Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bella Solviva to Introduce Glamping to Michigan

Northern Michigan will soon be home to its first glamping destination facility to be called Bella Solviva. The project, spearheaded by Brad and Sandy Carlson of Alden, will ultimately feature approximately 100 unique sites spread out over a 100+ acre complex, with six hotel style suites to be added in 2016.

Groundbreaking is expected on Earth Day (April 22nd) and will be partially funded using the crowd-sourcing platform called Indigogo. Monies donated may be used towards reservations for the various sites—including furnished safari tents, tree-houses, teepees, cabins, restored vintage RVs and airliner(s). With only five airliner lodging facilities in the world, Bella Solviva will be the first in the United States to offer these unique accommodations. Contributors who make their week-long reservations through the funding campaign will be able to choose which type of accommodation site they prefer, allowing the Carlson’s to better plan the types of lodgings to construct first. Funders will also be enrolled in the FoundersFIRST program – an exclusive opportunity to a lifetime of privileges including priority reservations on future promotional offers as well as other VIP perks. FoundersFIRST members will also have the chance to lock in rates for the 2015 and the 2016 seasons.

The campaign will kick off on Friday, March 27th and run for 30 days, with an expected goal of over $100,000 for this first phase. You will find the link to the campaign on as of the 27th.

Bella Solviva will be developed in several phases over the next few years. The Carlson’s expect to have around 36 sites available by the beginning of this summer - 2015, with an additional 25 expected to be complete by midsummer. The other 40 sites are will be available for the 2016 summer season. In addition to the various glamping accommodation sites, Bella Solviva will also welcome guests to bring in their own tents and equipment, while still providing the added glamping amenities the resort has to offer.

First Class projects on the horizon include a clubhouse; laundry facilities; swimming pool; tennis & multi-purpose sports courts; a natural playground; an ice skating rink in the winter; recreation hall with a variety of games, and trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. The installation of solar panels, wind turbines and hydro power and heat generators are also planned to assist in making Bella Solviva Michigan’s first 100% green and Eco-friendly resort destination.

In addition to the natural beauty Bella Solviva will provide, an array of programming and concierge amenities will be offered to guests for an added fee, including massage, catered meal services and more. Conveniences such as recycling and propane, as well as free ice, firewood and a special welcome gift featuring a s’mores kit and hot chocolate, are among the personal touches to be provided to all guests at Bella Solviva.

The Property
The anticipated 100+ acre parcel for Bella Solviva is located near the Antrim Chain of Lakes, situated on the western edge of the Jordan River Valley, in northwest Michigan. Located within three miles of Intermediate Lake, and six of beautiful Torch Lake, water recreation abounds, and the location is central to Traverse City and Harbor Springs, with short drives to a number of quaint villages such as Charlevoix, Alden and Elk Rapids.

The Bella Solviva property features handsome woodlands and cascading creeks nestled among rolling hills and gorgeous ridge-top views – perfect for a private, secluded getaway in this year-round destination. Sheltered among majestic hemlock, red pine forests and towering maples, Bella Solviva gives you plenty of room to “stretch your legs,” having only 1/8 of the density of other camping destinations. You’ll feel like you are in your own little corner of the world.

Why Bella Solviva?
Bella Solviva means Beautiful Hope. Solviva is the name of a Swedish flower that means hope or it will at last be the way we wish. The word also means sun life which is a primary goal of this venture—a sustainable, zero-footprint, solar heated and powered recreational community unlike any other in Michigan, if not the nation.

What is Glamping?
According to, “Glamping is a new word for a new kind of travel, defined as glamorous camping.” Glamping – a fusion of glamour and camping – emerged international and came across the Atlantic over the last decade. Both independent properties and global hospitality brands have capitalized on a rising demand of travelers who want to experience the positive aspects of camping without the uncomfortable negatives. Glamping pivots on a high level of service that focuses on the complete comfort of the guests. The amenities found at glamping destinations far exceed anything recreational camper’s experience. When you’re glamping, there’s no tent to pitch, no sleeping bag to unroll, no fire to build. Whether in a tent, airstream, hut, villa or tree-house, glamping is a way to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing luxury.”

About the Carlsons
Brad and Sandy Carlson have a passion for the outdoors and premium camping experiences, combined with real-world experience in a variety of companies that they have owned, making them ideally-suited to this venture.

