Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Beer Festival Highlights Michigan Craft Beer Month

A joint resolution by the Michigan House and Senate officially designates July as Michigan Craft Beer Month. Senate Resolution 0164 introduced by Senator Mike Nofs (R – Battle Creek / 19th District) and House Resolution 0301 introduced by Representative Rebekah Warren (D – Ann Arbor / 53rd District) each support the state’s growing craft brewing industry.

“The craft beer industry is one of the bright spots in our economy,” said Nofs. “It has seen double-digit growth over the past two years, despite the overall economic downturn. Our brewers employ thousands of residents, and support the state's agriculture, restaurant and tourism industries. It has also taken the lead in promoting the safe, responsible use of its products.”

The Michigan Brewers Guild encourages residents and visitors to the Great Beer State to celebrate Michigan Craft Beer Month by visiting area brewpubs and microbreweries, purchasing Michigan craft beer at retail outlets and restaurants and attending regional celebrations like the 13th Annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival (July 23-24) at Riverside Park in Ypsilanti’s historic Depot Town.

More than 50 Michigan craft breweries will showcase 300-plus craft beers at the Summer Beer Festival, which runs from 5-9pm on Friday, July 23 and 1-6pm on Saturday, July 24. Admission tickets for the 2010 Summer Beer Festival, (including 15 drink tokens) are:

Friday (7/23) - $30 in advance ($35 at the gate if available)
Saturday (7/24) - $35 in advance ($40 at the gate if available)

This year’s entertainment includes Trouser (alternative rock) followed by Harper (world beat/blues/funk) on Friday and Dead String Brothers (blend of Americana and Motown), followed by Witchdoctors (swampy blues) on Saturday.

The Guild will continue efforts to keep this highly popular festival – which expects to draw more than 9000 individuals over the course of two days – into an event with a lower environmental footprint. Local organizations, such as Recycle Ann Arbor and Green On-Site, will once again assist in a series of initiatives to help keep the post-festival waste a minimum. Such efforts include:

• Placing recycling bins throughout the festival grounds, allowing for the separation of food products from recyclable products.
• Using plates, bowls, cups, hand-towels and eating utensils made from biodegradable products, which will be disposed of at a local composting station instead of a landfill.
• Setting up bulk water stations, instead of plastic bottles of water.
• Utilizing volunteers to assist at recycling stations, making sure all the recyclables are properly sorted from the food items.

Advanced tickets for the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival may be purchased online at www.michiganbrewersguild.org, at participating member breweries and select retail locations around the state or by calling 877-772-5425. Attendees must be 21 or older to attend. Designated driver tickets are available online and at the gate for $5 each. Additional drink tokens are available for 50 cents each.

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry contributes over $24 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $133 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

The Michigan Brewers Guild exists to unify the Michigan brewing community; to increase sales of Michigan-brewed beer through promotions, marketing, public awareness and consumer education; and to monitor and assure a healthy beer industry within the state. For more information, including a list of Michigan microbreweries, log on to www.michiganbrewersguild.org.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Return of the Family Vacation . . . in Pure Michigan's Harbor Country

Remember the days when families would escape for a week, or two, for a true family vacation at a waterfront or woodland cottage? Days filled with beach-combing, roadside stands, bonfires, bike rides, tire swings, slamming screen doors and an evening of catching lightning bugs in jars?

Memories like these are waiting to be made in Harbor Country®, a quaint collection of eight towns stretched out along the Red Arrow Highway and the Lake Michigan shoreline in Southwest Michigan – just 70 miles from downtown Chicago.

For generations, visitors have been retreating to Harbor Country to beat the summer heat and the hustle and bustle of big city life. In a world of iPods, Facebook and smart phones, escaping is more important now than ever before, providing a chance for families to reconnect and recharge.

Whether you’re looking for a beach house, a family-friendly resort, or a deep woods cabin, Harbor Country has it all. Cottages and rental homes are the perfect option for visitors enjoying family vacations, family reunions or even romantic getaways. You’ll find everything from intimate rooms for two at cozy B&Bs to sprawling vacation houses perfect for the entire extended family.

