Monday, June 18, 2012

2nd Annual BRU Fest


While I have written many glowing comments about Michigan's craft beer industry, I feel a special kind of pride when that industry becomes a part of something greater than itself. On Saturday, June 16th, Bell's Brewery along with Bagger Dave's Legendary Burger Tavern and Buffalo Wild Wings came together – with the help of many others – to help sponsor the second annual BRU Fest. This event raises money and awareness for the Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan.


For a scant 39 dollars per ticket, BRU Fest attendees were given a fantastic array of entertainment. Bell's Brewery provided a plethora of products, including the much sought after Black Note, the delightful but dangerous Sparkling Ale, and something I have never tried before: the Deb's Red. This dry hopped red ale was a good balance; it gave a good, malty amber base with enough bittering hops to keep it pleasant. All told, Bell's provided 15 different unique ales and lagers to sample.

William Seklar, the President and CEO of the Children's Leukemia Foundation – and driving force behind this event – did not stop at beer, however. Samples of delicious boneless wings were provided by Buffalo Wild Wings. Four different types of hamburgers were available from Bagger Dave's. Treat Dreams made samples of ice cream with beer. Their Oberon sorbet was delicious last year, but I'm convinced the Bell's Double Cream Stout with chocolate and toffee ice cream surpassed it.


Keeping the atmosphere light and providing entertainment for the evening was the band Green Collar, a very talented rock group. They played several covers of my guilty pleasure...Sublime.


The 2nd annual Royal Oak BRU Fest was a great party, but I need to bold this next part because it's the most important. Every dollar of the ticket sales goes to the fight against leukemia. Bell's does not sell their beer to this festival. Bagger Dave's does not sell their hamburgers, and Buffalo Wild Wings does not make a cent on their chicken. These corporations donate their products to the festival. The attendees are essentially making a donation to a great cause, and getting a thank you from corporate sponsors. It's one of those rare times when corporate stewardship works with local charities and -- through the help of consumers -- creates a perfect storm where everyone benefits, including kids. If you love kids and hate cancer, I can't think of a better place to spend your time or your dollars.

A huge thank you to all the sponsors who donated their money and products, to the volunteers working the festival, and to William Seklar and his staff for making all of this possible. Events like this make me proud of the community, the craft beer market, and the entire State of Michigan.

In America alone, one child or adult is diagnosed with leukemia every five minutes, and that rate of diagnosis is twice as much as compared to AIDS in the U.S.  Leukemia accounts for about a third of cancer cases in children 0-14 years old.  The Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan is a statewide nonprofit foundation that helps families by providing financial assistance, information, and emotional support.  The foundation was formed in Detroit in 1952 by a group of parents who had been affected by the loss of a child due to leukemia.  Over the years it has helped thousands of families fight the life-threatening illness, and has provided over $6.5 million in research dollars to Michigan's comprehensive cancer institutes.  For more information or to find out how you can help support this great foundation, visit http://leukemiamichigan.org/

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