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cheboygan brewing

“Today is a slammed day,” says Brian Lindsay, brewer at Cheboygan Brewing Company (CBC).

It’s packaging day at CBC, meaning hundreds of cases of empty cans have just been dropped off, filling the brewery from floor to ceiling. It’s a veritable maze of Blueberry Wheat, Lighthouse Amber, and of course, Blood Orange Honey.

These beers are well known on the Michigan craft market and are the primary bread-winners for the brewery who does the majority of their business in distribution. Established in 2011, CBC rocks out their beer recipes on 15 barrel and 30 barrel brew systems. Blood Orange Honey, their top seller, has its own corner in the brewery with two dedicated 30 barrel brite tanks.

“We have 600 cases going out every two weeks,” says Lindsay.

They have a small, but mighty production team whose primary responsibility is to keep churning out consistent and delicious distributed recipes.

cheboygan brewing

Mike Eme, Brian Lindsay, Doug Mehl and Phil Davey

But 2017 has seen new, exciting changes to the brewery team and their future aspirations. Mike Eme, head of brewery operations, has brought on Brian Lindsay and Doug Mehl to start shaking things up. While keeping to their majority distribution beers, the next era at CBC will also be concentrating on exploring new recipes and projects.

Kickstarting this new campaign, CBC has gotten their hands on a glorious little nano system. And already, recipe experimentation is happening!

“We have our core paycheck beers, but these experimental small batches are the beers that inspire the brewers,” says Eme.

Also, “the majority of the beer is going out the door, so it’s nice to have a small system to experiment with new recipes. We have a series coming up, all made with Centennial hops,” says Lindsay. “The first one is called Censible,” a solid Pale Ale that has gone over really well in the front of the house taproom. Already working on the next in the series, “Censeless” will literally be the big brother to Censible, coming in at a whopping 11%.

Another small batch brew, an IPA made with southern Australian hops called Constant Reminder, was inspired by the alarms set for frequent hop additions happening in five-minute increments (also it was Brian’s wedding beer, a constant reminder of his wife).

Lindsay teases other potential, upcoming recipes that have been inspired by his research into unique ingredients. He mentions a strawberry Saison, tropical Brown Ales, Sour Ales made with a souring honey, a margarita Gosé, and a mojito cocktail beer.

“When you have 31 gallons and it turns out to be god-awful, it’s not going to hurt you,” he says, laughing.

These new recipes are building up excitement across the board. In the taproom, locals and regular pub-goers who have loyally been drinking CBC’s standard recipes are intrigued with the new flavors and offerings. On the distribution side of things, these small batch offerings are garnering attention at events.  

Phil Davey, the head of sales and distribution for CBC, is excited for the growth. “We’re really stepping up our event game with pairing dinners and tastings.”

All around Michigan one can find CBC beers, and it’s really worth attending a special event. Not only will beer drinkers get to drink some of their traditional favorites, but usually it’s a great opportunity to try out a new recipe. Events are some of the best platforms for testing out new product. And if fans can’t make it up to the brewery in Cheboygan, events are great just because they reach everyone.

This summer though, it’s definitely worth checking out their original home in downtown Cheboygan. Patrons can enjoy a pint or two while watching the production staff work on the brew system connected to the pub. And it will be just in time for new happenings! The pub is doubling their taps from five to ten—an opportunity to offer both the familiar and the new to customers.

Also, they will be opening their outdoor beer garden for the summer, doubling their capacity and providing a neat space to better experience Cheboygan. And while they don’t offer food, plenty of local vendors share the space to ensure delicious offerings that pair well with the local brews.

cheboygan brewing

Summer is the high season for up north towns such as Cheboygan. They are destinations for breathtaking views, escapes into nature, small town hospitality, local food, and some of the best local beer.

“Their number one call in the summer is ‘where’s the brewery’ so I like to think we helped get more people coming through town,” says Eme, regarding tourism and the Chamber of Commerce.

Looking back, Eme is thoughtful on the evolution of Michigan breweries in relation to CBC.

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And I think that’s why Michigan is doing so well in the industry.”

Indeed, their core beers have paved the way for market recognition, and now their small batches have whet our appetites. We’re going to stick around to see what comes next.

