summer beer fest

In the beginning, 1997 to be precise, there were approximately 30 breweries with membership in the newly minted Michigan Brewers Guild. The purpose of their inception was to form an alliance to promote our state’s emerging beer industry and advocate in legislative matters. Two decades later, with their support and guidance, that number is 239 and growing. More than half of the current members helped celebrate this milestone anniversary at the 20th edition of Summer Beer Festival in Depot Town.

The Guild’s first sanctioned beer festival took place in their inaugural year with a couple dozen breweries and approximately 600 attendees. Eleven of those original participating breweries have returned for this year’s festival, although not all of them have been present at every festival in between.


This weekend’s celebration nearly broke the perimeter of Riverside Park and exemplified the exponential growth realized over twenty years, with more than 145 breweries serving over 1,140 beers, and a two day total crowd of 12,000 people enjoying the wealth of choices.

Several of the breweries participating in last weekend’s edition were also celebrating their 20th anniversary and have grown alongside the Guild. In 1997, Founders Brewing Company was a relatively small operation whose back door read “Canal Street Brewing.” Dark Horse Brewing Co began its first incarnation in downtown Marshall as a now-closed gastropub that would blossom into an entire compound of craft businesses in it’s second life. Dragonmead Microbrewery was formed and preparing to open. Atwater Brewery began producing German style lagers in Detroit’s historic Rivertown district, adding more locations as their range of beers expanded. CJ’s Brewing Company set up shop in Commerce Township, later opening a second location in Plymouth. Woodward Avenue Brewers began “putting the ‘ale’ in Ferndale” and hasn’t stopped. The list of breweries with proven staying power goes on.



Inevitably not every beer business succeeds. As the years have come and gone, so have some of the breweries. Fortunately for enthusiasts there’s a steady stream of new breweries willing to take their place in the game. Those new to the MBG festival circuit this summer include Transient Artisan Ales, Greyline Brewing Company, Speciation Artisan Ales, and several others. Breweries are able to participate as members when they’ve satisfied the Guild’s requirements including a waiting period.

The seasonal festivals planned in 2018 are sure to impress with steadily bigger numbers representing the ever-expanding beer scene as the Michigan Brewers Guild reaches the equivalent years of the legal drinking age in our Great Beer State. In the meantime, enjoy the remainder of Michigan Craft Beer Month and toast a hearty cheers to 20 years!

 

belgian beer week

WESTLAND, Mich. – The seventh annual North American Belgian Beer Festival (NABBF), the largest exclusively Belgian-made beer festival in the US, leads off a new national Belgian Beer Week. The event, sponsored by the Consulate General of Belgium/Flanders Investment and Trade and major importers, will be held near Westland Shopping Center. This year there will be two sessions; one on Friday July 14 and a second session Saturday July 15.

This year’s event will have its largest contingent of brewers in from Belgium to the US at one place and time. “One would have to go to Belgium to meet this many Belgian brewers and even then it would be hard to talk with so many,” said the Festival’s Michigan-based organizer Roy More. Belgian beer experts will be on hand representing over forty Belgian craft breweries to discuss the 160 beers being offered. “This event is for those who care about what they drink and want to learn or to learn more about some of the best beers in the world,” said More.

Belgium is recognized by many experts as one of the world’s top beer nations, with Belgian brewers creating more recognized styles of beer per capita than any other country. The Michigan festival is the start of a national Belgian Beer Week. After Michigan’s group gathering, brewers individually will fan out across the country for other showcase events from California to New York, from Texas to Vermont. “The U.S. Belgian Beer Week aims to garner appreciation for arguably the best brewers in the world. These are the original, authentic craft brewers who started brewing beer generations ago for their village, and today export their brews to countries all over the world. One week of recognition for these pioneers in brewing is a long time coming here in the U.S.” – Steve Villani President, Global Beer Network

Tickets and more Festival information are available online.

About Consulate General of Belgium/Flanders Investment and Trade

Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT) promotes international enterprise in Flanders in a sustainable way as a key factor in the social and economic development of the region. FIT does so by supporting the international activities of Flemish companies and by attracting foreign investors to Flanders.

 

Oxford, Mich — Since opening its doors in April this year, HomeGrown Brewing Company has enjoyed enormous success and support from the community. Over 400 people attended the Grand Opening, mug-club pre-sales sold out, and the brewery has sold over 15,000 pints.

