founders

Founders Brewing Co. has launched #CraftedinMI, a new online campaign to support the local arts community in Michigan. Founders has pledged to use their social media platforms to help promote artists that are deeply affected by Covid-19 Michigan, including makers, musicians, culinary artists, small business owners and more. Throughout the stay-at-home order, the team will be sharing some of their favorite Michigan-based craftspeople with the goal of bringing awareness to their talent and driving support during this time of need.

“Michiganders are known for their persevering spirit and relentless creativity, especially in the face of adversity,” said Co-Founder and President, Dave Engbers. “We want to celebrate and support our local makers by promoting the amazing work they continue to create, and we hope it will inspire others to do the same.”

“I’m so appreciative of the visibility that Founders provided by sharing my artwork through their social platforms,” said Dayna Walton, owner of Solstice Handmade. “Last week was tough and it’s so hard to sit back and watch everything I had been looking forward to financially and otherwise cancel, postpone, or disappear. With the help directing eyes to my artwork and online shop, I was able to recoup income lost from workshop cancelations in March and continue to move forward with projects that employ other local makers in collaboration! I hope that I can pass on joy and relief I felt with others. It’s during times like these that we realize how essential the non-essentials of life are. Art gives life to our minds, homes, and communities, even when everything else in our world is at a standstill.”

How can you get involved? Visit our site and follow us on social media (@foundersbrewing) to read #CraftedinMI stories and to find out more about lending direct support. Please consider purchasing an item, downloading an album, grabbing a coffee and other meaningful way to keep Michigan’s vibrant artistic and crafts businesses open. For MI-based makers who’d like to be considered for a feature, please reach out to social@foundersbrewing.com.

 

The first beer’s debut coincides with the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Feb. 22 Winter Beer Festival

 

Grand Rapids, Mich. — The Fibonacci Sequence is a simple equation—the next number in the series is found by adding the two numbers before it—but strangely, from the lowliest acorn to the arms of the Milky Way galaxy, the sequence reveals itself throughout all of nature’s design.

It is also the inspiration for a new series of pastry stouts from Grand Rapids’s City Built Brewing Company, the first of which will be released Feb. 22.

When City Built Brewing Company came up with an idea to test the effects of the sequence on beer, divine providence would show how the sequence applied. Adjusting the boil times from three hours to five hours, to 13 hours and finally 21 hours produced interesting results on each stout.

The first beer in The Fibonacci Sequence, 3 Hour Stout, is a 10.5% ABV imperial stout. It will be available on draft and in cans at $20 per four pack starting Feb. 22. Smooth as velvet, with notes of caramel and coffee, the base stout is perfect without adjuncts involved.

city built

“The number three is often associated with completion or perfection,” said Ed Collazo, CEO of City Built Brewing Company. “When we see the number three, it is a reminder from the universe of our creative potential and our innately divine nature.”

As the series progresses, so does the ABV. The 5 Hour Stout with coconut and vanilla hits at 13.5% and the 21 Hour Stout at 19%. Though unannounced, Collazo hinted at coveted barrel-aged versions of these beers down the line as well.

For the art, City Built tapped Kyle DeGroff, a Grand Rapids-based artist and muralist, who helped inspire the concept for the series. His celestial, colorful and psychedelic designs look like Tool album covers come to life.

3 Hour Stout’s Feb. 22 release date coincides with City Built’s Base Camp Beer & Breakfast Buffet, a prelude to the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Winter Beer Festival. A $25 ticket covers entrance to the event, a Teku logo glass, your first drink, the buffet and first access to purchase cans. Snow on Monroe, a 6% sour wheat with blackberry and black currants, will also be available for purchase at $15 per four pack.

“I’m excited because we’ve wanted to do pastry stouts since we opened and this is our first go at it,” Collazo said. “These are beers that I like to drink and share with friends. I think our personality is really coming through in the art and beer we’re putting out.”

