https://player.vimeo.com/video/127611326

Short’s Brewing Company celebrated its 11th year of business in Bellaire during their anniversary party on Saturday. Ticket holders to the sold out event flooded the Bridge Street to partake in the festivities. Where last year’s party celebrated ten years of steady growth, this year’s celebration turned the focus back to the future, and what the brewery hopes to accomplish in the decade to follow.

“This day is just packed with a lot of emotion,” said owner Joe Short.

Along with the stresses that come with throwing a party for thousands of guests (which Short was grateful to say were allayed by the brewery’s dedicated staff), Short’s mind was on the weight of the brewery’s future endeavors. Short’s sights are shifting from growing the brewery to giving back to the communities of Bellaire and the state of Michigan.

“Once the growth part [of running the brewery] is done, I think the management of the company will be easier, and then we can put our energies not in growing the brewery, but in growing the community,” said Short.

Part of that effort began right with the anniversary party, which doubled as a fundraiser for the Bellaire Downtown Development Authority (DDA). Fifty percent of the profits from the party were donated to the DDA with the aim of improving the village’s infrastructure and growing businesses.

Those who attended contributed to this effort by enjoying 16-ounce pours of 20 different brews, seven of which were limited releases made especially for the anniversary party, as well as 10 different Starcut ciders. Attendees also had access to a bottled specialty release — an imperial gose called “The Creepster” brewed with apricot, orange, lemongrass, pink Himalayan sea salt and coriander. Food was available via a number of local food trucks as well as a special menu in the Short’s pub. All of the above boasted long lines of demanding attendees throughout the six-hour duration of the party.

Local bands The Accidentals, Vulfpeck and Greensky Bluegrass provided tunes. They performed on a colossal stage with dazzling lights, and could be heard throughout the entire grounds of the party, even over the roar of thousands of conversations.

In between the entertainment, Short delivered his State of the Brewery address. Short’s speech followed a video that riffed off of the 1985 film “Back to the Future.” After the video, Short came up on stage with his young son Simon, who adorably checked the mic before Short began his speech.

“He has no idea he’s in training right now,” joked Short.

Short went on to express gratitude for everyone who played an integral role in the success of the anniversary party (including a quick shout out to “planet earth and the milky way galaxy” for providing the day’s beautiful weather) as well as the success of the brewery over the last 11 years. Then he broke down the brewery’s success in numbers.

In the last eleven years, the brewery has experienced a 4,210 percent growth in sales, and a 2,083 percent growth in number of employees (making Short’s one of the top ten employers in Antrim County). Short’s has brewed 29 million pints of almost 400 different kinds of beer, 136 of which were made in the last year. Needless to say, in the last decade Short’s Brewing Company has experienced exponential growth internally, not to mention the numerous ways in which it has contributed to the surrounding community.

Short’s focus then shifted to the brewery’s goals for the future. The hope for the years to come is for the brewery to “stay awesome hungry.”

“Not only do I want to leave this place and planet earth in better shape than when we found it,” Short said, lifting his gaze from his notes to look deliberately at the audience. “I believe it is our responsibility.”

