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Beer, brats and adventure in northern Michigan

View of Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa from the chair lift.I don’t often leave Detroit on holiday weekends. Yes, I know it’s the thing to do in Michigan, jump on I-75 north and head to a cottage, lake, or resort. It’s just not something that I grew up with, we don’t have a cabin of our own up north. And there's always so many things to do in Detroit.

However, my husband and I haven’t been away together since we went to Traverse City last summer. It was time for a break! A few months back, while at the Michigan Winter Beer Festival, my friends from Drink Michigan and I tossed around the idea of heading up to Crystal Mountain for the Michigan Beer and Brat Festival. So, that’s exactly what we did.

I went to college in Milwaukee so beer and brats are always on my radar. Crystal Mountain paired the two perfectly together for an awesome day slopeside with over 50 craft brews, gourmet brats and live music. The weather started out gloomy but later in the day, when the sun peaked out, the crowd roared in approval.

I fell in love with the bacon cheddar brat from Honor Family Market. I’m seriously bummed that we didn’t stop by the shop and pick some up to take home with us. The morel mushroom brat was also a standout.

The new-to-me brewery that made both my husband and I happy was The Livery out of Benton Harbor. I sipped on Poor Freddy’s Pilsner and the Maillot Jaune while my husband loved the Synapse Extra Special Bitter. The hubby reports that it’s very close to an actual English bitter.

I had never been to Crystal Mountain before but I had heard wonderful reviews. Talk about having everything all in one place! We only went offsite for dinner on Friday night, otherwise everything we could need or want was all at the resort. Golf, a pool, climbing wall, restaurants and bars, were all there. From high atop the ski hill it looked like an English hamlet, cute little cottages and all.

The view from our balcony and playing with sparklers.

The only minor letdown was breakfast at Wild Tomato. It wasn’t bad it just wasn’t great. The toast seemed like fried bread instead of, well, toast. And I love plain old toast! Since I only eat the yolks of my over-medium eggs (yes, I know I’m weird), I had nothing to sop up the lovely yolks.

I was super excited to take a ride on the Crystal Coaster Alpine Slide. Armed with my GoPro video camera strapped to my head, I raced down the 250-foot-high, 1,600-foot-long curved tracks.

Sadly, I have to report that my husband beat me. Twice! I blame the fact that he’s heavier than me. It’s just gravity doing its work, right? If you listen closely in the video you'll hear me make reference to this. 

The end of the weekend was spent playing cards and hanging out. Yes, sparklers are amusing to adults too. All and all, we had a great weekend up north and had a chance to take in another beautiful area of Michigan while drinking great beers with our friends. Totally worth it!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary two-night stay and free admission to the Michigan Beer and Brat Fest. The words and opinion are my own.

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Reader Comments (6)

I need to go to this next and brats are two of my favorite things! I've never been to Crystal, but it looks beautiful, even without snow. Nice video, too :) I'm sure weight was the reason he beat you!

May 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurenWeber84

Love the vid! I think it looked in one of the shadows that you did the camera on your head? You'll have to fill me in. Glad you guys had a good time! I think I spotted 1 Nick Nerbonne taking a pic of you at the end. I need to get to Crystal - looks like they've made some major improvements.

May 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElena

Yes, you should go up next year! I highly recommend the festival. And thanks for agreeing with me! I wanted to beat him SO bad.

Thanks! Yep, the camera was strapped to my head. It's an awesome tiny camera that's great for action videos. It was so much fun!

May 31, 2011 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

Nice recap! It made me smile remembering what a great time we had! You can't go wrong with great food, great friends, a great place and beer! Also - you forgot to mention the Roadhouse - it was awesome!

May 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAudrey

Looks like fun! Always admired the place but never made it out there. Fun vid too! :)

May 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMiraUncut

Thanks Audrey. Yes, I didn't mention the Roadhouse or Rosie's but both were awesome!

You should make the trip up there sometime, loads of fun!

June 1, 2011 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

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