Currents events, gatherings, tastings, all around good times.

 

Lansing, Mich. — The 6th Annual Lansing Beer Fest is coming back to REO Town, Lansing on Saturday, June 16th on Washington Ave. between South St. and Elm St. from 4-9pm, with special VIP entry starting at 3pm.

This year’s festival features live music, just like years past. Headlining this year is Heart of Jordan , a local Lansing Hard Rock/Alt-Metal band, with supporting acts by the Jonestown Crows and Handsome Pete.

In addition to great music, this year’s festival is hosting 25 different breweries, cideries, and distilleries with 80 different selections to choose from. There will be several beer specific vendors.

Like last year, there will be a Giant Chess and Checkers set for more entertainment, and a Giant Connect Four has been added for extra fun.

The food choices are to be just as excellent with options from Shove It Pizza Truck, featuring the hottest pizza options, Ms. K’s Kitchen, with gluten-free options, and From Scratch Food Truck, serving fresh Mediterranean options. There’s sure to be a delicious option for everyone.

General Admission tickets (4pm entry) can be purchased in advance for $32 and $37 at the door, and includes a Logo Sampling Glass as well as 10 Sampling Tickets. VIP tickets (3pm entry) can be purchased in advance for $42 and includes a Logo Sampling Glass plus 15 Sampling Tickets.

Must be 21 to attend. Designated Driver tickets can be purchased for $10.

The festival proceeds benefit the REO Town Commercial Association.

Grand Rapids, Mich. — Grand Rapids’s Harmony Brewing is expanding. The addition of a second kitchen and an indoor/outdoor beer garden has more than doubled the brew pub’s seating capacity at its Eastown location. The new space opens June 13.

harmony

“We will be able to welcome more people to Harmony,” co-owner Heather VanDyke-Titus said. “We’ve prioritized nice big tables. People will know if they want to come with a big group on a Friday, there will be room.”

The expansion will center Harmony Brewing at the “pinnacle of Eastown,” on the corner of Wealthy Street and Lake Drive. The new space promises to maintain the character people have loved about the original Harmony.

“We’re still working within the fabric of what was already there,” Barry VanDyke said. “What people love about that coziness of that side of town–it’s still going to feel that way.”

The expansion also comes with a new feature: pizza and beer delivery. Harmony Brewing will start delivering their wood-fired pizzas, craft beer and retail merchandise this June.

Alcohol delivery has become increasingly popular in recent years. Drizly, an alcohol e-commerce platform, started delivering beer, wine and liquor in select cities in 2012. A variety of Chicago craft breweries started delivering growlers in 2016. More recently, major pizza companies like Pizza Hut and Papa Johns have experimented with delivering alcohol with their pizzas.

But Harmony Brewing is unique in delivering its own craft beer alongside its signature wood-fired pizza.

Delivery will be first available to the neighborhoods surrounding Harmony Brewing, including East Grand Rapids, Eastown and Downtown Grand Rapids.

“We’re going to start fairly small with our delivery footprint until we get our wheels underneath us, so to speak, then we’ll hopefully be expanding from there,” co-owner Barry VanDyke said.

Customers will be able to order pizza, beer and merchandise over the phone and online through Harmony’s new website. Each order must simply meet a $20 minimum. Payment will only be accepted in the form of credit or debit cards and can be processed online or in person.

Harmony Brewing delivery drivers will be equipped with an app to check IDs. During the transaction, the driver will take a photo of the customer’s ID, and the app will store it with the driver’s name and the date and location of the delivery.

“This is a way to bring your whole Harmony experience to your door,” Barry VanDyke said. “Seeking Harmony? Have it delivered.”

Saugatuck, Mich. — The Mitten Brewing Company is bringing its signature craft beer and pizza to a third Michigan town: Saugatuck.

The brewery’s new location at 329 Water Street will open on Friday, June 8. It’s located across the street from The Mermaid Bar and Grill, Coppercraft Distillery, Ridge Cider and just a few doors down from Coral Gables.

mitten brewing

The small building is a pre-Civil War home that had been converted to a commercial space.

“We seem to have an affinity for choosing old buildings at the Mitten,” said The Mitten Brewing Co-Owner Chris Andrus. The Mitten’s original location is in an historic Grand Rapids firehouse.