Gintaras Resort is a casual and relaxing "get-away" with a private, uncrowded fresh water beach ideal for sunning, strolling and swimming during the day; with sunsets, stargazing and bonfires at night. These cottages are situated on a private Lake Michigan beachfront estate, offering a tennis court, volleyball and basketball areas, children's playground and game room, all conveniently located on its 5+ acres of wooded beachfront.

Stay in one of five fully-furnished cottages at Sweethaven Resort in Union Pier, each with well-equipped kitchens, big roomy baths, sunny bedrooms and room for the family to spread out for a game of checkers, rummy or cribbage. Cozy up on the screen porch with a classic summer read or follow the moss-covered paths that traverse through nine wooded acres in search of wildlife.

"We welcome families – and their pets – to discover the hidden charm found within our cottage resort," says Liz & Chuck Garasic. "We're confident a memorable time will be had by all."

Historic inns, such as Grand Beach Inn and Warren Woods Inn cater to groups of 30-45 and provide a unique venue for family reunions. In addition, more than a half dozen vacation rental companies – with a collective catalog of more than 200 homes – operate in Harbor Country.

“Vacation rental Agencies are your ideal contact persons in a vacation community,” says John Natsis of Blue Fish vacation Rentals & Sales. “We often have a wide inventory of homes to choose from – from charming small cottages and bungalows, to large, luxury four- and five-bedroom homes.”

Spend your days relaxing on a beach or exploring the hiking trails in Warren Woods and Warren Dunes State Park. Bring your own or rent a bike from Outpost Sports and pedal along the backroads, past orchards and wineries. Try something new, like skim boarding or stand up boarding with Third Coast Surf Shop, which offers rentals, lessons and a full line of gear.

Harbor Country is easily accessible from Exits 1-12 on I-94, or via Amtrak from Chicago, Detroit and other cities along the Wolverine (Pontiac-Detroit-Chicago) and Blue Water (Port Huron-East Lansing-Chicago) lines.

For more information on Harbor Country:

The Harbor Country Convention & Visitors Bureau was established in 1990 as the Harbor Country Lodging Association in accordance with the state of Michigan’s Community Convention or Tourism Marketing Act 59 of 1984.

The mission of the organization is “to promote its members and the assessment district as a major destination for tourism and conventions in southwest Michigan.” The assessment district encompasses the Townships of New Buffalo, Three Oaks, and Chikaming, the city of New Buffalo, the Village of Three Oaks and the Village of Michiana, Michigan.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Media FAM Trips in Michigan (Summer 2010)

I am working with several destinations around Michigan in scheduling FAM trips for media…in most cases, these will be individual trips set up based on each person’s schedule. Here’s what we’ve got:


• Harbor Country (www.visitharborcountry.org)
Welcome to Harbor Country®, where five star dinners go with flip flops and the day's agenda can change on a whim. Where the fast pace of life slows down and yields to the lazy luxuries of sunsets over Lake Michigan, plankwood sidewalks and dockside cafes. Of art and antiques and long afternoons whiled away in the tasting rooms of world-class wineries. 90 minutes from Chicago is Harbor Country®, a treasure of 8 lakeside towns, shabby-chic shops, countryside communities, heavenly beaches and the most spectacular sunsets in the state. Rich in culture with galleries, antiques, theaters and shops, as well as culinary treasures such as eateries, wineries, farm markets and an historically designated meat market. Often referred to as the Hamptons of the Midwest. Boasting miles of Lake Michigan shoreline beach, navigable rivers, biking trails and natural wonders. In Harbor Country, you can learn to surf and stand-up board on rivers and lakes, or you can try your luck at the area’s distinguished casino.