“Our biggest sellers seem to be our IPA, Oxford Ale, and Whitbier, but our Whamber – an original style we coined – is also proving very popular,” said Head Brewer Joe Powers.

“We also got a great response to our seasonal Michigan IPA, which we made from all-Michigan ingredients,” Joe said. “To be able to source everything from hops to yeast in our own state is incredible, and makes for a top-quality beer.”

“Now that we are up and running we are able to engage more with some local events and get some feedback on what people want,” said owner John Powers.

HomeGrown Brewing Company has recently begun its outdoor summer concert series. Over 60 people attended the opening performance on July 1, which featured Michigan artist Anthony Christie.  “One thing we got a lot of requests for was live music, so we realized how important that is – especially in the summer,” said General Manager Jeff Powers.

The free “Backyard Concert Series” will run most weekends, with artists playing in the new outdoor addition to the downtown Oxford brewery. Anthony said he was delighted to be the first performer at the brewery, and that support for local artists is important. “It always seemed to me that the people who take the time to appreciate and enjoy a good craft beer also seem to be the ones who are more apt to enjoy good vibes and good music,” said Anthony.

The concerts add ambiance to the beer garden atmosphere of the new patio at HomeGrown, which features fire-pits, bench seats, and picnic tables. “We are really excited about our outdoor area – it’s arrived just in time for summer and it’s such a great spot to relax with a pint,” said John.

HomeGrown is something of a family affair for the Powers clan. Owners John and Marie keep a hand-on approach with John as the Master Brewer. Their eldest son, Joe, has returned from Australia to work as Head Brewer. Second son, Jeff, oversees the front-of-house as General Manager, Joe’s wife Kate assists as Media Liaison, and the youngest sibling Katie leads the Social Media program.

“Between engineers, cooks, artists, managers, and journalists – we feel very lucky to have so much collective knowledge in the family and we love seeing that transform into a great local business,” said Marie.

 

grand river brewery

While growing up in Jackson, MI, I saw tons of businesses come and go in the downtown area. It was always sad watching a memorable place close, but it was intriguing to see what comes next.

grand river breweryAbout 4 years ago Jackson’s next big thing was the opening of Grand River Brewery. They brought a new kind of spunk to Jackson by reviving an 85 year old building and giving it a new unique style. Grand River renovated the entire place and added a kitchen, column still, and a 15-barrel steam powered brew house.

“We see downtown as having a lot of potential and being up and coming,” said John Burtka, owner of Grand River Brewery. “We wanted to be one of the first ones here to help establish new investment in downtown Jackson.”

Grand River’s brew house is home to the award winning Monkey Mouth IPA and several other delicious beers. They also have wine that they make with Michigan grapes grown at local vineyards. Not only that, they also are a craft distillery that distills whiskey, vodka, gin, and rum.

“We didn’t want customers not coming to our taproom because one person out of four in that party wanted a mixed drink. So we started distilling too,” said Burtka

grand river brewery

Grand River Brewery is also planning to expand their beer distributing within Michigan so more people can enjoy their tasty beers.

But don’t wait for the beer to come to you! Go to the beer and bring all your friends because there is something for everyone. Grand River Brewery is a great place to grab some amazing food and drinks, and a great place to see how hard work and determination can have such a positive influence on a city.

On June 28, celebrate GRB’s 4 year anniversary at their Annual Pig Roast and beer release. They’ll be debuting the new Pinky ‘N Da Grain Raspberry Gose. Billy Lewis and The Soulbacks will be playing a live set from 6PM-9PM.

Plates are $16 and include a 1/2 lb. of pork, bbq sauce, slaw, potato salad, corn on the cob, and a slice of watermelon.

grand river brewery

 

After weeks of rumblings among industry insiders, and days of speculation on social media, the news concerning potential changes at Arbor Brewing Company has been officially confirmed. Ownership is shifting, but the company’s roots will stay in Michigan.

arbor brewingArbor Brewing Company, one of Michigan’s oldest craft beer brands, has joined the Farm + Ferment family of Michigan-based hospitality businesses, that includes Michigan Hop Alliance, Northport Farms, Baia Estate Vineyard, Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina, Bacco Ristorante and Cloverleaf Fine Wine, through an acquisition by ABC Brew Holding, LLC and ABC Brew Production, LLC.

