WRITER | LISA BECKER CAMPBELL
PHOTOS | KALAMAZOOONTAP
Kalamazoo kicks off summer on May 20th with the third annual Kalamazoo on Tap. Grab your sunscreen and flip-flops and join the crowd at Homer Stryker Field for this annual event, where you’ll sample releases from some of America’s best breweries while enjoying food, activities, and live entertainment.
Sixty-five breweries are participating, each offering three different samples. The focus is predominantly on Kalamazoo County pours, but beverages from elsewhere in Michigan and several national breweries will also be represented.
Of course, the creativity of the craft beer industry adds to the celebratory nature of the event. Last year’s flavorful beers on tap included such extraordinary creations as Purple Haze, Meyer Lemon, Boot Amber Ale, Hop-n- Mad IPA, Farm Hand Lager, ACE Perry, Monkey Wrench, and Black Galactica.
Hard ciders can be tasted as well, as many breweries and distributors are selling them, and the unique, diverse offerings perfectly complement the tasting experience for the non-beer drinkers in a group of friends.
The venue also contributes to the merriment, with treasures spread among tents under the open sky. Homer Stryker Field provided the food last year and earned rave reviews. This year’s amazing menu features smoked meats, BBQ, and pizza.
In addition to being flavorful, Kalamazoo on Tap promises to be fun, with live music and tailgate-style activities.
Organizers are delighted to have local favorite The Mainstays performing. The funk and soul band has been lauded for their “groovy elements” and for “crafting dynamic, insightful, and almost folk-influenced songs,” according to their website. The Mainstays are based and beloved in Kalamazoo and have performed in Traverse City, Petoskey, and beyond.
This year will offer an even larger number of games and activities on the field, such as a photo booth with silly props and standard tailgating favorite’s corn hole, ladder ball, and the Can Jam Game.
Roughly 1,400 revelers attended last year, and organizers expect 1,500 this year, according to Dana Schmitt of event organizer Townsquare Media. The event is scheduled each year on the weekend before the Kalamazoo Growlers begin their season when anticipation of another great summer is “brewing”!
“Kalamazoo on Tap is always an exhilarating event because like-minded people are excited to share their experiences in this special environment. It’s a great way to kick off the summer season!” stated Schmitt.
Ticket packages include sampling tickets, live entertainment, a souvenir sampling glass, local food, and retail vendors, and activities.
There are two available ticket packages:
General admission tickets are $35 and include 15 sample tickets for the hours of 3–6 p.m.
An upgraded VIP package costs $55. This includes 20 sample tickets, a commemorative hat sporting a logo, access to the VIP lounge and its exclusive beers, and early entrance at 2 p.m.
Designated Driver tickets sold on-site for $10. These are available even if the event tickets have sold out in advance.
The complete list of participating breweries will not be finalized until roughly a week before the event. Visit KalamazooOnTap.com to see the most recent additions, or find a current listing using the Untappd app.
Current 2017 Participants (As of Editorial Deadline)
- Alpine Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
- American Brewers, Kalamazoo
- Anchor Brewing Co., San Francisco, CA
- B. Nektar, Ferndale
- Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits, San Diego, CA
- Barn Brewers Brewery, Lawton
- Beards Brewery, Petoskey
- Black Dragon Meadery, Benton Harbor
- Boatyard Brewing Company, Kalamazoo
- Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids
- Cranker’s Brewery, Big Rapids
- DESTIHL Brewery, Normal, IL
- Dragonmead Brewery, Warren
- Dutch Girl Brewery, Spring Lake
- Epic Brewing Co., Denver, CO
- Gonzo’s Biggdogg Brewing, Kalamazoo
- Great Lakes Brewing, Cleveland, OH
- Green Flash Brewing, San Diego, CA
- Lansing Brewing Company, Lansing
- Latitude 42 Brewing, Portage
- Lucky Girl Brewing Company, Paw Paw
- Nebraska Brewing Co., Papillion, NE
- New Holland Brewing Co., Holland
- Newaygo Brewing Co., Newaygo
- North Pier Brewing Co., Benton Harbor
- One Well Brewing, Kalamazoo
- Perrin Brewing Co., Comstock Park
- Pigeon Hill Brewing Co., Muskegon
- Point Brewing, Stevens Point, WI
- Roak Brewing Co., Royal Oak
- Round Barn, Baroda
- Saugatuck Brewing Co., Douglas
- Schmohz Brewing Co., Grand Rapids
- Short’s Brewing Co., Bellaire
- Silver Harbor Brewing, Saint Joseph
- Texas Corners Brewing Co., Kalamazoo
- The Distant Whistle, Vicksburg
- Thirsty Dog Brewing Co., Akron, OH
- Uinta Brewing Co., Salt Lake City, UT