 

beer cocktails

There are plenty of ways to drink ourselves into the new year. A great number of us have the obvious answer of, “drink craft beer!” when embarking on this endeavor, but this time around we’d like to introduce some beer cocktail options instead. Using Michigan beer and cider of course!

beer cocktailsBlood-Orange Pomegranate Beer-mosa with Cheboygan Brewing Company’s Blood Orange Honey Wheat.

Ingredients (serves 10)
3 cups of Cheboygan Brewing Company’s Blood Orange Honey Wheat
3 cups chilled pomegranate juice
1 750-ml bottle chilled sparkling wine, such as Prosecco
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (for garnish)
Process
Pour the pomegranate juice into each champagne flute. Fill ⅓ of the glass.
Fill another ⅓ of the glass w/ Cheboygan Brewing Co’s Blood Orange Honey Wheat
Top the last ⅓ off with chilled sparkling wine
If desired, garnish with pomegranate seeds

 

Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja Mulled Beer

Ingredients
1 750ml bottle of Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja
2 cinnamon sticks
5-6 whole cloves
½ tsp. ginger root, coarsely grated
½ tsp. nutmeg, coarsely grated
5 pods cardamom, cracked
zest of half an orange or lemon
½ cup of brown sugar
¼ cup brandy

Process
Place all spices and citrus zest in a cheesecloth. Tie a knot to seal the cloth and place it in your mulling beer pot. Pour in all of the beer and add yourself some brandy. Simmer this on low heat for 30 minutes and stir occasionally, but don’t let it boil! You’ll risk cooking out the flavors. Once it’s been warmed, stir in sugar (or syrup or honey if you’re using that instead). Once the beverage is steaming lightly, it’s ready to serve. We prefer ours to be ladled out into mugs! It’s good to have lemon slices or sugar around so guests can adjust the sweetness and acidity of their mulled beer as needed.

 

beer cocktailsAtwater’s Decadent Dark Chocolate Stout Hot Coffee Cocktail

Ingredients
Cinnamon
Cayenne
Nutmeg
2 oz Espresso or plain hot coffee
2 oz Atwater’s Decadent Dark Chocolate OR Cranker’s Fifth Voyage Coconut Porter
1 ½ oz aged rum
¾ oz vanilla syrup
¾ oz heavy cream

Process
Combine all the ingredients, except for the heavy cream, coffee, and cinnamon, into a mixing glass. Stir with a bar spoon. Separately, place the hot espresso into your mug. After stirring, place all the combined ingredients into the mug on top of the hot coffee. Pour in the desired amount of heavy cream and garnish with a dusting of cinnamon on top.

 

beer cocktailsHoliday Grog with Blake’s El Chavo Cider.

Ingredients
2 oz dark rum
½ oz fresh lime juice
1 tsp brown sugar
4 oz Blake’s El Chavo Cider: can be hot or cold
Optional: orange and/or cinnamon stick

Process
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice (if serving cold). Stir with a bar spoon and pour into a mug (if hot) or any desired glassware (if cold). Garnish with orange slice and cinnamon stick.

 

beer cocktailsHot Buttered Beere (Adapted from a 1588 recipe) with New Holland’s Cabin Fever Brown Ale.

Ingredients
17 oz of New Holland’s Cabin Fever Brown Ale
.5 tsp ground Cloves
.5 tsp ground Cinnamon
.25 tsp ground Ginger
5 Egg Yolks
1 cup Brown Sugar (Demerara if possible)
12 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

Process
Add the Cabin Fever Brown Ale and the spices to a saucepan. Bring it all to a boil and then immediately turn it down to the lowest setting. Beat the eggs and sugar until light and creamy. Remove the beer from heat and whisk in the egg mixture. Return it all to a low heat. Whisk continuously over low heat until the whole mixture thickens slightly. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove it all from the heat and whisk in the butter quickly until a nice foam forms. Serve warm.
Thank you all for a wonderful year of beer! Enjoy yourselves along with these lovely concoctions.
Cheers and have a happy New Year!

Photo shoot location courtesy of the Downtown Market and Beverage Manager Jenney Grant.