In the next years, Short’s will continue to increase the scope of its operations, including expanding its pub space and merchandise mart, while still remaining “Michigan only, Michigan forever.” As the company grows, its intent is to give back to the community and state which facilitated that growth.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/127611326
Short’s Brewing Company celebrated its 11th year of business in Bellaire during their anniversary party on Saturday. Ticket holders to the sold out event flooded the Bridge Street to partake in the festivities. Where last year’s party celebrated ten years of steady growth, this year’s celebration turned the focus back to the future, and what the brewery hopes to accomplish in the decade to follow.
“This day is just packed with a lot of emotion,” said owner Joe Short.
Along with the stresses that come with throwing a party for thousands of guests (which Short was grateful to say were allayed by the brewery’s dedicated staff), Short’s mind was on the weight of the brewery’s future endeavors. Short’s sights are shifting from growing the brewery to giving back to the communities of Bellaire and the state of Michigan.
“Once the growth part [of running the brewery] is done, I think the management of the company will be easier, and then we can put our energies not in growing the brewery, but in growing the community,” said Short.
Part of that effort began right with the anniversary party, which doubled as a fundraiser for the Bellaire Downtown Development Authority (DDA). Fifty percent of the profits from the party were donated to the DDA with the aim of improving the village’s infrastructure and growing businesses.
Those who attended contributed to this effort by enjoying 16-ounce pours of 20 different brews, seven of which were limited releases made especially for the anniversary party, as well as 10 different Starcut ciders. Attendees also had access to a bottled specialty release — an imperial gose called “The Creepster” brewed with apricot, orange, lemongrass, pink Himalayan sea salt and coriander. Food was available via a number of local food trucks as well as a special menu in the Short’s pub. All of the above boasted long lines of demanding attendees throughout the six-hour duration of the party.
Local bands The Accidentals, Vulfpeck and Greensky Bluegrass provided tunes. They performed on a colossal stage with dazzling lights, and could be heard throughout the entire grounds of the party, even over the roar of thousands of conversations.
In between the entertainment, Short delivered his State of the Brewery address. Short’s speech followed a video that riffed off of the 1985 film “Back to the Future.” After the video, Short came up on stage with his young son Simon, who adorably checked the mic before Short began his speech.
“He has no idea he’s in training right now,” joked Short.
Short went on to express gratitude for everyone who played an integral role in the success of the anniversary party (including a quick shout out to “planet earth and the milky way galaxy” for providing the day’s beautiful weather) as well as the success of the brewery over the last 11 years. Then he broke down the brewery’s success in numbers.
In the last eleven years, the brewery has experienced a 4,210 percent growth in sales, and a 2,083 percent growth in number of employees (making Short’s one of the top ten employers in Antrim County). Short’s has brewed 29 million pints of almost 400 different kinds of beer, 136 of which were made in the last year. Needless to say, in the last decade Short’s Brewing Company has experienced exponential growth internally, not to mention the numerous ways in which it has contributed to the surrounding community.
Short’s focus then shifted to the brewery’s goals for the future. The hope for the years to come is for the brewery to “stay awesome hungry.”
“Not only do I want to leave this place and planet earth in better shape than when we found it,” Short said, lifting his gaze from his notes to look deliberately at the audience. “I believe it is our responsibility.”
In the next years, Short’s will continue to increase the scope of its operations, including expanding its pub space and merchandise mart, while still remaining “Michigan only, Michigan forever.” As the company grows, its intent is to give back to the community and state which facilitated that growth.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/107157472

MARQUETTE — It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person attending a beer festival must be in want of nothing (excluding, of course, more beer). But put said beer festival on the shore of Lake Superior, where the climes are agreeable, the scenery is picturesque, and the local humor is good, well, then you’ve got a downright euphoric attendee.

Such was the case at this year’s Michigan Brewer’s Guild U.P. Fall Festival in Marquette.

When asked their favorite part of this year’s U.P. festival, most attendees said simply, “It’s in the U.P.” Whether their responses were influenced by the view from Mattson Lower Harbor Park, the good-hearted nature of Marquette’s inhabitants, or the alcohol, brewers, staff and public alike had positive vibes for Michigan’s superior peninsula (in orientation, that is).

“This is my favorite beer fest. It’s a gorgeous setting, it’s a laidback atmosphere,” said Short’s Brewing Company Liberation Specialist Ryan Engemann, “and then being up in the U.P. with fantastic people — the attitude really can’t be beat.”

Laren Avery of Mountain Town Brewing Company, who sported a banana costume because “you can’t be too crazy at these things,” said, “I love the atmosphere, the fact that we’re right on the lake, you just can’t get this anywhere else in the state.”

The Fall Festival featured over 400 different beers from 60 Michigan breweries. Brews ranged from crowd favorites like Founders’ KBS to off-the-wall experimental beers like B. Nektar’s Troll’s Offering, which was described as a “pasty beer,” brewed with potatoes, rutabaga and carrots, and served with ketchup around the rim. With such a promising variety of local craft brews, the festival drew a sellout crowd of 4,000 attendees.

Upper Peninsula native John Orttenburger said he attended the festival to experience the availability of beers from breweries who don’t yet distribute to his area.

“You have to come out and try all the beers that you can’t always get around to trying. When [the breweries] all come to one spot, you have to go to them,” Orttenburger said.

Others came for the camaraderie, which was highlighted periodically throughout the day as the entire crowd raised their glasses and joined in on the roar of 4,000 voices.