• Beaver Island (www.beaverisland.org)
Accessible via the Emerald Isle out of Charlevoix, Michigan’s most inhabited island awaits – just 6 hours from Chicago and 5 hours from Detroit. This remote inhabited island in Northern Lake Michigan boasts a year-round population of 600 - a large percentage of Irish descent. Time slows down here, offering a serene, relaxed way of life. You are invited to discover Beaver Island for yourself to see its many natural and cultural treasures. Beaver Island is rich in eco-friendly offerings. Tour the Island by bicycle, or bring your car over on the Ferry or rent a car on Beaver Island to circle the Island in an afternoon. Find a wealth of natural resources, including nature preserves and abundant state land for walking, exploring, or just relaxing. Summer means beach walking, enjoying a sunset, exploring the trails, walking the docks and watching the boats sail in. Protar's house, the Marine Museum or the Old Mormon Print Shop museum are an open door into the island’s rich history. Home to two lighthouses: the St. James Harbor Light on the north end of the island on Paradise Bay and the fully restored Beaver Head Light Station on the south end of the island (where visitors can climb the tower and view a Fresnel lens for free), Beaver Island is the access point to boat and plane tours to nearly a dozen remote lights such as Squaw Island, St. Helena Island and the Fox Islands.

• Sleeping Bear Dunes & The Homestead Resort (www.sleepingbeardunes.com)
A good five hours drive and a million miles or so from the Motor City lies another Michigan, one that time happily forgot - a peninsula of small hamlets (and one bona fide town) that ends in the hushed splendor of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The Leelanau Peninsula, which juts out into the hypnotic inland seas known as Lake Michigan is a paradise of outdoor activities - swimming, hiking, fishing and canoeing - give it a 9 on our Activities scale. But it is the dunes at Sleeping Bear, which range in color from pale champagne to burnt sienna and which roll and spike to 400 feet in height that earned a perfect 10 in our Splendor category. Here, you can picnic as if you were the last family on earth - and actually feel that way even at the most crowded time of year. The area’s premier resort – The Homestead – serves as your home base. The Homestead is Northern Michigan’s largest waterfront resort community, located in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – a unit of the National Park Service. Along with its unmatched natural setting and miles of frontage on Lake Michigan and the Crystal River, the resort offers guest pools, tennis and golf in the summer; downhill and cross country skiing in the winter; and shops, restaurants, meeting centers and the luxurious new Spa Amira throughout all four seasons. Offering a variety of programs aimed at enriching lives, surrounded by the scenic natural beauty of the Leelanau Peninsula, visitors will find the dave Pelz Scorign Game School, Orvis Michigan Fly Fishing School, Watercolor Painting Workshop and Great Lakes Photo Tour.


• Michigan. The Great Beer State (www.michiganbrewersguild.org)
Craft brewing is on the rise in Michigan – with some 70 microbreweries found throughout the state (in both the Upper & Lower Peninsulas). Ann Arbor, Metro Detroit, Grand Rapids and Traverse City are among the areas boasting multiple breweries and a rich culture focused on the local. Some of the world’s premier craft breweries call Michigan home, including Bell’s, Founders, New Holland, Jolly Pumpkin, Short’s, Arcadia and Arbor Brewing, among MANY others. The Michigan Brewers Guild hosts 4 festivals each year open to members of the media – the next being the Michigan Summer Beer Festival, July 23-24 at Depot Town’s Riverside Park in Ypsilanti. July is also Michigan Craft Beer Month. Other upcoming festivals include September 11 in Marquette (UP), October 23 at Detroit’s Eastern Market and February 26 at 5/3 Ballpark in Grand Rapids. Michigan’s thriving brewing industry contributes over $24 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $133 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

• Camp Michigan…Getting Back to Nature (www.michcampgrounds.com)
Travelers looking for destinations and activities that will stretch their minds and imaginations, without stretching their wallets, are invited to give Michigan camping a try this summer season. Camping is ranked the #1 outdoor vacation activity in the United States by the Travel Industry Association of America. ARVC-Michigan represents 200+ member campgrounds with more than 32,000 sites available throughout the state. Whether pitching a tent, parking an RV or reserving a rustic or modern cabin, Michigan campgrounds offer a great way to disconnect from busy lives and reconnect with families. Campers in Michigan enjoy the great outdoors while fishing or canoeing on the countless lakes, rivers and streams or hiking, biking and riding on the miles of trails that wind throughout the state. Campers enjoy geocaching, photography, nature viewing, wine & craft beer tasting, agri-touring and so much more. There’s definitely no shortage of activities, no matter where the campground is located. NOTE: It is expected that August, 2010 will be declared Michigan Camping & RV Month.