Photography: Steph Harding

beer cocktails

There are plenty of ways to drink ourselves into the new year. A great number of us have the obvious answer of, “drink craft beer!” when embarking on this endeavor, but this time around we’d like to introduce some beer cocktail options instead. Using Michigan beer and cider of course!
beer cocktailsBlood-Orange Pomegranate Beer-mosa with Cheboygan Brewing Company’s Blood Orange Honey Wheat.
Ingredients (serves 10)
3 cups of Cheboygan Brewing Company’s Blood Orange Honey Wheat
3 cups chilled pomegranate juice
1 750-ml bottle chilled sparkling wine, such as Prosecco
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (for garnish)
Process
Pour the pomegranate juice into each champagne flute. Fill ⅓ of the glass.
Fill another ⅓ of the glass w/ Cheboygan Brewing Co’s Blood Orange Honey Wheat
Top the last ⅓ off with chilled sparkling wine
If desired, garnish with pomegranate seeds
 


Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja Mulled Beer
Ingredients
1 750ml bottle of Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja
2 cinnamon sticks
5-6 whole cloves
½ tsp. ginger root, coarsely grated
½ tsp. nutmeg, coarsely grated
5 pods cardamom, cracked
zest of half an orange or lemon
½ cup of brown sugar
¼ cup brandy
Process
Place all spices and citrus zest in a cheesecloth. Tie a knot to seal the cloth and place it in your mulling beer pot. Pour in all of the beer and add yourself some brandy. Simmer this on low heat for 30 minutes and stir occasionally, but don’t let it boil! You’ll risk cooking out the flavors. Once it’s been warmed, stir in sugar (or syrup or honey if you’re using that instead). Once the beverage is steaming lightly, it’s ready to serve. We prefer ours to be ladled out into mugs! It’s good to have lemon slices or sugar around so guests can adjust the sweetness and acidity of their mulled beer as needed.
 
beer cocktailsAtwater’s Decadent Dark Chocolate Stout Hot Coffee Cocktail
Ingredients
Cinnamon
Cayenne
Nutmeg
2 oz Espresso or plain hot coffee
2 oz Atwater’s Decadent Dark Chocolate OR Cranker’s Fifth Voyage Coconut Porter
1 ½ oz aged rum
¾ oz vanilla syrup
¾ oz heavy cream
Process
Combine all the ingredients, except for the heavy cream, coffee, and cinnamon, into a mixing glass. Stir with a bar spoon. Separately, place the hot espresso into your mug. After stirring, place all the combined ingredients into the mug on top of the hot coffee. Pour in the desired amount of heavy cream and garnish with a dusting of cinnamon on top.
 
beer cocktailsHoliday Grog with Blake’s El Chavo Cider.
Ingredients
2 oz dark rum
½ oz fresh lime juice
1 tsp brown sugar
4 oz Blake’s El Chavo Cider: can be hot or cold
Optional: orange and/or cinnamon stick
Process
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice (if serving cold). Stir with a bar spoon and pour into a mug (if hot) or any desired glassware (if cold). Garnish with orange slice and cinnamon stick.
 
beer cocktailsHot Buttered Beere (Adapted from a 1588 recipe) with New Holland’s Cabin Fever Brown Ale.
Ingredients
17 oz of New Holland’s Cabin Fever Brown Ale
.5 tsp ground Cloves
.5 tsp ground Cinnamon
.25 tsp ground Ginger
5 Egg Yolks
1 cup Brown Sugar (Demerara if possible)
12 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
Process
Add the Cabin Fever Brown Ale and the spices to a saucepan. Bring it all to a boil and then immediately turn it down to the lowest setting. Beat the eggs and sugar until light and creamy. Remove the beer from heat and whisk in the egg mixture. Return it all to a low heat. Whisk continuously over low heat until the whole mixture thickens slightly. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove it all from the heat and whisk in the butter quickly until a nice foam forms. Serve warm.
Thank you all for a wonderful year of beer! Enjoy yourselves along with these lovely concoctions.
Cheers and have a happy New Year!
Photo shoot location courtesy of the Downtown Market and Beverage Manager Jenney Grant.
Photography: Steph Harding

FRANKENMUTH — Paul Boissevain spent this past weekend trying to introduce more folks to his craft beer. It’s the same mentality Mark Lorenz embraced as he embarked on the annual World Expo of Beer.

Neither of the two Northern Michigan brewery owners necessarily planned to showcase any awards during the annual Expo, but both smiled ear-to-ear at having won awards.

“We’re out there making beers we like to drink,” Boissevain said of his Keweenaw Brewing Company, located in Houghton. “We’re not there for style — we’re there for something that makes you want another drink.”

