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brewdog

Brew Export recently announced it will be shipping over 100 different midwest beer products to be served at BrewDog Bars throughout the United Kingdom.

BrewDog is the United Kingdom’s largest independent craft brewery based in Ellon, Scotland. The brewer also operates an estate of bars with 50 craft beer venues around the world, all of which are dedicated to the exploration of craft beer.

Now, with the help of Brew Export, visitors to some of those bars can get a taste of the midwest.

The breweries represented in the shipment are Dark Horse Brewing Company, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Speciation Artisan Ales, Greenbush Brewing Company, Latitude 42 Brewing Company, Gonzo’s BiggDogg Brewing, 18th Street Brewery, Central Waters Brewing Company, and Rochester Mills Brewing Company.

brewdog

Shannon Long

Exporting such a diverse selection of craft beer from an inland location is a challenge. Many craft breweries choose not to do it because of the cost and time-intensive nature of the process. The premise of Brew Export, founded in 2015 by Shannon Long, is to facilitate those complex shipments.

“We manage the international sales for a variety of breweries across the United States so they can focus on making excellent beers; Brew Export handles everything else,” Long said.

In the process, Brew Export is able to provide importers overseas with the variety they’re thirsty for.

“What international buyers like BrewDog are looking for is variety,” Long said. That means many unique products from multiple businesses–in layman’s terms: a lot of paperwork.

“Not many people are willing to put in the effort to give smaller breweries a chance to ship internationally,” Long said. “Brew Export is doing it, and we’re doing it more often.”

“We are excited to have so many fresh midwest products coming to BrewDog bars,” said Dan Muldoon, head of range and planning at BrewDog. “This was only made possible by working with Brew Export.”

Among the breweries included is Dark Horse Brewing Company in Marshall, Michigan, which has been working with Brew Export since its early days as a business. The brewery will be sending four pallets of its beer in the shipment.

“We love working with Brew Export, because Shannon and Brew Export simplify exportation for us,” said Aaron Morse, owner and CEO of Dark Horse Brewing Company.

Brew Export currently works with nearly 40 breweries across the United States to export their beers overseas. The company intends to consolidate shipments of similar complexity with more regularity in 2018.

“This is something we can offer to importers around the world,” Long said.

More than half of the breweries Brew Export currently exports are located in the Midwest, Long said. This isn’t a coincidence.

“The Midwest is often overlooked when it comes to shipping, because it isn’t on a coast,” Long said. That means additional costs and paperwork for inland shipping to get shipments on a boat and then overseas.

“I would say the Midwest has been significantly underrepresented in the international market,” Long said. “One of the goals of Brew Export is to change that, and not only represent it, but represent it as the best beer in the world.”

 

About Brew Export

Brew Export provides expert navigation of compliance, logistics, and international marketing for the export and import of American craft beers. It is their mission to establish the United States as the preeminent source for exceptional craft beer throughout the world.

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Images courtesy Brew Export

traverse city beer week

Typically, November in Northern Michigan means dark skies before 6:00 p.m., shorter business hours, and an exodus of summer and fall visitors. However, Traverse City Beer Week keeps the area energized with a wide array of special events meant to highlight the creativity and successes of the Traverse City beer scene. This year’s Traverse City Beer Week took place from November 11-17, and contained over 50 events.

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And while Traverse City Beer Week might attract some outside visitors, it is also a great opportunity for locals to enjoy their hometown before winter settles in. With special tastings, exclusive tappings, and unique pairings, it is easy to find a quick stop after work or enjoy an evening out with friends.

This year, The Little Fleet held a different themed event each night of the week. Monday was Founders Bingo. It was free to play, and various Founders brews were on tap, including some exclusive free samples. The Founders rep was also on site to call numbers and give away prizes.  

On Tuesday, The Little Fleet hosted a rare release from Lagunitas, a world premiere of Slow Tako from Brewery Vivant on Wednesday, a sour beer night on Thursday, and a Seafood Dinner on Friday.

Most of these events were casual, making it easy to stop in after work for something special. For instance, Sour Beer Night featured sour beers on tap from various breweries, including Jolly Pumpkin, Short’s, and various cellar exclusives. The weather was warm enough to sit outside, which made an exclusive beer after work even more enjoyable.

Other breweries and taprooms throughout downtown held similar style events. Rare Bird Brewpub hosted a Founders and Dark Horse Tap Jam. Upon walking into Rare Bird, it appeared to be an average evening. However, with a closer look, brewery reps were giving away swag and taps featured an equal selection of Founders and Dark Horse brews. Founders KBS was on tap, as well as Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse. This was only the second time that the barrel aged version of Plead The 5th Imperial Stout had been on tap in Traverse City.

7 Monks Taproom has become known for its unique pairings and themed events during Traverse City Beer Week. This year, the taproom dedicated an evening to Traverse City’s brewing history. The Filling Station brewed a historically inspired Kratochvil Bohemian Pilsner to be a featured tap for the evening, and a large beer history timeline was on display. So, with a pilsner in hand, many visited with friends during happy hour while also examining the timeline. The timeline featured artifacts, maps, and interesting information regarding some of Traverse City’s first breweries.

Dark Horse Brewing

DETROIT – HopCat Detroit and Dark Horse Brewing Co., of Marshall joined forces this weekend to produce a World Record Tap Takeover featuring 130 unique Dark Horse brews.

The event, dubbed Dark Saturday, broke a record set at HopCat Detroit’s grand opening on Dec. 13, 2014, which featured 120 Short’s Brewing Company beers.

By 11 a.m., a line wrapped around the front of the building as fans waited to try the huge variety of Dark Horse brews.

For HopCat and Dark Horse staff, the day began much earlier.

“It was all hands on deck to get this event together,” Trevor Mapes, captain of beer research at Hopcat, said. “A lot of the logistical elements were planned early on, and barbacks and food runners provided muscle late into the night and early in the morning before opening.”.

The bar filled up quickly as attendees anticipated rare and hard-to-find Dark Horse Brews.

“It’s great to see Dark Horse and HopCat tackling this event in Detroit,” said Damon Ward, Detroit resident and craft beer enthusiast. “It signifies how supportive they are of the local beer community.” Of the 130 beers on tap, Ward was most excited to try the 2014 and 2015 Bourbon Barrel Plead the 5th stout.

The all-day event included a special one-day renaming of HopCat Detroit’s Huma Room into the Crooked Tree Room. TV screens showed college football throughout the afternoon, and live music began at 7 p.m. to close out the evening.

“We love Detroit and want to be part of its ongoing renaissance,” said Bryan Wiggs, head of brewery operations and token hippie at Dark Horse. Yes, his business card really says that.

“It is a privilege and it is exciting to be breaking the world record here in Detroit,” Wiggs added.

“We came up with the idea for the tap takeover with HopCat at the Winter Beer Fest in February of 2014, and have been brewing beers specifically for this event since them,” said Aaron Morse, founder and owner of Dark Horse.

On the 12-acre Dark Horse compound in Marshall, Morse makes honey and maple syrup, he grows hops and fruit, and he uses all these elements in his beer.

“We have fun pushing the envelope and doing things people say you can’t,” Morse added.

For a must-try beer, Morse suggested the Rubescent Zhaftig Ghastly, which has all the roasty, creamy characteristics one would expect in a stout, but pours a vibrant red color.

“It is a brain teaser,” he said.

GRAND RAPIDS — If you’re on a beer forum or two, you’ll find plenty of advice on which whales to slay during the Saturday session of the 10th Annual Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival.

For the first time in it’s history of celebrating in Grand Rapids, the Guild added a second day to the party.

Based on Friday’s experience and enhanced by previous tasting research, here are a few beers I suggest you seek out tomorrow in no particular order:

Big Lake Brewing Company “Dark Star” breakfast stout. Travis Prueter, brewer, told MittenBrew it’s brewed using “Kona and Sumatra coffee, Godiva dark baker’s chocolate, then aged on cacao nibs.”

The barrel aged version spends “at least three and a half months on the barrel.”

Big Lake also provided a mean Imperial Brown — BB Elroy, which was aged in bourbon barrels.

Jolly Pumpkin “Saison X” farmhouse saison. A nice refreshing, complex, saison to treat your palate to. Brewed with candied ginger, lemon peel, orange peel and a blend of pink, black and green peppercorns.

Pike 51 “Oud Bruin” sour brown. I didn’t get to enjoy it Friday; it’s only being tapped today. I’ve had it from the source and will be seeing you in line for it tomorrow. Probably more than once.

Chelsea Alehouse “Hollier 8” double brown ale. A beautiful, roasty, toasty brew.

Dark Horse “Black Bush” black IPA. This relatively new release does worthy battle with their more well-known beers.

Witch’s Hat “Night Fury” imperial stouts. This series of bourbon barrel beers provides everything from vanilla bean to espresso and cherry flavors. We tried the vanilla bean variation, and were blown away by its subtle sweetness an overall balance, especially with it being a bourbon barrel age brew.

The Saturday session of Winter Beer Festival opens to the public at 1 p.m. today, with early entry available for VIPs and Enthusiast members at Noon. We hope to see you there!

Michigan’s own Madonna once sang that “some boys kiss me, some boys hug me, I think they’re okay…” She went on to divulge that Mr. Right was always that man with the cold hard cash. Money is great, but I want to tweak those lyrics a little to say that the man with the beer is (usually) Mr. Right. And he is even more likely to be the right one if he comes to you on Valentine’s Day bearing beer and candy. To help out those wannabe Mr. and Ms. Rights, I offer the following suggestions for Valentine’s gifts.

Life is like a box of chocolates…

Ah, those lovely heart shaped boxes full of chocolate goodies! Unless you cheat and get the Whitman’s Samplers, you are in for a lovely surprise with each chocolate that you pick. Here are some of my personal favorite pieces that can be paired with a delicious Michigan beer!

Vanilla in the middle: Whenever my dad would get my mom a box of candy, I would always insist on getting the ones with the vanilla cream in the center. This often meant that I would bite into or at least poke a few pieces before finding what I wanted. Ah, youth! Nowadays, I would still really love that vanilla cream interior, but I would pair it with Saugatuck Brewing Companys’s Neapolitan Stout. You could also use this beer if you accidentally grab the strawberry cream interior, as well. The beer is quite versatile.

Caramel: I’ve always had a problem with caramel — specifically, it sticks to my teeth and will not come off unless I pry it off with a chisel. Fortunately, I can use Odd Side Ales Granny’s Apple Pie to wash it down with! The apple flavor in this beer is not overpowering, and just tart enough to balance the caramel’s sugar.

Toffee crunch: The long, flat candies in the box tend to be the toffee crunch ones. I love any food that makes noise, so I usually go for these after I find my vanilla ones. A good winter warmer would balance out that sugary crunch — Arbor Brewing Company’s Jackhammer Old Ale would complement the taste of toffee perfectly.

Chocolate in the middle: Every once in a while, you will grab what I call the “chocolate chocolate” piece. You know, that one with the pure chocolate inside and out? If that happens, just go whole hog and grab a Detroit Beer Company’s Sanders Chocolate Stout. It is made with Sanders chocolate and what better way to honor the cocoa bean?

Raspberry in the middle: I mentioned above that I would often get to my mom’s chocolate box first. She was okay with this, so long as I left the raspberry creams for her. Raspberry was and is my mom’s favorite flavor, and I was a nice enough kid to share her own chocolates with her! Given the sweetness and sometimes overpowering taste of raspberry, I would suggest pairing these candies with the best chocolate beer out there, Atwater Brewery’s Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale. The beer has the pure taste of chocolate, but isn’t overly sweet and doesn’t have any coffee or oatmeal undertones.

Chocolate covered cherries: How cool would it be to pair with these gooey, fun candies than a beer actually made with cherries? Fortunately, we have just such a beer that is made right here in Michigan: North Peak’s Archangel! This nicely hopped, well balanced beer will wash down the tasty chocolate.

Other Valentine’s Day treats

Marketers love dying things red, white and pink and calling them Valentine’s Day treats. I have absolutely no problem with this, and to celebrate that creativity, I suggest the following beers be paired with these fun Valentine’s Day treats.

M&Ms Dark Chocolate with New Holland Brewing’s Dragon’s Milk with Raspberries: This creamy stout with its touch of raspberries makes for a nice combination with M&M’s Dark Chocolate (or any dark chocolate, for that matter).

Reese’s Peanut Butter Hearts with Tri City Brewing Company’s Giant Slayer: The strong peanut butter taste will need an equally strong beer, and there are few better than this imperial stout from Tri City Brewing.

Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses with Dark Horse Brewing Company’s Tres Blueberry: It’s a pity that chocolate covered blueberries aren’t more of a thing, because the two tastes really taste great together. Until the candies become more common, make your own with the classic Kisses paired with a tasty blueberry beer.

Conversation Hearts (Kiss me! Love me! Text me!) with a lager from Wolverine State Brewing Company: Nobody does lagers better than this Ann Arbor based brewery, and a nice, crispy lager will balance out the sugary fun of these chatty hearts.

Red Hots and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale: Traditionally, IPAs have been paired with hot foods. Thus, I think that the spiciest of candies will pair nicely with one of Michigan’s finest IPAs. (In a perfect world, there would be another batch of Red Hot beer brewed at the Arbor Microbrewery!)

Peeps with Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja: Peeps aren’t just for Easter anymore, and thank goodness for that! If you are going to ingest these gelatinous globs of sugar, just go for it! Balls to the wall! Eat the sugar, drink the sour and let the tastes mingle in your mouth.

These 12 beer and candy pairings should win your way into anyone’s heart. Happy Valentine’s Day!

There was an eye-catching addition to this year’s Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti this weekend.

Marshall’s Dark Horse Brewing Company brought a giant wooden set up to this year’s festival which stood out and above the rest of the state’s 88 breweries in attendance. The brewery often drops some jaws with the amount of beer they bring to the festival, but this year’s included t-shirt guns and a giant ice slide for beer.

Above the wooden structure sat their “DHN” sign, for Dark Horse Nation, the brewery’s new TV show that begins airing tonight at 10 p.m. on the History Channel.

The rest of the festival was highlighted by the fantastic weather on Friday and Saturday, as some sweltering heat was subdued by light rain, brief cloud cover and a slight breeze.

The state’s breweries proved to be at the top of their game as the nation’s brewing industry continues to grow at a double-digit pace. Perhaps it was the choice in beer samples, but only one I couldn’t finish, with many being excellent.

Pepper beers were all the rage this year, or so it seemed. Some seemed too hot, while others mixed in the perfect amount of spice with the pepper’s flavor.

Arbor’s Flambouyant Wild Sour Red was an amazing lip-puckering experience. As were many of the beers Brewery Vivant brought to their table.

As usual, bigget breweries often had the longest lines, including Founders Brewing Co., which saw a noticeably long line begin to wrap around a tent for its KBS release at least 15 minutes before the scheduled tapping.

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Kuhnhenn took some Michigan pride to the festival with its Pure Michigan series, including beers featuring Michigan cherries, blueberries, peach and more Michigan ingredients. The brewery also brought a few of its spectacular signatures including DRIPA, The Fluffer Session IPA and Raspberry Eisbock.

Several breweries completely ran out of beer fairly early into Saturday. Right Brain was the first I heard go, so I felt lucky that I was able to try the brewery’s Cucumber Saison it brought, which was mighty refreshing during the summer festival.

I didn’t get to try the Rockford Brewing Company / New Holland Brewing Company collaboration, Solar Coaster, but was told it was a fantastic beer.

Saturday was capped off by a rousing performance by the Detroit band Sponge.

MARSHALL – If you think Michigan is hot and humid in the summer, try going down to Louisiana in June. Better yet, why not just bring the bayou up to Michigan?

That’s exactly what Dark Horse Brewing does the second Saturday of every June for its annual Crawfish Boil. This year’s edition attracted hundreds of revelers throughout the day Saturday, all seeking good beer, live music and, of course, some tasty crustaceans from the waters of Louisiana.

For the all-you-can-eat event, 1,800 pounds of live crawfish were express shipped up from Louisiana, double the amount ordered last year, according to Dark Horse manager Joanna “Party-Pants” Hollyday. Both the crawfish and the live music began around 1 p.m. and continued unabated (as did the sunny, warm weather) until this reporter left, five heaping platefuls later and fully sated, around 7 p.m.

Actual Louisianans among the crowd attested to the quality of the boil, which included the traditional elements of garlic, onion, corn on the cob and potatoes (the Andouille sausage was notably missing, however). Picnic style seating throughout the Dark Horse beer garden and parking lot made for a jovial atmosphere of shared community, which included people from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and even further away.

Locals were, of course, also well represented – and at least one area farmer was happy to invite strangers – or, as he called them, “new friends” – over to his farm for a party.

Three different tap areas (four, counting the bar inside) poured plenty of good Dark Horse brews, including Amber Ale, Boffo Brown Ale, Boffo’s Belgian Cousin (Boffo fermented with Belgian yeast), CoffIPA (IPA brewed with coffee), Raspberry Ale, Reserve Special Black Ale, Sapient Trip Ale, Smells Like a Safety Meeting IPA (formerly Smells Like Weed), Thirsty Trout Porter and several more, including a guest beer (Sweet Leif Belgian-style Ale) brewed at Dark Horse by the team from Chicago’s Local Option.

All in all, this is one fun event that any Michigan beer drinker and lover of delicious seafood ought to have marked on his or her calendar every year. Consider yourself forewarned for 2015!

For a complete recap of the fifth annual Detroit Fall Beer Festival, click hereTo view part one of our favorite beers from the fifth annual Detroit Fall Beer Festival, click here.

Brewery Ferment 45th Parallale: Brewery Ferment is a fairly young operation based out of Traverse City. One of their flagship brews, the 45th Parallale is light, crisp and slightly hoppy, This American Pale Ale has a nice, earthy hop up front, with a slightly sweet citrusy aftertaste. A nice, drinkable beer that could be enjoyed again and again.

Kuhnhenn Kürbis Sour Imperial Pumpkin Ale: Available only during the Michigan Brewers Guild Beer Enthusiast hour (take note, those on the fence about becoming Enthusiast members), this brew created with the second runnings of All Hallows Ale stood out as the most interesting beer of the festival. Advertised as 12.25% ABV, it was light bodied enough to sip like it was less than half that. The spices – including nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon – dominated the nose, but upon tasting faded into a well balanced blend of sour tartness and honey sweetness. The overall effect reminded of mulled wine.

Short’s Bourbon Hammer Jack: An outstanding and quite boozy barrel aged offering by Short’s. This is a strong winter scotch ale with sweet notes and malty body. Very thick palate and very bourbony upfront with the aroma. This high ABV brew clocks in at around 9%. