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Over the next three weeks, we’ll be previewing David Bardallis‘ upcoming book, “Ann Arbor Beer: A Hoppy History of Tree Town Brewing.” Below is the book’s foreword, written by Rene and Matt Greff of Arbor Brewing Company and the Corner Brewery. The book is slated to be released Aug. 27. To pre-order David’s book, please visit Amazon.com.

If you’ve ever bellied up to the bar and tipped back a pint at a local brewery, then you know there’s something special about drinking a brew right from the source. And it’s more than simply quality and freshness. There’s a satisfying sense of interconnectedness — a sort of Old World charm — that comes from running into your local brewer around the neighborhood or having him or her step out of the brewery to shake your hand and ask you what you’re drinking. Somehow the beer just tastes better when you know the people who brewed it.

Like most Americans over forty, we grew up drinking faceless, mass-produced beer that was completely disconnected from the men who made it. We first discovered fresh, local beer and pubs in Europe during separate study-abroad semesters in college and then, later, together on our honeymoon in 1991. Matt started homebrewing in 1992 and quickly found that he enjoyed making beer a lot more than working as a database analyst. By 1993, the Michigan legislature cleared the way for brewpubs to open, and we began dreaming of our own brewery.

When we opened the Arbor Brewing Company in downtown Ann Arbor in the summer of 1995, we never could have imagined what lay in store for our brewery or our nascent industry. At the time, we were the only brewpub in Washtenaw County, and one of only 10 craft breweries in Michigan. Fast-forward to 2013, and we find ourselves gloriously awash in craft beer, with 125 breweries in operation across the state — 11 right here in our own backyard!

As pioneers in a dynamic, rapidly changing industry, we’ve had the opportunity to play our small part in the history of brewing in Ann Arbor. In addition to being the first brewpub in Washtenaw, we were also the state’s first solar brewery, the first to produce barrel-aged sour beers and the first brewpub to open a packaging brewery, and in 2012, we became the first American craft brewery on the Asian subcontinent with the opening of our Arbor Brewing Company India location in Bangalore.

Even as our industry has evolved and grown over the past decades, there are some constants that predate the post-1980s craft renaissance and stretch into the past to pre-prohibition America, as well as even farther back to our distant ancestors from faraway lands. Local breweries have always been about connections—between pub staff and customers, brewers and beer lovers and patrons whiling away the hours celebrating, mourning, telling stories and plotting revolutions large and small.

So, like any great historical tale, the history of brewing in Ann Arbor needs to be much more than mere dates, facts and figures. This story can be told only by someone who is both beer lover and drinker, journalist and historian, philosopher and social critic. There’s no one better equipped for the job than Dave Bardallis, who combines a passion for the truth with the heart of a hometown boy — and an insatiable thirst for local beer.

We’re proud to say that we knew Dave before he was “the Ann Arbor beer guy,” although neither of us can remember exactly when we first met him. He’s one of those people who just seemed like he’d always been a regular. Then, at some point, we slipped across the blurry line into friendship without any of us really noticing it (blurry lines can be an occupational hazard). Given our shared love of the flavors, history and tradition of beer; our hometown; and lively debate, our friendship was probably inevitable.

Anyone who has had the pleasure of reading Dave’s beer writing can attest to his sense of humor, his gift for storytelling and his tell-it-like-it-is approach to reporting. But those of us in the industry who have had the opportunity to work with Dave can also attest to his honesty and integrity. He is simply a man who loves to drink and write and learn, and his humble and open approach to covering the craft beer business has made him one of the most well-known and widely respected craft beer correspondents in Michigan.

So, know that you are in good hands as you embark on this fascinating journey of discovery into a local history of brewing that crosses its own blurry lines into music, politics, poetry, science, medicine and even the paranormal. Pull up a pint and enjoy the ride!