• Set Sail…Aboard the Tall Ship Manitou (www.tallshipsailing.com)
As one of the largest sailing ships on the Great Lakes, the Manitou is a replica of an 1800s “coasting” cargo schooner. A traditional two-masted, gaff rigged, topsail schooner, Manitou measures 114 feet in length with more than 3000 square feet of sail. With a 62 passenger sailing capacity (24 overnight capacity), there is plenty of space for sitting and moving around the decks while under sail. While aboard the Manitou, passengers are free to leave the sailing to the experienced crew or lend a hand and learn the arts of the sailor. An excursion aboard the Manitou allows you to remove yourself from the trappings of modern life: no TV, phone (cell phones are discouraged), beeper, email and definitely no itinerary. Three excursions are offered daily (Noon, midday, evening) with weekly special-themed cruises offered on select days throughout the summer. Themed cruises include Moomers Ice Cream Sails (Monday and Friday afternoons thru Sept 3), Wine Tasting Cruises (Tuesday and Thursday nights thru Sept 2), Entertainment Nights (Wednesday evenings thru Aug 25) and Microbrew & Pizza Nights (Sunday evenings thru Sept 5). In addition to the day sails and specialty cruises, the Manitou offers a “Floating B&B” experience which includes the evening sail (Tuesday through Saturday), accommodations in bunk-style cabins and breakfast the next morning. Multi-day fall windjammers are for those with a more adventurous side. The 2010 schedule includes the NEW Women’s Wellness Cruise (September 10-13, 2010), Wine Tasting Cruise (September 17-20, 2010), Music Cruise (September 24-27, 2010), Astronomy Cruise (October 1-4, 2010).

If any of these destinations or themes sounds good, please contact me to set up your personal tour. Please be sure to include a brief bio (including a link to your website/blog) and a list of publications/sources currently featuring your work.

Dianna Stampfler
269.330.4228 - mobile
269.204.6232 - fax

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Archangel Summer Wheat Is Ripe with Northern Michigan Tart Cherries

The newest microbrew to be released by North Peak Brewing Company in Traverse City pays tribute to the region’s rich history as the “Cherry Capital of the World.” Archangel Summer Wheat started flowing through taps around Michigan this week; it will be released later this month in six-pack retro-style stubbie bottles.

Archangel is sure to please both locals and summer visitors to Michigan. Each batch – which produces 50 BBLs of beer – is crafted with 2500 pounds of locally grown tart cherries, including a bulk from Kroupa Farms on Old Mission Peninsula. It is expected that as many 18,000 pounds of tart cherries will be incorporated into the production of Archangel throughout the summer.

“It just obvious that we should be making this beer,” says Brewmaster Mike Hall. “We’re proud to be able to work with local farmers to blend their fruits into the brewing process. The result is Archangel – a refreshing summer beer that captures the essence of Michigan summer.”

Archangel, a solid American wheat, has a classic nose that transitions to a faint cherry aroma complimenting its rich amber gold hue. As this well-balanced and deceptively light-bodied (5.0% alc by vol) wheat beer travels across the tongue, the willamette and perle hops hint at bitterness, followed by a crisp, clean wheat flavor that cuts to a subtle tart cherry finish. Asked to describe the flavor of Archangel, the most accurate response is: "it tastes like more.”

“Archangel, like all of the North Peak beer icons, is born out of Northern Lore,” says Greg Lobdell, who – along with Jon Carlson, Ron Jeffries and Mike Hall, are the managing partners of Northern United Brewing Company. “The name came to Mike, Jon and I while we were sitting on the beach along Grand Traverse Bay drinking the first test batch and watching the Broneah kite boarders. It is really a beautiful sport. We suspect the Archangel – who looks out for adventurers – is looking out for them when they are flying through the air and thus, the name came about.”

