arbor brewing

In college, the beer began to flow on Thursday evenings. But I got older, and figured that Thursdays belonged to the young’uns. Then I moved to Ann Arbor, and discovered Arbor Brewing Company’s (ABC) monthly beer tastings. And for a long time, a certain Thursday each month belonged to them. The schedule of styles repeated every year, but the different beers and tasty buffet were enough to keep me coming back. But then I got busy, and figured I had probably tried most of the beers in the cycle, so I left Thursdays to the young folk once again.

To paraphrase a better writer than me, these Thursdays are a’changing. ABC is unveiling a new look to both the brewpub and to its Thursday tastings. Event Manager Elizabeth Cain-Toth says, “The Beer Tastings have been amazing over the past decade! We felt like it was time to revitalize the tastings along with the revitalization of the brewpub and menu. Offering different styles of beers relating to each theme will hopefully offer a fresh and enjoyable experience for both new and long-standing participants.”

On the second Thursday of each month, attendees will journey through the wonderful world of beer via a style of the month:

  • February: For the Love of Hops
  • March: In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb (sessions or high gravity—nothing in between)
  • April: Foolishness (outlandish adjuncts)
  • May: Old World Ales & Lagers
  • June: Summer Solstice (summer beers)
  • July: Made in Michigan
  • August: Think Global, Drink Local (breweries committed to sustainability)
  • September: Fall Favorites
  • October: Spooky Scary (names inspired by monsters, etc.)
  • November: Wild Winter (funky, tart, tangy beers)
  • December: Home for the Holidays (winter beers)

What can we expect on the second Thursday in February? Co-owner Rene Greff says, “We are always looking for things that guests will find interesting – sometimes because they are new brands, sometimes amazing historic brands, sometimes just a really interesting twist on a style.” She adds that the tastings in February “will go beyond IPAs.”

The party kicks off on February 10 at 7:00pm and tickets are still $25 in advance and $30 the day of. There will still be a buffet, a door prize drawings and, surely, plenty of calls for “SOCIAL” drinks. Back to drinking on Thursdays for me!

beer cocktails

There are plenty of ways to drink ourselves into the new year. A great number of us have the obvious answer of, “drink craft beer!” when embarking on this endeavor, but this time around we’d like to introduce some beer cocktail options instead. Using Michigan beer and cider of course!

beer cocktailsBlood-Orange Pomegranate Beer-mosa with Cheboygan Brewing Company’s Blood Orange Honey Wheat.

Ingredients (serves 10)
3 cups of Cheboygan Brewing Company’s Blood Orange Honey Wheat
3 cups chilled pomegranate juice
1 750-ml bottle chilled sparkling wine, such as Prosecco
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (for garnish)
Process
Pour the pomegranate juice into each champagne flute. Fill ⅓ of the glass.
Fill another ⅓ of the glass w/ Cheboygan Brewing Co’s Blood Orange Honey Wheat
Top the last ⅓ off with chilled sparkling wine
If desired, garnish with pomegranate seeds

 

Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja Mulled Beer

Ingredients
1 750ml bottle of Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja
2 cinnamon sticks
5-6 whole cloves
½ tsp. ginger root, coarsely grated
½ tsp. nutmeg, coarsely grated
5 pods cardamom, cracked
zest of half an orange or lemon
½ cup of brown sugar
¼ cup brandy

Process
Place all spices and citrus zest in a cheesecloth. Tie a knot to seal the cloth and place it in your mulling beer pot. Pour in all of the beer and add yourself some brandy. Simmer this on low heat for 30 minutes and stir occasionally, but don’t let it boil! You’ll risk cooking out the flavors. Once it’s been warmed, stir in sugar (or syrup or honey if you’re using that instead). Once the beverage is steaming lightly, it’s ready to serve. We prefer ours to be ladled out into mugs! It’s good to have lemon slices or sugar around so guests can adjust the sweetness and acidity of their mulled beer as needed.