Like The Mitten’s original location, the new space required some rebuilding—much of which Andrus and Co-Owner Max Trierweiler did themselves.

The new space will seat 80 patrons: 36 indoors and 44 outside on the covered patio and in the lawn on picnic tables Andrus and Trierweiler built.

Andrus and Trierweiler built the new bar from 1840s-era lumber—from back when Saugatuck was a lumber town and port. The wood was a gift from Saugatuck Brewing Company Founder and Former Saugatuck Mayor Barry Johnson, who Andrus said is a friend and mentor to The Mitten.

“That bar is pretty much the centerpiece of the building,” Andrus said. “It’s a neat piece from the former mayor of Saugatuck himself. We’re really excited to have that.”

In addition to a pub and restaurant, the space will host a small brewhouse that will focus on sour beer production. Apparel made by The Mitten State will also be available for purchase on site.

Adding another location was a natural next step for The Mitten Brewing Company, Andrus said.

“We’ve spent the last 5 years making our brand as strong as possible, and we’ve been reinvesting in our processes and our people,” Andrus said. “What we do best, in my opinion, is our taproom experience and the way our staff interacts with our guests. We wanted to bring that to a new place. Saugatuck was a natural fit.”

Andrus and Trierweiler hired 21 local residents to run the Saugatuck location.

 

Grand Rapids, Mich. — Thornapple Brewing Company will celebrate its first anniversary with a party featuring special releases, live music, games and more.

The event will take place Saturday, June 9 from 11a.m-midnight at the brewery’s location in Cascade Township, Michigan.

Attendees can look forward to 36 of Thornapple’s beers, ciders, and meads on tap, as well as a variety of wine and spirits. Among the options will be some old favorites from the brewery’s first days of operation, including an early version of Hoppy Saison, the first batch of Spicy Salted Session Saison and the first batch of Barrel-Aged Brown-Eyed Girl.

“There will be a few more surprises, for sure. We’re still pulling a couple of the extras together,” said Thornapple Brewing Company Head Brewer Sebastian Henao. “We’re going to have some fun stuff.”

thornapple brewing

Sebastian Henao

The event will take place both inside the pub and outside in the parking lot, where there will be a 30-by-60-foot tent for cover. A variety of bands will play from 4p.m-10p.m and attendees can play games outdoors.

The party is a milestone for what has been an extremely eventful first year for the brewery.

Thornapple opened June 10, 2017, serving craft beers, wines and ciders. By September 2017, four new 15-barrel fermenters were installed, vastly increasing the brewery’s production capacity.

“We started out with just a half dozen ales, now we’ve got a great variety of lagers, ales and more experimental styles on tap,” said Thornapple Brewing Company Co-Founder Jeff Coffey.

thornapple brewing

Jeff Coffey & Eric Fouch

In December 2017, Thornapple introduced spirits to their already diverse lineup, including rum, gin, whiskey, vodka and brandy. At the same time, the brewery launched a Sunday brunch program featuring a bloody mary bar and dishes created by chef Sandra Keiser.

Since then, two of their spirits, a gin and a barrel-aged gin, won silver medals at an international spirits competition in New York. More Silver medals were recently won at GLINTCAP, the world’s largest cider competition, for Pear Eau de Vie (brandy) and their new Beet Heat cider with Michigan beets and just the right amount of habanero pepper.

“It’s been a great year getting to know our community and introducing them to our take on beer,” Henao said.

 

Holland, Mich. — New Holland Brewing Company will celebrate its 21st anniversary, as well as its beloved family of IPAs, with the annual Hatter Days party from Friday, June 8 through Sunday, June 10.

This year, the celebration will take place throughout the entire weekend inside the the brewery’s Pub on 8th and its back patio.

hatter days

Attendees can look forward to live music from local performers, activities for all ages and special food features. And of course, a selection of New Holland’s Hatter IPAs will be available on tap, including Mad Hatter, Berry Hatter and Black Hatter.

“The Mad Hatter is turning 21,” said New Holland Brewing Company General Manager Shawna Hood. “We’ll be toasting to that and celebrating the New Holland fans whose support makes this all possible.”