[tw-parallax image=”https://mittenbrew.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/R1-07587-019A.jpg” target=”self” ][/tw-parallax]

Several U.P. breweries, which are often less likely to show up to all of the Lower Peninsula-based festivals, made sure to attend this season’s festival.

“Most of [the festivals] I don’t make it to because I just can’t keep up enough in the summer to even go to them,” said Derek “Chumley” Anderson, brewmaster at The Vierling.

“The fact that the U.P. Beer Fest is in our backyard is fantastic,” said Blackrocks Brewery co-owner Andy Langlois. “To see people make the long trek from downstate, and to rekindle some friendships, and also to see our current customers out here enjoying some other breweries is a wonderful thing.”

Several U.P. breweries attended to represent the growth of craft brewing in the Upper Pensinsula. Marquette’s Ore Dock joined Blackrocks and The Vierling, along with other growing Upper Peninsula breweries like Soo Brewing Company out of Sault Ste. Marie, Jasper Ridge Brewery from Ishpeming, Houghton’s Keweenaw Brewing Company, Cooper Harbor’s Brickside Brewery, and Calumet’s Red Jacket Brewing Company.

With this year’s sold-out attendance, it’s safe to say the atmosphere and craft beer of the U.P. are no longer some of Michigan’s best kept secrets.

Local bands State 51 and Frank an Da Beanz entertained the crowd with covers of Neil Diamond, The Doors, Stevie Wonder and much more. The members of Frank and Da Beanz donned pink rabbit costumes and performed under a banner that read “#RELEASETHERABBITS” in support of Blackrocks Brewery, which has a staple cream ale called Grand Rabbits.

The festival also had local restaurants serving food to attendees, including pub food from Stucko’s Pub & Grill, fried fresh Lake Superior whitefish from the Gordon’s, and Indo-European food from The Rubaiyat Falafel.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/98511118

A sold-out crowd of 3,000 flocked to the Detroit Zoo on Thursday to enjoy an evening of lions, tigers and beers.

Now in its fourth year, Zoo Brew gave guests the opportunity to explore the zoo after-hours while sampling beer from Michigan craft breweries. The event also included complimentary tram tours and live entertainment, as well as zookeeper talks at the otter, polar bear, wolverine and reticulated python exhibits.

“Our inaugural Zoo Brew in the fall of 2011 sold out, and the event has done so every year since. We added a spring event this year — another sell-out — and its popularity hasn’t waned,” said Detroit Zoo Communications Director Patricia Janeway.

“Zoo Brew attracts an audience that might not otherwise think of coming here, that being adults with no kids, so it provides a great opportunity for this segment.”

To help kick off the event, Atwater Brewery sponsored a “beer welcome” at the zoo’s front entrance. Visitors could stop and try Atwater’s Traverse City Cherry Wheat, and then make their way toward the main sampling area at the center of the zoo.

Atwater sales rep Matt Cebula noted that the brewery, which has been a part of Zoo Brew since the beginning, tries to partner with the zoo whenever it can.

“Zoo Brew has been wildly popular,” said Cebula. “It’s a good opportunity for people to be exposed to our beer.”

In addition to Atwater, nearly 50 craft breweries participated in the event, and many featured samples of spring and summer brews. Founders’ Rubaeus, Saugatuck’s Oval Beach Blonde and Bell’s Oberon were just a few seasonal offerings that helped visitors celebrate the warmer weather.

A number of ciders — including B. Nektar’s Slice of Life, Virtue Cider’s Red Streak, Uncle John’s Cranberry Cider and Vandermill’s Totally Roasted — were also part of the evening’s lineup.

Frankenmuth Brewery Sales Director Chuck Osberger said it’s been exciting to see Zoo Brew grow over the past few years.

“We were actually one of the first breweries to join Zoo Brew three years ago,” said Osberger. “It was an all-bottle event then. This is the first year we’ve brought all draft, which is pretty cool.”

Frankenmuth served four beers at the festival — Old Detroit, Tornado, Batch 69 IPA and Twisted Helles.

“We’re very enthusiastic to be involved,” said Osberger.

Anyone who missed out on spring Zoo Brew will have another chance to enjoy the festival this fall. The next Zoo Brew is scheduled for Sept. 26, and tickets go on sale June 16. For more information, visit www.detroitzoo.org/events/zoobrew.

We talk with Doug Dorda of Siciliano’s Market in Grand Rapids, Mich., about the differences between ales and lagers.

