend of a barrel aged imperial pale ale and a barrel-aged imperial IPA; Agent 99 - a barrel-aged Belgian-style quadruple; 4th Anniversary Ale - an imperial brown rye that is hopped like an IPA; and a dark Belgian-style tripple that is barrel-aged with nectarines.”

About the brewery:
The Livery, at 190 5th Street in Benton Harbor, is one of some 70 licensed craft brewing operations in the state of Michigan. One hundred years ago, the building known as the Palace Livery provided a vital service making it a gathering place for residents of and travelers to Southwest Michigan. Four years ago, the former horse stable and carriage shop was been brought back to life as "The Livery" -- one of Michigan's most exciting and unique microbreweries.

The Livery features a diverse selection of beer styles, ciders and wines, an outdoor beer garden and a Cafe serving custom roasted coffee and espresso. All of the "Hand Forged Microbrews" are painstakingly created by brewmaster Steve Berthel on a 10 bbl. brewing system of his own design. Music and other live entertainment are regularly featured in The Upper Livery entertainment venue.

The Livery is a proud member of the Michigan Brewers Guild.

About the band:
For over thirty years, The Fabulous Thunderbirds have been the quintessential American band. The group's distinctive and powerful sound, influenced by a diversity of musical styles, manifested itself into a unique musical hybrid via such barnburners as “Tuff Enuff” and “Wrap It Up.”

Founding member Kim Wilson spearheads the group as it evolves into its newest incarnation. “We started as a straight blues band.” vocalist and harmonica player Wilson says. “We now incorporate a mixture of a lot of different styles. We're an American music band and we're higher energy than ever before.” The Fabulous Thunderbirds features Jay Moeller on drums, Johnny Moeller and Mike Keller on guitar, and Randy Bermudes on bass.

Wilson’s musical talents have garnered him multiple Blues Awards and Grammy Nominations. The Blues Foundation 2008 blues Music Awards named Wilson "Instrumentalist - Harmonica" category. In 2006, he was named “Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year” in 2006, and “Lookin’ for Trouble!” was named Blues Song of the Year in 2004. Wilson has contributed to the work of many other great artists such as the legendary Muddy Waters (who called him his “son”), contemporary artist Bonnie Raitt, guitar legends Stevie Ray Vaughn and brother Jimmy Vaughn, and Martin Scorsese’s movie “The Blues." With his current movie project “Cadillac Records,” Wilson continues to focus on the music he loves.

With over 20 albums recorded and millions sold, Kim Wilson and The Fabulous Thunderbirds tour the world performing their own unique style of music. Ranging from pop anthems like “Powerful Stuff” which was featured in the Tom Cruise movie “Cocktail," to the low down blues of "Chicago," this brand of honest music brings fans back time and again.

Having shared the stage with The Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, Carlos Santana and blues legends BB King and Buddy Guy and countless others, The Fabulous Thunderbirds continue to tour Europe and the North America, bringing more great music to their fans worldwide.

Their new CD (tentative title “Pay Back Time”) is to be released in mid-2009.