“It’s such an amazing opportunity to be able to join this group!” René Greff, a founding co-owner of ABC said. “We’ve heard nothing but good things” regarding Farm + Ferment, she added.

Farm + Ferment’s ABC Brew Holding, LLC and ABC Brew Production, LLC have acquired the membership interests of Arbor Brewing Company founders Matt and René Greff, and the other investors, in both Arbor Brewing Company, LLC and Corner Brewery, LLC, respectively, and engaged the Greffs in a 10-year agreement. Along with the business assets, ABC Brew Holding, LLC will have exclusive brand rights throughout North America. Greff Brewing Services, LLC will retain exclusive rights to Arbor Brewing Company throughout India, and the two entities will share the brand rights throughout the rest of the world.

“In an era of craft breweries being gobbled up by multi-nationals, we couldn’t be more pleased to be joining a consortium of local, independent Michigan operators representing the best of our industries,” René Greff said. “This strategic partnership will allow both the Arbor Brewing Company Brewpub and Microbrewery to continue to grow and thrive in an evolving craft beer marketplace, and it will free Matt and I up to do what we love best – promote and grow the brand here and abroad.”

According to René, the couple is planning to extend their annual stay in India next Spring to attend to the needs of the company there but will remain active and involved in Michigan as well.

“Acquiring a brewery fit perfectly with our long-term strategy,” said Mike Collins, managing principal, Farm + Ferment. “We’ve been very successful with our wine and hop businesses, and are continuing to expand the Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina brand. We were in the initial planning stages of a new brewery when we started discussions with the Greffs. We all knew right away that this was an ideal situation for everyone.”

Collins goes on to say that all current employees will remain, and ABC Brew Production, LLC has plans to expand the Ypsilanti location and eventually open additional brewpubs around the state.

Brian Tennis of Michigan Hop Alliance told MittenBrew.com “Farm and Ferment is a new entity that will focus on our hopyards, vineyards, and orchards as well as the new brewery and the winery being built in Northport.”

Tennis’ role will continues to be focusing “on our hop operations, including running the day to day Michigan Hop Alliance business. As well as overseeing our hopyards, brokering hops both foreign and domestically, and to work closely with our network of over 600 breweries around North America and Europe. I’m obviously very excited about working with everyone at ABC and will be providing the brewery with the best hops available with a stronger focus on Michigan grown ingredients.”

 

WESTLAND – The Michigan Cask Ale Festival returns Saturday, May 13, to Ashley’s Beer & Grill, 7525 Wayne Road. The Festival is the largest offering of cask-conditioned craft beers at one time anywhere in the state.

cask ale festivalMore than 20 cask ales from renowned breweries across Michigan and from coast-to-coast across the U.S. will be pouring from 2pm to 5 pm.  This year’s Festival will include a special offering of Michigan nanobreweries, small craft breweries that self-distribute and thus are generally not available outside of their local community.

Cask ale, also called real ale, represents the traditional, centuries-old way of serving ale, unfiltered and naturally carbonated by the live yeast in the vessel it’s served from. This cask conditioning results in a more complex, delicately flavorful beer, closer to the way the brewer intended than when it’s poured on a draft system. Because these beers are hand made, brewers can create new and unique flavors in the cask not possible in regular draft craft beer.

“Most venues can’t serve cask ale,  what we call ‘the craft beer of craft beer,’ because the living nature of the beers means they require special handling,” said Roy More, co-owner of Ashley’s. “As the market for craft beer explodes, more and more beer lovers are seeking something special. Ashley’s is committed to providing them with unique taste experiences they can’t find anywhere else.”

Cask Ale festival

Participating Michigan breweries include Arbor (Ypsilanti), Arcadia Ales (Battle Creek), Arclight (Watervliet), Batch Brewing (Detroit), Ellison (East Lansing) , Founders Brewing (Grand Rapids), Greenbush Brewing (Sawyer), Griffin Claw (Birmingham), Kuhnhen (Warren), Liberty Street (Plymouth), New Holland Brewing (Holland), Odd Side Ales (Grand Haven), Short’s (Bellaire), Speciation Artisan Ales (Comstock), Transient Artisan Ales (Bridgeman)  and Witch’s Hat (South Lyon). There will also be special casks from Blake’s Cidery and Northville Winery.