 

beer cocktailsAtwater’s Decadent Dark Chocolate Stout Hot Coffee Cocktail

Ingredients
Cinnamon
Cayenne
Nutmeg
2 oz Espresso or plain hot coffee
2 oz Atwater’s Decadent Dark Chocolate OR Cranker’s Fifth Voyage Coconut Porter
1 ½ oz aged rum
¾ oz vanilla syrup
¾ oz heavy cream

Process
Combine all the ingredients, except for the heavy cream, coffee, and cinnamon, into a mixing glass. Stir with a bar spoon. Separately, place the hot espresso into your mug. After stirring, place all the combined ingredients into the mug on top of the hot coffee. Pour in the desired amount of heavy cream and garnish with a dusting of cinnamon on top.

 

beer cocktailsHoliday Grog with Blake’s El Chavo Cider.

Ingredients
2 oz dark rum
½ oz fresh lime juice
1 tsp brown sugar
4 oz Blake’s El Chavo Cider: can be hot or cold
Optional: orange and/or cinnamon stick

Process
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice (if serving cold). Stir with a bar spoon and pour into a mug (if hot) or any desired glassware (if cold). Garnish with orange slice and cinnamon stick.

 

beer cocktailsHot Buttered Beere (Adapted from a 1588 recipe) with New Holland’s Cabin Fever Brown Ale.

Ingredients
17 oz of New Holland’s Cabin Fever Brown Ale
.5 tsp ground Cloves
.5 tsp ground Cinnamon
.25 tsp ground Ginger
5 Egg Yolks
1 cup Brown Sugar (Demerara if possible)
12 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

Process
Add the Cabin Fever Brown Ale and the spices to a saucepan. Bring it all to a boil and then immediately turn it down to the lowest setting. Beat the eggs and sugar until light and creamy. Remove the beer from heat and whisk in the egg mixture. Return it all to a low heat. Whisk continuously over low heat until the whole mixture thickens slightly. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove it all from the heat and whisk in the butter quickly until a nice foam forms. Serve warm.
Thank you all for a wonderful year of beer! Enjoy yourselves along with these lovely concoctions.
Cheers and have a happy New Year!

Photo shoot location courtesy of the Downtown Market and Beverage Manager Jenney Grant.

Photography: Steph Harding

beer cocktails

There are plenty of ways to drink ourselves into the new year. A great number of us have the obvious answer of, “drink craft beer!” when embarking on this endeavor, but this time around we’d like to introduce some beer cocktail options instead. Using Michigan beer and cider of course!
beer cocktailsBlood-Orange Pomegranate Beer-mosa with Cheboygan Brewing Company’s Blood Orange Honey Wheat.
Ingredients (serves 10)
3 cups of Cheboygan Brewing Company’s Blood Orange Honey Wheat
3 cups chilled pomegranate juice
1 750-ml bottle chilled sparkling wine, such as Prosecco
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (for garnish)
Process
Pour the pomegranate juice into each champagne flute. Fill ⅓ of the glass.
Fill another ⅓ of the glass w/ Cheboygan Brewing Co’s Blood Orange Honey Wheat
Top the last ⅓ off with chilled sparkling wine
If desired, garnish with pomegranate seeds
 


Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja Mulled Beer
Ingredients
1 750ml bottle of Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja
2 cinnamon sticks
5-6 whole cloves
½ tsp. ginger root, coarsely grated
½ tsp. nutmeg, coarsely grated
5 pods cardamom, cracked
zest of half an orange or lemon
½ cup of brown sugar
¼ cup brandy
Process
Place all spices and citrus zest in a cheesecloth. Tie a knot to seal the cloth and place it in your mulling beer pot. Pour in all of the beer and add yourself some brandy. Simmer this on low heat for 30 minutes and stir occasionally, but don’t let it boil! You’ll risk cooking out the flavors. Once it’s been warmed, stir in sugar (or syrup or honey if you’re using that instead). Once the beverage is steaming lightly, it’s ready to serve. We prefer ours to be ladled out into mugs! It’s good to have lemon slices or sugar around so guests can adjust the sweetness and acidity of their mulled beer as needed.
 
