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

Lansing, Mich — Beerfest at the Ballpark will return to Cooley Law School Stadium this April for its fifth year celebrating Michigan beer, cider, mead and spirits.

Attendees will have plenty of space to taste Michigan craft beverages inside the stadium and on Michigan Ave. outside the stadium, which will be blocked off for the festival.

beerfest ballpark

“Beerfest at the Ballpark is a unique festival, because being at a small minor league baseball stadium is a really cool atmosphere,” said Paul Starr, the festival’s organizer.

The festival will take place on April 28 from 3 to 8 p.m. VIP ticket holders can enter at 2 p.m. The event will happen rain or shine, and there will be plenty of covered space to retreat to if it rains.

Over 300 beers from 50 Michigan breweries will be represented at the festival, as well as the products of 15 cideries, meaderies and distilleries from around the state. Every festival ticket includes entry to the festival, a sturdy logo tasting glass and 10 or 15 tasting tickets, which are redeemable for one three-ounce pour of beer.

“The main festival will have a really good beer selection,” Starr said. “Founders Brewing Company is bringing CBS and Bell’s Brewery is bringing Black Note, and there will be many more favorites and new brews to try.”

For the first time in the festival’s history, VIP ticket holders can take part in a rare beer tasting. For $25 on top of VIP ticket cost, taste two-ounce pours of 10 rare Michigan sours and barrel aged beers, including Arbor Brewing Company’s 2017 Velvet Hammer, a sour brown, and Saugatuck Brewing Company’s Rum Barrel-Aged Imperial Beam Me Up Stouty.

“I’m most excited about the rare beer tasting we’re offering this year,” Starr said. “It’s exciting to give people a chance to taste these great beers they might not encounter otherwise.”

The festival will also feature a selection of live music performed on two different stages. Attendees can look forward to performances by Hoist: A Tribute to Phish, Delilah DeWylde, Mark Warner, Shelby and Jake and The Swift Brothers.

Beerfest at the Ballpark tickets are available for purchase online and at the Cooley Law School Stadium box office, which is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on non-game days and 10 a.m. to 7th inning on game days.

new hollandHolland, Mich. — New Holland Brewing will release a new addition to theirDragon’s Milk Reserve program in April. This time, brewers tried a classic flavor pairing on Dragon’s Milk’s bourbon barrel stout canvas: Cherry Chocolate.

The beer will be available in New Holland pubs starting April 13. It will hit store shelves and across their bar and restaurant distribution footprint on April 16. Consumers can look forward to a rich stout that balances creamy chocolate flavors with a delightful cherry tartness.

“Chocolate is a flavor that is already present in Dragon’s Milk when it comes out of the barrel, but we’re able to play that up and really bring out the wonderful chocolate smoothness. Obviously, that just couples extremely well with the cherry flavor,” said New Holland Vice President of Sales Joel Petersen. “That combination plays nicely against the backbone of this beer.”

For most breweries, a bourbon barrel stout clocking in at 11 percent ABV is a limited release. New Holland Brewing works hard to make Dragon’s Milk available year round. The Reserve series is a chance for brewers and consumers alike to see the favorite beer in a new light.

“I think Dragon’s Milk speaks for itself. It’s a strong beer that our customers love on its own,” said Petersen. “The Dragon’s Milk Reserve program gives us the platform to build on that strong base and create a variety of exciting new flavor experiences.”

“The Reserve series allows our brewers to express their creativity,” said New Holland Brewing President Brett VanderKamp. “We continue to be amazed at the ways Dragon’s Milk can play with different flavors.”

New Holland Brewing welcomes those interested in learning more about Dragon’s Milk or the process to attend a tour where Dragon’s Milk is being brewed and cellared.

new holland

Boulder, Colo —The Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade group representing small and independent craft brewers—today released its inaugural list of the 50 fastest growing small and independent1 craft brewing companies of 2017. Median growth from 2016 to 2017 for these breweries was 216 percent; the median size of breweries on the list went from 284 barrels in 2016 to 963 barrels in 2017. These companies represent 5.5 percent of craft’s growth by volume for 2017 and include eight brewpubs, 40 microbreweries and two regional craft breweries.

