gray skies

 

Grand Rapids, Mich – Gray Skies Distillery released their first straight rye whiskey November 7 and will follow shortly with a limited-edition release of their Breakfast Bourbon on November 20. Both spirits will be available for purchase in their tasting room and through licensed retailers, bars and restaurants around Michigan via statewide distribution. Michigan Straight Rye Whiskey was aged in charred new, oak barrels for over two years and bottled at 90 proof. Breakfast Bourbon was aged over two years and bottled at 87 proof. Breakfast Bourbon spent time in two different barrels, starting in in charred new, oak barrels before it was finished for 9 months in maple syrup casks. These two whiskeys bring the total number of American whiskeys Gray Skies Distillery offers up to five: Michigan Straight Rye Whiskey, Breakfast Bourbon, Breakfast Rye, Single Malt Whiskey and Michigan Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Each Gray Skies Distillery whiskey is painstakingly made from grain in 500-gallon batches. Gray Skies proudly uses an inefficient pot still for its whiskeys to maintain maximum flavor at the expense of productivity. Each whiskey is double distilled before resting in barrels on-site for years. With five premium American whiskeys available and a growing, aging whiskey stock Gray Skies Distillery continues to define Michigan craft whiskey.

“Michigan Straight Rye Whiskey is a perfect complement to the coming cold weather. It’s the ultimate cocktail whiskey with a strong rye backbone that stands up to other ingredients” said Steve Vander Pol, co-owner of Gray Skies Distillery. “Because this is a straight whiskey, no additional flavors were added. My tasting notes include figs, chocolate, black pepper and cinnamon. This flavor profile was created using only grain, water, yeast and time in oak barrels.”

“Breakfast Bourbon offers a playful twist on a typical bourbon whiskey. Unlike our rye, this is not a straight spirit. We infused maple flavor into the whiskey by taking a traditional bourbon and finishing it for 9 months in a barrel that was previously used to age maple syrup,” Vander Pol continued. “The maple finish amplifies the sweetness inherent in bourbon whiskey and imparts a creamy mouthfeel to the viscous finished spirit. These whiskey releases expand our craft whiskey offerings to five distinct spirits, highlighting what a small batch distillery can do.”

Gray Skies Distillery was named Michigan Distillery of The Year in 2016 at the 7th annual New York International Spirits Competition on the strength of its gold medal winning Barrel Finished Gin. The Gray Skies Distillery line up of spirits are currently available in hundreds of licensed retailers, bars and restaurants around Michigan. Distribution is currently limited to Michigan, but the distillery hopes to expand into additional states with future whiskey releases.

 

About Gray Skies Distillery:

Grain to glass, locally made in Grand Rapids.

At Gray Skies Distillery, we don’t try to be everything to everyone. Instead, we focus our attention on our process, flavors, environment and those looking for the unexpected. We take pride in introducing traditional spirits – like gin, whiskey and rum – with a surprising flavor twist, making them unique to Gray Skies Distillery. Our small-batch process is married with traditional methods to create a spirit that is innovative and exceptional in quality. We are committed to working with local businesses whenever possible to craft our flavor-forward spirits. From local malted barley to repurposing Michigan maple syrup barrels, our innovative ingredients push the limits on what good spirits truly embody.

 

issues and ales

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Harmony Hall will host a night of political discussion focused on the highly anticipated upcoming midterm election. Michigan Radio’s next installment of “Issues & Ale” will take place in the hall on Wednesday, October 24 from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

“We’re making it easy to do your civic duty. Get informed while enjoying a delicious Harmony beer!” said Heather Van Dyke-Titus, co-owner of Harmony Brewing Company.

Issues & Ale is an ongoing event series designed to get the public talking about issues in Michigan in an informal environment. The events take place throughout Michigan Radio’s listening area and are always free to attend.

michigan radio

It’s Just Politics co-host Zoe Clark will host a panel of Grand Rapids political experts in a discussion about the upcoming midterm election. On November 6, Michiganders will elect a new governor and attorney general, select candidates in a number of contested races in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and vote on three statewide ballot proposals.

“This will be a fun and fast-paced discussion about some of the key races and ballot issues that people across Michigan will be voting on in the November midterm election,” said Steven Chrypinksi, marketing director for Michigan Radio.