beer cocktailsAtwater’s Decadent Dark Chocolate Stout Hot Coffee Cocktail
Ingredients
Cinnamon
Cayenne
Nutmeg
2 oz Espresso or plain hot coffee
2 oz Atwater’s Decadent Dark Chocolate OR Cranker’s Fifth Voyage Coconut Porter
1 ½ oz aged rum
¾ oz vanilla syrup
¾ oz heavy cream
Process
Combine all the ingredients, except for the heavy cream, coffee, and cinnamon, into a mixing glass. Stir with a bar spoon. Separately, place the hot espresso into your mug. After stirring, place all the combined ingredients into the mug on top of the hot coffee. Pour in the desired amount of heavy cream and garnish with a dusting of cinnamon on top.
 
beer cocktailsHoliday Grog with Blake’s El Chavo Cider.
Ingredients
2 oz dark rum
½ oz fresh lime juice
1 tsp brown sugar
4 oz Blake’s El Chavo Cider: can be hot or cold
Optional: orange and/or cinnamon stick
Process
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice (if serving cold). Stir with a bar spoon and pour into a mug (if hot) or any desired glassware (if cold). Garnish with orange slice and cinnamon stick.
 
beer cocktailsHot Buttered Beere (Adapted from a 1588 recipe) with New Holland’s Cabin Fever Brown Ale.
Ingredients
17 oz of New Holland’s Cabin Fever Brown Ale
.5 tsp ground Cloves
.5 tsp ground Cinnamon
.25 tsp ground Ginger
5 Egg Yolks
1 cup Brown Sugar (Demerara if possible)
12 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
Process
Add the Cabin Fever Brown Ale and the spices to a saucepan. Bring it all to a boil and then immediately turn it down to the lowest setting. Beat the eggs and sugar until light and creamy. Remove the beer from heat and whisk in the egg mixture. Return it all to a low heat. Whisk continuously over low heat until the whole mixture thickens slightly. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove it all from the heat and whisk in the butter quickly until a nice foam forms. Serve warm.
Thank you all for a wonderful year of beer! Enjoy yourselves along with these lovely concoctions.
Cheers and have a happy New Year!
Photo shoot location courtesy of the Downtown Market and Beverage Manager Jenney Grant.
Photography: Steph Harding

Boatyard Brewing

When an unfamiliar visitor stumbles upon the north side of Kalamazoo, they may feel as though they have taken a wrong turn as the main attractions shift from restaurants and breweries to old warehouses and large factories. However, if they look closely they will notice a small 10 barrel brewery that decided to call this part of town home. 

After several years of preparation, Brian C. Steele and Dan Gilligan were finally able to give Kalamazoo its newest craft brewery, Boatyard Brewing Co., in June of 2014. Their mission is to be a brewery where you get to know the staff while you’re enjoying one of their 11 beers on tap. It is also not uncommon to get a Boatyard history lesson during your visit. Their story is an intriguing adventure of two home-brewers and their attempt to bring quality beer to the north end of Kalamazoo.    

Roughly 5 years ago, Steele approached Gilligan with the idea of opening up a craft brewery. Gilligan immediately accepted the proposal and partnered with Steele to begin this journey with great intentions. One particular goal of theirs was for the brewery to have a Michigan centric name.  After going through tons of copyrighted names, they discovered that “Boatyard Brewing Co.” had not been used. Calling back to boating adventures that they shared with family and friends, Steele said, “We decided to aim for a culture of boating. Most of the time it’s relaxing, family oriented, and fun and so we went with Boatyard.”

To embark on their nautical brewing journey, Steele and Gilligan needed a location around Kalamazoo for their Boatyard Brewing Co.

During their search a building became available on the north end of Kalamazoo. It seemed like a great location for a temporary home. Steele and Gilligan rented out a section of the building they thought would be the perfect size for them after some renovations.