The Festival also brings in these unique beers from across the country. From California (Lagunitas) and Utah (Epic) to Maryland (Heavy Seas) and Great Lakes (Ohio).  

Tickets are $35 at the door. For the latest info on the Festival, including the list of rare and even unique Follow the Festival’s Facebook page and Ashley’s Westland on Twitter (@ashleyswestland).

Beer list:

  • Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery: Buzzsaw with Mosaic and pink peppercorn
  • Arcadia Ales: Mango Surprise and Whitsun with Habanero
  • Arclight Brewing Company: Mojito Moe’s IPA
  • Batch Brewing Company: Passion Fruit Pulque – Traditional Mexican fermented beverage made from agave with Passion Fruit.
  • Ellison Brewery + Spirits: Sexy Little Thing –   Double Dry Hopped all New Zealand Hopped IPA 7% ABV.  This is a beer that is an experiment for them and you will be the first one outside of the taproom to pour it with an additional hop charge to the firkin
  • Epic: Los Locos Mexican Lager with lime & sea salt
  • Founders Brewing Co.: Dirty Bastard with hazelnut praline.
  • Great Lakes Brewing Company: Turntable Pilsner with sichuan peppercorn
  • Greenbush Brewing Co.:
  • Griffin Claw: Nawt a Cawp – with grapefruit purée
  • Heavy Seas Beer: Custom Loose Canon – with Citra, Equinox, Simcoe, Apple and Maple woods and Orange peel
  • Kuhnhenn: Porter Colada – Pineapple coconut flavored porter.
  • Lagunitas Brewing Co: Lagunator California Common with Simcoe dry hop
  • Liberty Street: Pub House Brown – a Southern English Mild.
  • New Holland Brewing Co.: Poet Stout
  • Odd Side Ales: Peach Mango Dirty Dank Juice
  • Short’s Brewing Company: Space Rock with citrus zest
  • Speciation Artisan Ales: Dry Hopped Genetic Drift Batch #3 dry hopped with Citra and Vojvodina hops
  • Transient Artisan Ales: Honeystone with mosaic, lemon lime zest, local honey
  • Witch’s Hat Brewing Company: Three Kord Kolsch with Orange Zest & Cranberries

#micaskale

cask ale festival

About Ashley’s

Founded in 1983 next to the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, Ashley’s has been proud to serve its guests a wide selection of great beers from around the world for over three decades. Today, as “Michigan’s premier multi-tap,” Ashley’s features an ever-rotating lineup of flavorful draft beers from nearly 120 different taps at our two locations in Ann Arbor and Westland, as well as more than 80 bottled beer selections.

Ashley’s was rated one of the Top 100 Beer Bars by DRAFT Magazine in and Top 50 Beer Restaurants by RateBeer.com and most recently as one of the Top 33 Craft Beer Bars in the Country by ThrillList

 

founders detroit

Founders Brewing Co. announced today that, for the first time in their 20-year history, they will open a second taproom. The new facility will feature a fully-operational brewery and retail taproom located in the lower Cass Corridor neighborhood in Midtown Detroit, Michigan, a burgeoning cultural hub adjacent to sports arenas, music venues and more.

founders detroit“Having been born and raised in the metro area, Detroit has long held a special place in my heart,” said Mark Dorich, Founders’ Vice President of Retail Operations. “It’s a hard working, no-nonsense, culturally diverse and musically-inspired town, which happens to have the best sports teams in the country. Some of our strongest support has come from the east side of Michigan, and we could not think of a better place to expand our taproom experience. We anticipate creating a taproom that is inspired by what we do in Grand Rapids, but unique in its own Motown way. We’re excited to be a larger part of ‘the D’!”

Based in Grand Rapids since 1997, Founders’ decision to open a second taproom in Detroit reaffirms their longstanding commitment and pride in their home state of Michigan. The new location will include a full-service taproom serving unique menu items and locally-made Founders beers from the on-site brewery, in addition to the classic Founders lineup. Founders plans to staff the facility primarily with Detroit-area employees in an effort to contribute to local job growth and economic revitalization. Hiring will begin in summer 2017.