 

About City Built Brewing Company 

Cities are where cultures collide. Ideas get remixed. Societal shifts start. Old traditions combine and become new trends. City Built Brewing Company strives to reflect that energy in their innovative beer recipes and methods, and in their Puerto Rican inspired food served in their downtown Grand Rapids taproom. Visit them and learn how they make the strange familiar, and the familiar fresh and bold.

speciation

The natural brewery and winery will open a new tasting room on Wealthy Street in 2020

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.– Speciation Artisan Ales and Native Species Winery will have a new home at 928 Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids.

The new tasting room for the nature-inspired brewery and winery will open later in 2020 pending licensing and approvals.

Co-owners Mitch and Whitney Ermatinger say the move from Comstock Park will bring their products closer to their customers.

“It’s time to get more of our product directly into people’s hands,” said Mitch Ermatinger. “We have always looked at Wealthy Street for a potential taproom location because of the area’s strong sense of community and identity. We are excited to play a part in the growth of one of the best and most exciting business corridors in the city!”

Speciation Artisan Ales is a “mixed culture” brewery, which specializes in wild ales and ciders inspired by the variations that can be found in nature. Native Species Winery extends those concepts to wine, using foot-crushed grapes and natural fermentation techniques. Both businesses source Michigan-grown ingredients for their products.

Moving the businesses to the new location near the intersection of Wealthy and Diamond will enable them to stay on top of industry trends, Ermatinger said.

“The craft beer movement is shifting significantly—away from distribution and toward tasting room and direct sales,” Ermatinger said. “We would like to stay ahead of the changes in the industry and position ourselves for long-term stability with a wide range of house-made small batch beverages, including beer, natural wine, wine spritzers, seltzers and cider.”

The Comstock Park taproom will close when the new taproom opens, after which the Comstock Park location will be used for production only.

“Our current location in Comstock Park served its purpose to get us started, but it’s time to get more of our product directly into people’s hands. We believe the best way to do that is to move to a more central location,” Ermatinger said. “The many excellent businesses on Wealthy and Cherry Street complement each other so well, and we think that we will be a strong asset to that community.”

safe haven

The producers will sell specially crafted drinks and merch to benefit Safe Haven Ministries

A group of Grand Rapids craft beverage producers has come together to support Safe Haven Ministries’ mission of solving the problem of domestic abuse in the community.

The 22 businesses have rallied around the proclamation that “Love Shouldn’t Hurt.” 

safe haven

Participating breweries, wineries and distilleries have each created a new beverage named “Love.” The unique brews, ciders and cocktails will be sold at each business with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Safe Haven Ministries.

The project kicks off on November 25 and will run through the remainder of the year.

The Mitten State, an apparel company based in Grand Rapids, will also donate a portion of sales of its Michigan “Love” apparel series. A few participating locations will sell limited edition “Love” pint glasses to benefit the nonprofit.

“First and foremost, the goal of this project is to support Safe Haven in their mission to solve the problem of domestic abuse in our community,” said Dana Mate Dones, operations manager of The Mitten Brewing Company. “But a secondary goal is to prove that when responsibly enjoyed, alcohol can be a force for good and actually be a part of breaking the cycle of domestic abuse, despite its long negative association with the issue.”

Safe Haven Ministries provides emergency shelter, case management, support groups and more to women and children suffering from domestic abuse. The organization also provides education and prevention programs for businesses, schools, healthcare providers and other members of the community.

“It’s an important consideration for our industry to think about how what we produce affects individuals in our community,” said Edwin Collazo, co-owner of City Built Brewing. “We have taken great care to practice responsibility as it pertains to our environment, our service and training, as well as how those things affect the most vulnerable. Better drinking culture is a real thing!”

safe haven

Participants include Founders Brewing Company, The Mitten Brewing Company, Speciation Artisan Ales, Long Road Distillers, City Built Brewing, The People’s Cider Co., Vander Mill Grand Rapids, Gray Skies Distillery, Cedar Springs Brewing Company, Broad Leaf Local Beer, Harmony Brewing, Harmony Hall, Trail Point Brewing, Rockford Brewing, Thornapple Brewing, Railtown Brewing, TwoGuys Brewing, Wise Men Distillery, Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery, Brewery Vivant, Atwater Brewing, Coldbreak and Better Drinking Culture.

