BELLAIRE — Nearly 200 leaders in the state’s craft brewing industry were present at the Michigan Brewers Guild annual conference at Shanty Creek Resort last week, where the inaugural “Tom Burns Award” – recognizing the pioneering spirit of the “Great Beer State” – was presented to Larry Bell of Bell’s Brewery.
Bell was one of four nominees for the award — the others being Ron Jeffries (Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales), Fred Bueltmann (New Holland Brewing Co.) and John Linardos (Motor City Brewing Works).
The award was named after Detroit and Mackinac Brewing Company founder and brewer, Tom Burns, who passed away of cancer May 1, 1994. Burns, a “recovering attorney” whose passion was brewing, is credited with many of the advancements in brewing legislation, rules, and regulations in the 1990s which paved the way for a thriving industry which is currently ranked #5 nationally.
“Burns truly was a pioneer for the Michigan brewing industry, and the Guild felt that naming this award after him was a great way to honor Tom as a person, while recognizing his legacy that has been the foundation for the ‘Great Beer State’,” said Eric Briggeman, president of the Michigan Brewer’s Guild.
Briggeman was joined by Priscilla Burns, Tom’s widow, and Tom Brandel, close friend and founder of Tom’s Oyster Bar, for the presentation.
“Each of the four nominees were qualified candidates for this award,” Briggeman said. “Yet, given the fact that Larry holds the oldest ‘microbrewery’ license in Michigan, and he worked very closely with Tom Burns on shaping our state’s brewing legislation in the early 1990s, we felt he was the clear choice as the recipient of this inaugural award.”
Bell’s daughter, Laura, accepted the award on his behalf. “Everyone in this room has been affected by Tom’s efforts back in the nineties. His push for, and success at getting brewpub language adopted in the state laws paved the way for what is now one of the most dynamic brewery scenes in the USA,” she said.
“Though Tom’s life was too short he left an important legacy that we all can honor and that honors us all. I was proud to call him a friend and I am proud of the Guild for honoring him today. So please, let’s raise our glass and toast Tom Burns.”
Bell opened Bell’s Brewery in 1985, with a 15-gallon soup kettle and $200. Since then, he has grown Bell’s into one of the largest regional craft breweries in the country. Bell has been actively involved in the craft beer industry — serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Brewing Studies and as a Board of Directors member for the Association of Brewers. He was also Inaugural President of the Michigan Brewer’s Guild. He currently is active as an Ex-Officio board member of the Beer Institute, as well as a member of the American Malting Barley Association Board of Directors. In 2010, Bell was honored with the Brewer’s Association Recognition Award.

GRAND RAPIDS — Founders Brewing Co.’s Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing, Dave Engbers, announced today that All Day IPA would be the next addition to the brewery’s year-round lineup, with availability limited to Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina and the greater Chicago area beginning on February 6.
All Day IPA is a session ale that has the traditional qualities of an India Pale Ale with significantly lower alcohol. At 4.7% ABV, the beer is highly drinkable, but maintains the intense tropical aromatics and complex flavors consistent with Founders’ portfolio.
This beer was in development for nearly three years before the brewery perfected it. Then, the All Day IPA recipe won the silver medal at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival. Due to capacity constraints and multiple expansions, Founders Brewing Company now feels they are prepared to launch their first year-round product since 2006. Limited distribution is due to the soft hop harvest. “We will never compromise a recipe in order to increase sales,” explains Engbers.
“It’s the beer that almost wasn’t,” says Co-Founder, President and CEO Mike Stevens. “It’s tough to brew and gave us more than one problem throughout its development. But then we realized that this is the beer we’d all been waiting for.”
Engbers adds, “We pride ourselves on only putting beers in bottles that we would pick out on the shelves ourselves — and we’re picky beer drinkers…it would be just wrong not to be bottle All Day IPA.”
The last beer that Founders added to its year-round six-pack and draft lineup was Red’s Rye PA in 2006.

GRAND RAPIDS — Founders Brewing Co.’s Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing, Dave Engbers, announced today that All Day IPA would be the next addition to the brewery’s year-round lineup, with availability limited to Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina and the greater Chicago area beginning on February 6.

All Day IPA is a session ale that has the traditional qualities of an India Pale Ale with significantly lower alcohol. At 4.7% ABV, the beer is highly drinkable, but maintains the intense tropical aromatics and complex flavors consistent with Founders’ portfolio.