Several weeks went by during the restoration and the guys began to feel at home. They started to call their new place “a location of opportunity.” Despite many people telling them that being on the north side of Kalamazoo was a big risk, Steele and Gilligan never abandoned their ship. They eventually purchased the entire building from their landlord. This allowed Boatyard to have a permanent location with plenty of room for innovation and expansion.

As Steele and Gilligan said, this location became a place of opportunity. They were able to explore new ways of brewing by cultivating a few strains of yeasts from different areas within the brew house. This lead to the creation of the “Alice” and “Betty” series, which contain different ales using these wild yeasts.

Proud of their results, Boatyard plans to brew several different ales from the Alice and Betty series for the upcoming Kalamazoo Beer Week in January. Boatyard is also partnering with The Union to do a tap takeover with the Alice series at their location on S Kalamazoo Mall.

In another effort to support Kalamazoo commerce, Boatyard has also been partnering with the local food truck, Sloppy’s, to help feed hungry customers at the brewery. Steele and Gilligan enjoy their relationship with Sloppy’s because of the opportunities it has created for everyone. Both businesses are able to focus on their specialties with relief that the other is attending to other consumer needs.

After being open for almost 2 years, Boatyard has made partnerships that have brought other local businesses to the north side of Kalamazoo. Thanks to the help of DiscoverKalamazoo, Boatyard has become a part of the “Give a Craft Beer Trail” to help promote their brewery. The trail provides its participants the opportunity to explore 11 breweries around Kalamazoo County. This has contributed to attracting outside travelers and locals to the north side for the first time.  

Through the combination of great beer, local business partnerships and a friendly staff, Boatyard has been able to make their mark on an unexpected area of Kalamazoo. As Steele explained this impact perfectly, “We’ve kind of become the ‘anchor’ on the north end.”

Lake Ann Brewery

Breweries come in all shapes and sizes. Some breweries have massive distribution reach, while others stay within their small towns. Some breweries experiment with ingredients while others focus on quality brews of traditional recipes. Some breweries attract people from far away, while others become a place for locals to catch up and enjoy each other.

Upon walking into Lake Ann Brewing Company (LABC), it is clear that it has become the small town’s meeting place. The beer is exceptional, the environment is comfortable, and the people are friendly. LABC has become a favorite with reliable brews that locals enjoy. You won’t find off the wall beers with unusual ingredients. Instead, you’ll find an array of styles of quality beer from blonde ales to IPAs to stouts and porters. You’ll also find local wines, meads, and ciders amongst its 24 taps.

Lake Ann Brewing

“Our customers are not checking in on Untappd. They’re here to have a good beer and enjoy each other. Take our blond ale. It’s nothing crazy, but it’s a good blond ale and it’s what a lot of the people who come in here are looking for,” said owner and head brewer Matt Therrien.

LABC opened earlier this Spring in Lake Ann and has already made an impact in the area. Lake Ann sits roughly twenty minutes outside of Traverse City, and boasts a large population for a small village. For those that don’t want to make the trip into Traverse City, where the beer scene is bustling, LABC is the perfect solution.

Therrien has been homebrewing since the 1990s, but didn’t see the potential of a brewery in Lake Ann until recently. After putting a hold on working in construction six years ago, he focused on brewing quality all-grain brews with a new homebrewing set-up. Meanwhile, a long-standing building sat vacant in downtown Lake Ann. After much discussion with his wife, Therrien put an offer on the building in October 2013.

Therrien used what he had learned from homebrewing, as well as advice from other local brewers, including Tina Schuett of Rarebird Brewery, to put together what he thought would work best for his location and his community. For instance, as a homebrewer, he had dealt with his fair share of kegging, and knew he did not want to keg at the brewery.

“We have six serving tanks instead. It’s much more efficient, the beer is even, and cleaning is much easier,” said Therrien.

He also bypassed a 3-barrel system, and instead installed a 7-barrel system. Hearing from others about growing pains and batch sizes, he knew a 7-barrel system would work much better for what he envisioned. Even with these careful considerations, Lake Ann Brewing Company opened quietly ahead of schedule in June.

