Boat House Beer Fest 2017 in Detroit

We raised a glass for a good cause at the Boat House Beer Fest, a restoration fundraiser for the Friends of Detroit Rowing at the Belle Isle Boat House.

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Boat House Beer Fest – Detroit Boat Club

We love beer, but the first thing that caught our eye about the Boat House Beer Fest was that it was a fundraiser for the historic Belle Isle Detroit Boat House. The current boat house was built in 1902. It is constructed of reinforced concrete which was a relatively new material at the time. The first four boat houses had all burned to the ground. To insure the current building would be around for a while, the Detroit Boat club specified that the new boathouse should be fireproof. Their forethought left us with a beautiful building.

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We had VIP tickets which allowed us to enter the festival an hour early. This gave us time to explore this wonderful historic building. We strolled inside the ballrooms and meeting rooms adorned with photos and awards. Then we grabbed a beer and took a walk outside to enjoy the sunshine and views of the Detroit River.

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The building was designed by Wirt Rowland. Mr. Rowland is a Michigan native (born in Clinton, Michigan!) and you may know some of his other works such as the amazing Guardian Building in Detroit or Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor. If you are interested in the history of this building, be sure to check out this series by Curbed Detroit.

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The Detroit Boat Club actively uses the boat house. They offer many rowing classes and activities for all ages. If you love the water, you really can’t beat this location.

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Beers in the Boat House

The Boat House Beer Fest took place in the grand ballroom inside the Belle Isle Boat House and along the back porch facing the river. There were 17 tables featuring beer and ciders from across the country. There was a good showing of Michigan beers. We were especially happy to find beers from Dragonmead, Latitude 42, Odd Sides, Boatyard, and Motor City Brewing.

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Everyone at the festival received a dandy commemorative pint glass and 20 drink tickets. You could then use a single ticket to get a small taste or 3 to 6 tickets to get a full pour.

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On top of great beer in a unique setting, the Boat House Beer Fest included some stellar music. Getting things started was a short solo set from Mark Reitenga.  Mark was then joined by Rick Matle, Bob DeGeorge and Sean Perimutter who played some outstanding covers. Over in the smaller hall, Telepon9 was spinning some tunes.

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There were plenty of smiling people enjoying the sunshine and a beer at the historic boat house. Let us know if we caught a glimpse of you at the festival. There are also a ton more pictures in our gallery.

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The Boat House Beer Fest at the Belle Isle Boat House was a lot of fun. We really enjoyed being able to explore the building and help raise funds to support its restoration. If the Ilitch family or Mr. Gilbert are reading, the Belle Isle Boat house could really use a big gift from a wealthy Detroit donor. Just saying!

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