“We’re very surprised, very happy,” said Lorenz, a member of Cheboygan Brewing Co., which took home a first place award for the brewery’s seasonal brew Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest, created by the brewery’s operation manager and brewmaster Tim Perry, was inspired by the 1976 Späten Oktoberfest bier from Munich, Germany. Although it was not available at the Expo (as it is a seasonal), Lorenz described it as orange in hue with a pronounced malt presence.

Meanwhile, Keweenaw Brewing Company captured second place  in the American Ale category with its Lift Bridge Brown Ale.

“It’s one of our poor(est) selling beers,” Boissevain said. “The Brown happened to win because it fit a category.”

Since both Lorenz and Boissevain say their two breweries do not emphasize brewing for a style, fitting a category to win awards from the Expo was no easy task.

With nearly 300 beers available, the Expo packed Frankenmuth’s Heritage Park inside and out Friday and Saturday. It took less than three hours after doors opened at 3 p.m. Saturday before it became somewhat difficult to shift through the crowd and maneuver to various medal-winning beers.

The event also offered the opportunity for attendees to talk to brewers, owners, distributors and managers if they happened to track them down. Although Keweenaw has been open since 2004, the Expo is the perfect event for exposure (especially since some consider the UP another Mitten). For Cheboygan, the Expo was infinitely more important — it just opened last May.

Cheboygan used the opportunity to showcase its Lighthouse Amber Altbier and La Cerveza, which were both recently expanded into new distribution areas.

“Agreements have been established with Powers Distributing Company to market our products in the Oakland and Macomb counties in Southeast Michigan,” Lorenz said. “We will also begin distribution in the Lansing and East Lansing areas with the Dan Henry Distribution Co. beginning in May.”

Boissevain, who co-owns Keweenaw with Dick Gray, encourages visitors to make the trek to his taproom, a 30,000-square-foot rustic building with a deck wrapped around — he calls it “a real cozy environment.”

For those who can’t make the trip, Keewanaw beer is available at events like the Expo and is distributed in cans to three states (Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota) with production increasing every year. In fact, production has more than doubled since 2008.

“I’m glad the cans are taking off in the state,” Boissevain said, adding that cans always made sense for his brewery since it’s situated in an outdoor environment. “It’s better for the beer in the long run.”

The World Expo of Beer is Michigan’s largest beer sampling event, according to organizers. Its mission is to promote great beer, all-the-while raising money for charity (all proceeds are donated to charitable causes).

CHEBOYGAN — One of Michigan’s newest craft breweries, Cheboygan Brewing Company, has expanded its product line and will soon be offering its products to a larger Michigan audience.

Building on the great success of its flagship beer Lighthouse Amber Altbier, the northern Michigan brewery now offers seasonal brews, has expanded its distribution market and will begin bottling soon.

“We are thrilled to be at this stage,” CBC managing partner Jamie McClurg. “Our beers have been so well received in our local communities that we are pleased to announce our plans to expand.”

Bayside Beverage continues its distribution of the company’s beers to more than 60 bars and restaurants in northern Lower Michigan while Griffin Beverage will serve much of the Upper Peninsula and cover mid-Michigan south to the Flint region.

Seasonal brews include Summer Cerveza, a dry, crisp beer that features five different styles of malted barley and Oktoberfest, a rich, German-style autumn brew. Brewmaster Tim Perry is currently working on a special lager, Winter Marzen, which will be available in the Cheboygan brewery’s taproom in mid-December.

CBC’s brews are inspired by a traditional German style of brewing reminiscent of the beers brewed in Cheboygan more than one-hundred years ago. The Cheboygan Brewing and Malting Company, established in 1882 on the west bank of the Cheboygan River just a few blocks from the new brewery, featured German brewmasters who faithfully reproduced recipes from their homeland.

The brewery closed in 1911 and now, one hundred years later, Cheboygan Brewing Company, located at 101 N. Main St. in Cheboygan, has created a state-of-the-art facility to bring great beer back to northern Michigan. The brewery’s taproom includes museum displays, artifacts, and vintage photographs that tell the history of Cheboygan brewing.

Currently, the company’s beers are only available in kegs but, by the end of December, the brewery’s newly-purchased bottling line will be up and running.

“The bottling line will allow us to place our products in grocery stores and convenience markets across the state,” managing partner Mark Lorenz said.  “This will allow our faithful customers to continue to enjoy our beers at home as well as in the many fine establishments that serve our products.”

In order to fulfill the expected increase in demand, the company will expand its brewery operations and more than double its production capacity by next summer.