Detroit, Mich — Spring is in the air and “Whango” mango wheat fruit ale from Atwater Brewery is in the bottles.

Whango is Atwater’s popular seasonal beer and one of its fruitiest, most flavorful brews. Softly sweet and tropically aromatic, Whango is an American-style wheat beer similar but less yeasty than its German Weizen (or wheat ) cousins.

In 2016, the Whango product had completely sold out just a couple of months into its run.  For 2017, Atwater owner Mark Rieth has committed to increasing production five-fold, although he said even much of this run is already committed via retail purchase orders.

whangoRecognizable to taste buds through its unique mango flavor, Whango is recognizable to the eye through its unique packaging – a shaggy-haired surfer dude with only his paddleboard standing between him and the salmony/pinky/orangey/yellow Detroit skyline.  (The paddleboard pays homage to their growing presence on the Belle Isle shoreline in Detroit; the colors pay homage to spring and summer.)

“Spring’s coming and we think Whango is a great reflection of the fun and freshness of spring and summer days,” says Rieth.  “Whango is one of our eight special seasonal brews that are now available in 24 states, ready for people everywhere who are ready to get outside and enjoy the weather.  Whango is the beer to pack for whatever they want to do.”

Atwater’s Whango

  • ABV 4.90% IBU:14
  • Style: Fruit Beer  Color: Straw

German Pale Wheat malt lends this clean offering a lightly citric crispness at the back of the palate. The addition of real mango adds a soft, sweet roundness to the body and natural mango flavoring lifts the aroma to match.

Whango and Atwater’s other beers and ales are available throughout Michigan and in 24 other states with new distribution being added on a regular basis.   Whango is already joining Atwater’s Vanilla Java Porter and Dirty Blond among the Atwater’s most popular flavors.

Atwater is hosting a Whango release party on Wednesday, March 1 at Slow’s BBQ from 5pm – 8pm with a host of give-aways and raffle prizes on hand.

 

Cultivate

Around the corner near the railroad tracks in Depot Town you’ll find a sanctuary operating as a non-profit beer and coffee bar called Cultivate. Their name refers to developing connections and facilitating relationships within the neighborhood as much as it describes the gardening done on site that benefits local food charities. All profits and tips go toward fighting hunger.

From the moment the idea was planted they’ve involved the community, opening after a successful crowd-sourced campaign through Patronicity raised more than the original goal. Volunteers helped transform the space inside and out during the summer of 2015 leading to a soft opening serving coffee and tea in September. Approvals to serve beer came shortly after, and they celebrated their first anniversary of being fully open in October 2016.

Cultivate

Cultivate’s thirty six taps dispense some of the most sought-after brews and include a dedicated mead faucet featuring a selection from Schramm’s. In addition to generous pours at reasonable prices, a flight of 4 tastes is available for most of the offerings with the exception of certain high gravity or limited releases. Crowlers and growlers are available to go, as well as prepackaged bottles and cans from time to time. The latest listings can be found on BeerMenus.

Mug Club memberships are available for beer, coffee, or both. The beer program is $50 per year and entitles the holder to $1 off each beer ordered plus access to monthly interactive events with experts. February’s featured event is a Goose Island vertical tasting with a short discussion about cellaring and aging beer.

The knowledgeable staff behind the bar consists of paid employees and volunteers led by three directors who each bring an aspect of the vision to life; Bekah Wallace in charge of Community and Connections, Ryan Wallace taking care of the Beer and Business aspects, and Billy Kangas leading the Coffee and Causes portion. “We invest a good amount of time in training volunteers, helping them to get employment, and empowering them in the areas they are passionate about that help our city,” said Ryan Wallace.

Cultivate

Billy Kangas, Bekah Wallace, Ryan Wallace

People young and old flock to Cultivate for a wide range of reasons, from the impressive beer offerings to the ever-evolving list of activities and opportunities that take place there based on what the community desires. You can learn about year-round gardening, be tutored in physics, play chess and other board games, or simply sit and knit with others.

While there, you may hear jazz from local musicians, poetry and curated readings, or a group practicing conversational French. There’s a new moms meet up, an empty-nesters gathering, and one for the generation who are acting as caregivers for their aging parents. Planned events can be found on the large wall calendar in the taproom or on their Facebook page

There are a variety of baked goods and sandwiches available onsite to enjoy with the beverages. An expanded menu with larger artisan sandwiches and small plate offerings featuring up to 90% Michigan made and produced ingredients will be launched in March.

Recently the beer garden was transformed from a summer-only space to an enclosed area with patio heaters to accommodate the swells of patrons wishing to enjoy the sense of community while having a beer or two.

