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Beer tasting class offered with Michigan Beer Dude

The beer editor of REVUE magazine will be having a class specifically on Michigan beer and will be covering how beer is made, how to properly taste beer and how to talk about it.

/Courtesy of Ben Darcie

Experience Beer at Frederik Meijer Gardens

A lecture, tasting, and pairing class with beer expert Ben Darcie. Participants will learn about the four main ingredidents of beer: water, malt, hops, and yeast while sampling Michigan beer and appetizers that are specifically paired for tasting.

Two sessions will be taking place on:

February 18 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

February 25 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Cost: $50 for members and non-members.

You can reserve your tickets by calling 616-975-3151 or you can purchase them at the door.


/Courtesy of Ben Darcie

Ben Darcie, also known as the “Michigan Beer Dude,” will be at Frederik Meijer Gardens on February 18 from 6:30-9 p.m. to teach about his favorite beverage of all time: beer. 

People who attend will learn about various beer styles, sample Michigan-brewed beer and eat appetizers specifically paired for the tasting.

“Each course is designed to focus on one of the four beer ingredients: water, malt, hops and yeast,” Darcie says. “As we progress through the courses, we have a clear path established to explore the process of making beer as well as tasting and talking about beer. It's a feedback-driven evening as we talk as a group about a variety of topics and taste and learn together.”

Darcie had the option of choosing beers brewed out of state for the class, but says he wants to give people an experience of specifically Michigan beer only.

“If I want to give you the best night of beer tasting I can," says Darcie, "I want you to experience your beer. Our beer. Michigan beer.”

Darcie was limited to choosing beers that were sold in a can or bottle, which allows people to buy the beer they liked during the sampling at their local supermarket or liquor store. During the class, Darcie aims to create an “air of comfort” while familiarizing attendees on the brewing process and on various beer styles.

“When you're comfortable, you're far more open to information and tend to retain it better,” Darcie says. “While most speakers tend to stick to one spot, I like to move around the room and engage the tables as we move through the courses, taking questions and talking about the fantastic pairings we're experiencing.”

Darcie has been actively studying beer since 2006, and received his nickname “Michigan Beer Dude” after getting hired at REVUE Magazine in 2012 as their Beer Editor. Darcie has also written beer articles for Beer Advocate, Beer Hound and Flavor 616. He currently works at Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids.  

“I have this great passion, and I just want to share it,” Darcie says. “So many people are falling in love with craft beer, and the goal of my events and classes are to help people delve deeper, see the beauty and experience beer.”

The beer tasting at Frederik Meijer Gardens is on Tuesday, February 18 from 6:30-9:00 p.m. Another tasting class with Darcie will take place on February 25 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The cost for members and non-members is $50. Ticket reservations can be made by calling 616-975-3151 or are available to purchase at the door the day of the event.

In addition to Darcie’s beer tasting class, a nine week course is available and tentatively scheduled to start on April 1 at Harmony Brewing Company for people who want to learn more in-depth about the brewing and fermentation process of beer. The first half of the course will consist of lecture and conversation, and the second part will be focused on group tasting various types of beer. The course is taught panel style, so each week Darcie will be teaching alongside professional brewers or home brewers. The The class has 40 seats and anyone who is interested can reserve a spot by email

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