“With 5 percent growth overall for small and independent brewers in 2017 and microbreweries and brewpubs delivering the majority of that, we wanted to spotlight some of the breweries driving that growth,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “As the growth base for craft becomes more diffuse, these fast growing brewing companies illustrate that a diverse set of success stories still exist.”

brewers association

Methodology: The list presented includes only small and independent breweries with all of their production at their own facilities. Breweries had to have opened 12/31/2015 or earlier to be considered. It only includes breweries that reported to the Brewers Association’s annual Beer Industry Production Survey; breweries with staff estimates or data from state excise tax reports were not considered. Finally, breweries must have had data from at least three years to be considered.

A comprehensive State of the Industry report will be delivered during the 2018 Craft Brewers Conference, held from April 30 – May 3, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. In May 2018, the Brewers Association will publish the full 2017 industry analysis in the May/June issue of The New Brewer, showing regional trends and sales by individual breweries.

 

About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The BA represents 4,000-plus U.S. breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers. The BA organizes events including the World Beer CupSM, Great American Beer Festival®, Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America®, SAVOR℠: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, Homebrew Con™, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week®. The BA publishes The New Brewer® magazine, and Brewers Publications™ is the leading publisher of brewing literature in the U.S. Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association® and the free Brew Guru™ mobile app. Follow us on

 

 

fermenta

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Fermenta: Michigan Women’s Craft Collective, is co-hosting a spirits event at New Holland Brewing‘s The Knickerbocker Sunday, April 22 from 2-4pm.

For this “Shaking & Sipping” hands-on event, attendees will learn how to properly taste gin, rum, and bourbon while also making historically significant cocktails with each base spirit.

The event is open to the public, welcoming both Fermenta members and non-members to participate and partake. Ticket price includes samples of each liquor, three cocktails attendees will prepare and a light snack.

Limited tickets are available for purchase here: https://shakeandsip.eventbrite.com

Prices are $25 for non-members and $20 for members.

With each event Fermenta hosts, the non-profit raises money towards their scholarship fund to further women’s education in the craft beverage industry. This allows members to apply for and attend workshops, classes, and seminars around the state.

 

About
Fermenta is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit trade group initiated by Michigan women, committed to diversity, camaraderie, networking, and education within the craft beverage industry. The organization hosts events with an educational focus and networking opportunities and provides a network that encourages conversation about the importance of diversifying the craft alcohol industry, ways to foster progress, and provide opportunities for a variety of voices and visions

 

Grand Rapids, Mich. — Early this spring, Harmony Hall will switch out their menu full of handmade sausages with one full of wood-fired pizzas.

The change responds to a demand Harmony Brewing Company Co-Founders and siblings Barry VanDyke, Jackson Arthur VanDyke and Heather VanDyke-Titus have received since they opened their brew pub’s second location in 2015.

harmony hall

Jackson Arthur VanDyke, Heather VanDyke-Titus, Barry VanDyke

“Since we’ve opened our doors at Harmony Hall, people have been saying, ‘Where’s your pizza?’,” said Barry VanDyke.

The Grand Rapids brew pub’s thin crust, wood-fired pizza is widely popular. It was named Fourth Best Pizza in Michigan by MLive twice and Best Pizza by Revue’s “Best of the West” Reader’s Poll twice.

Now customers will be able to get it on the west side of town, but with a twist that pays homage to Harmony Hall’s unique personality.

Harmony Hall’s new menu will share a selection of flagship pizzas with the Eastown location, along with a few of its own specialties. Where Harmony Brewing Company has its Eastown Folk Funk pizza, Harmony Hall will have a Stockbridge pizza “that has actually got mustard and kapusta on it, which sounds weird, but it’s delicious,” Barry VanDyke said.

Bringing pizzas to Harmony Hall means some big changes have to happen in the kitchen—and on the menu.

“Our pizza is famously wood-fired pizza, and according to code you can only have one fuel source underneath a single hood,” Barry VanDyke said. “Because we want to move to pizza, we have to unfortunately get rid of all our grills and our fryers and everything else.”

That means Harmony Hall won’t be serving its sausage dishes. But those flavors won’t disappear entirely.

“Chef Liza Marvin is riffing on some of the sausages that we had, so she’s got a bulgogi pizza and others,” Heather VanDyke-Titus said.

