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.

farmers market

The popular local market will kick off on Thursday, June 20

 

CEDAR SPRINGS, MI  — Cedar Springs Brewing Company has announced that its summer farmers market will return for the third year.

The market will take place on Thursdays from 3-7 p.m. starting June 20 and running through September. Vendors will set up in the Heart of Cedar Springs—a grass lot behind the fire station on Maple Street in Cedar Springs near the German-inspired brewery.

farmers market“We’re excited to bring back our farmers market and once again share quality, locally made goods with the rest of the Cedar Springs community throughout the summer,” said David Ringler, Director of Happiness at Cedar Springs Brewing Co.

The local market features vendors from all over West Michigan selling fruits, vegetables and other value-added homemade products. This year’s edition will welcome new vendors as well as returning favorites such as Newton’s Family Farm, Dorothy and Toto’s Kettle Corn and Busy Mom Bakers.

Pets are also welcome to accompany their owners to the market.

“Bring your leashed fur babies for an afternoon of shopping!” Ringler said.

The CSBrew Farmers Market will coincide with the brewery’s popular recurring Jeep Night—a gathering of Jeep enthusiasts featuring live music and product displays. This summer’s Jeep Night series will begin June 20 at 6:00 p.m.

More community events at the market will be unveiled throughout the summer.

A new event series launching this summer, Dream Ride Night, will celebrate classic, modified and fun rides on two or four wheels. It will begin June 18th.

“Keep an eye on our website and social media for updates on upcoming market events,” Ringler  said.

The CSBrew Farmers Market is currently looking for sponsors. If you or your business is interested in sponsoring the market, or a market event, please reach out to opportunity@csbrew.com for more information.

big lake

Holland Brewery’s summer releases focus on Michigan outdoor pastimes 

 

HOLLAND, Mich. – Michigan summers are defined by outdoor adventuring, days spent in the woods or trips to the “Big Lake.” Big Lake Brewing, one of the fastest-growing craft breweries in Michigan, just announced two new IPAs for the summer months that capture the flavor of Michigan summertime activities—Lake King, an American IPA, and Camper, a New England IPA.

In a reference to reeling in that prized King Salmon on the Great Lakes, Lake King is an American IPA brewed with Columbus hops, which presents a clean, bright lemony flavor. Featuring a King Salmon on the label, Lake King is the perfect complement to take out on the boat during a fishing trip on Lake Michigan, or on one of Michigan’s many inland lakes.

big lakeCamping culture is the defining character of Michigan’s summer and autumn months. Whether you’re camping in a tent, trailer, RV, cabin or just under the stars, Big Lake celebrates getting out into nature with Camper, a bold, New England IPA. With its blast of citrus-forward hops and a hazy color, Camper is the perfect beer for summers around the campfire at our beautiful campgrounds throughout the state.

“We take our inspirations from Michigan’s amazing natural resources and outdoor activities, and combine what makes them great, with the beers we like to drink,” said Travis Prueter, co-founder of Big Lake Brewing. “We love the pride and the connection our customers feel when they drink a beer named after a favorite activity or place in our beautiful state.”

Big Lake recently announced a 50 percent brewing expansion with two new 30-barrel fermenters and a new brite tank, increasing the brewery’s overall output to 5,000 barrels per year. Since opening in 2013, Big Lake has grown more than 400 percent, and recently landed on the Brewers Association list of fastest-growing independent and craft breweries in the United States, one of only two Michigan breweries on the list.

Lake King and Camper are now in distribution across the entire state, in retail stores through Imperial Beverage, and on draft in bars and restaurants.

 

About Big Lake Brewing

Big Lake Brewing is a craft brewery located on 7th St. in downtown Holland, Mich. The taproom has more than 15 taps, always full of handcrafted beer in a variety of styles, made by a passionate team of brewers who love to experiment. The brewery also offers a full hand-crafted lunch and dinner menu in the taproom, focusing on pizzas, sandwiches, salads and more, all made from scratch with the same care and love as their beer.

 

tour program

COMSTOCK, Mich. – One of the best brewery tours in the U.S. just got even better.

Bell’s Brewery debuted a handful of improvements that have been in the works for months as part of enhancing its tour program.

Bell’s tour guests can now explore the history of one of the oldest craft brewers east of the Mississippi River with a comprehensive 50-foot timeline. They can also be able to purchase exclusive merchandise and see pieces of Bell’s history like the soup pot that started it all.

Bell’s tour program was voted as one of the best in the country by the readers of USAToday as part of its 10Best series in April. Bell’s finished second and was the only Midwest brewery to make that list.

“These installations will enhance our ability to tell our story with visual elements and pieces of our history – a more complete experience,” said Shelly Claflin, Bell’s Tour Manager. “We’ve literally added a huge splash of color to our tour space with this new timeline exhibit and are very excited to take the visitor experience to the next level. Providing stellar hospitality while sharing the story of Bell’s will continue to be cornerstones of our tour program.”

All tours are free and open to all ages. For those of legal drinking age, samples are included as you browse and learn about Bell’s history.

Other improvements include additional seating, the upcoming addition of a selfie station and plaques detailing the history of fermenters that were once used at the Stroh Brewery Co. in Detroit.

Bell’s tours blend an extensive knowledge of the brewery and craft beer with incredible storytelling as it welcomes tens of thousands of guests every year. The Eccentric Café, Bell’s original brewery in downtown Kalamazoo and its main brewery seven miles east in Comstock, are destinations for craft beer fans from around the world.

Behind-the-scenes brewery tours have also returned for the summer. Guests can tour areas not typically seen on regular tours on Thursday evenings. Reservations for all tours can be made here.

ABOUT THE BELL’S TOUR PROGRAM 

Free tours (all ages welcome) are held Wednesday through Sunday at Bell’s main brewery in Comstock and on weekends at its original downtown Kalamazoo brewery.

Each Comstock tour includes free samples for those 21 and up. Specialty tours are also offered throughout the year. Examples include a Hopslam and Two Hearted focused tour as well as special Reach for the Sun tours on Oberon Release Day. These specialty tours are limited and sell-out fast.

Each Bell’s brewery tour covers the history of Bell’s and brewing throughout the years in addition to sustainability, packaging, ingredients, quality and more.

Free tours can be reserved at bellsbeer.com.

thornapple brewing

Microbrewery, winery, distillery and restaurant to unveil expansion on June 15

 

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. — Thornapple Brewing Company has announced the grand re-opening of its newly expanded space on 28th Street in Grand Rapids. The microbrewery, winery, distillery and restaurant has added 4,000 square feet to its footprint, allowing room for more guests and more beverages on tap.

The unveiling comes on the brewery’s second anniversary. There will be a party to celebrate the occasion on June 15.

The expansion has doubled the floor space in the brewery’s front of house and comes with 90 additional seats in the taproom.

“We reached a point where expanding was necessary,” said Jeff Coffey, co-owner of Thornapple Brewing Company. “With added space and seating, customers won’t have to wait in line anymore.”

Included in the expansion are a game area with darts and corn hole and a quieter section for those who just want to come in for a beer and conversation while others are enjoying live music on the weekends. The space can also be used for private events hosting up to 100 people.

Thornapple has also added a 14-tap bar, bringing the brewery’s total number of taps to 40. The expansion also comes with a new 400 square foot cooler, which will increase the brewery’s production capacity.

“We’ll be able to have a lot more varieties on tap and get more beer out into distribution,” said Eric Fouch, co-owner.

The anniversary party and grand re-opening will feature live music, indoor and outdoor games and slushie machines with housemade wine and mead slushies.

“Headbrewer Sebastian Henao will have new beers on tap to help fill in those 14 new taps,” Fouch said.

Thornapple will release its first bourbon for the occasion as well.

“The Thornapple Artisan Spirits Bourbon is a very smooth, corn forward, slightly sweet bourbon aged in oak barrels for at least one year,” Fouch said.

Coffey, a native of Green Bay and life-long Packer fan, has decorated the new space with some of his personal Packer memorabilia, including a football signed by Bart Starr. The lounge will feature “up north” themed decor as well.

“Both Eric and I enjoy the great outdoors and like to bring a bit of that to the brewery,” Coffey said.

Guests can watch Packers and Lions games in the new space all season long. All games will be shown on projection TVs.

“The Lions’ home at Thornapple Brewing Company will be in the main seating area and Packers’ home turf will be in the lounge area,” Coffey said.

Thornapple Brewing Company is the area’s only full-service microbrewery, winery, distillery and restaurant.

“We like to do a lot of things, and when we do them, we do them well,” Coffey said. “Most breweries don’t have a distillery, and we’ve got a good one. Our gin is tasty, our vodka is clean. I’ve never heard a bad word about our whiskey, and our bourbon will be the same.”

Three Thornapple beers, two ciders and one perry won awards at national and international competitions this year.

Coffey said Thornapple’s staff is to thank for the brewery’s success in its first two years.

“Our management, servers and kitchen staff work hard together to make sure our customers are happy,” Coffey said.  “On busy nights it’s like an orchestra.”

broad leaf beer

Opinion

Can Brewery Vivant’s “Weird Cousin” Grow on Their Own?

 

Brewery Vivant has earned their reputation and respect from the industry and consumers for good reason. Their commitment to community, sustainability, and inclusive company culture are impressive and admirable. In 2010, they introduced West Michigan to Belgian and French-inspired farmhouse ales and have kept us hooked. They prove that a brewery’s food can—and should be—just as good as their beer. C’mon, by now, if you haven’t had their duck nachos, burger cooked medium-rare, or a dessert by their house pastry chef… Sorry, where were we?

When Vivant announced the recent grand opening of Broad Leaf Local Beer., they gave it a seemingly endearing and harmless nickname that created two things: interest and expectations. Other media outlets latched onto these low-hanging buzzwords, too. Before the doors had a chance to open, Broad Leaf came off as if it was already in the shadows of their otherwise presumed more mature relative. In some variation, headlines baited: Broad Leaf Local Beer, Brewery Vivant’s “Weird Cousin,” Opens.

broad leaf beer

Playful? Perhaps. Accurate? Eh… Time will tell. The hangup now, for me though, is that I’m struggling to unsee them.

When I visited Broad Leaf on the first day they were open to the public, I wanted to be weirded out. A weird version of something related to Vivant? Yes, please! Instead, I found myself trying to figure out where Vivant left off and Broad Leaf began.

And, yes—to be fair, I realize this was their first day. But, if you’re going to self-proclaim your own nickname, even in jest, you gotta come out swinging. Give us something strange, mysterious, unusual.

Broad Leaf’s location in Kentwood is a well-needed reprieve from big-box retailers and fast food chains on a crowded 28th Street. It definitely looks different than Vivant. Where it deviates from Vivant’s intimacy and distinct, inherited architecture, it makes up for in hip, industrial open-format simplicity. Bonus points for their clever use of shipping containers. It feels like you’re in the heart of a city on the come-up rather than a stark strip mall of sorts. I like where the place seems to be headed.

The interior is pointed in a direction that could get weird. The color palette used throughout is fun, and the couple pieces of hanging tapestries are trendy enough to start giving off a vibe that’s right on. Their intent is to decorate the walls with local artwork. There’s so much space to play with—if maximized just right, it should help tie the room together. When the kitchen opens later this summer I’m hopeful that if their food is half as good as Vivant’s—and fingers crossed a little daring—it will also help them better demonstrate the experience they’re promising.

Upon closer examination, however, things got a little blurry. Namely, with the beer list. Based on what the press was recycling in advance of their opening, the beers were supposed to be, rightfully so, the lynchpin in distinguishing Broad Leaf from Vivant. In a press release from Vivant, owner Jason Spaulding explains, “With the development of new hop varieties, new beer styles, and emerging brewing techniques we wanted to push the creative line and participate in this new wave of craft.” Jon Ward, creative director, supports Spaulding’s vision, “…with the opening of Broad Leaf we have a whole new corner of the map to explore—beyond the edges of the map in some ways.” I was excited when I read this. Toss the map and carve your own path, I say!

But… out of the 13 beers available on draft, four were clearly designated “Vivant beers,” and a handful of the remaining nine have either been in rotation or were currently still on tap at Vivant.

broad leaf beer

For those Vivant loyalists paying close attention, two were most recognizable. Pugs! Pugs! Pugs! Pugs! Pugs! King of the Metal (Cowboys) is a green-colored juicy “Weird IPA” with Blue Razz slushy mix. It was listed under Broad Leaf beers while Rage the Dulcimer, a barrel-aged stout with grilled pineapple, salt, and chocolate, was listed under Vivant Beers. I drank both at Vivant three weeks prior during their second annual Weird Beer Weekend. My lips hadn’t touched a beer yet at Broad Leaf, and I couldn’t help but scratch my head.

While Broad Leaf is still putting the finishing touches on installing their own brew system on site, Vivant’s team of brewers has been pulling double duty to stock Broad Leaf’s draft lines. I can respect that. Utilize your established resources to help launch your new project. But, also be mindful to allow your protégé to shine in their own light.

While we unknowingly have already seen many of Broad Leaf’s beers piloted under Vivant’s roof (and name) in preparation for Broad Leaf’s opening, this is also precisely where the momentum behind their inauguration, for me, stalled. Although the beers I drank that were labeled “Broad Leaf” were quite good and crafted with expertise, aside from a tease of different hop varieties and the absence of Vivant’s signature use of Belgian yeast, I didn’t know whose beer I was really drinking. Was it a leftover Vivant beer repackaged as a new, different brewery, or was it an accurate representation of who Broad Leaf is to become? I hope that the latter is the one that matters to both breweries in question.

I trust Vivant, and I want to love Broad Leaf, but I believe one thing needs to happen sooner than later, even if that means a refined, shorter draft list in the interim: Broad Leaf’s identity and beers need to be distinctly independent from Vivant. Otherwise, Broad Leaf may risk being known only as Vivant’s other brewery. If Broad Leaf was instead marketed as, let’s say, Vivant Experimental—where peculiar and quality are concocted, I believe both endeavors could get away with much more. But, if Broad Leaf is going to be positioned as its own brewery, it deserves its own persona, too.

broad leaf beer

You can’t fault Vivant for pursuing a second location. For space alone, it satisfies their need for additional cold and dry storage while alleviating space restrictions within their original footprint in East Hills. To further capitalize on the move, creating a second brewery is a smart no-brainer. Another brewery in the family unlocks accessibility for a whole new audience and convenience for those who crave something Vivant, but want to save a trip downtown. After all, their success has allowed for Broad Leaf to exist

Still, the underlying question begs whether Broad Leaf will be able—and whether Vivant will allow it—to own an identity distinct and distinguished enough from their older and wiser normal cousin.

 

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