“We didn’t make an announcement beforehand because we were unsure of how long things would take,” Therrien said. “And after we made it through our first week, we thought, ‘we’ll be alright.’”

And in the six months they have been opened, things have continued to be “alright.” Whether it’s a weeknight or a Saturday evening, the taproom sees a consistent flow of traffic. Locals stop in often to visit with each other. In fact, Therrien himself can often be seen chatting with locals he knows well.

Located right next door is The Stone Oven, which happily delivers to LABC. This adds to the atmosphere and gives patrons another reason to visit. Not only can they get a crisp and clear brew, they can also order a delicious pizza and have it delivered to them in the taproom.

“We have a great location, we’re the only place in town, and we have great food next door. It’s great!” said Therrien.

the force awakens

In a brewery far far away…

As winter nights grow colder and more ominous, and seasonal releases are barrel aged and darker than a Sith Lord’s heart, our greed for craft beer surfaces. Let the beer flow through you and come over to the dark side just in time for the release of the much anticipated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

“This is the time for dark beer to shine,” says Bobby Vedder, certified cicerone (and Star Wars geek) from Powers Distributing Co.

Darker styles—think stouts and porters—are known for bold flavors, longer finishes and lingering notes. The beers’ deeper color comes from its roasted malts, which contribute to the espresso flavors and bitterness.

“These beers are warming, with hints of subtle dark fruit note,” Vedder said.

Vedder’s recommendations for those looking to explore the dark side include:

Right Brain CEO Stout: Made with chocolate, espresso and oatmeal, this beer is lighter in alcohol and full of great layers of flavor.

Saugatuck Brewing Co. Neapolitan Milk Stout, a seasonal stout that uses lactose, or milk sugar, giving it a creamy texture. Its dark roasted notes are accented by flavors like chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.

Latitude 42 Powerline Porter – A Portage, Michigan-based brewery, this porter boasts caramel, coffee and chocolate flavors combine in a crisp finish. It is 5.5 percent ABV.

North Peak Dubious Black Chocolate Stout – Made in Traverse City, Michigan, this dark chocolate stout offers a perfect combination of chocolate, roast and black malts resulting in a smooth, rich beer. It is 5.3 percent ABV.

And finally, what Vedder calls ‘the Darth Vader’ of beers:

Oskar Blues’ Ten Fidy: Clocking in at 10.5 percent ABV, you don’t know the power of this dark beer. Ten Fidy is an Imperial Stout loaded with chocolate, caramel and coffee, using plenty of malt, roasted barley and flaked oats.

“The true dark side of beer isn’t about style, it is a mentality where people hoard beer for underground trades, or pay off their friends to mule for them at special releases” said Ben Darcie, brewery representative and sales manager for Brewery Vivant and founder and lead instructor of Experience Beer, a public and private beer education organization based in Grand Rapids, MI.

For a big, intense beer that is sure to lure you to the dark side, Darcie recommends:

Brewery Vivant Plow Horse: This heavily bodied Belgian Imperial Stout begins with biscuit and caramel notes, and finishes with lots of thick coffee, chocolate and a residual sweetness. Clocking in at 9.5%, this beer drinks like 5%, Darcie said. He compares this beer to an unsuspecting villain like Emperor Palpatine, whose underlying power isn’t apparent until you go into battle against him. Plow Horse is only available this month, and won’t return until November 2017.

the force awakens

Founders Breakfast Stout: Brewed with flaked oats, plenty of chocolate and two types of coffee, this Imperial Coffee Stout is aggressive in its own way without being overpowering.

Founders KBS: Always two, there are; a master and an apprentice. If Breakfast Stout is the apprentice, then KBS is the Dark Lord of the Sith. This Imperial Stout brewed with tons of coffee is cave-aged for an entire year. The rebel forces will be out en masse when this beer is released in 2016.

Darcie and Vedder recommend resisting the temptation of the dark side by opening your cellar and cracking a good bottle to share with family and friends this holiday season.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opens in theaters December 18th.

