GRAND RAPIDS — Quite a bit more quality beer hit Michigan shelves last week with the introduction of New Belgium Brewing Company into the state. But it also brings an interesting collaboration with Brewery Vivant.
Coinciding with New Belgium’s (Fort Collins, Colo.) release into the Great Lakes State, Brewery Vivant’s Escoffier also made its way into stores. The brewery only made 180 barrels of the beer, a high-gravity Belgian ale.
Peter Bouckaert, head brewer at New Belgium, said it’s a fun way to enter the Michigan market, and is made possible because of its soon-to-open Asheville, N.C., facility.
“At first, (Michigan) is a state that we’ve been dancing around for such a long time, capacity-wise, we’ve never been able to consider it,” Bouckaert said. “I’m not exactly sure how we chose them, but we came to Brewery Vivant because they’re a young, outstanding brewery.”
Escoffier, named after French chef Georges Auguste Escoffier, sold more than 100 cases at the launch party last Monday.
About 500 cases of 16-ounce cans were sent across Michigan for distribution. Each case has 24 cans, sold in four packs.
The beer is the first American craft beer to be canned with wild yeast, and will only get more wild with age. The can states you can age the beer up to five years. Escoffier has 9.5 percent alcohol by volume.
Meanwhile, Vivant will get some national exposure when they head out to New Belgium, the nation’s third largest craft brewery. There they will make a new collaboration.
“We’re still talking about it,” Bouckaert said. “We’re going to make slight tweaks to it, we’ve done it before with other brewers. We kept it similar, but different. In this case, it’s only going to be slightly different.”
The beer hasn’t been named yet, but will be released nationally in 22-ounce bottles in November.