Audience members will also have the opportunity to pose questions about the election to the panel.

“We’ve been talking to so many people who are feeling desperate for constructive, respectful dialogue about politics and the issues that impact all of us,” Van Dyke-Titus said. “We wanted to provide a forum for that conversation to happen.”

Van Dyke-Titus, a lifelong listener of NPR, looks forward to hosting the event in the midst of a tense political atmosphere.

“I’m thrilled to be able to collaborate with an institution that I value and respect so much,” Van Dyke-Titus said. “I’m also excited that the theme of the night is a preview for the midterm elections. I can’t remember a time when an election felt more important.”

 

gr tuks

While not quite as fast as a speeding bullet, a Tuk can turn more necks than Superman. When hanging with Austin and Jaleen Dingledine, owners of GR Tuks, you do start to feel a little like a hero. As we zipped down Cherry St. toward Brewery Vivant, people literally cheered like we just stopped a crime. Nope. We’re simply drinking and soaking up the city’s sights, and a ride in the Tuk is by far the most thrilling way to go about it.

So what’s a Tuk? A Tuk is an anachronistic machine. It looks like a vehicle Elon Musk would construct from Fred Flintstone’s blueprints. And yet theirs are state of the art, 100% electric, with a bumping sound system as well.

OK, so why a Tuk?

gr tuks

Jack, Jaleen & Austin

“The idea stemmed from my sister’s travelling and experiences with Tuk Tuks, specifically in Thailand,” Austin said. “From her first encounter with a Tuk, she knew this experience had to be shared with Grand Rapids.” While the ones abroad tend to come in technicolor, the Dingledines chose classic white and a wider body. “Our tuks are super luxurious compared to any other Tuk I’ve been on,” Jaleen said. “And I’ve been on a lot of Tuks!”

Aside from these minor discrepancies, Austin and Jaleen have wholly imported this mode of transport to a T. Clocking in at a top speed of 25 mph, when the Tuk gets moving it feels like you’re on safari but the lions and giraffes are Grand Rapids’ best breweries. I had a blast going on an abridged version of the Beer City Tour with the Dingledines and learning more about the story behind GR Tuks.

Beginning at Craft Beer Cellar, the bottle shop/bar makes for the perfect pickup point where riders can snag a couple cans before hitting the road. Unlike the beerless folk you see pedalling on the Beer City Cruiser, a tuk isn’t a dry vessel. Yes it’s legal to drink – and a hard selling point. Like getting away with something you shouldn’t, it’s hard to overstate how awesome open-air drinking is as you nod at passers by, Two Hearted in hand. Austin, who works in insurance as well, acknowledged that while the license isn’t cheap, it’s totally worth it. “Honestly it’s a see to believe situation to really grasp the experience.”

While it was only the three of us in the Tuk, you could max it out with a group of six if you’re looking to achieve the clown car effect. It’s cozy but not cramped—imagine cruising the open road on a mini-pontoon. “The seating positions of the Tuks fosters great conversation and camaraderie,” Austin said. Or if you want to build a caravan, rent both Tuks and tear up the town with a full squad. The full $250 two-hour Beer City tour includes pit stops at Brewery Vivant, City Built, and New Holland’s Knickerbocker—each location satisfying a different gustatory itch. Split the cost among friends and, bingo, you have an affordable and unforgettable night on your hands.  

The timely tour right now—and there’s still time to book one—is the ArtPrize route. Starting at 6pm outside the Harris building, the Tuk shuttles you about to the city’s best venues. It’s a killer alternative to wearing out your sneakers trying to find all this juried selections. “The ArtPrize tours have been solid gold,” Jaleen said. “It’s unreal the amount of art our customers are able to see in two hours.” It’s clear the Dingledines take the competition seriously. This year they transformed their sister vehicle, the Grand Rapids Beer Trolley, into a mobile ArtPrize entry titled The Last Rhinos. Canvassed by artist Dan Kopas, the piece intends to spread awareness on the rising rate of Rhino poaching. Keep your eyes peeled for the trolley as it stampedes across Grand Rapids.    