The North Peak is part of Northern United Brewing Co., which also encompasses the Grizzly Peak and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales craft beer brands, as well as the soon-to-be-released Civilized line of spirits. NUBC’s philosophy focuses on a dedication to conservation, inspiration and locally sustainable practices. All of the beers and spirits under these brands are produced at either the new 5600-square-foot facility on Old Mission Peninsula adjacent to Mission Table (former Bowers Harbor Inn) restaurant or at the original Jolly Pumpkin facility in Dexter.

"Find NUBC products at stores, restaurants, and bars all throughout Michigan, including: North Peak Brewing Company, Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, all in Traverse City; Jolly Pumpkin and Grizzly Peak, in Ann Arbor."

Northern United Brewing Company
Jolly Pumpkin Brewery | Mission Table at Bowers Harbor Inn
13512 Peninsula Drive
Traverse City, MI 49686
(231) 223-4222

North Peak, Grizzly Peak and Jolly Pumpkin are all proud members of the Michigan Brewers Guild (www.MichiganBrewersGuild.org).

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

JW Marriott Grand Rapids & Trillium Haven Farm Partner to Offer Classes, Farm Tour, Farm-to-Plate Al Fresco Meals & End-of-Season Harvest Dinner

This summer, the JW Marriott Grand Rapids will team up with Trillium Haven Farm, located in Jenison, MI, for the Speak to the Earth Tour 2010. The series of classes will demonstrate the importance of farm-to-plate dining, and how it is used in the JW Marriott’s restaurant, six.one.six. The farm-to-plate, or farm-to-table, concept is a growing cultural shift toward supporting local, organic, and natural farms and producers.

“Behind every farm-to-plate dish is a farmer who helps chefs like me by providing ingredients of the highest integrity,” said Andrew Voss, executive chef of JW Marriott Grand Rapids. “With these classes, we hope to spread the word about the importance of supporting local farms and continuing the traditions that have been practiced by Michigan locals for centuries.”

This unique experience will be offered once per month, June 13, July 11, Aug. 8 and Sept. 12, and includes:

• Al fresco brunch at six.one.six, next to the JW Marriott’s Chef’s Garden, which grows a variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs for the restaurant

• Gardening class from hotel chefs and Trillium Haven Farm farmers

• Transportation between the hotel and Trillium Haven Farm

• Owner-guided tour of Trillium Haven Farm

• Family-style al fresco lunch with farm ingredients currently being harvested

• Invitation to the Harvest Dinner on Oct. 13, exclusive to Speak to the Earth Tour 2010 guests, including wine pairings

• “Speak to the Earth” shirt

All classes, open to hotel guests and residents alike, are 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., and limited to 20 people, based on a first-come, first-serve basis. Tickets are $125 per person. For reservations, please call 616.242.1448. For more information, please visit www.ilovethejw.com and www.trilliumhavenfarm.com.

On behalf of the JW Marriott and six.one.six, Chef Voss is proud to support local farms throughout the year, and the entire 26-dish menu changes every eight weeks with the seasons. In farming season, from May to November, the restaurant obtains over 90 percent of its menu from local farms. During the off-season Voss obtains about 40 to 50 percent of the menu from local sources, and the remaining ingredients are seasonal and sourced as close to the Michigan region as possible. The hotel’s Chef’s Garden currently includes arugula, spinach, raspberries, elderberries, English peas, French breakfast radishes, thyme, lavender, rosemary, basil, and more.

About the JW Marriott Grand Rapids
The 24-story, 337-room JW Marriott Grand Rapids opened in September 2007 as the first JW Marriott hotel in the Midwest. The hotel is centrally located near downtown’s corporate, medical and entertainment districts, and it is connected via the skywalk to the DeVos Place Convention Center and Van Andel Arena. All guestrooms and suites, including 59 concierge rooms, and seven one-bedroom suites feature luxurious bedding; spacious workstations; cordless phones; WiFi internet capabilities; gourmet-stocked mini bar and refrigerator; computerized safe box; iron/ironing board; hair dryer; coffeemaker; individual climate control; and 37” flat screen televisions with JW Signature Technology Pack, a docking station for mobile phones, iPods, and satellite radios. The 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness facility features an indoor heated pool; steam rooms, and spa-like whirlpool. The hotel also boasts full concierge desk; dry cleaning and laundry service; valet parking, and helipad access. More than 20,000 square feet of versatile meeting space includes a 1,000 seat Grand Ballroom, one of the largest in the region. The hotel boasts the signature market fresh restaurant, six.one.six., Mixology, a destination lounge, Starbucks, and 24-hour in-room dining.

