In only a few short years, VanderFest has become the premiere fall festival for cider, wine, and beer connoisseurs in Southwest Michigan. Last year’s festival was so well attended leaving many food vendors running out of food. This was remedied this year an abundance of quality food offerings; Vendors included Saburba, Public, and Vander Mill regulars Standard Pizza Co. with their mobile wood fired pizza oven. Another great addition this year was What the Truck? offering a great selection of tacos, chicken and veggie bowls with a lot of kick.
While the rain mostly held off for the event, the cooler weather kept most festival attendees either huddled closely in the beer and music tents or gathered around the fire pit. Plenty of warmth was also to be found from the diverse variety of fermented beverage. Vander Mill has always encouraged participating breweries to brew something special using the Mill’s apple cider. This years participants included New Holland, Greenbush, and Founders. One of the highlights of these collaborations was Arcadia’s Scotch Ale featuring cocoa nibs, cinnamon. Vivant’s offering was not ready in time for the this year’s festival, but expect a limited tap release soon. In addition their hard ciders and beer, Vander Mill’s own offerings this year included a cyser: a mead/cider blend.
Did I mention the lasers? This year during Social Bones set, Pro-Dynamics provided quite the laser show from a window high in the mill projecting over the sky and onto the wooded area behind the tent. Social Bones performed a diverse jam-based set list that evolved into collection of many crowd-pleasing favorites toward the end of the night. The earlier set by jazz fusion band Organissimo also proved entertaining. Every year VanderFest keeps getting bigger and better.