While fun and connection are crucial tenants of GR Tuks, family is what binds the business together. The brother sister combo works wonders, “We come from different backgrounds and strengths,” Austin said. “We have certainly discovered what roles are best fit.” Most importantly, they’re a welcoming duo who are genuinely interested in facilitating a good time. “It’s not everyday someone forms a relationship with a family who owns a Beer Trolley and a pair of Tuk Tuks!” Getting to know the Dingledines is half the fun, and the other half, well, you’ll just have to hop on a Tuk to experience the zaniness firsthand.

 

ichabod

Holland, Mich. — It may not feel like it yet, but the crisp breezes, changing leaves and chilly nighttime bonfires of autumn are fast approaching. So signals the return of Ichabod, New Holland Brewing Company’s classic pumpkin beer, which is slated to appear in bars and restaurants starting August 13.

The beer will be tapped in New Holland’s Grand Rapids and Holland pubs startingSeptember 4.

IchabodIchabod is a pumpkin ale brewed with real pumpkin, malted barley, cinnamon and nutmeg. This marks the beer’s twenty-first year in New Holland’s lineup. In that time, it has become a heavily anticipated seasonal release.

“Ichabod was one of the first beers we ever brewed,” said Brett VanderKamp, Founder at New Holland Brewing Company. “It’s been an absolute favorite for us at the brewery, and our fans in Michigan and beyond, ever since.”

For the first time this year, consumers will be able to enjoy Ichabod in six packs of cans.

“We’re excited to have Ichabod come out in a can. This will be a perfect beer for sipping around the campfire and for tailgating,” Joel Petersen, Vice President of Sales at New Holland Brewing Company said.

Ichabod will be a limited release this year, making it available for a shorter period of time within the season. Petersen said this decision aims to make room for other fall flavors to shine and to allow Ichabod to be in the market during the peak of Fall.

“Fall, with all of its grandeur, offers many flavor profiles, including pumpkin, and we think people can and should explore,” Petersen said.

Many locations pouring New Holland’s Ichabod will also serve Filthy Pumpkin, a 60/40 combination of Ichabod and Dragon’s Milk that Petersen says is a mug club member favorite at New Holland’s pubs.

“When Ichabod comes out, it kicks off the anticipation for the amazing fall season we have here in the midwest,” Petersen said. “This is a beer that pairs well with sweatshirts, sunny days, cool nights and the smell of smoke from the fire pit.”

burning foot

Muskegon, Mich -– Muskegon’s Pere Marquette Beach will ignite on August 25, 2018, for the 4th Annual Burning Foot Beer Festival. Serving as Michigan’s only barefoot beer festival on the beach, festival goers can enjoy some of the finest craft beer found in the Great Lakes region, revel in local art and food, groove to local and national music acts, and take in the beautiful shoreline of Lake Michigan. Burning Foot will feature 70 breweries this year from Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.

A stellar lineup of music acts will be gracing the main stage with this year’s headliner to be Eve 6. The last two years, Burning Foot has featured the Sublime tribute band Badfish on the main stage. This year the festival will feature two of Sublime’s contributing members Michael “Miguel” Happoldt and Marshall Goodman “Ras MG” performing with the The Long Beach Dub Allstars. Local bands Mustard Plug and Flexadecibel will be returning to the festival this year, having both previously shared the Burning Foot stage in 2016. A new waterfront stage will be featured at the festival this year, with acoustic performances by Brett Dame and Brother James.

Another new aspect to the festival for 2018 is the approach to its food. In years past, they’ve curated some delicious custom menus, but now they’ll be getting 4 local restaurants involved to take the reigns. The official food vendors will be Hamburger Mikey, Rad Dads’ Taco & Tequila Bar, Bone Ends, and Fatty Lumpkins Sandwich Shack.

Burning Foot Beer Festival loves the community it’s located in, and in addition to working with local restaurants will also be involved with some wonderful non-profit organizations. Coming back again is Habitat for Humanity, who runs our Bike Valet, as well as Noah’s Project who operates the Shoe Check-In. (No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem!) The latest addition, Kid’s Food Basket, will be taking care of the new Pretzel Necklace area of the festival.

