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Globe Trotting

For Sunday, December 1, 2013

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services


Annual ice-cold beerfest to return

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. » Long underwear. Check. Insulated gloves. Check. Snowboots. Check.

Skiing? Mountain climbing? Nope.

Beer festival. Outdoors. In February.

Enjoying beer and winter at the same time is the theory behind Michigan's annual Winter Beer Festival, held in a minor league baseball stadium parking lot outside Grand Rapids. Michigan has become a craft-brewing powerhouse, and this festival is where many of its most lauded brewers pour their most ambitious beers.

The suds festival requires layer upon layer, thick necklaces of homemade snacks (from pretzels to string cheese) and, perhaps most important, a positive disposition. No one in his right mind would stand outside for six hours drinking beer in a snowstorm. Which, of course, makes doing so even more fun.

Michigan brewers both large (Bell's, Founder's) and small (lager-only Wolverine State Brewery) take part.

"It's completely absurd," said Scott Sullivan, owner of Greenbush Brewing in Sawyer, Mich. "The last two years there's been a snowstorm, and everyone is out in the cold drinking beer, and no one cares that it's cold and snowing."

Greenbush brought a dozen barrel-aged beers in 2013 and plans to bring even more in 2014.

Tickets for Winter Beer Festival (1-6 p.m. Feb. 22, Fifth Third Ballpark, 4500 W. River Drive NE, Plainfield Township, Mich.) go on sale today. The event sold out in less than a day last year. Tickets cost $45 plus fees and are available at

African art museum gets big gift

WASHINGTON » The Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art is receiving a $1.8 million gift from Oman, the largest donation in the museum's history.

The gift announced Wednesday will fund a series of programs called "Connecting the Gems of the Indian Ocean: From Oman to East Africa." It will focus on Omani arts and culture and the links between cultures in East and North Africa and the Middle East.

Oman is a country of 4 million on the southwest coast of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Museum Director Johnnetta Betsch Cole says the gift is a significant milestone for the museum, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year.

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