Rene and Matt Greff, Founders and Owners
Arbor Brewing Company
Corner Brewery
Arbor Brewing Company India

Over the next three weeks, we’ll be previewing David Bardallis‘ upcoming book, “Ann Arbor Beer: A Hoppy History of Tree Town Brewing.” Below is the book’s foreword, written by Rene and Matt Greff of Arbor Brewing Company and the Corner Brewery. The book is slated to be released Aug. 27. To pre-order David’s book, please visit Amazon.com.
If you’ve ever bellied up to the bar and tipped back a pint at a local brewery, then you know there’s something special about drinking a brew right from the source. And it’s more than simply quality and freshness. There’s a satisfying sense of interconnectedness — a sort of Old World charm — that comes from running into your local brewer around the neighborhood or having him or her step out of the brewery to shake your hand and ask you what you’re drinking. Somehow the beer just tastes better when you know the people who brewed it.
Like most Americans over forty, we grew up drinking faceless, mass-produced beer that was completely disconnected from the men who made it. We first discovered fresh, local beer and pubs in Europe during separate study-abroad semesters in college and then, later, together on our honeymoon in 1991. Matt started homebrewing in 1992 and quickly found that he enjoyed making beer a lot more than working as a database analyst. By 1993, the Michigan legislature cleared the way for brewpubs to open, and we began dreaming of our own brewery.
When we opened the Arbor Brewing Company in downtown Ann Arbor in the summer of 1995, we never could have imagined what lay in store for our brewery or our nascent industry. At the time, we were the only brewpub in Washtenaw County, and one of only 10 craft breweries in Michigan. Fast-forward to 2013, and we find ourselves gloriously awash in craft beer, with 125 breweries in operation across the state — 11 right here in our own backyard!

As pioneers in a dynamic, rapidly changing industry, we’ve had the opportunity to play our small part in the history of brewing in Ann Arbor. In addition to being the first brewpub in Washtenaw, we were also the state’s first solar brewery, the first to produce barrel-aged sour beers and the first brewpub to open a packaging brewery, and in 2012, we became the first American craft brewery on the Asian subcontinent with the opening of our Arbor Brewing Company India location in Bangalore.
Even as our industry has evolved and grown over the past decades, there are some constants that predate the post-1980s craft renaissance and stretch into the past to pre-prohibition America, as well as even farther back to our distant ancestors from faraway lands. Local breweries have always been about connections—between pub staff and customers, brewers and beer lovers and patrons whiling away the hours celebrating, mourning, telling stories and plotting revolutions large and small.
So, like any great historical tale, the history of brewing in Ann Arbor needs to be much more than mere dates, facts and figures. This story can be told only by someone who is both beer lover and drinker, journalist and historian, philosopher and social critic. There’s no one better equipped for the job than Dave Bardallis, who combines a passion for the truth with the heart of a hometown boy — and an insatiable thirst for local beer.
We’re proud to say that we knew Dave before he was “the Ann Arbor beer guy,” although neither of us can remember exactly when we first met him. He’s one of those people who just seemed like he’d always been a regular. Then, at some point, we slipped across the blurry line into friendship without any of us really noticing it (blurry lines can be an occupational hazard). Given our shared love of the flavors, history and tradition of beer; our hometown; and lively debate, our friendship was probably inevitable.
Anyone who has had the pleasure of reading Dave’s beer writing can attest to his sense of humor, his gift for storytelling and his tell-it-like-it-is approach to reporting. But those of us in the industry who have had the opportunity to work with Dave can also attest to his honesty and integrity. He is simply a man who loves to drink and write and learn, and his humble and open approach to covering the craft beer business has made him one of the most well-known and widely respected craft beer correspondents in Michigan.
So, know that you are in good hands as you embark on this fascinating journey of discovery into a local history of brewing that crosses its own blurry lines into music, politics, poetry, science, medicine and even the paranormal. Pull up a pint and enjoy the ride!

Rene and Matt Greff, Founders and Owners
Arbor Brewing Company
Corner Brewery
Arbor Brewing Company India

5.25% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Cloudy caramel color with a medium head.
Aroma: Sour with some sweet caramel.
Taste: Some sour fruit up front, leading to a dry, somewhat caramel and grainy, finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied; high carbonation.