This beer was in development for nearly three years before the brewery perfected it. Then, the All Day IPA recipe won the silver medal at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival. Due to capacity constraints and multiple expansions, Founders Brewing Company now feels they are prepared to launch their first year-round product since 2006. Limited distribution is due to the soft hop harvest. “We will never compromise a recipe in order to increase sales,” explains Engbers.

“It’s the beer that almost wasn’t,” says Co-Founder, President and CEO Mike Stevens. “It’s tough to brew and gave us more than one problem throughout its development. But then we realized that this is the beer we’d all been waiting for.”

Engbers adds, “We pride ourselves on only putting beers in bottles that we would pick out on the shelves ourselves — and we’re picky beer drinkers…it would be just wrong not to be bottle All Day IPA.”

The last beer that Founders added to its year-round six-pack and draft lineup was Red’s Rye PA in 2006.

GRAND RAPIDS — Curmudgeon’s Better Half is arriving just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Founders Brewing Co. announced this morning that Curmudgeon’s Better Half is the next release in the brewery’s Backstage Series, with availability Feb. 13.

Bottled in 750-milliliter bottles, there has been a great deal of anticipation and speculation on the upcoming Backstage release because of the success of the first two large bottle format releases: Blushing Monk and Canadian Breakfast Stout earlier in 2011. The purpose of the series is to bring some of Founders’ most sought after beers, which had previously been available primarily at the brewery taproom or at a few select events, to a much larger audience.

“It’s been a lot of fun to watch the beer enthusiasts speculate,” Founders’ President Mike Stevens said. “We really try to keep people guessing, but at the end of the day our focus has always been on making beers that over-deliver.”

Curmudgeon’s Better Half is a re-branding of the beer formerly known as Kaiser’s Curmudgeon, which has only been served at Founders’ taproom and in extremely limited draft distribution. Curmudgeon is an old ale brewed with molasses and aged on oak — it becomes Better Half after aging — for 254 days — in bourbon barrels that have more recently been aging Michigan maple syrup.

As a result, Curmudgeon’s Better Half is a bit sweeter than her miserly counterpart. Appropriately, the beer label depicts her holding a pitcher of syrup for the Curmudgeon’s breakfast, and is released at the perfect time of year to purchase for the Better Half in your life.

“The goal of the Backstage Series is to allow those beer enthusiasts who don’t have the ability to make it to our taproom an opportunity to experience some of the beers that, historically, have been limited to our taproom and a handful of high exposure events,” Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing Dave Engbers said. “Although these beers are not brewed in large volume, it is our intention to distribute them to all of our markets.”

The company is not revealing any additional releases in the series, but Engbers said it would consist of many of the “popular one-offs and possible big experiments” that have been offered in the taproom over the years and have become favorites among patrons and brewery staff.

The company expects to release two additional products in the Backstage Series later in 2012.

The series is dubbed “Backstage” because the releases are limited — and a response to the brewery’s diehard fans.

“To us, it’s kind of using the brewery as the stage,” Engbers says, making these brews backstage. “Releasing small specialty batches is a great way for us to connect to our core beer enthusiast.”

Fifteen years in the brewing business is definitely cause for celebration. While Tim Suprise and the crew at Arcadia Brewing Company celebrated the accomplishment, we took a taste at Arcadia’s XV and 15 brews — which take the common traits of an Arcadia brew — and add a bit of a kick.
So, we’ll start with Arcadia XV. A brown ale with cherries aged in oak wine barrels, XV has sour and tartness at the forefront. It pours a deep reddish, brown with a slightly substantial foamy head. The first sniff is reminiscent of a Shock Tart with apparent grape, cherry and sour scents.
At first taste, the tartness is at the forefront, followed quickly by sour and cherry, and tempered by a slight maltiness. There are definitely wine-like qualities. Smooth and creamy, it is a very drinkable brew with some prickliness from its carbonation. Throughout, the cherries are very apparent (but likely this is on purpose) and it’s not done in an overwhelming way because the balance is there.
For an aged brew, XV is more drinkable for those who wouldn’t normally try aged beer. Overall, it’s a very likeable brew and one we’d crack open again. Cheers.
Now, the 15 Ale is best described as XV’s “evil stepchild.” While the cherries once again surrounded each sip, everything else is kicked up a notch. The smooth brew pours a very dark brown color with a low head, and contains smells of malt, nut and chocolate.
The taste is just what you would expect from the smell. All of the flavors are balanced throughout — nothing dominates the other. The malt, nut and chocolate are surrounded by a hint of cherry sweetness. This is much flatter than the XV, which you would expect with it being a bourbon aged brew. But unlike most bourbon beers, this one doesn’t burn — rather it contains a moderately smooth finish.

