Seasonal favorite Ichabod returns this month with flavors of real pumpkin and spice

 

HOLLAND, Mich. – One of fall’s most legendary pumpkin ales rides again this month with the limited-release batch of “Ichabod” by New Holland Brewing Company, a West Michigan-based craft brewer and distiller.

Ichabod sets the mood for the season with the perfect blend of malted barley, real pumpkin and bewitching notes of cinnamon and nutmeg for a delicious and inviting brew. The result is an approachable and enjoyable beer with an alcohol content of 4.5%. The brew will be offered on tap at pubs across the Midwest and sold in six-pack cans ($9.99 MSRP) at major and specialty craft beer retailers. Ichabod’s label depicts the iconic and spooky “Headless Horseman” character with a wicked pumpkin in hand.

“We released Ichabod for the first time more than twenty years ago and it was one of the first beers we ever brewed,” said Joel Petersen, Vice President of Beer Sales. “The anticipation of this limited-batch ale remains one of our most anticipated releases every fall. For the second year, fans can find Ichabod in six-pack cans.”

To celebrate the Halloween season, New Holland Brewing will host two screenings of Tim Burton’s film, “Sleepy Hollow,” while tapping Ichabod at the events:

Oct. 12 – The Park Theatre in Holland, Mich.
Oct. 30 Halloween Eve – The Wealthy Street Theater in Grand Rapids, Mich.

For event details and more information about New Holland Brewing, visit newhollandbrew.com and follow along for news on upcoming announcements on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

long road distillers

New distillery Tasting Room to open in the heart of Downtown Grand Haven

 

Grand Haven, Mich. – Grand Rapids-based Long Road Distillers is set to open a new distillery tasting room in Grand Haven, Michigan this week. The lakeshore location will be the company’s second offsite tasting room apart from their headquarters on the West Side of Grand Rapids where they house their production facility, cocktail bar and restaurant. They also have a retail location in Boyne City.

Visitors to the new Grand Haven location will be able to enjoy an extensive lakeshore-inspired cocktail menu and a full food menu featuring snacks, share-ables, salads, sandwiches and more. Guests will also be able to sample Long Road’s line-up of award-winning spirits, participate in special tasting events, and purchase merchandise and bottles to-go.

long road“Our team is excited to finally join the Grand Haven community,” said Kyle VanStrien, Long Road Distillers Co-Founder and Co-Owner. “We’ve been working on a location here for nearly two years, and it’s certainly been a long road. We can’t wait to share what we’ve been able to build!”

Long Road Grand Haven is located at 18 Washington Ave, in the heart of the downtown business area, and less than a block from the waterfront. It features a new 6-seat bar and 40-seat dining area that opens to a 10-seat patio on the sidewalk with large, sliding glass doors.

“We’re excited to bring our curated experience to the lakeshore,” said Jon O’Connor, Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Long Road Distillers. “We look forward to adding something new and unique for the residents and visitors of Grand Haven to enjoy.”

An official grand opening and ribbon cutting will be held at 5:30 pm on Thursday, July 18. Going forward, the distillery will be open daily from 11a to 11p.

See the Cocktails and Kitchen menus, and to stay up to date on the Long Road – Grand Haven.

 

hawaii

Hawaiians can expect to see select Founders releases in cans and draft as soon as the end of July 2019

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., – Founders Brewing Co. has announced that they have partnered with Odom Hawaii – of the Odom Group and the GAB network of wholesalers – to bring their beer to the Aloha State. This marks the 50th state of distribution and successfully completes nationwide coverage for the 22-year-old brewery. Customers can expect to see select releases in draft and cans (as applicable) of All Day IPA, Solid Gold, Rubaeus and Breakfast Stout as early as the end of July.

“My partner Dave and I are very excited to announce that Founders will be heading to Hawaii!” said CEO and Co-Founder Mike Stevens. “It’s always a special time whenever we add a state of distribution and the fact that Hawaii is our 50th state makes it all the more worthy of celebration. It’s long been a dream of ours to see our beer across the US, and the fact that 22+ years later we’ve accomplished this is a testament to our Founders team and our amazing wholesaler partners. Tonight, we raise a glass to the Aloha state and thank everyone throughout America who’s helped us get to where we are today.”

“We’re thrilled to be a part of such a monumental milestone in the Founders Brewing Co. business,” said Vice President of Corporate Sales, Brandon Odom. “We value their partnership and are looking forward to the exciting times to come. Congratulations to Founders on the tremendous success of expanding their business across the entire United States. A truly well-deserved accomplishment!”

Launch events will be taking place as soon as the end of the month. To review information on the Founders lineup and release calendar, visit foundersbrewing.com

About Founders Brewing Co.
Established in 1997 by two craft beer enthusiasts—Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens—with day jobs and a dream, Founders Brewing Co. brews complex, in-your-face ales, with huge aromatics and tons of flavor. Founders ranks among the top 10 largest craft breweries in the U.S. and is one of the fastest growing. The brewery has received numerous awards from the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival and RateBeer and BeerAdvocate users often rate its beers among the best in the world. A proud sponsor of chasing the American dream, Founders launched the Chase Your What If campaign in January 2019 to inspire all beer fans to live life to its fullest. Located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, Founders is a member of the Michigan Brewers Guild.

 

oberon

COMSTOCK, Mich. – Bell’s Brewery signature summer beer, Oberon Ale, will get a new, temporary look to close out the summer.

Inspired by the 2019 Oberon mini-keg design, limited edition Oberon packaging has started shipping from the brewery. This refreshed look will be reflected across all Oberon packaging: 16 oz. cans (4-packs), 12 oz. cans (6-packs and 12-packs) and 12 oz. bottles (6-packs and 12-packs).

“This is a fun way to celebrate the different parts of the summer season… rest assured, it’s the same beer you’ve grown to know and love,” said Larry Bell, founder and president of Bell’s Brewery.

Oberon is available seasonally beginning in late March through August (Arizona and Florida are year-round distribution states).

 

oberon

One of Bell’s most popular beers, Oberon (5.8% ABV) is an American Wheat Ale fermented with Bell’s signature house ale yeast, mixing a spicy hop character with mildly fruity aromas. The addition of wheat malt lends a smooth mouthfeel. A classic summer beer, Oberon is only brewed with water, malt, hops and yeast.

This same beautiful imagery has also inspired some brand-new Bell’s merchandise that can be purchased online and in person from the Bell’s General Store.

For more information about where to enjoy those last few months of summer, check out Oberon cooking recipes, learn more about the history of the beer and more, visit bellsbeer.com.

ABOUT BELL’S BREWERY

Bell’s Brewery, Inc. began in 1985 with a quest for better beer and a 15 gallon soup kettle. Since then, we’ve grown into a regional craft brewery that employs more than 550 people over a 41 state area, in addition to Puerto Rico and Washington DC. The dedication to brewing flavorful, unfiltered, quality craft beers that started in 1985 is still with us today. We currently brew over 20 beers for distribution as well as many other small batch beers that are served at our pub in Kalamazoo, the Eccentric Cafe. Our ongoing goal is to brew thoughtfully, creatively and artistically. 100% family-owned and independent, we strive to bring an authentic and pleasant experience to all of our customers through our unique ales and lagers.

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. 

 

new holland spirits

The Michigan distillery announces plans to expand with new tasting room in scenic Lake Michigan town

 

SAUGATUCK, MICH. — New Holland Spirits has announced it is starting the construction of a new tasting room at 201 Culver Street in the heart of Saugatuck, Michigan. Pending regulatory approvals, the new location is scheduled to open in time for the July 4th celebration downtown.

“New Holland is thrilled to open up our first spirits-focused tasting room in Saugatuck.” said David White, Vice President of Retail Operations and Partner. “As neighbors along the lakeshore, we appreciate the unique atmosphere of Michigan’s coastal communities as destinations for great food and drinks. We can’t wait to become a part of Saugatuck’s vibrant downtown.”

The new tasting room is located across the street from Bowdie’s Chophouse and around the corner from The Butler restaurant. Its prime location in walkable downtown Saugatuck will make it an ideal destination for happy hour cocktails or an after-dinner nightcap.

new holland spiritsGuests will be able to taste and purchase New Holland’s award-winning spirits, including Knickerbocker Gin, Beer Barrel Bourbon and Lake Life Vodka, at the new location. The new space will serve some of New Holland’s most popular cocktails, as well as wine and cider. Select cocktails and limited run spirits will be available on draft. The tasting room will offer some light food options in the form of appetizers brought in from New Holland’s Pub on 8th in Holland, Michigan, including their Famous Beer Cheese and Crackers, Woodsman Platter, Spice Roasted Nuts and Hummus Platter.

Seating for 30 will be available indoors, and there will be 12 seats on the outdoor patio. The new space will be available to book for private events and parties for up to 35 people.