Brad is an entrepreneurial, senior executive with over 30 years of proven leadership in business startups, team and project management. He utilizes a team oriented, process focused management style to build and retain highly motivated development, sales and support teams. Mr. Carlson is proficient in operations, development, technical application, testing, marketing and training of personnel for startups as well as established public and private sector companies.

Sandy is a seasoned leader who has led, managed, and trained teams in a variety of service related industries including education, fitness, ministry, hospitality, and private duty home care over the last 25 years. As a trainer, Sandy has been invited to speak at seminars and conferences on the topics of personal development, interpersonal relationships, teambuilding and creating viable profit centers as a strategy for short and long term growth of an organization. She is recognized for discernment and strong interpersonal skills while compassionately serving the unique needs of others. Honest transparency, a strong work ethic and integrity - doing the right thing when no one is looking - are central to what she expects from herself. As an entrepreneur, she has started and/or owned several other businesses, including an adventure-based travel venture.

Bella Solviva Facebook

Monday, March 16, 2015

Consider Yourself Lucky with these Michigan-Made Irish-Inspired Beers

You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy these fine Michigan-made, Irish-inspired craft beers – available on draft or bottle/can distribution around the state. Sláinte!

Arbor Brewing

Michael Faricy’s Irish Stout (5% ABV | 42 IBUS). This crowd-pleaser has a dark coffee-like appearance with a creamy head and smoky, roasted grain aromas. It is rich and creamy on the palate with chalky, burnt flavors balanced by lush dark chocolates and never turns too dry through the smoky finish. Full-flavored yet highly drinkable—rich and creamy without being thick or heavy.

Arcadia Ales

Brigid's Irish Red (5% ABV | 20 IBUs). The story of Brigid (pronounced "Breed") is one shrouded in mystery; equal parts pagan history and Catholic sainthood, the one thing that seems to hold true is that she embodies the fiery spirit of Ireland. Our paean to her is held within the confines of a fine Irish-style red ale, a proud exultation that is bright, bold, and smooth. Brewed with molasses for a hint of jammy dark fruit, low-medium hints of earthy hops come through, and creamy malt provides a calming backbone. A modest alcohol content keeps everything convivial, as there's plenty to toast come early spring.

Loch Down Scotch Ale (8.5% ABV | 63 IBUs). Our tribute to the Scottish Highlands, this beer offers a gorgeous garnet color joined by the aroma of ripe plums and freshly-baked biscuits. The rich, full-bodied texture reveals notes of roasted chestnuts and caramel in the smooth single-malt style brew. Balanced with just the right amount of hop character, this beer delights with crisp alcohol finish. Pairs well with roast leg of lamb, roast beef, wild game, smoked salmon, Manchego cheese and toffee pudding.

North Peak Beer

Sinuous Celtic Ale (5.5% ABV | 45 IBUs). A beer unlike any other, Sinuous joins together the subtle roast notes and malty finishes of an Irish Red with the crisp, hop forward features of a pale ale. A complex malt bill and three different kinds of hops will keep you satisfied during the crisp spring weather.

Rochester Mills Beer Co.

Rochester Red (5.9% ABV | 19 IBUs). This Irish-style red features a rich, malty flavor profile, medium body and a low level of hop. This beer pairs well with a variety of cheeses, burgers, pizza, chicken, pasta, and spicy dishes. This is a great “gateway” beer for introducing patrons to the craft beer segment

Rockford Brewing

Sheehan’s Irish Stout (5.3% ABV | 40 IBUs). This is a very smooth and creamy, yet dry, roasty Irish stout. It has the delicate aroma of fresh chocolate and roasted barley. The flavor is well-balanced with the subtle fruity characteristics of an Irish Ale yeast fermentation and rich layers of chocolate, coffee and dry roasted malts.

O’Briens Irish Red (5.6% ABV | 22 IBUs). Intended to be an easy-drinking pint, this Irish red ale is malt focused. The light to medium body is garnet in color with deep red hues. The flavor is defined by moderate caramel malt sweetness with a toasty or toffee-like quality that transitions to the light taste of roasted grain, which lends a characteristic clean, dry finish.