The 14,000 square foot building is located at 456 Charlotte St. and will undergo construction beginning in summer 2017. The grand opening is targeted for winter of 2017. Founders has partnered with Midtown Detroit Inc. and Invest Detroit on the development of the property.

“The introduction of a brand like Founders Brewing Co. to the South Cass neighborhood will have a catalytic impact and attract others to invest,” said Sue Mosey, executive director, Midtown Detroit, Inc.

Midtown Detroit Inc. has partnered with Invest Detroit to bring the development to life.  

“We are again pleased to partner and co-invest with Midtown Detroit, Inc. to facilitate the redevelopment of a building in this emerging district,” said Dave Blaszkiewicz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Invest Detroit. “Sue Mosey and her team have done an amazing job of attracting new businesses to the community. This location for the highly recognized Founders Brewing Co. will be a critical asset to encourage additional investment to revitalize the surrounding area.”

 

founders detroit

 

Founders explains further, and answers a few more questions before they’re asked:

Why are we opening a taproom in Detroit?

Our commitment to our home state of Michigan was established long ago and we intend to continue fulfilling it, even as our reach elsewhere increases. We have toyed with the idea of opening another taproom for years now and, when finally moving forward, it was a no-brainer choosing Detroit as the city to host it.  Not only do we have tons of fans on the east side of the state, we also have a personal history and love for Detroit. Both our Culinary Director and Vice President of Retail Operations hail from metro Detroit and have long been petitioning that we deepen our roots there.

While our Grand Rapids taproom is and always will be home to us, we feel it is important to spread the Founders love and allow even more of our fans the opportunity to experience drinking from the source themselves.

What will the taproom experience be like?
We are in the initial planning stages so there is not much information to share at this point, but we will keep you all updated as the project progresses.

Will the taproom be modeled after the Grand Rapids taproom?
The Detroit taproom will certainly take inspiration from the Grand Rapids location, but it isn’t intended to feel like a duplicate of it. We recognize and appreciate that Detroit and Grand Rapids, despite being in the same state, have a number of distinctions and our intention is to celebrate and embrace those. Every effort will be taken to ensure that the Founders culture represented in the Grand Rapids taproom comes through just as passionately in our Detroit location.

Will we brew at this location?
Yes, we plan on brewing at this location and will create beers unique only to it. In addition to those, we will also offer our year-round, seasonal and specialty beers on tap as well. Our Barrel-Aged Series beers will be on tap depending on availability.

How are we staffing this location?
We will open up a select number of positions internally to our current staff however the vast majority of jobs will be new hires and filled locally – we anticipate over 100 new jobs total. This process will extend from summer 2017 through winter 2017.

How will this impact the local economy?
Not only will the presence of this taproom create jobs in Detroit, we anticipate it will drive in more traffic to the lower Cass Corridor neighborhood. Located adjacent to arenas and music venues, the location is already seeing the beginnings of revitalization and we strive to be at the forefront of it. Our Grand Rapids location helped to spur the revitalization of the downtown neighborhood it is located in and we anticipate the same will happen in the lower Cass Corridor.

 

Detroit, MI: Two breweries along the Detroit and Windsor riverfront, Batch Brewing Company (Detroit, MI, USA) and Motor Craft Ales (Windsor, ON, Canada), have released their latest collaboration beer, Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree. The rosemary and chestnut pale ale is brewed with Michigan malt and chestnuts. Motor City Malthouse’s German-style malt and Treeborn’s chestnuts are accompanied with a clean yeast profile, allowing the rosemary’s herbal and piney qualities to shine, while the chestnut sweetness provides depth to the beer.

The name of the beer, Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree, comes from the first part of the seventh chapter of George Orwell’s novel, 1984. It reads as;

“Under the spreading chestnut tree

I sold you and you sold me:

There lie they, and here lie we

Under the spreading chestnut tree.”

“The collaboration beer symbolizes a place where revolutionaries, patriots, and lovers of craft beer can come together,” said Stephen Roginson Owner of Batch Brewing Company. “No walls, only bridges and tunnels. No irony, only ideals and art.”

This is the second collaboration beer Batch Brewing Company and Motor Craft Ales have crafted and according to the owners of both breweries, there will be many more in the future.

“For us these collaboration beers really celebrate what our countries share, in terms of both beer and culture,” said Gino Gesuale, Owner of Motor Craft Ales.