Cedar Springs Brewing

I’m seated in an industrial looking, high-ceiled venue that’s filled with long picnic tables, various flags gently waving in front of second story windows, fermentation vessels peeking out from high above the bar, and wooden sliding doors that divide the space into private room, main beer hall, and back of house operations. Upon closer inspection, I find little hints of artwork from the old Schnitzelbank restaurant, recommissioned kegs that serve as bathroom sinks, and I even note the cluster of Weissbier glasses drenched in light throughout the space.
I am, of course, in Cedar Springs Brewing Company, the newest addition to our family of craft breweries in Michigan. Located at 95 Main in downtown Cedar Springs, this gem of Germanic goodness opened its doors on November 13 this year to excited guests. I’m here almost a month later and I must say that I’m enjoying this Monday afternoon as compared to the boisterous nature of the opening. This time, I even get to sit and indulge in food as well as beer.
Within the hall, the almost non-existent acoustics allow for raucous laughter to roll off the walls and startle my senses. It’s obvious that patrons are merry with good beer and friends, and what better way to relish in that than by sitting at a long, inviting table? It’s been said plenty of times before that we Americans like to have our “space”, but adding new friends to your group can make for a great time. The idea of sharing a table is blasphemous to some, but here it’s encouraged; a nice nod to traditional standards from that sweet ol’ land of Germany.
Cedar Springs Brewing
What I noticed immediately about both the beer and the food menu is the obvious dichotomy between old world and new. German fare is designated on one side of the menu labeled Bavarian Menu. The standard American fare is on the opposite side. Though it can be an uncommon practice to visually separate food types, by doing so, Cedar Springs seems to beg the question, “Are you craving a traditional or a modern approach today?”
The divide is further pronounced with the beer offerings. At the tap handles behind the bar, German beers are labeled as “Küsterer” while the American style beers are given the Cedar Springs Brewing Company logCedar Springs Brewingo. The same structure is found on the actual menu.
Since I already had a German style Weissbier in front of me, I couldn’t help but choose the “traditional” route for my food.
Knoblauchsuppe, or rather, garlic soup is the first item on my list. Personally I usually steer away from anything directly garlicky because of the pungent flavors that will emanate and haunt me the rest of the night. However, this soup contains all the lovely flavors of garlic without the effective scent left behind. This mouth-watering, perfectly salted soup was so delicious that I ended up ordering another. My advice? Order this soup and wash it down with the Küsterer Original Weissbier. I found it to be a nice little pairing.
Up next was the Leberkäse, a seared Bavarian pork loaf that comes with a sunny side-up egg, greens, mustard, and bread. Salty and savory, it was just begging for a beer. I paired this dish with the Küsterer Salzburger Märzen so the lovely and subtle lager could wipe out the salt and fat and cleanse my palate.
Cedar Springs Brewing
Though I didn’t eat more from the menu that day, one item in particular called attention to itself. On the American fare portion of the menu was a sandwich that I believe is worth noting and bringing friends back in for. I’m talking about The Monstrosity Burger.
Coming in at $33.50 and recommended to be eaten by 2-4 people, this insane burger invites a great challenge that is likely to be met with wide eyes and cheers from fellow beer drinkers in the hall. The burger itself is a “Lumbertown burger with sloppy Shaun, pub pulled pork, wager smoked brisket, bacon, american cheese, smoked cheddar, gouda cheese, memphis class sauce, fried egg, crispy onions, and tomato on a classic bun. Comes with a ½ lb of flannel fries and two whole chicken wings”. Indeed!
Turning our focus toward the malty liquids, I’d like to leave you off with my brief impressions of a couple beers that were on tap for the day. Though the variety and amount of beer available is still on the lighter side due to the opening, I want to point out that the styles produced here just so happen to be beers you’d want to drink several glasses of anyway.
The Küsterer Original Weissbier is a pretty little weizen that is indeed quite hazy and a deep amber in color. A white head sits on top and takes its time disintegrating in my glass. Bread and lemon are the most prominent flavors and aroma. A hint of clove lingers in the background of this traditional and comforting beer.
Cedar Springs Brewing
Cedar Springs Yinzers Roundabout IPA was a collaboration beer with Roundabout Brewing from Pittsburgh. This clear and burnished gold colored IPA was quite well balanced and thirst-quenching for an American style IPA. It provided light floral and honey notes along with a layered bready character that binds it all together. It’s pleasantly and balancing-ly bitter throughout, though that’s not the defining feature of the brew. The malt provides a bread-like sweetness that balances the almost European-esque display of hops, though I know the varieties used actually originate from New Zealand and the United States. Overall it’s a pretty beer that lends plenty of opportunity for pairing in the future.
Cedar Springs is now home to a 15-barrel system brewery that is owned by David Ringler and hasbrewing operations run by head brewer, Matt Peterson, previously of Schlafly Beer of St. Louis. It appears to me that they have a long and wonderful road ahead of them, despite the normal hiccups of any new operation. I was delighted to make an appearance and I’m already parched sitting here thinking about that Weissbier. Should you see me in the brewery on my next visit, please join me at my table for a well deserved “Prost!” to Cedar Springs Brewing Company.
 

