PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – How are the traditions of beer defined? Can traditional beer-making methods enhance the modern approach to brewing?
Those are two vital questions that brewer Teo Watson-Ahlbrandt and business development veteran Spike Oliver will explore at their new brewery, Edelbrau Brewing Company. With the sustained emergence of craft brewing, the pair believe their approach, which weaves together history, artistic expression, and modern science, will give Ann Arbor and Southeast Michigan something unique to look forward to.
“The traditional aspects of craft beer are often forgotten as the market expands and focuses on quick turnaround,” says Watson-Ahlbrandt. “We want to pay homage to Old World methods of making beer as well as traditional beer styles, taking what has been forgotten and re-interpreting it for today’s palate.”
“We’re challenging ourselves to create a portfolio of beers that reflects something new from something old,” adds Oliver. “An artist has the flexibility to work in water color, oil, spray paint, clay, or other media to create a piece of art. The end result and the experience will be unique depending on which medium is chosen.”
With a production facility secured at 719 W. Ellsworth Rd., Watson-Ahlbrandt and Oliver are actively looking for additional space to open a pub with a retail store and taproom where they can also host events and conduct brewing classes. They are targeting an opening for August of this year.
“Right now we’re working on getting licensed and making flavorful and unique beers that we can distribute to the Ann Arbor area,” says Oliver. “But our full vision is to create a space where Ann Arborites can feel cozy, have a great pint of beer, learn about brewing, and be entertained.”
About the Team
Teo Watson-Ahlbrandt – Brewery Manager
Ann Arbor local Teo Watson-Ahlbrandt runs a brewery consulting business geared toward serving clients across the state of Michigan. Recent projects include expansion plans for Ypsilanti-based Unity Vibration Living Kombucha as well as the launch of new Grand Rapids brewpub East West Brewing. Teo also serves as internal consultant and head brewer for Big Hart Brewing Company in Hart as well as for Biercamp in Ann Arbor. He has worked in several Michigan breweries including Arbor Brewing Company’s Brewpub and Microbrewery, Original Gravity Brewing Company in Milan, and Dark Horse Brewing Company in Marshall. Teo holds a bachelor degree in biochemistry from Eastern Michigan University and is an enthusiastic supporter of the school’s new fermentation science program.
Spike Oliver – Sales, Marketing, and Business Management
A native Chicagoan and avid homebrewer, Spike Oliver immersed himself in the food and beverage industry after college, working for Chicago-based chocolatier Vosges Haut-Chocolat, where he oversaw numerous aspects of the company’s multi-channel business. He currently runs the corporate gifts department at Zingerman’s Mail Order and is responsible for business development including sales, marketing, project management, hiring, and training. Along with his passion for the arts and business, Spike has a love for and fascination with the history of beer and food.
About the Brewery
More than two years in planning, Edelbrau Brewing Company was formed when Spike and Teo met through mutual friends at Zingerman’s. Over a few beers they noticed their passions and visions were perfectly complementary. They chose the name Edelbrau to express their unified goals – “edel” from the German word for “noble,” which not only refers to a certain class of hops but to the honorable craft of brewing itself and its importance in fostering a sense of community.
Edelbrau Brewing Company is currently in the licensing phase and hopes to open in August of 2017. The company will focus on creating full flavored beers to be distributed in Ann Arbor and throughout Southeast Michigan.