As Cultivate grows it is finding new ways of evolving and adapting to fulfill their mission of feeding the hungry. Over the summer the volunteer-tended garden in the back grew vegetables that were donated to Food Gatherers. Current projects include creating a “Hunger Map” for Washtenaw County, “which is a full assessment of both needs in our county and what non-profits are doing to meet those needs in what areas,” Ryan Wallace said. “Our goal is to create something that everyone can use in order to address the issue of hunger and to help us know what solutions we need to create moving forward,” he added.

 

Over the past several years, there has been a marked increase in brewing and distilling industries, small and mid-scale agriculture, and processing infrastructure. With this confluence of events, it’s the perfect time to increase consumer and producer knowledge of how to use local grains in craft beverages, and what characteristics to expect from these beverages.

Hosted by Fermenta: A Women’s Craft Collective, New Growth Associates, and Michigan State University, this unique workshop will provide participants with the skills, inspiration, and ideas to use locally grown grain in the distilling and brewing process, as well as the opportunity to support the increasing number of midsize Michigan farmers.

Agenda:

5:30 pm          Registration & Networking

6:00 pm          Welcome and Overview of Workshop

6:15 pm          MSUE Barley Research Initiatives in Lower Michigan ~ Ashley McFarland,        MSU Extension

6:30 pm          Malt Sensory and Flavor Profiles with a Tasting ~ Andrea Stanley, Valley Malt

Andrea Stanley (Valley Malt) shares her expertise as the first artisan maltster on the east coast, and explores the world of malt sensory evaluation. Utilizing the newly developed and approved Hot Steep method, we will explore a “malt flight” and participants will come away better understanding the malting process and get to smell and taste a wide variety of malts.   

 

7:15 pm          Using Local Grains in Brewing/Distilling Panel

Featuring Duncan Williams, Grizzly Peak; Ryan Hamilton, Michigan Barley; Tom Laboda; Dan Bailey, Motorcity MaltHouse; & Steve Berthel, New Holland Brewery

 

8:15 pm          Closing Remarks/Q&A

8:30 pm          Happy Hour/Networking Event ~  Sponsored by Country Malt 

Tickets are $15 for Fermenta members and $25 for non-Fermenta members. They must be purchased online.

This event will be a precursory event to the annual Great Lakes Hop & Barley Conference, which will be taking place in Detroit, MI on Thursday and Friday March 2-3, 2017.

 

Fermenta

 

 

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.

edelbrau

Spike Oliver and Teo Watson-Ahlbrandt

“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.

 

Dexter City, MI— New Year, New Beer. Headed your way this month is a new style of IPA for North Peak, an East Coast IPA called Stormy.

The brewery staff boasts this beer quickly became a favorite among them. “It’s a perfect beer for the wintery stormy weather we get here in Michigan,” says Northern United Brewing Company Production Manager Sean Brennen. “The malty, oat backbone balances the assertiveness of the six hop varietals leaving you with a fresh, hazy beer we all can’t get enough of.”

north peak

Coming in at 6.7% ABV and 35 IBU, Stormy Oat IPA is full of haziness along with dry/late hop additions to create a juicy mouth feel with citrus, piney notes unlike any other IPA. Stormy is now available in draft and North Peak’s signature stubby bottle 6-packs.

All North Peak beers are represented by a character and accompanying folklore tale (most famously Diabolical and the jackalope). Stormy is depicted by an underwater panther deep in the Great Lakes.

In the deepest depths of Lake Superior lives the most powerful being in the underwater world. The murky, dark, churning waters of its surroundings inspired our unfiltered IPA, Stormy.  A mysterious creature with a body of a wild feline, horns of a deer, a scaled back and a tail so long it wraps around its body ending with a fish tail. With a warning hiss like the sound of rushing water, the underwater panther lives as protector of the vast amounts of copper in the Great Lakes. It’s been said that anyone who tries to steal copper from the lakes has grave misfortune befall them. Strangely, the metal has been found on numerous Great Lakes shipwrecks. Perhaps a mere coincidence, but it might behoove you to carry nothing of copper aboard your ship when crossing the Great Lakes.

North Peak is part of Northern United Brewing Co. NUBC’s philosophy focuses on a dedication to conservation, inspiration and locally sustainable practices.

Find NUBC products at stores, restaurants and bars all throughout Michigan, including: North Peak Brewing Company, Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin, in Traverse City; Jolly Pumpkin and Grizzly Peak, in Ann Arbor and Jolly Pumpkin in Detroit. North Peak can also be found outside of Michigan, in select markets.