The festivities kick off with the annual golf outing on Friday, June 8 at Ravines Golf Club in Saugatuck, Michigan. Live music starts in the Pub on 8th’s back patio at 5pm with the Moonrays, and Nashon Holloway will take the stage inside the pub at 10pm. A silent disco—where people will dance together to music playing through individual wireless headphones—will also start at 10pm that evening.

Saturday starts with a bloody mary bar featuring New Holland’s own spirits at 11am and gives way to a day filled with live music acts. Catch the likes of Coty Bouchard, Delilah DeWylde, Rachel Curtis and Rusty’s Big Ass Band inside the pub or in the back patio. At midnight, there will be a toast honoring the Mad Hatter’s 21st birthday.

Sunday will offer a variety of family friendly activities, including a cookie decorating workshop with Rachel from OoKalooKa Cookies. There will also be a bloody mary bar and live performances from Vinylicious and Kelli Boes.

All ages are welcome to attend, and there will be no cover charge.

 

Ada, Mich. — Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery will open the doors to its new facility as part of the Ada Village redevelopment project on May 11, 2018.

The new space is larger, but it still offers a familiar, cozy feel the neighborhood brewery proudly evoked before the renovations.

gravel bottom

“We’ve put a lot of time and effort into making this feel similar to what the other Gravel Bottom was: welcoming and comfortable,” said Owner Matt Michiels.

The new building boasts a suite of upgrades. The new bar offers 20 taps, which means mainstays can remain while Gravel Bottom’s ever expanding cast of experimental styles rotate.

“That gives us the opportunity to offer that variety that you’re used to here,” Michiels said.

Gravel Bottom’s brewing equipment has also received an upgrade. The new location will have a new brite tank and new 3- and 7-barrel jacketed fermenters, enabling brewers to experiment with temperature and larger batches.

gravel bottom

“This was the opportunity to upgrade our equipment so we can brew more styles and be even more creative,” Michiels said. “And we’re able to brew bigger batches of some of those mainstays.”

“Gravel Bottom has become a well-known pillar of the Ada business community and we’re excited about their move,” said George Haga, Ada Township supervisor. “Their new home and highly-visible location on Ada Drive are another example of the transformation that is taking place in the Envision Ada project.”

“It’s very important for us to be a part of this community. This is where we started. And it’s exciting to have this chance for renewal,” Michiels said.

The homebrew shop will not be integrated into this new space, Michiels said. But customers can look forward to a new kitchen serving meals designed by Chef Eric Benedict. The menu will feature locally sourced, seasonally influenced dishes, including small plates designed to pair with Gravel Bottom beers.

The brewery is also acquiring a vintner’s license, meaning customers can look forward to wines, meads and ciders both made by Gravel Bottom and wholesaled in.

gravel bottom

The new building brings some exciting changes, Michiels said, but it’s also a renewed declaration of the brewery’s original values.

“When I first started Gravel Bottom, this was a business plan of lifestyle. I wanted to be part of a small community,” Michiels said. “We were able to come into Ada and really make a positive impact in this community before this development happened.”

LANSING, Mich —Ten Michigan breweries were awarded medals this week at the 2018 World Beer Cup competition—regarded as “The Most Prestigious Beer Competition in the World.” The event concluded the Craft Brewers Conference & Brew Expo America in Nashville, TN. The conference and competition are presented by the Brewers Association (BA), the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent craft brewers.

First held in 1996, this year’s competition was the largest yet with 8,234 different beers submitted for consideration by 295 judges. Over 50 countries were represented by 2,515 different breweries. The awards are divided into 101 categories of traditional beer styles. Gold, silver and bronze are awarded in each category. This year 302 total awards were given, out of a possible 303 (no gold medal was awarded in the International Style Pilsener category).