Raise a Mug of Michigan Beer to Fathers Everywhere

This year, toast your father (or grandfather, brother, uncle or son – maybe, even yourself) with a hand-crafted Michigan beer. With more than 70 craft breweries in the state – and hundreds of brews – there’s definitely something to please every beer drinkers taste.

A four- or six-pack of craft beer makes the ideal gift for dad, as does a trip to a local brewpub for lunch, dinner or a Brewhouse tour. For a totally unique experience, check out Saugatuck Brewing in Saugatuck and Kuhnhenn Brewing in Warren, which both offer opportunities for the general public to come in and make their own on-premise brews.

Looking for the perfect gift for inside that Father’s Day Card? Consider a $25 Enthusiast membership with the Michigan Brewers Guild. Available online at www.michiganbrewersguild.org/beernut.asp, this membership also includes VIP “early admission” status at the Guild’s various festivals, discounts at participating membership brewpubs, special VIP brewery tours, and a free Michigan beer t-shirt.

Another gift idea is tickets to the Michigan Summer Beer Festival, July 23-24, at Riverside Park in downtown Ypsilanti’s Depot Town. Advanced tickets are $30 for Friday and $35 for Saturday. This event sells out each year, and often tickets are not available at the gate – so it’s advisable to purchase them in advance. Tickets are available online at www.MichiganBrewersGuild.org or at participating retail outlets and breweries (list posted on www.mbgmash.org).

Michigan beer events taking place Father’s Day weekend include:

• Enthusiast Tour at Arcadia Ales, Battle Creek (www.arcadiaales.com)
A guided tour on Saturday, June 19 (1-2pm) by Brewmaster Josh Davies through Arcadia’s production facility exclusively for Enthusiast members of the Michigan Brewers Guild ($25 annual membership, see below). The tour also includes $1 off first pint. RSVP to Josh Davies: jdavies@arcadiaales.com

• Bell’s Beer Tasting at Chamberlin’s Old Forest Inn, Curtis (www.bellsbeer.com). Celebrate with Larry Bell of Bell's Beer, who will be on hand featuring: Lager of the Lakes, Oberon, Porter, Kalamazoo Stout, Two-Hearted Ale, Third Coast Old Ale, Wedding Ale, Le Pianste (one of Bell's French Jazz Series), Oracle and Oarsman. Tickets are $25 each (must be 21). Reservations required by calling 906-586-6000

• Founders Fest at Founders Brewing, Grand Rapids (www.foundersbrewing.com). An estimated 4000 fans of award-winning craft brewer, Founders Brewing Company will gather on Saturday, June 19 for the 3rd annual Founders Fest – an outdoor beer and music festival in downtown Grand Rapids. From 3-11pm, the street (Grandville Avenue between Cherry and Bartlett) will be blocked and the grounds of the brewery secured for the festivities – including a variety of local, regional and national entertainment, local food vendors, an expanded “Local Artists Row” and fellow craft beer lovers.

• Michigan Brewing Company Father’s Day Run, Webberville (www.michiganbrewing.com). Now in its fourth year, this 5k Beer Run at 6pm on Saturday, June 19 benefits men’s prostate health programs through Sparrow Hospital.

• Summer Solstice with Kuhnhenn Brewing Company, Warren (www.kbrewery.com). Celebrate Father’s Day and the official arrival of summer with 12 unique and distinctive wheat beers on tap – including limited bottle releases of Barley Wine, Solar Eclipse, Imperial Crème-Brulee Java Stout, Mayhem, Winter Wonder Lager and Extraneous Ale. . Dan the Smokin’ Man will be serving delectable meaty treats from 1-6pm (while food lasts). Live music on Saturday night (9pm-Midnlight) featuring The Return of Nick & Reggie!