We take you behind the scenes at Bell’s Brewery, with Marketing Director Laura Bell, in Comstock, Mich.

We take you behind the scenes at Bell’s Brewery, with Marketing Director Laura Bell, in Comstock, Mich.

YPSILANTI — Benjamin Franklin once said, “Beer is proof that God loves us, but He shows particular fondness for the state of Michigan.” Or something to that effect.

Franklin may have had a few too many Nicie Spicies. In any case, the malted warriors from the great Mitten State were flexing their might in full force Friday and Saturday, reminding Michigan’s denizens just how lucky we are to live here. More than 60 breweries displayed their craft to a crowded Riverside Park.

Normally I would complain about entering the tents of the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival at high noon, but given the the amount of beer present, I’m convinced the humidity held a respectable ABV.

The first stop of the day set the tone for me: Bell’s Brewing, whose booth was right inside the entrance. Early arrival meant empty lines — an uncommon sight for a Bell’s serving station. Since I had not checked out the tap lists beforehand, I was more than a little shocked to find the beer of the hour was the brewery’s Black Note Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout.

I hadn’t planned on making stouts the focus of my day (not many would in the dead of summer). But I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, so I filled my first cup with the bourbon beast.

After making my way through most of the stands, I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with master brewer and all-round good guy Joe Short of Short’s Brewing Co. As I enjoyed a bourbon barrel aged Black Cherry Porter (which gets my nod for Best in Show), we discussed the beginnings of Short’s.

Short emphasized a sense of community and history that he brings to his company’s beer.

“Growth isn’t our objective, it’s quality of life, sustainability with our company and staff,” he said. “We want everybody to have a great job and want them to love living and working in Northern Michigan.”

It was readily apparent how passionate Short is about what goes into his beers — ingredients are just a part of it.

As it was last year, Dark Horse Brewing Co. brought everything and then some. As far as sheer numbers of pub-only and limited release beers, the only competition they faced was last year’s Dark Horse lineup. I was able to try more than a few of the company’s one-offs, but the one I was most excited about was the Death Star Lover Barrel-aged Chocolate Raspberry Stout. It was certainly a strong showing once more from the guys in Marshall.

To give a broader scope of the important part of the 15th Annual event — the beer, of course — the following represents my top picks from the festival:

Short’s Bourbon Barreled Black Cherry Porter

Appearance: Beer appears black, with a deep red ruby color revealed when held to the light. A half inch of a stained, tan-colored head.
Aroma: Bright cherries and sweet vanilla and bourbon dominate the nose. Subtle notes of roasted malts sit behind the bourbon.
Taste: Massive cherries and dark fruits along with continued bourbon and vanilla from the nose.  These flavors meld well with the deep caramel and roasted malts of the body.  Finish leaves more of the warm bourbon and dark cherries.  The massive, bright flavors are remarkably well balanced, something not easy to achieve in a beer like this.  My hat’s off to Short’s; they absolutely nailed this one.  A must try for big beer lovers.

Dark Horse Death Star Lover

Appearance: Deep black, with a thin lacing of crimson-tinged tan head.
Aroma: Nose of sweet, tangy raspberries dominates a background of oak and chocolate.
Taste: Taste is similar to the nose, with the sour tang of raspberry giving way to lactic sweetness against a chocolate malt body.  Coating, full mouthfeel with appropriately mild carbonation. Finishes with more (guess what?) raspberries, with notes of oak and cocoa. A great offering from Dark Horse. Being a huge raspberry fan, I may be biased, but I think they did a great job incorporating these flavors into a unique, smooth drinking stout.

Bell’s Black Note Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout

Appearance: Pours a moonless midnight black, with a quickly dissipating brown head, yielding a thin toffee collar.
Aroma: Huge nose of pleasant bourbon and sweet vanilla.
Taste: Begins with more of the smooth bourbon, which is quickly joined by a deep chocolate and roasted malt body. Chewy, coating mouthfeel with smooth, tame carbonation. Finishes incredibly smooth, with fading sweet roasted malts leaving the warm bourbon and vanilla on its own. Truly a gem. Larry Bell’s experience shines through, achieving a perfect balance of the base beers (Bell’s Double Cream and Expedition stouts) against the big flavors lent by the bourbon. If you happen to come across this beer, you would be remiss not to try it.

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Videography by Drew Koszulinski