Zymurgical Eruption — a collaboration between Brewery Vivant, The Livery and Arbor Brewing Co. — is in a word, sourlicious. The beer, originally released in July, is brewed and aged entirely in sour oak barrels at The Livery, using Vivant’s house strain and bottle harvestings of several sour offerings from Arbor Brewing Co. The brew is bottled by Arbor Brewing Co. and The Corner Brewery. The beer features all the complexities of a Belgian ale, with the greatness and surprise of sour and wild ales. It contains some sour fruit up front, and leads to a dryer finish with caramel and grain. All in all this is one of my favorite sours, and it represents all three breweries extremely well.

Editor’s note: This is part one of a three part series, profiling sustainability in Michigan breweries. Today, an introduction.

It seems as though there’s an underlying, laid back persona to craft beer. Most owners are fairly accessible, willing to chat about whatever you like.

At first glance the production of beer — and the large use of water, heat and waste production — could be wasteful. In truth, most breweries are conscious of their impact on the Earth and do as much as possible to help counter their hindrance to the world.

Take a look at Michigan’s largest brewery, Bell’s Brewery Inc., which recently added a huge section to its production facility, but also included many green aspects to the expansion.

“The more you do, the more you think about how your company impacts,” Bell’s Marketing Director Laura Bell said. “When we looked at it, we knew there were things we could change.”

Although Bell’s has taken an overarching sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to its company, many other breweries across Michigan have taken steps to make the world a better place.

Arbor Brewing Company in Ann Arbor recently became the first solar powered brewery in Michigan. Brewery Vivant was awarded LEED certification earlier this year — believed to have been the first commercial brewery in the United States to do so. Meanwhile, the soon-to-be-opened Grand Rapids Brewing Company expects to be Michigan’s first all-organic brewery.

There are several paths when a company chooses to be eco-friendly, and it’s not known which one actually is best for Earth, according to Phil Howard, a professor in the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies at Michigan State University.

Howard has researched the soft drink and beer industries, and is responsible for this chart.

The choices depend on the philosophies of each brewery, Howard said.

The philosophical differences explain why companies vary their sustainable practices in production, ingredients, packaging and personnel treatment.

Wednesday’s article profiles sustainable production, while later this week we’ll profile ingredients and personnel sustainability.

Editor’s note: This is part one of a three part series, profiling sustainability in Michigan breweries. Today, an introduction.
It seems as though there’s an underlying, laid back persona to craft beer. Most owners are fairly accessible, willing to chat about whatever you like.
At first glance the production of beer — and the large use of water, heat and waste production — could be wasteful. In truth, most breweries are conscious of their impact on the Earth and do as much as possible to help counter their hindrance to the world.
Take a look at Michigan’s largest brewery, Bell’s Brewery Inc., which recently added a huge section to its production facility, but also included many green aspects to the expansion.
“The more you do, the more you think about how your company impacts,” Bell’s Marketing Director Laura Bell said. “When we looked at it, we knew there were things we could change.”
Although Bell’s has taken an overarching sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to its company, many other breweries across Michigan have taken steps to make the world a better place.
Arbor Brewing Company in Ann Arbor recently became the first solar powered brewery in Michigan. Brewery Vivant was awarded LEED certification earlier this year — believed to have been the first commercial brewery in the United States to do so. Meanwhile, the soon-to-be-opened Grand Rapids Brewing Company expects to be Michigan’s first all-organic brewery.
There are several paths when a company chooses to be eco-friendly, and it’s not known which one actually is best for Earth, according to Phil Howard, a professor in the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies at Michigan State University.
Howard has researched the soft drink and beer industries, and is responsible for this chart.
The choices depend on the philosophies of each brewery, Howard said.
The philosophical differences explain why companies vary their sustainable practices in production, ingredients, packaging and personnel treatment.
Wednesday’s article profiles sustainable production, while later this week we’ll profile ingredients and personnel sustainability.