 

Auburn Hills, Mich – 2017 marks the sixth year of beer distribution out of the Rochester Mils Production Brewery in Auburn Hills, Michigan. They’re excited to announce some changes to the Beer Release lineup and the return of many favorites. 2017 will focus on expanding distribution of Rochester Mills’ core beer lineup, while bringing fresh, new beers to the market and increasing the availability of their popular Flavored Milkshake Stout series.

The Rochester Mills 2017 Beer lineup is comprised of five categories, listed below with notable highlights:

Core Beers

  • The biggest change to the Core Beer lineup is with Cornerstone IPA, which will only be available during the first quarter of 2017. This will be followed by three (3) new quarterly IPA releases, the first is a yet-to-be-named American Wheat IPA. The Quarterly IPAs, along with Milkshake Stout (original and now nitrogen conditioned), Rochester Red Ale and Pine Knob Pilsner will be available in 4 packs of 16oz cans and on draught.

Seasonal Beers

  • The January release of Dubbel Fisted Belgian Dubbel is a welcome addition to the Seasonal lineup. All four seasonal brews, including Tongue Tied Cherry Saison, Oktoberfest Celebration Lager and Red Velvet Ale will once again be widely available in 4 packs of 16oz cans and on draught.

Flavored Milkshake Stout Series

  • Due to popular demand, Rochester Mills has committed to a continuous supply of Flavored Stout throughout 2017. Beginning in January with the first of six limited releases, one every other month. Tasting and purchasing events will be held at the Production Brewery’s Taproom as each new brew is revealed. Expect the return of some of last year’s favorites and some new flavor combinations that are currently being developed. The Flavored Milkshake Stout Series will also be available in 4 packs of 16oz cans and on draught. A larger production run of the 12 Days of Milkshake Holiday Sampler 12 pack with new flavors and returning favorites has been scheduled.

Bourbon Barrel Aged Beers

  • Following the success of last year’s Barrel Aged series, Rochester Mills will continue to experiment with different brewing and aging techniques. Look forward to a Fall release of Magnificent, our Barrel Aged Imperial Milk Stout and a number of Draft Only experimentations.

Limited Releases

▪ A new Double IPA will have a limited release in May. Additionally, Twenty Fore! Seven, our Session IPA brewed and packaged to be enjoyed at and on Michigan golf courses will be available throughout the golfing season. And finally, we will be introducing a Draft Only release of a Raspberry Radler, last year’s popular Summer brew at Rochester Mills Beer Co. brewpub.

 “2017 is shaping up to be another exciting year for us at the Rochester Mills Production Brewery,” said Eric Briggeman, Vice President of Brewing Operations. “We feel that we have pulled together a great lineup of beers that will help us grow in our existing markets and sets us up to enter new ones if we want go in that direction.”

rochester mills

 

ROCHESTER, Mich – Rochester Mills Vice President of Brewing Operations, Eric Briggeman announces the debut of the Rochester Mills Barrel Aged Series, a limited edition of barrel-aged versions of four of the most popular beers from their Production Brewery in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

The four beers that were chosen for this series include Rochester Red Ale, Michigan Maple Brown Ale, Imperial Milkshake Stout and last year’s Winter Seasonal Ale. For this release, the beers have been renamed “Righteous, Euphorious, Magnificent & Splendiferous”, respectively. All of the beers were aged for varying times in Four Roses Bourbon Whiskey Oak Barrels. The cans of the Barrel Aged Series have been produced in limited quantities, with only 5,000 variety four packs containing one of each beer.r

rochester mills

They will be available through select retailers statewide in Michigan, Northern Ohio, the West Coast of Florida and, of course, at the Brewpub in downtown Rochester. The collectible can variety four packs will also be available on a first come, first served basis for a one day only purchase event. Beginning at noon on Friday, October 28 in the Rochester Mills production brewery tasting room,  all four will be served on draft – giving patrons an opportunity to try them before they buy them.

“We wanted to allow head brewer Tom Hudak and the team at the Production Brewery the opportunity to embrace the process of barrel-aged experimentation,” explains Eric Briggeman. “As a growing Michigan craft beer brand we have focused primarily on producing consistent core beers, and the opportunity to produce rare beer offerings in small batches was limited to tap takeovers, festivals and special pub events. With the Barrel Aged series we have dedicated additional resources to allow these beers exposure to a broader base of craft beer lovers.”