In all, Michigan received four (4) Gold, three (3) Silver and three (3) Bronze medals. It should also be noted that Michigan received both Gold and Bronze medals in the “Old Ale or Strong Ale” category (from among 47 total entries). The following awards were presented to Michigan breweries:

GOLD

New Holland Brewing Company (Holland) — Pilgrim’s Dole

Category 85: Old Ale or Strong Ale (47 Entries)

Silver Harbor Brewing Company (St. Joseph) — Shipfaced

Category 86: Barley Wine-Style Ale (79 Entries)

Territorial Brewing Company (Springfield) — BC Light

Category 35: Light Lager (72 Entries)

Tilted Axis Brewing Company (Lapeer)  Dark O’ The Moon

Category 1: American-Style Wheat Beer (53 Entries)

SILVER

 American Harvest Brew Pub at Schoolcraft College (Livonia) — American Harvest Kolsch

Category 52: German-Style Koelsch (125 Entries)

Griffin Claw Brewing Company (Birmingham) — Oblivous

Category 32: Aged Beer (45 Entries)

Speciation Artisan Ales (Comstock Park) — Genetic Drift with peaches

Category 25: Brett Beer (58 Entries)

 

BRONZE

Arbor Brewing Company (Ypsilanti) — Faricy’s Irish Stout

Category 88: Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout (64 Entries)

Bastone Brewery (Royal Oak) — The Roman Wolf

Category 62: Belgian- and French-Style Ale (34 Entries) 

Black Lotus Brewing Company (Clawson) — Ninja Pirate Barleywine

Category 85: Old Ale or Strong Ale (47 Entries)

The Michigan Brewers Guild is the network of innovative and passionate brewers that serves as the recognized advocate for the Michigan craft beer industry. The mission of the Guild is to promote and protect the Michigan craft beer industry with an overarching goal to help craft beer acquire 20% of the market by 2025.

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry conservatively contributes more than $144 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $600 million. In terms of overall number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

 

Grand Rapids, Mich. — Coldbreak Brewing Equipment started modestly: Boyd Culver, a home brewer working in the tool and die industry at the time, needed an immersion chiller. So he made one himself. He made another out of leftover materials and sold it on Ebay. That was the beginning of his small business.

coldbreak brewing

Chris Musil & Boyd Culver at City Built Brewing Company

Over the course of a decade, and with the help of Culver’s middle school friend Chris Musil, the company has evolved into much more. Coldbreak Brewing Equipment’s innovative jockey boxes have put them on the map for breweries large and small across the United States.

“We’ve branched out nationally, but we’ve really developed a stronghold on the industry in Michigan,” Culver said.

At the 2018 Michigan Brewer’s Guild Winter Beer Festival, 62 of the more than 140 Michigan breweries in attendance poured from Coldbreak Brewing Equipment jockey boxes. Coldbreak’s Michigan clients include such breweries as Founders Brewing Company, Bell’s Brewery and New Holland Brewing Company.

Around the country, Coldbreak jockey boxes are used by the likes of Alaskan Brewing Company, Deschutes Brewery and Russian River Brewing Company, among others.

“It’s pretty cool that the two beers that battle back and forth every year for the best beer in America, Bell’s Two Hearted and Russian River’s Pliny the Elder, are both being poured through our boxes,” Culver said.

Culver and Musil started making jockey boxes when their friend Matt Michiels, owner of Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery, requested one.

“We purchased an example to follow and thought, ‘We can make this better,’” Musil said. “That’s kind of our philosophy whenever we make something.”

Culver and Musil started selling their jockey boxes to other breweries, and now the product accounts for over 70 percent of Coldbreak’s business, Musil said.

Coldbreak’s jockey box performs because it was designed with breweries in mind. It serves everyone from the brewer to the consumer.

“We use only stainless steel equipment, so a brewer doesn’t have to worry about corroded chrome fixtures affecting the taste of their beer,” Culver said. “We put our inlets and outlets on the same side, so when a festival bartender’s keg blows, they get to see that it’s blown before they get covered in beer.”

Coldbreak is the only company that offers custom wrapped jockey boxes, enabling breweries to showcase their brand. The design also supports heavy custom tap handles, so even a brewery’s marketing director can feel good about pouring from a Coldbreak jockey box.

Culver and Musil’s dedication to creating the best product for their customers comes from their relationships within the craft beer industry.

“We’re equipment guys, but we find ourselves in the mix a lot with brewers,” Culver said. Those friendships motivate Culver and Musil to constantly seek quality.

“People in the craft beer community take a lot of pride in their products, but they also have an incredible amount of humility,” Culver said. “Everybody is so willing to help each other, and that’s so fun to be around.”

Catch Coldbreak Brewing Equipment at the 2018 Craft Brewers Conference, booth 3224, hosted by the Brewer’s Association in Nashville, April 30-May 3.


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