“We are honored to be a part of the ‘Love Shouldn’t Hurt’ project, along with many of our friends in the Grand Rapids brewing community to support survivors of domestic abuse,” said Mitch Ermatinger, owner of Speciation Artisan Ales.

bells brewery

Bell’s Brewery makes a lot of beer. During a tour of their sprawling facility in Comstock, Michigan, Austin Giles, our guide and the biggest bear hug of a person, spouts trivia at a mile a minute to drive that point home. Here are a few facts that stuck. Every second, two pints of Two Hearted are sold in Michigan. Every ninety minutes, during three different shifts a day, the team starts a new batch, and to get through one four-hundred barrel fermenter, of which they have sixty-six, it would take a person sixty years while drinking a six-pack a day. Giles smiles as though he’s up for the challenge. 

So yeah, Bell’s makes a lot of beer, but that doesn’t mean they’ve lost touch with their roots. At the beginning of a timeline tracking the brewery’s milestones, there hangs a soup pot—Larry’s first brewing vessel—that could double as a sacred idol. “You look back at the pot and it’s like, oh my gosh, we were the original nanobrewery,” Bell said. It’s true and frankly insane to see how much has changed. When Bell opened up shop his competition included twenty-five other American breweries—only nine of which remain—and by 2020 we’re on track for upwards of eight thousand. Looking at the soup pot, these numbers leave an impression. This humble cauldron ushered in one of the nation’s largest and most successful breweries.

Despite his stature as a beer titan, Bell comes off disarmingly

down-to-earth and easy to get along with.

 

While moseying among the steel tanks, stories high and warehouses long, it’s hard not to feel awestruck by this empire Bell has built. Now distributed in 40 states, the Bell’s footprint goes toe-to-toe with many big box brandsand on its own terms no less. As AB-InBev continues to gobble up craft breweries, and craft breweries merge into conglomerate fortresses, Bell’s remains one-hundred percent independent and family owned. “Big brewers can say all they want that people don’t care who makes their beer, where it comes from, whether it’s independent,” Bell said. “I happen to know that they do.”  

 

I believe we’d all agree. Still, for as much as they care about their consumer, when I think about Bell’s I think about a pair of leather bootsworn in, trusty, but tucked away in a closet and taken for granted. At times, Bell feels forgotten too, “The number one question we get on tours is, is he still with us?”

He most certainly is, and to share a conversation with him now is to get lost in an aura of enigmatic energy. Despite his stature as a beer titan, Bell comes off disarmingly down-to-earth. We ricochet between his dreams of Bollrathian aliens, admiration for Walt Whitman, and musings on baseball. “When my brain has nothing to do, the place it goes is Cubs,” Bell said. Admittedly, his folkish veneer dissolves when he takes a call regarding his new Aston Martin. The sportscar will accompany his collection of eight Jaguars. Hippy turned tycoon, I can’t name another auteur in the industry quite like Larry Bell. I like to imagine he keeps a copy of Leaves of Grass stashed in every glove box. 

That said, when discussing the company, Bell is lucid. “I feel really good and excited about where we are right now,” Bell said. “We have a lot of energy behind innovation and new brands.” Take Flamingo Fruit Fight, Sparkleberry, and Pooltime for example. There’s a noticeable uptick of fun seeping into the portfolio. The Leaves of Grass series embodies the brewery’s free spirit too, breathing life into one of our country’s most nourishing poems. To borrow from verse, “the human race is filled with passion. So medicine, law, business, engineering… these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love… these are what we stay alive for.” Whether the beer takes off or not, it’s touching that Bell would risk sales to indulge a deeply personal project. 