Visitors to the tasting room will be able to take home New Holland spirits in a variety of bottle sizes. Merchandise and cocktail bar essentials will also be available for sale in the retail space, making it a must-stop for the traveler in need of supplies.

New Holland Spirits has been creating fine craft spirits since 2005. The new tasting room in the popular lakeshore vacation destination allows the distillery to expand its footprint and reach a new audience.

“We are very excited to bring our own artistic expressions of craft spirits to Saugatuck’s vibrant art community. Our storefront at 201 Culver Street is easily accessible by car or by boat, and we will provide guests with a wide variety of bottles to go, handcrafted cocktails and a selection of wine and cider,” said Brett VanderKamp, president of New Holland.

two hearted

 

COMSTOCK, Mich. – Bell’s Brewery and two of its beers – Two Hearted Ale and Hopslam Ale – were recognized again in this year’s Best Beers in America survey from Zymurgy magazine.

Two Hearted was No. 1 in the Top-Ranked Beers category and Bell’s in whole was named top brewery.

This is the third consecutive year that Two Hearted has claimed this honor. It came in second to Russian River’s Pliny the Elder for seven straight years previously.

Hopslam Ale also placed in the top-ranked beers list tied at No. 7.

Now running in its 17th year, the survey asks members of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), which publishes Zymurgy, to choose up to five of their favorite commercial beers available for purchase in the U.S.

“Receiving this honor once, twice even was incredible. But a third time? I am speechless and incredibly thankful to the homebrewing community and everyone who has helped make this beer what it is today,” said Larry Bell, president and founder of Bell’s Brewery.

The full Best Beers in America list—which includes complete rankings on all the top beers, breweries and more is available at HomebrewersAssociation.org.

“Being selected as a winner for this esteemed list is no small feat. All of this year’s winners showcase exceptional flavors, expertly crafted by some of the greatest talent in the brewing industry,” said Gary Glass, director of the American Homebrewers Association. “I’d like to extend congratulations to all of this year’s winners and toast to their exemplary beers favorited by homebrewers and beer lovers alike.”

The AHA announced the results of this year’s survey in a press release.

“It is an honor to once again be awarded the top-ranking spots among so many great breweries and beers,” said John Mallett, Director of Operations at Bell’s Brewery. “Only the best Centennial hops, a commitment to quality by the entire Bell’s team, and the splendor of our home state are all part of the beauty of Two Hearted Ale. There is one other vital component, the beer lover. We are truly humbled to be recognized by the finest palates in homebrewing.”

The American Homebrewers Association has worked on behalf of the homebrewing community since 1978 and celebrates a membership of more than 46,000 homebrewers.

The Bell’s General Store has been supporting homebrewers in Kalamazoo and beyond since the 1980s and even, predates the brewery. Larry Bell founded the company originally as a homebrew supply store in 1983.

For homebrewers interested in replicating some of the winningest beers at home, the AHA provides clone recipes in Zymurgy and online, in the recipes section of the AHA website. Clone recipes for Bell’s beers, including Two Hearted, can be found at bellsbeer.com. Kits can also be purchased on the Bell’s online store.

 

 

single

The West Side brew hall announces new series of singles nights

Tired of using dating apps that implore you to swipe left or right and reduce yourself to a few flattering selfies and a one-sentence bio? Wish you could just meet and chat with other single people with a shared love of craft beer? You’re in luck.

Harmony Hall is taking the “e” out of “eHarmony” and making it easier for single craft beer enthusiasts to find a spark, face to face. The beer hall is hosting its first “Single & Ready to Mingle” event this Friday, June 21 at 7 p.m.

“Craft beer is a great conversation starter, and our space at Harmony Hall is a perfect place to mingle,” said Kristine Kaechele, event manager at Harmony Hall. “Join us for good beer, craft conversation and a fun, low-pressure environment.”

single

There will be no speed dating or games at this singles night. Instead, Harmony Hall will serve a special “Single & Ready to Mingle” flight, which will come with a flight sheet filled with craft beer-focused conversation starters. The flight will include a beer brewed just for the event.

“We were inspired by a consensus among members in the Facebook group DrinkGR who were single and wanted opportunities to bond over a shared love of craft beer,” said Harmony Hall co-owner Heather Van Dyke-Titus. “We wanted to offer a safe, gimmick-free space for single craft beer lovers to make a connection.”

It’s time you started looking for love in all the right places. Visit Harmony Hall this Friday evening and make a crafted connection with another appreciator of all things microbrew.

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