In addition to pizzas, the new menu will keep some of Harmony Hall’s favorite appetizers, salads and sandwiches.

Harmony Hall’s kitchen will have to undergo some construction to accommodate the new wood-fired equipment, which is expected to take two weeks. Demo started on Mar. 19. The new menu is slated to launch Apr. 11, if all goes according to plan.

In the interim, Harmony Hall is serving a limited version of their sausage menu out of the prep kitchen, but the co-founders expect the inconvenience to be minimal.

“Liza is such a crazy hard worker that her limited version of the menu looks a lot like the full version of the menu,” Heather VanDyke-Titus said.

Once the kitchen is finished and the new menu is in place, customers can look forward to some previously impossible opportunities. People will be able to host events catered with Harmony pizza in Harmony Hall’s banquet room. And the staff will have more room to experiment.

“Having the two locations both provide the same product allows us to do a lot of new things, like handmade mozzarella and making our own sausage for the Italian sausage,” Barry VanDyke said.

Ultimately, the change means a more consistent brand for Harmony Brewing Company.

“We’re looking at this as an opportunity to unify what Harmony is all about and get down to the roots of we do, which is good, handmade from scratch food,” Barry VanDyke said. “This is what Harmony is: We’re pizza, we’re beer, and I think the customers are going to really respond well to it.”

 

gray skies distillery

Grand Rapids, Mich – Gray Skies Distillery will release their first straight bourbon whiskey March 22. It will be available for purchase exclusively in their downtown Grand Rapids tasting room. Subsequent releases beginning fall 2018 will be available through licensed retailers, bars and restaurants around Michigan via statewide distribution. Michigan Straight Bourbon Whiskey was aged in charred new, oak barrels for over two years and bottled at 90 proof. Following their Breakfast Rye and Single Malt Whiskey, Michigan Straight Bourbon Whiskey is the third American whiskey Gray Skies Distillery has released.

Michigan Straight Bourbon Whiskey, like all Gray Skies whiskey, is crafted from grain, double pot distilled, and aged in their Grand Rapids, MI distillery. Michigan Straight Bourbon Whiskey is truly a craft whiskey created from scratch in 500 gallon batches.

“Michigan Straight Bourbon Whiskey is simply named to highlight what it is – straight bourbon distilled and aged in Michigan” said Steve Vander Pol, co-owner of Gray Skies Distillery. “The straight designation signifies the bourbon was aged at least two years and has no additional flavors added. Grain, water, yeast, oak and time were the only ingredients used to create this exceptional whiskey. Our recipe is 70% corn, 15% rye and 15% malted barley creating a classic bourbon profile that uses time to balance grain with oak and produce hints of caramel and vanilla familiar to bourbon enthusiasts. The increased presence of barley in the recipe adds notes of coffee and chocolate that make for a versatile whiskey that drinks well neat and stands out in cocktails.”

“This is one of many whiskey releases planned in 2018,” said Vander Pol. “As our whiskey stock continues to mature we are excited to follow our straight bourbon with a straight rye release. The second batch of our Single Malt Whiskey was bottled in March and our popular Breakfast Rye returns this summer. We plan to follow Breakfast Rye with a rich maple flavored Breakfast Bourbon for the holidays.”

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 available in hundreds of licensed retailers, bars and restaurants around Michigan. Distribution is currently limited to Michigan but the distillery plans 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.

 

Grand Rapids, Mich. – Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales has made its way to Beer City USA. The original proprietor of barrel-aged sour ales will open its sixth pub concept – Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery-Grand Rapids – 11 a.m. Thursday, March 22.

“Grand Rapids is a craft beer mecca, and we’re honored to finally establish a presence for our barrel-aged sour beer,” said Ron Jeffries, Jolly Pumpkin president and master brewer. “We’re looking forward to meeting our new neighbors and raising a glass together.”

Located at 428 Bridge St. N.W., the 5,000 square foot location will feature a bar with more than 30 pours on tap, indoor and outdoor seating and an urban, rustic vibe. Featuring a casual order-and-eat approach, patrons place their orders at a cash register and take a seat at a table of their choosing where a staff member delivers their meal. Large picnic tables set the scene for communal dining to encourage conversation and create a vibrant, welcoming experience.