Cernunnos (8.5% ABV | 25 IBUs). Scotch Ales, not to be confused with the smaller “Scottish Ales”, are rich and intensely malty. This is full-bodied and a sweet, yet has a smooth clean finish from a long cool fermentation. An extended boil promotes kettle carmelization and yields a darker color, deeper malt complexity and slightly roasty character.

Shorts Brewing

Moher Stout (9.7% ABV | 30 IBUs). This is a medium-bodied Double Irish Stout with light roast malt and bitter cocoa aromas that lead into a big creamy mocha flavor. Aided by the addition of flaked oatmeal, the finish is exceptionally smooth, with only a slight dryness and moderate roasted bitterness.

Uncle Steve’s Irish Stout (4.5% ABV | 20 IBUs). Short’s version of the classic Irish Stout, complete with a dark color, soft head, and smooth full flavor typical of this lighter bodied beer. A simple grist formula provides a base of roasted malt flavors and a creamy drinkability everyone loves.

The Michigan Brewers Guild was formed in 1997 and held its first festival in July 1998. Today, the Guild hosts four festivals dedicated exclusively to Michigan craft beer produced by its nearly 150 member breweries.

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry conservatively contributes more than $144 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $277 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #5 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

The Guild exists to unify the community of brewers, to increase the sale of Michigan Craft Beer, to contribute culturally and economically throughout the state, and to monitor and assure a healthy brewing industry. By working collaboratively with proponents of craft beer, we strive to achieve a 10% share of all beer sold in Michigan by producing world-class events, increasing public awareness, educating consumers, and encouraging responsible consumption.

Beards Brewery Named Boyne Highland’s Brew-Ski Festival “People’s Choice Award” Winner for 2nd Consecutive Year

For the second year in a row, Petoskey-based Beards Brewery took home the “People’s Choice Award” from the Boyne Highlands Brew-Ski Festival, held March 14 in Harbor Springs. More than 65 breweries from Michigan and beyond served up nearly 300 different beers to over 2400 people in attendance at the 6th annual event.

Beards Brewery opened in August, 2012 by two friends—Ben Slocum and Peter Manthei—who had a common passion: beer. What began as a homebrewing partnership evolved into a small 1bbl brew house at 207 Howard Street, Suite A, in downtown Petoskey. A larger, 4,000-square-foot production brewery is scheduled to open this summer off Ferry Road in nearby Charlevoix. This new facility will allow for 15 times the capacity of the original pub location, giving the brewery enough product to handle draft demand around the state.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Hoppy Beer Lovers United in Hudsonville for Springfest – May 2

Hudsonville Fairgrounds will play host to more than 40 of West Michigan’s best, and newest breweries during the 2nd Annual Beer City Springfest, on Saturday, May 2. Gates open at Noon for VIP ticket holders (1pm to the general public), with the festival running until 6pm. This epic day will be filled with Michigan-made libations, as well as food, games and live entertainment.

Last year’s inaugural event saw more than 2000 individuals join in the festivities; this year’s capacity is set at 2500 with all proceeds benefitting local veterans.

“This year’s Springfest will once again showcase the talents of West Michigan best brewers,” says event organizer Joe Boyer. “We’ll welcome those who have achieved worldwide recognition as the best in the industry, as well as almost a dozen new breweries to the area.”

Many local brewers and producers will be on hand to describe their hand-crafted products and techniques used to create the refreshing Spring flavors. In all, some 200 beers will be available for sampling, along with local spirits, cider, wine and mead.

A variety of food options will also be available, including selections from Standard Pizza from Rockford; Low and Slow BBQ from Saginaw; and RnR from Hudsonville.

“We had so much fun last year, this is just a great way to meet some of the new brewers, try some new beers, and I still hear about how good the prime rib was last year,” Boyer says. ”Everyone is so friendly, strangers walk right up, and describe the best beer they have tried, like I’ve known them for years, many become great friends, I just love the people who come to these events.”

A VIP ticket for the Beer City Springfest gets attendees in at Noon and includes 18 sample tokens (3 ounces each). General admission ticket holders are admitted at 1pm, with 12 sample tokens. Tickets are on sale now at All attendees (including designated drivers) must be 21 with valid ID to be admitted into the festival grounds. Designated driver tickets are available at the door for $5.
Everyone who buys tickets online before April 1st is automatically entered to win a special VIP weekend that includes a deluxe suite in a local hotel, 2-personal brewery tours, hoodies and T-shirts for the event, transportation to and from the festival, and meals.

