PORTLAND – A new Portland festival will show off Michigan’s craft beer industry as well as a piece of Portland history.

The city’s Main Street program presents Beerfest on the Bridge on Aug. 1 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Craft beer aficionados can sample a wide variety of beers from 12 Michigan breweries. There will also be hard cider sampling and craft soda.

The event will be held on the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge near downtown Portland. The bridge was constructed in 1890 and is the oldest known surviving example of a truss bridge built in Michigan by the Gorton Bridge and Manufacturing Company of Gorton, New York.

“This event is a way to bring people to Portland, sample different beers, and see what our Michigan craft brewers have to offer. Plus we are taking advantage of one of our historic bridges,” said Eric Proctor, event organizer.

Proctor has worked with Paul Starr of the I’m A Beer Hound website to organize the event.

“I went to school with Paul and we ran at Lansing Community College together. He has organized some beer fest events in Lansing, including the Beerfest at the Ballpark, and has helped us with this event,” said Proctor.

Proctor estimated between 50 to 60 varieties of craft beer and cider will be available. One of those beers will be a Portland Strong Strawberry Stout made by the Saugatuck Brewing Company.

“We wanted to do a Portland beer for this event. Jeff Sandborn of Sandborn Farms has wanted to get area farmers involved in the community and has been working with us on this. We were hoping to do a mulberry beer, but decided on strawberry,” said Proctor.

Rush Clement of The Gallery Brewery in Portland is happy to have a craft beer event in the brewery’s hometown.

“We hope to have some new beers just for this event. We think it is exciting to have this event bring more people to Portland and possibly make the city a craft beer destination,” said Clement.

Breweries also scheduled to take part in the event are Arcadia Ales, Atwater Brewing Co., Bell’s Brewery, Blake’s Hard Cider, Cellar Brewing Co., Crankers Brewery, Eagle Monk Brewery, Founders Brewing Co., Midtown Brewing Co., New Holland Brewing Co., Saugatuck Brewing Co., Schmohz Brewery, The Gallery Brewery and Uncle John’s Cider Mill.

Live music will be provided by the group Rachel & Alex as well as Portland band We Three Strings.

Food will also be available on site from Sweet Caroline’s BBQ, Portland Party Store, Fabiano’s River House Waterfront Grill and Hot Shots Tavern.

Visitors are advised to avoid shoes and boots with heels due to the open grate design of the bridge.

Contact Tom Thelen at (517) 377-1097 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TomThelen_LSJ

Beerfest on the Bridge

•3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 1 near downtown Portland

•Advance tickets are $30 and include 10 tasting tickets and collectible 5-ounce tasting glass. A VIP ticket is $40 and includes 20 tasting tickets, a collectible glass, and admission into the festival one hour in advance.

•Tickets at the gate are $35 for 10 tasting tickets and a collectible glass, if still available. A designated driver ticket is $10 for unlimited craft soda.

•For more information or to purchase advance tickets, visit www.beeronbridge.com.

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