 

Bell’s charters an intriguing way forward during a time when the future of craft beer isn’t entirely clear. Some argue there’s plenty of pie left for newcomers. Others worry how small the slivers are getting. “Let’s face it, we’re seeing the plateau,” Bell said. “Those heady days of 20% growth are gone. A third of the top 50 breweries had negative numbers this year.” 

From the sidelines, it seems like a good time for Bell’s to dig in their heels and pump out Oberon year-round, pile on surplus and see how things shake out, but they refuse to rest on their laurels. In fact, they’ve done the opposite. They’ve invested in a new pilot system to nurture creative recipes on a larger scale, revamped their beer garden to welcome nationally touring acts, and tinkered with their flagships to better reflect a drinker’s taste in 2019. It seems to be working. 

Unfortunately, a lot of press has focused on Bell’s trademark disputes and shifting leadership, but there’s an untold story in how they’re quietly adapting to a changing landscape. As consumer behavior shifts constantly, careful planning has gone into striking a balance between innovation and tradition, and hopefully what this amounts to is Bell’s meaning a little something important to everyone.

Let’s start with the enthusiast, perhaps the hardest to please, because no sooner does Oberon get tapped than it gets maligned on untappd as “worse than last year’s,” or for those who really want to flex their troll cred, “better when it was Solsun.” This vocal minority views Oberon as a scapegoat representing all that’s wrong with mainstream taste. It feels unfair to levy all this anger on one beer. While Oberon does taste mild, even compared to some of its seasonal competition, that’s its intentionto enhance experiences, not distract from them. Ultimately, if it bores, don’t drink it, there’s a wealth of choices to satisfy. Bell’s recently caged and corked The Wild One with raspberries, an open-fermented fruited sour that directly appeals to a beer nerd’s palate. But even these experimental offerings are beside the point. 

“Beer geeks get in their own echo chambers, whether it’s on Beer Advocate or other related groups. From where I sit, the world of beer is quite different,” Bell said. “I look at how much Two Hearted we sell.” As I’m sure you could guess, it’s a lot. “If Two Hearted were its own craft brewery it’d be the 13th largest brewery in the country.” No buts about it, Two Hearted mints cash, but maybe we’re lucky to enjoy this elephant in the brewhouse.  

For the third consecutive year, Zymurgy magazine, the homebrewer’s holy text, voted Two Hearted as the best beer, full stop, ousting the likes of Pliny the Elder and Heady Topper. Bell’s placing could derive from how cozy they are with homebrewers—what other major brewery packages their house yeast for commercial use?—but Matt Moberly, VP of sales and marketing, sees it differently. “Two Hearted’s beauty is in its simplicity,” Moberly said. “I think that sometimes the complexity of trying to innovative and utilize cool-kid hops can overpower the beauty of a balanced beer.” Single-hopped, aromatic, endlessly drinkable, it’s absolutely the six-pack I reach for after getting burned by another New-England murkbomb.

 

This brings us to Official, Bell’s foray into the hazy IPA market, which on a surface level looks like analytics pandering to what’s hot. I’ve caught myself accusing Bell’s of bandwagoning on the hazy train, but Bell anticipated these criticisms from the jump, “Look, we’ve been brewing unfiltered beer for decades,” he said. “If there’s something that’s trendy, how do we do it the Bell’s way, within our ethos and standards.” That means no flour and no shortcuts. While light on haze, the bouquet on Official is huge, and the tasting notes hit requisite citrus flavors without overwhelming the senses.  