Parking at the fairgrounds is free. Shuttle transportation is available through the ticketing site for $20 per person and includes a round trip ride from 250 Seward Ave. (Dash Lot #9) on one of the New Salem party busses. Busses leave Grand Rapids at 11:30am and will leave Springfest at 4:30pm and 6:00pm.

Follow the Springfest Facebook page to get updates on VIP ticket releases and giveaways.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Hudsonville Ice Cream Encourages Spring with its new Lake Superior Thaw — a Pure Michigan Flavor

It’s been a long, cold winter and to encourage the arrival of spring in the Great Lakes region, Hudsonville Ice Cream invites you to scoop up Lake Superior Thaw—a Pure Michigan flavor.

When will Lake Superior’s winter ice finally thaw? That’s anyone’s guess. What you can count on is the Big Lake will stay cold and refreshing throughout spring, just like this Limited Edition flavor. Thaw out a bit and enjoy this hot chocolate flavored ice cream, with its colorful cool mint chocolate swirl pieces.

The mint pieces were selected to be reminiscent of Michigan’s state gemstone—the chlorastrolite, or ‘greenstone.' Greenstones are found only along the shores of Lake Superior at Isle Royale National Park and on the Keweenaw Peninsula.

“We realize that winter in Michigan is just as special as every other season—but it’s time to start thinking about spring and warmer weather,” says Raymond Sierengowski of Hudsonville Ice Cream. “We believe Lake Superior Thaw is the perfect flavor to do just that. No matter how you scoop it, this is a ‘gem’ of an ice cream!”

In addition to this Pure Michigan flavor, fans of Hudsonville Ice Cream may also find Winter Campfire lingering around the freezer case. Together, these two flavors are sure to help the transition from one season to the next.

These, and countless other Hudsonville Ice Cream flavors can be found in grocery stores and ice cream parlors in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. In addition to its “All Season” flavors, which are available year round, several “Limited Edition Flavors” are offered on a limited basis throughout the year.

Started in 1895 as a farmers’ cooperative, the Holland-based Hudsonville Creamery & Ice Cream is the largest manufacturer of branded ice cream in Michigan. For more than 80 years, this Midwest company has been producing its creamy, delicious ice cream – using many of its original flavors, while at the same time creating refreshing new recipes inspired by the Great Lakes.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Livery Presents Funk Fest 2015 - Saturday, April 18 (11:30am-1:00am)

"We promise the Funk. The whole Funk. Nothin' but the Funk"

The First Annual "Funk Fest" will be held by The Livery on April 18th, 2015 and features 6 Wild/Sour Ales along with a limited bottle release and an evening concert by funk purveyors "The Main Squeeze"!

The "Funk Fest" tap list includes:

Barrel Aged Maillot Jaune (Oak Aged Sour Biere de Garde)

Maillot Rouge (Oak Aged Sour Biere de Garde with Raspberries)
Cherry Friek (Oak Aged Sour/Wild Ale with Tart Cherries)
Slow Peach (Oak Aged Sour Belgian IPA with Peaches)
St. Valentines Day Massacre (Sour/Wild Ale aged on Blood Oranges)
I Ain't Afraid of No Gose (Gose Inspired Oak Aged Sour/Wild Ale with Preserved Blood Oranges and Clementines)

Bottle release:
Maillot Rouge - 500ml bottle - Limit 2 per person - 100 bottles - $15/bottle **begins at 11:30 am**

The Main Squeeze
$10 advance/$12 at door
8:30pm doors/9pm show

"Seamlessly blending Funk, Soul, and Rock n' Roll, The Main Squeeze promises to keep your body moving with their infectious feel-good musical gumbo. They’ve graced the stages at some of the country’s biggest festivals, including: Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, Phases of the Moon and Gathering of The Vibes"...and will now add Funk Fest 2015 to that prestigious list!

The downstairs bar will open at 7pm and remain open during the show for those just wanting to hit the taps.