The interior of Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria and Brewery calls attention to both the shipping and brewing side of the business by incorporating wood pallets and barrels into its design. Giant oak barrels can be found throughout the brewpub – inspired by Jeffries’ open fermentation barrel-aged brew process, while reclaimed wood pallets cover the location’s walls from floor to ceiling, contributing to the brewery’s warm, inviting atmosphere.

The Grand Rapids brewpub features a wide variety of sour brew selections, from year-round favorites like Bam Biere and La Roja to seasonals like Noel de Calabaza and La Parcela. For non-sour beer fans, a selection of craft beers brewed in Michigan from Jolly Pumpkin’s partners at Northern United Brewing Co. are also available, including North Peak Beer, Nomad Ciders, Bonafide Wines and Civilized Spirits.  

Hungry patrons will love Jolly Pumpkin’s menu, packed with artisan dishes crafted to compliment the brewery’s signature artisan ales. The Grand Rapids menu features a selection of artisan pizzas, signature sandwiches, appetizers and salads, from the other Jolly Pumpkin locations as well as a couple items available exclusively in Beer City USA. Some popular favorites include:

  • Farro & Brussels Salad featuring shaved Brussels sprouts, kale, farro, dried cranberries, feta cheese and roasted almonds served with whole grain mustard vinaigrette
  • Fried Chicken Sandwich served with sesame cilantro slaw, turmeric aioli, sriracha and spicy pickles on a sriracha roll
  • Bridge Street Vegan Pizza topped with roasted red pepper hummus, basil pesto, balsamic roasted vegetables and kale chips

“High quality ingredients is the secret to our delicious dishes,” said Neal Crawford, general manager. “We’re committed to sourcing only the freshest ingredients and locally produced whenever possible. In fact, we’re proud to be working with Grand Rapids’ own Field and Fire Bakery for our breads and Louise Earl Butcher for meat.”

For more than a decade, Jolly Pumpkin has brewed its signature barrel-aged, sour ales for the enjoyment of beer enthusiasts around the world. Established in 2004 by co-founders Ron and Laurie Jeffries, the pair set out to create something different – the first craft brewery to foray a line of all barrel-aged sour ales.

While Jolly Pumpkin beers start out the same as other traditional brews – mashing, boiling and fermenting – the sour ale enthusiasts put a funky twist on the maturation step, placing all its brews into oak barrels where the beer ages to perfection. In the oak barrels, the beer’s flavor profile sours, taking on the unique bitter notes and character that make Jolly Pumpkin so iconic.

“Each of our pours are one-of-a-kind, hand-blended creations that constantly inspire us to push forward and find new unique tastes and flavors,” Jeffries said.

Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria and Brewery is located 428 Bridge St. N.W. in Grand Rapids, Mich. The pizzeria will operate with normal business hours from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

About Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales and restaurants

Established in 2004 and based in Dexter, Mich., Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales is widely recognized as the first craft beer brand to foray into a line of all-sour barrel-aged ales. The brand is distributed nationwide and available at the brewery’s five restaurant concepts in Michigan and one pizzeria and brewery in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. Each location features a unique selection of artisan pizzas, fresh salads, handcrafted sandwiches, appetizers and coveted truffle fries. For more information visit www.jollypumpkin.com or call 734-426-4962. Connect with Jolly Pumpkin on Facebook (@JollyPumpkin), Twitter (@JollyPumpkin), and Instagram (@JollyPumpkin).

 

Boulder, Colo —The Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade group representing small and independent craft brewers—today released its annual lists of the top 50 producing craft brewing companies and overall brewing companies in the U.S., based on beer sales volume. Of the top 50 overall brewing companies, 40 were small and independent craft brewing companies.1

“In an increasingly competitive and mature marketplace, these brewing companies continue to lead and pave the path for small and independent craft brewers,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association.

For a complete list of brewing company brands, please visit BrewersAssociation.org.

A comprehensive State of the Industry report will be delivered during the 2018 Craft Brewers Conference, held from April 30 – May 3, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. The association’s full 2017 industry analysis, which shows regional trends and sales by individual breweries, will be published in the May/June issue of The New Brewer, available in May 2018.

brewers association

 


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