A recurring motif from my conversations is the brewery’s insistence on quality. Bell’s gets first pick of centennial hops out west, their foeders are some of the finest in the biz, their brewing and packaging equipment is state of the art and environmentally friendly. They take pride in being a jack of all trades. “We define our brewery based on the breadth of our portfolio, not any single area,” Moberly said. “We strive to be a brewers brewery: let’s be really really good at everything we try.” The Bell’s logo has become synonymous with integrity.

bells brewery

Matt Moberly

So why have some brands like Roundhouse and Quinanan Falls disappeared into the ether? While beer speaks for itself, Moberly has noticed that to capture a younger audience, good liquid on its own doesn’t always cut it. “It’s so crowded now you have to have the total package when you put something out,” he said. “You have to not only have good beer but good branding and imagery for a chance to be successful.” Visually refreshing classics like Porter and Kalamazoo stout shows a willingness to bend even when it hurts. The new typography doesn’t quite match the original’s charm, but the consistent look should block well on store shelves. 

Ultimately, it’s about getting great beer into the hands of those who have overlooked it. For a majority of their brands, this isn’t a problem. Their portfolio has become iconic, slipping into the unexpected cracks of our lives. “I don’t know who climbs a mountain with a can of Coke,” Moberly said. “But they love to carry an Expedition Stout or a Two Hearted, take us along to their favorite places, and share their experiences with us. That’s pretty awesome.” 

Questions of succession remain as Bell reckons with his mortality, “I know I won’t live forever,” he said. I wouldn’t expect a funeral any time soon. His faculties remain acute, and his vision clear as day as a member of the old guard, Bell doesn’t see the craft beer tide reversing any time soon. “The revolution has already won,” he said. “We cracked the cosmic egg.” Whatever the future holds, all signs point to the cosmic scramble turning out in Bell’s favor. 

 

broad leaf beer

Opinion

Can Brewery Vivant’s “Weird Cousin” Grow on Their Own?

 

Brewery Vivant has earned their reputation and respect from the industry and consumers for good reason. Their commitment to community, sustainability, and inclusive company culture are impressive and admirable. In 2010, they introduced West Michigan to Belgian and French-inspired farmhouse ales and have kept us hooked. They prove that a brewery’s food can—and should be—just as good as their beer. C’mon, by now, if you haven’t had their duck nachos, burger cooked medium-rare, or a dessert by their house pastry chef… Sorry, where were we?

When Vivant announced the recent grand opening of Broad Leaf Local Beer., they gave it a seemingly endearing and harmless nickname that created two things: interest and expectations. Other media outlets latched onto these low-hanging buzzwords, too. Before the doors had a chance to open, Broad Leaf came off as if it was already in the shadows of their otherwise presumed more mature relative. In some variation, headlines baited: Broad Leaf Local Beer, Brewery Vivant’s “Weird Cousin,” Opens.

broad leaf beer

Playful? Perhaps. Accurate? Eh… Time will tell. The hangup now, for me though, is that I’m struggling to unsee them.

When I visited Broad Leaf on the first day they were open to the public, I wanted to be weirded out. A weird version of something related to Vivant? Yes, please! Instead, I found myself trying to figure out where Vivant left off and Broad Leaf began.

And, yes—to be fair, I realize this was their first day. But, if you’re going to self-proclaim your own nickname, even in jest, you gotta come out swinging. Give us something strange, mysterious, unusual.

Broad Leaf’s location in Kentwood is a well-needed reprieve from big-box retailers and fast food chains on a crowded 28th Street. It definitely looks different than Vivant. Where it deviates from Vivant’s intimacy and distinct, inherited architecture, it makes up for in hip, industrial open-format simplicity. Bonus points for their clever use of shipping containers. It feels like you’re in the heart of a city on the come-up rather than a stark strip mall of sorts. I like where the place seems to be headed.

The interior is pointed in a direction that could get weird. The color palette used throughout is fun, and the couple pieces of hanging tapestries are trendy enough to start giving off a vibe that’s right on. Their intent is to decorate the walls with local artwork. There’s so much space to play with—if maximized just right, it should help tie the room together. When the kitchen opens later this summer I’m hopeful that if their food is half as good as Vivant’s—and fingers crossed a little daring—it will also help them better demonstrate the experience they’re promising.