Brewery List:
Michigan:
Arbor Brewing Company
Arcadia Brewing Company Kalamazoo
Arclight Brewing Company
Atwater Brewery
Beards Brewery
Bell’s Brewery
Big Hart Brewing Co.
Big Lake Brewing
Brewery 4 Two 4
Brewery Vivant
Cedar Springs Brewing Company
Cellar Brewing Company
City Built Brewing Company
Craft House
Cranker’s Brewery
Dark Horse Brewing Co.
Distant Whistle
Draft Horse
Drafting Table Brewing Company
Elk Brewing: Grand Rapids
Fermenta
Fetch Brewing Company
Final Gravity Brewing Company
5 Lakes Brewing Company
Founders Brewing Co.
Grand Armory Brewing
Gravel Bottom
Greenbush Brewing Co.
Greyline Brewing Co.
Griffinclaw
Lansing Brewing Company
Latitude 42 Brewing Company
The Livery
Mountain Town Brewing Company
New Holland Brewing Co.
Newaygo Brewing Company
North Channel Brewing
North Pier Brewing Company
Odd Side Ales
Old Nation Brewing Co.
One Well Brewing
Open Road Brewing
Our Brewing Company
Paw Paw Brewing Company
Perrin Brewing Company
Pigeon Hill Brewing Company
Hudsonville Pike 51 Brewing Co.
Railtown Brewing Company
Right Brain Brewery
River’s Edge Brewing Co.
Rochester Mills Beer Co.
Rockford Brewing Company
Saint Ambrose
Saugatuck Brewing Company
Schmohz Brewing Co.
Short’s Brewing Company
Silver Harbor Brewing Company
Starving Artist Brewing Co
Stormcloud Brewing Company
Thornapple Brewing Company
Trail Point Brewing Company
Tri City Brewing Company
Triple Root
Unruly Brewing
Vander Mill
White Flame Brewing Co.

Wisconsin:
Sprecher Brewery
Milwaukee Brewing Company

Illinois:
Lagunitas Brewing Company Chicago
Revolution Brewing

 

ABOUT LAKESHORE BREWERS GUILD

The Lakeshore Brewers Guild promotes the local craft beer industry and the lakeshore’s natural beauty. As a supplement to the Michigan Brewers Guild, the Lakeshore Brewers Guild is focused on counties that touch Lake Michigan. States included are Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Throughout these counties, the guild is working with its members to build the “Lakeshore Ale Trail,” a region rich in craft breweries, natural beauty, and the economic benefits that flow from successful locally-owned and oriented businesses. Through these collaborative efforts, the Lakeshore Brewers Guild is becoming a driving force in supporting both its members and local economies.

 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., – Founders Brewing Co. announced today that they will release Curmudgeon’s Better Half as the fifth installment in the 2018 Barrel-Aged Series. Curmudgeon’s Better Half, an old ale brewed with molasses and aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels, is preceded by Dankwood, Backwoods Bastard, KBS and Barrel Runner in the series. This marks the first time the beer has been bottled since 2012.

What tames an old ale like Curmudgeon? The tender embrace of oak and sweet maple, that’s what. That’s right, Curmudgeon’s Better Half features the brewery’s recently retired old ale, Curmudgeon, as the base beer. Aged for months in bourbon barrels that have previously held maple syrup, the result is sweet, rich and utterly delicious.

“We’re tasked with bringing out a handful of new barrel-aged beers a year and some of them may be new inventions and others, like Curmudgeon’s Better Half, will be hits from the past,” said VP of PPIL/ Barrel Maestro, Jason Heystek. “This was a beer that needed to get back into the rotation.”

Curmudgeon’s Better Half will be available in 4-packs of 12oz bottles, 750mL bottles and on draft in the Grand Rapids and Detroit taproom beginning on August 24 and everywhere else later that month. It will have an SRP of $16.99/4-pack and $12.99/750mL bottle although prices will vary by market. 12.7% ABV and 35 IBUs.

“The flavor profile of Curmudgeon’s Better Half has lots of rich specialty grains, toasted malts, caramel malts, and, of course, the perfect hop balance” said Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki. “After that it spends some time in bourbon barrel which gives you vanilla and coconuts tones and the maple gives you the perfect amount of sweetness.”

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. Located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, Founders is a proud member of the Michigan Brewers Guild.