ROCHESTER MILLS BARREL AGED SERIES PURCHASE EVENT:
Date: Friday, October 28th, 2016
Time: Noon – 8pm
Address: 3275 Lapeer West Road, Auburn Hills, Michigan 48326
Admission: Free
Cost: $18 per Four-Pack of 16 oz. cans

ROCHESTER MILLS RIGHTEOUS ALE:
Batch No.: 510
Base Beer: Rochester Red Ale (Irish Red Ale)
ABV: 6.8%
IBU: 19
Proprietary 5 Malt Blend: Pilsner, Dark Crystal, Biscuit, Aromatic and Wheat
Featured Hop(s): Magnum and Michigan Mt. Ranier

ROCHESTER MILLS EUPHORIOUS ALE:
Batch No.: 481
Base Beer: Michigan Maple Brown Ale (Brown Ale)
ABV: 7.7%
IBU: 22
Proprietary 6 Malt Blend: Pilsner, Aromatic, Dark Crystal, Munich, Brown and Chocolate Malt
Featured Hop(s): Magnum and Michigan Mt. Ranier

ROCHESTER MILLS MAGNIFICENT ALE:
Batch No.: 458
Base Beer: Imperial Milkshake Stout (Milk Stout)
ABV: 9.0%
IBU: 24
Proprietary 7 Malt Blend: Pilsner, Chocolate, Brown, Black, Biscuit, Special B and Roasted Barley
Featured Hop(s): Magnum and Michigan Mt. Ranier

ROCHESTER MILLS SPLENDIFEROUS ALE:
Batch No.: 502
Base Beer: 2015 Winter Seasonal Ale (Imperial Amber Ale)
ABV: 9.0%
IBU: 30
Proprietary 5 Malt Blend: Pilsner, Munich, Wheat, Crystal and Black Malt
Featured Hop(s): 100% Michigan Chinook

 

detroit fall fest

Beer festivals happen several times a year. From fest to fest, some things are different—the weather, the breweries, the food. But many things are exactly same from year to year—the 15 tokens in the plastic glass, the good beer, and at least one discovery of a fantastic new-to-me brewpub. This year, I discovered not one, not two, but three new-to-me breweries. It was a good fest.

First, the top five brews from pubs I knew about.

Big Lake’s Leroy Brown appealed to me because of the name and the fact that there were dice on the can. It would have been cool to have the custom Continental and the El Dorado, but the dice were a nice touch. The beer was very nice too! An English brown ale made with four malts and chocolate, it had a smooth finish of toasty bread.

Schmohz Gingerbread Brown was great as always, as was the Mad Tom’s Porter. Brewer Gabi Palmer explained that this beer “is a solid porter—smoky, some chocolate. No hype, no b.s., just a solid beer.” And it was! Slightly bitter with a hint of smoke made for a tasty beer.

The Smoke on the Porter from ROAK was another excellent porter. An imperial smoked porter by style, this beer hit all the right notes. Roasty, dark, and perfectly balanced. But I would expect no less from this outstanding pub.

Unruly Brewing had the Orange Julius beer, which my husband described as “smelling like an Orange Julius, tasting like it, but then finishing like a bourbon barrel aged Belgian wheat.” Orange peel and vanilla beans make this beer what it is.

Lake Charlevoix Double Cookie Stout is one of the tastiest stouts I have had. Made with ten pounds of Oreos, it manages to not be overpowering or too sugary sweet. This is a solid, hearty beer.

The first of the big discoveries at this fest was One Well from Kalamazoo. Their Sweet Water Street was billed as a “coffee and donut” beer and it delivered. Much like the breakfast of champions itself, this beer had a hint of the sugary taste of donut plus all the roasted coffee taste one could want. They also had a Root Beer Stout that—unlike some root beer beers I could mention—managed to not just taste like thick, sappy syrup. It actually had a taste of root beer but never forgot it was a beer—absolutely wonderful!

The second new-to-me pub was Grand Armory from Grand Haven. Their Nutter Your Business Stout tasted like an honest-to-God peanut butter cup. My husband was so thrilled that he got three separate tastes of this beer, just so he could dance around delighting in the peanut butter and chocolate deliciousness (okay, he really didn’t dance around, but it’d be fun to pretend he did).

The top discovery this year was Railtown Brewing Company from Dutton. The brewery won a bronze medal at the recent Great American Beer Fest for its Good Mooed Milk Stout. And to be sure, this solid stout hit all the right notes. We also had their Peanut Butter Cocoa Time porter which conveyed the peanut butter taste while remembering it was a porter, and thus not too heavy or overpowering. The absolute hit for me was their Coffee Blonde, one of the best coffee beers I have ever had. Until this fest, I couldn’t find Dutton on a map but I can now, and I can’t wait to go there.

As I always do, I kept another tradition—ending the fest with Liberty Street’s Punkin Pie Ale. It is still the best pumpkin ale I have ever had, and nothing I’ve had since has changed my mind.

Some things change, some things stay the same, but Michigan beer remains far ahead of all the rest. It was a good fest.

 

Photography: Erik Smith