Upon closer examination, however, things got a little blurry. Namely, with the beer list. Based on what the press was recycling in advance of their opening, the beers were supposed to be, rightfully so, the lynchpin in distinguishing Broad Leaf from Vivant. In a press release from Vivant, owner Jason Spaulding explains, “With the development of new hop varieties, new beer styles, and emerging brewing techniques we wanted to push the creative line and participate in this new wave of craft.” Jon Ward, creative director, supports Spaulding’s vision, “…with the opening of Broad Leaf we have a whole new corner of the map to explore—beyond the edges of the map in some ways.” I was excited when I read this. Toss the map and carve your own path, I say!

But… out of the 13 beers available on draft, four were clearly designated “Vivant beers,” and a handful of the remaining nine have either been in rotation or were currently still on tap at Vivant.

broad leaf beer

For those Vivant loyalists paying close attention, two were most recognizable. Pugs! Pugs! Pugs! Pugs! Pugs! King of the Metal (Cowboys) is a green-colored juicy “Weird IPA” with Blue Razz slushy mix. It was listed under Broad Leaf beers while Rage the Dulcimer, a barrel-aged stout with grilled pineapple, salt, and chocolate, was listed under Vivant Beers. I drank both at Vivant three weeks prior during their second annual Weird Beer Weekend. My lips hadn’t touched a beer yet at Broad Leaf, and I couldn’t help but scratch my head.

While Broad Leaf is still putting the finishing touches on installing their own brew system on site, Vivant’s team of brewers has been pulling double duty to stock Broad Leaf’s draft lines. I can respect that. Utilize your established resources to help launch your new project. But, also be mindful to allow your protégé to shine in their own light.

While we unknowingly have already seen many of Broad Leaf’s beers piloted under Vivant’s roof (and name) in preparation for Broad Leaf’s opening, this is also precisely where the momentum behind their inauguration, for me, stalled. Although the beers I drank that were labeled “Broad Leaf” were quite good and crafted with expertise, aside from a tease of different hop varieties and the absence of Vivant’s signature use of Belgian yeast, I didn’t know whose beer I was really drinking. Was it a leftover Vivant beer repackaged as a new, different brewery, or was it an accurate representation of who Broad Leaf is to become? I hope that the latter is the one that matters to both breweries in question.

I trust Vivant, and I want to love Broad Leaf, but I believe one thing needs to happen sooner than later, even if that means a refined, shorter draft list in the interim: Broad Leaf’s identity and beers need to be distinctly independent from Vivant. Otherwise, Broad Leaf may risk being known only as Vivant’s other brewery. If Broad Leaf was instead marketed as, let’s say, Vivant Experimental—where peculiar and quality are concocted, I believe both endeavors could get away with much more. But, if Broad Leaf is going to be positioned as its own brewery, it deserves its own persona, too.

broad leaf beer

You can’t fault Vivant for pursuing a second location. For space alone, it satisfies their need for additional cold and dry storage while alleviating space restrictions within their original footprint in East Hills. To further capitalize on the move, creating a second brewery is a smart no-brainer. Another brewery in the family unlocks accessibility for a whole new audience and convenience for those who crave something Vivant, but want to save a trip downtown. After all, their success has allowed for Broad Leaf to exist

Still, the underlying question begs whether Broad Leaf will be able—and whether Vivant will allow it—to own an identity distinct and distinguished enough from their older and wiser normal cousin.

 

burning foot

The one-of-a-kind beer fest will take place on Muskegon’s scenic Pere Marquette Beach on August 24, 2019

 

Muskegon, Mich. — For the fifth year in a row, Lakeshore Brewers Guild is hosting the Great Lakes region’s only on-the-beach beer festival. Burning Foot Beer Festival returns on August 24, 2019. This year’s edition promises more breweries, bigger bands and better sound.