About The Livery
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. A decade 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 and select Michigan wines, along with a Cafe offering locally sourced and thoughtfully prepared food. Music and other live entertainment are regularly featured in the unique, rustic brewpub. In addition, patrons enjoy pints and conversation in the Beer Garden open year around.

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

**Coming August 22nd - The Livery 10th Anniversary Celebration**

The Livery
190 5th Street
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
(269) 925-8760
(269) 925-8766 fax

Monday, March 2, 2015

Timber Ridge RV Resort – Traverse City Hosts 9th Annual Suds & Snow, Microbrew Party in the Woods (Saturday, March 7)

Timber Ridge RV and Recreation Resort announce the 9th Annual Suds & Snow on this Saturday, March 7, 2015 from 1:30pm to 6:30pm. Suds & Snow is where snowshoes meet microbrews, the ultimate party in the woods. The annual event will be held at Timber Ridge Resort in the back wooded trails. Tickets are on sale now at

Troy Daily, Executive Director of Suds & Snow, is getting excited about the annual event, “My team and I recently took over full operations of the event which has received a ton of community support and a great following in the past, people really love it. We have some really cool ideas planned this year and really making ‘about the experience.’”

Suds & Snow will take place this Saturday, March 7th. Doors will open at 1:30 pm with live music starting shortly after. There will be two stages this year, with alternating sets, sponsored by Drink My Brewcast. Lucas Paul Band will be performing for the first time at Suds & Snow this year. Lucas Paul Band members are Lucas Paul (lead vocals & guitar), Pete Birchler (Lead Guitar, Vocals), Matt Henninger (Bass Guitar), Mike Shea (Drums), and Bobby Streng (Saxophone). All of these musicians are extremely talented who move the crowd with their originals songs and catalog of cover songs that every generation enjoys.

Brady Corcoran & Sweater Party will alternate with Lucas Paul Band. After spending the last five years living and working as a musician and songwriter in Los Angeles, Brady has moved back home to Traverse City and could not be happier about the new lifestyle. Having recently finished his first semester as an instructor for NMC’s Audio Technology program, Brady is very excited to be writing and performing music again. Starting Sweater Party in LA, Brady has written and recorded a wide variety of music, collaborating with a constantly rotating lineup of talented musicians. Here in TC, Brady hopes to bring some of that music to life, performing with talented local musicians and longtime friends.

16 breweries will be present at the event including The Filling Station Microbrewery, Right Brain Brewery, Bravo Zulu Brewing, Jolly Pumpkin, North Peak Brewing, Beggar’s Brewery, Brewery Ferment, Brewery Vivant, Bell’s Brewery, Short’s Brewing, Founder’s Brewing Company, Blackrocks Brewery, Stormcloud Brewing Company, Schmoz and more. For those non-beer drinkers, the event will also feature Tandem Ciders and wine from Bowers Harbor Vineyards.

Attendees will check in at Timber Ridge banquet hall then enjoy a half-mile hike to the backwoods where the event will take place. This annual event is snowshoe friendly, although not required, with a fun trail on the way to the backwoods. We encourage attendees to bring their own snowshoes or there is a limited supply for rent from Timber Ridge Resort. Please call Timber Ridge directly at 231-947-2770 to reserve snowshoes.

KLT will be on-site with their Giant Red Radio. Terri Ray will host fun activities, her infamous Winter Olympics, prize wheel and more! There will be a live on-site broadcast from 1-4pm. Mi Grille will be managing all on-site food service for this years event. There will be three tents with different food selections including Paella, a Pig Roast, and Burger/Brat bar. All food will be purchased with event tokens.

Tickets Information: Event is from 1:30pm - 6:30pm. Tickets are on sale now at, Timber Ridge Resort or either of the High Five Threads locations. Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 at the door. Tickets include one drink token good for one pint equivalent. A limited supply of Silipints will also be available for purchase. Additional drink tokens will be sold for $5. $2 of each ticket sold will go to supporting the Vasa Trail. Pointes North is our hotel sponsor and has special hotel packages that all include complimentary shuttle services. More info can be found on our website. Volunteer sign up is now available at

FREE shuttle service is available to and from the event starting at 12:45pm from the Old Town Parking Deck, looping about every 45 minutes. The last shuttle will leave Timber Ridge around 8:00pm. Rare Bird Brewpub will host the official After Party. Find out more information on our website or