YPSILANTI – Saturday’s ABC Brews Crews Homebrew Competition, held at the Corner Brewery, was the largest in the event’s six-year history, with nearly 400 beers, meads and ciders entered by more than 100 homebrewers from Ishpeming in the Upper Peninsula to Toledo, Ohio, and many points in between.

The Beer Judge Certification Program sanctioned event featured approximately 50 judges — including professional brewers, Certified Cicerones and fellow homebrewers — weighing in on brews in 28 different categories during a marathon all-day judging session preceding the awards ceremony at 6 p.m., which was attended by many of the entrants. (Three other judging sessions were held prior to the event due to the number of entries, up by around 70 from last year.)

The categories with the most entries included American Ale (39), Belgian and French Ale (33) and India Pale Ale (31), with gold, silver and bronze medals awarded to winners in each category.

Joe Nielson of Berkley not only beat out 28 other entries to take the gold in the Specialty Beer category with his Rye IPA, but he also took Best of Show for beer. Roger Burns of the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild (AABG) won Best of Show for mead with his Cherry Bomb Melomel, a blend of Tupelo honey mead and Burns’s version of Heart of Darkness, a limited-edition melomel produced by Ken Schramm, fellow AABG member and author of “The Compleat Meadmaker.”

According to Burns, it was a challenge to try to replicate Schramm’s Heart of Darkness — made with sour cherries, black currants, red raspberries and Michigan honey — because of how Schramm produces it.

“Ken’s meads are world-renowned and start with the best ingredients, off his own land, in significant quantities,” he said. “I haven’t had the opportunity yet to grow my own fruit, but have tried to stay true to his methods of using whole fruit and the best honey.”

In a fun twist, Schramm was one of the judges who, along with a crew at Detroit’s B. Nektar Meadery, evaluated Cherry Bomb, awarding it a gold in its category and nominating it for Best of Show.

The annual Brews Crews event is held every June and sponsored by Arbor Brewing Co. and the AABG, amongst others. For more information and to see the entire list of winners in each category, visit brewscrews.aabg.org.

YPSILANTI – Every June the Corner Brewery celebrates its anniversary with a special release party for Velvet Hammer, a sour ale that begins life as Arbor Brewing’s Phat Abbot Dubbel but emerges from its year-long barrel aged cocoon as a different creature altogether.

YPSILANTI — Who doesn’t love an excuse to dress up?

The Corner Brewery provided one April 20 with its first “People Are Strange” event, where a parade of freaks, geeks and weirdoes tapped into some oddball beers while digging off-kilter tunes courtesy of several DJs and a live band.

The beers, created by brewer Logan Schaedig, included Pork Roll Egg and Cheese Ale, a 4.5% ABV smoked beer brewed with black salt and poppy seed, and Dr. Gonzo, a 6% blonde ale “doctored” with wormwood, chicory root and Japanese tea. A specially prepared menu of strange food featured hop pizza and Jell-O, which is always strange if you ask this reporter.

Beers from the Corner’s regular stable were also available, including some heavy hitters like the 7.7% Ryeclops Imperial Rye Ale and Buzzsaw Imperial IPA, an 8% assault of Simcoe, Amarillo and Centennial hops that took Best of Show at the 2011 World Expo of Beer in Frankenmuth.

People who dressed appropriately — i.e., insanely — received happy hour prices all night, and among those taking advantage were a female Jesus, the Skipper and Gilligan, a pair of space aliens and other less identifiable wackjobs.

The Corner also provided a variety of colorful glue-on fabrics, ribbons and accessories at the “Creation Station,” where guests were encouraged to create their own wearable artistic masterpieces. Members of Spontaneous Art, a local performance collective, engaged attendees in acts of random artistry.

A strange time was had by all.

For more information on Corner Brewery’s beers and upcoming events, visit arborbrewing.com/brewery. And check out Spontaneous Art at spontaneousart.org.