Fifteen years in the brewing business is definitely cause for celebration. While Tim Suprise and the crew at Arcadia Brewing Company celebrated the accomplishment, we took a taste at Arcadia’s XV and 15 brews — which take the common traits of an Arcadia brew — and add a bit of a kick.

So, we’ll start with Arcadia XV. A brown ale with cherries aged in oak wine barrels, XV has sour and tartness at the forefront. It pours a deep reddish, brown with a slightly substantial foamy head. The first sniff is reminiscent of a Shock Tart with apparent grape, cherry and sour scents.

At first taste, the tartness is at the forefront, followed quickly by sour and cherry, and tempered by a slight maltiness. There are definitely wine-like qualities. Smooth and creamy, it is a very drinkable brew with some prickliness from its carbonation. Throughout, the cherries are very apparent (but likely this is on purpose) and it’s not done in an overwhelming way because the balance is there.

For an aged brew, XV is more drinkable for those who wouldn’t normally try aged beer. Overall, it’s a very likeable brew and one we’d crack open again. Cheers.

Now, the 15 Ale is best described as XV’s “evil stepchild.” While the cherries once again surrounded each sip, everything else is kicked up a notch. The smooth brew pours a very dark brown color with a low head, and contains smells of malt, nut and chocolate.

The taste is just what you would expect from the smell. All of the flavors are balanced throughout — nothing dominates the other. The malt, nut and chocolate are surrounded by a hint of cherry sweetness. This is much flatter than the XV, which you would expect with it being a bourbon aged brew. But unlike most bourbon beers, this one doesn’t burn — rather it contains a moderately smooth finish.


We sit down with founder and president Tim Suprise, of Arcadia Brewing Company, about the first 15 years of his brewery and expansion plans for the future.

While it may have looked like an ordinary day at Arcadia Brewing Company on Saturday, celebration was in the air.

That’s because the downtown Battle Creek brewery and restaurant celebrated 15 years in the beer business, making Saturday a day founder Timothy Suprise wasn’t certain he’d ever see.

“There were plenty of times you think that you’ve turned the corner and you still have a number of challenges ahead of you,” Suprise said. “There’s been a lot of twists and turns, but thankfully over the last few years we’ve had some excellent growth and that’s helped us to stay in the business for the long haul.”

During the brewery’s 15th Anniversary Party — a Scottish/Highland-themed Christmas celebration — patrons were entertained through the Yard of Ale Contest, a Celtic band and bagpipe music. The day also included Suprise’s annual recitation of Robert Burns’s “Address to a Haggis.”

“It’s our way of celebrating another year in the beer business,” Suprise said.

Of course, there was also the beer. Arcadia’s XV Anniversary Ale and 15 Anniversary Ale were limited edition sour browns available only at the party. Both brews were aged with cherries — the XV with wine barrels and the 15 with bourbon barrels. Additionally, three special taps were available at different times of the day, including Cereal Killer Barleywine, Russian Imperial Stout and Shipwreck Porter.

An English Barleywine with full-bodied malts and flavors of raisin and dates, Cereal Killer had hints of citrus-like hop bitterness. The Russian Imperial featured coffee, bitter-sweet chocolate and black licorice flavors with a hint of prunes. Lastly, Shipwreck was a Baltic-style porter aged for 12 months in a 10-year-old Kentucky bourbon oak barrel.

All in all, the day was reason to celebrate for Arcadia, a milestone for a brewery that Suprise now sees continuing its success in the next 15 years and well beyond.

“I think anyone who starts a business hopes and intends of their business to make it for the long term, but sometimes it’s a little bit more challenging,” he said. “We’re grateful for sure to be able to celebrate 15 years and also to do it in this community in Battle Creek. This has been a very good town for us.”

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