GRAND RAPIDS – I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.  Not just your average ice cream though – ice cream beer.

Two completely different products, both delivered in a pint, combined forces to support one common goal: to protect our winters against climate change.  New Belgium Brewing Company and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream collaborated to make both of their pints pair together to make a Salted Caramel Brownie two ways.  One being a new delicious flavor packaged in an ice cream pint for Ben & Jerry’s, called Salted Caramel Brown-ie Ale, while the other is constructed into a beer, called Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale, delivered in a pint glass for New Belgium.  

This past Monday, New Belgium and the West Michigan Environmental Council (WMEAC) put the pints together. Asher Attick, Michigan Field Marketing Manager for New Belgium and Nicholas Occhipinti, Director of Policy and Community Activism for WMEAC, served up pour overs, or beer floats, at an event called “Pour Over Climate Sessions.”  

A sweet beer seems to be the beer of choice for the float.  Yet one ends up with a double sweet overload. This mistake does not happen with The Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale.  It has enough of the sweet notes subtly peeking through, but it doesn’t overpower the delicious sweetness we all love from Ben and Jerry’s. The perfect sweet success story.

Success also comes through Attick’s duty in Michigan to work with local nonprofits and community outreach, tying it into the regional and national programs that New Belgium is running as a whole.

“We always feel at the size we are, when we go into a new state, it is going to make an impact. And the last thing we ever want to see is a negative impact.  Beer is a competitive business––that is never going to change. We feel it is important going into communities and lending a helping hand to make positive change.  Especially when it is something we strongly believe in as a brewery, like climate change,” stated Attick.

The two brands together with their pints are encouraging communities to write letters to their Governors about the importance of  climate change––not only what may become of our climate in the future, but how it is impacting each and every one of us today.

“Right now in Michigan, there is major climate legislation that is about to come to the forefront, and the only way the politicians care is if you tell them they care. The Fruit Ridge in Michigan was devastated two years ago, and Michigan has already had six 1,000 year floods in the last several years,” Occhipinti said.

With a climate continuing to have patterns of freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw, our crops will suffer.  That means there could be no hops, there could be no apples and there could be no grapes for the libations we love dearly.  As much as we may all love mild winters and dry summers, our crops do not.  No crops means no beer.  No beer means lots of unhappy locals.

Monday night’s event held letter stations, where people were encouraged to fill out a Mad Lib-styled letters to send to Governor Snyder about what is important to them about climate change and the issues that matter specifically to Michigan. At the end of the program, Attick is taking the handwritten letters and mailing them to the Governor Snyder.  Right now there are over 200 letters that will be mailed and end up on the desk of Governor Snyder.  

The donations from the event went directly to benefit WMEAC but from a national standpoint, for every pint of ice cream sold and every 6-pack, a dollar from each benefit #ProtectOurWinters. Buy both to make some beer floats at home and protect our four seasons!

Sponsored by New Belgium – Michigan


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