About the Barrel-Aged Series
Crafting legendary barrel-aged beers is an exercise in patience. We start by brewing complex, world-class beer worthy of time in a barrel. Then, our experience and years spent mastering our craft means we know exactly when it’s been aged to perfection. After one sip, you’ll know – it was worth the wait.

 

beer city pro-am

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.  — The Beer City Brewer’s Guild is hosting the second annual Beer City Pro-Am, a competition that pairs local award-winning homebrewers with microbreweries to create unique recipes to be brewed and shared with the public.

This year’s event brings together 25 of the area’s best homebrewers with Grand Rapids microbreweries. Qualifying homebrewers were selected from the winners of local homebrewing competitions.

“It’s a good chance to connect the homebrewing community and the craft brewing community, because there’s a lot of commonality there,” said Nick Rodammer, co-founder of the event and Pro-Am Committee chair. “It’s also a good chance for local homebrewers to get a little bit of exposure for the quality of the beer they are making.”

Entries will be tapped in participating microbreweries’ taprooms for public enjoyment starting July 30 through August 3.

“I think we have a lot of really interesting releases this year,” Rodammer said. Lagers, ales and a variety of fruit-infused styles make the list, which can be found on the Beer City Brewer’s Guild website.

The beers will be judged by a panel of local, qualified judges based on aroma, appearance, flavor and mouthfeel. The winner will be announced at the Beer City Brewer’s Guild’s annual summer picnic on August 11.

Competing brews will also appear in two tap takeovers. Horrocks Market Tavern will have five Pro-Am entries on tap on August 3 from 5-8 p.m. Logan’s Alley will have 18 of the collaborations on tap from August 10-13, including last year’s winning entry from City Built Brewing Company and homebrewer Paul Arends: Monroe Weiss.

City Built Brewing Company had only recently opened its doors when its collaboration with Arends won last year’s competition. Edwin Collazo, co-founder of City Built Brewing Company, said he was still very involved with the Grand Rapids homebrewing community at the time. Collazo said he can see how maintaining a connection with local homebrewers can benefit the larger brewing community.

beer city pro-am

“How much better will our beer get and how much more innovative will our breweries continue to be because we’re brewing with people who are doing five-gallon batches, reading Zymurgy and other homebrew magazines,” Callazzo said. “[Homebrewers are] super passionate about they do too, so I think the chance to collaborate with them is a great thing for Beer City as a whole.”

And because the Pro-Am competition pairs the best of the best with the professionals, team members have plenty of knowledge to offer.

“It’s truly a collaboration. We really learn from each other,” Rodammer said.

cedar springs

Cedar Springs, Mich. — Cedar Springs Brewing is proud to announce a new partnership with West Side Beer Distributing. The brewery’s historical and traditional Küsterer Bier brand lagers and ales are now available on tap at bars and restaurants in Kent County.

“We are very excited to partner with Cedar Springs Brewing Company and help grow the Küsterer brands’ distribution throughout the Kent County market,” said West Side Beer Distributing Key Account Manager Kyle Klopcic.

West Side Beer Distributing is a beer wholesaler based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The company provides Anheuser Busch products as well as over 40 craft and import beer brands to customers in the Grand Rapids, Lansing, Kalamazoo and Romulus areas.

In June, the distributor began providing Cedar Springs brews on draft at its retailers within Kent County.

“We are fortunate to have some outstanding wholesalers available within our home market, but we felt West Side was the best fit for us and will allow us to service our retail customers more efficiently,” said David Ringler, director of happiness at Cedar Springs Brewing Company.

cedar springs

Cedar Springs Brewing Company’s Küsterer Bier line is named for Christoph Kusterer, a German immigrant who arrived in West Michigan around 1844. One of the earliest brewers in Grand Rapids, Kusterer helped establish a brewing legacy that lasted over a century.

Cedar Springs Brewing Company pays homage to that legacy with their eponymous brand. The beers in the Küsterer Bier brand are brewed following German and Bavarian traditions and include a variety of Weissbiers (Hefeweizens), Pilsner, Märzen, Bocks, Dunkels and other lagers. Find them on draft throughout Kent County now.

“As evidenced by the numerous awards the beers have won, Küsterer brands are brewed to the highest standards, and we feel the traditional German styles fill a current void in the local craft beer market,” Klopcic said.