• Big Daddy of Michigan Beers at HopCat, Grand Rapids (www.hopcatgr.com). Imagine how proud your dad will be if you took him out for this beer dinner to celebrate Father’s Day! Four courses - $35 per person. The menu includes a sausage/cheese plate (paired with The Livery’s Carvana cask conditioned ale); pistachio encrusted whitefish (paired with Short’s Pistachio Cream Ale); spiced lamb shanks & cous cous (paired with Dark Horse’s Double Crooked Tree); and double cream stout ice cream and coconut (paired with Bell’s Double cream Stout). Reservations are required. Sunday, June 20 (6pm)

• Beers From Around the World with Arbor Brewing, Ann Arbor (www.arborcrewing.com). Take a three-hour whirlwind tour from 2-5pm on Sunday, June 20, to discover the histories and types of beers brewed in Mexico, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Russia, Poland and the United States with Rene Greff. Offered through Washtenaw Community College’s Lifelong Learning program. $49 per person includes lunch and 10 beer samples. Registration required.

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry contributes over $24 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $133 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

The Michigan Brewers Guild exists to unify the Michigan brewing community; to increase sales of Michigan-brewed beer through promotions, marketing, public awareness and consumer education; and to monitor and assure a healthy beer industry within the state. For more information, including a list of Michigan microbreweries, log on to www.michiganbrewersguild.org.

The Homestead Offers Lifetime Skills Learning Programs in the Heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

More and more, travelers are looking to learn something while on vacation. The Homestead in Glen Arbor offers a variety of programs aimed at enriching lives, surrounded by the scenic natural beauty of the Leelanau Peninsula. On this year’s schedule:

o Dave Pelz Scoring Game School: The Dave Pelz Scoring Game School applies a practical, yet scientific approach to golf instruction inside of 100 yards from the hole. Pelz, the physicist turned golf researcher and teacher, has helped golfers of all ability levels lower their scores. Countless amateurs attest to that. So do leading professionals Beth Daniel, Lee Janzen, Phil Mickelson, Se Ri Pak, Vijay Singh, Annika Sorenstam and Mike Weir! Sessions offered through August 31, with one day clinics, 2-day short game school or 3-day scoring game school.

o Orvis Michigan Fly Fishing School: Orvis is a name that has been synonymous with fly fishing since 1856. Its officially sanctioned Orvis Michigan Fly Fishing School is but one of ten such schools in the county. The school offers classes in fly casting, fishing and tying and has certified guides available for unforgettable outings. Programs are offered weekends, through the end of September and include two-day schools, half-hour and one-hour lessons and half- and full-day guided trips.

o Watercolor Painting Workshop: Students will create a series of 3 to 9 small paintings on a specific subject, under the auspices of Edee Joppich and offered through the Glen Arbor Art Association. Edee encourages originality and will demonstrate many of her traditional as well as innovative ways of creating beautiful effects with watercolor. In-depth critiques along with color and design instruction make an Edee Joppich workshop an invaluable opportunity for serious painters at every level of experience. Offered October 4-7, 2010.

o Great Lakes Photo Tour: Mark S. Carlson, a well-known naturalist photographer and Bob Grzesiak, a digital photography instructor, offer programs that include field trips with helpful tips on how to take better photographs of nature. The tours treat participants to some of the most inspiring scenic areas in the Great Lakes region. Seasonal tours are offered each year. Offered October 15-17, 2010.

The Homestead is Northern Michigan’s largest waterfront resort community, located in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – a unit of the National Park Service. Along with its unmatched natural setting and miles of frontage on Lake Michigan and the Crystal River, the resort offers guest pools, tennis and golf in the summer; downhill and cross country skiing in the winter; and shops, restaurants, meeting centers and the luxurious new Spa Amira throughout all four seasons.

For more information, visit www.thehomesteadresort.com or call 231.334.5100. Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thehomesteadmi