“We’re really upping our game this year,” said Burning Foot Beer Festival Chairman Allen Serio.

Eighty breweries from around the Great Lakes region will be represented at the festival. Festival goers can sip world class craft brews and munch on food offerings from six local food vendors, all while exploring the gorgeous natural scenery that permeates Pere Marquette Beach in Muskegon, Michigan.

The festival will feature a “Hop Up” Art Tent with brewery inspired art by local and regional artists. Attendees can also look forward to the flaming “Hop Tower” installation, interactive element charging stations and more.

burning foot

Every year, Burning Foot Beer Festival brings in a mix of acclaimed local and national musical acts, and this year is no exception. The festival will have two stages, one main stage and one waterfront stage for acoustic acts. The music will kick off with high-energy country performer Matt Williams. The lineup also includes regional bands like Tropadelic and the Melophobics. Nineties alternative band Sponge will also perform, and the headlining band is national act Everclear, known for ‘90s hits like “Santa Monica” and “Father of Mine.” Check out the full band lineup on the Burning Foot Beer Festival website.

The experience promises to be one of a kind.

“Once you see that sunset over Lake Michigan on an August night while you’re drinking good beer and listening to great music—you can’t beat it,” Serio said.

Festival goers don’t need to worry about getting home after the festival, either—with the purchase of camping tickets, they can camp on sites right next to the festival grounds.

“You get down there, you spend the whole day at the beach, you enjoy this great festival, and then you can sleep right next door and wake up and hear the waves 20 feet away, crashing on the shore,” Serio said.

Tickets for the festival will first be available at a ticket release party hosted at the downtown Muskegon beach volleyball courts located behind the Western Market chalets on Saturday, June 8 from 12-4 p.m. The party will feature draft beer and music, and all tickets will be on sale without a processing fee before they are released online. General Admission tickets will also be available at a discounted rate of $45.

Online ticket sales will open at 5 p.m. on June 8, with General Admission tickets at $50, “Sandbox” VIP tickets at $125 and Designated Driver tickets at $20. Festival goers interested in camping can purchase tent tickets at $50 per tent and RV camping tickets $100 per site. Shuttle tickets are $10 each.

Participating breweries include:

MICHIGAN

  • Arclight

  • Arbor Brewing Company

  • Ascension Brewing

  • Atwater Brewery

  • Barrel & Beam

  • Batch Brewing Company

  • Beards Brewery

  • Bell’s Brewery

  • Big Hart Brewing Co

  • Big Lake Brewery

  • Boatyard Brewing Co

  • Brew Detroit

  • Brewery 4 Two 4

  • Brewery Vivant

  • Brooks Brewing

  • Cedar Springs Brewing Company

  • Cellar Brewing Co

  • Cheboygan Brewing Company

  • City Built Brewing Company

  • Clam Lake Beer Co

  • Cranker’s Brewery

  • Creston Brewery

  • Distant Whistle

  • Drafting Table Brewing Company

  • Dragonmead Microbrewery

  • Draught Horse Brewery

  • Eastern Market Brewing Co.

  • ELK Brewing

  • Fetch Brewing Co

  • Final Gravity Brewing Co

  • Founders Brewing

  • Grand Armory Brewing

  • Griffin Claw Brewing Company

  • Harbor Light Brewery

  • Haymarket Beer Company

  • Lansing Brewing Company

  • Ludington Bay

  • Midland Brewing Company

  • New Holland Brewing Co.

  • Newaygo Brewing Co

  • North Channel Brewing

  • North Pier Brewing Company

  • Odd Side Ales

  • Old Nation Brewing Company

  • One Well Brewing

  • OpenRoad Brewery

  • Our Brewing

  • Perrin Brewing

  • Petoskey Brewing

  • Pigeon Hill Brewing Company

  • Pike 51

  • Railtown Brewing Company

  • Rake Beer Project

  • Right Brain Brewing Co.

  • River’s Edge Brewing Co.

  • Rochester Mills Beer Co.

  • Saugatuck Brewing Co

  • Schmohz Brewing

  • Short’s Brewing Company

  • Silver Harbor

  • Sister Lakes Brewing Company

  • Speciation Artisan Ales

  • St Ambrose Cellars

  • Starving Artist Brewing Co

  • Stormcloud Brewing Company

  • Tantrick Brewing Co

  • Tapistry Brewing Company

  • Territorial Brewing Co.

  • The Mitten Brewing Company

  • Thornapple Brewing Company

  • Three Blondes Brewing

  • Trail Point Brewing

  • Unruly Brewing Company

  • Vander Mill Cider

  • Watermark Brewing

  • Waypost Brewing Co.

  • White Flame Brewing Co

INDIANA

  • Central State Brewing

ILLINOIS

  • Revolution Brewing Co.

WISCONSIN

  • Sprecher Brewery

Upper Hand

ESCANABA, Mich. – Upper Hand Brewery is proud to announce that two of its beers were awarded medals at the 2019 World Expo of Beer.

Escanaba Black Beer was awarded a gold medal in the Dark European category, while Barrel-Aged Old Fighter took home bronze medals in both the Strong American and Wood-Aged categories.  

“Escanaba Black Beer is one of the three original Upper Hand recipes, and it has remained unchanged in our year-round portfolio since the day we opened,” said Upper Hand Brewery President and Founder, Larry Bell. “It is very gratifying to see it win top honors in its class.”

“I’m also delighted that the barrel-aged version of our Old Fighter was recognized with medals in two categories,” he added. “Like a good bottle of wine, we brewed this beer specifically to age gracefully, so it is incredibly validating to see it honored after over three years.”

There were 803 entries in this year’s World Expo of Beer, which is held annually in Frankenmuth, MI. It is Michigan’s largest professional beer competition. Upper Hand Brewery is the only U.P.-based brewery to receive awards at the 2019 event.

Escanaba Black Beer is available year-round in cans and draft.  Barrel-Aged Old Fighter is a small-batch, draft-only brand available at select bars and restaurants throughout the Upper Peninsula.

 

ABOUT ESCANABA BLACK BEER:

Escanaba Black Beer is at home around both summer fire pits and winter fireplaces. This dark, delicious, malt-forward black ale has a moderate roastiness that is balanced with a silky-smooth, mildly bitter finish (4.5% alcohol by volume – available on draft and in 12oz cans).

ABOUT BARREL-AGED OLD FIGHTER BARLEY WINE-STYLE ALE:

Barrel-Aged Old Fighter is a bold, brash take on the American Barley Wine style. Barrel-aged for fifteen months in blend of bourbon, rye, and port wine barrels, Old Fighter displays caramel, rich malt, and oak character throughout (12.7% alcohol by volume – available on draft).

 

ABOUT UPPER HAND BREWERY:

Upper Hand Brewery is a crew of hikers, campers, dog-walkers, anglers, hunters, bikers, and folks that just want to get out there. We believe that life’s mission is to do what you love, where you love, with the people you love. For us, that means brewing the best beer we can, in the best place on Earth: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

We put a lot of thought into brewing beer that reflects what we love about where we live. We have the unique opportunity to try and capture an experience—a sense of place—in each and every beer, and we take it seriously. That’s not to say we don’t have a lot of fun. The U.P. is full of adventures and we love making beer that makes those adventures even better.

A little more about us: our founder—Larry Bell of Bell’s Brewery—had always dreamed of opening a brewery in the Upper Peninsula. Little clues of those dreams can be found in many of the classic Bell’s brands, which pay tribute to the U.P. in their names and label artwork. His dream became a reality when we broke ground on our 20-barrel brewhouse in 2013, and we haven’t looked back since.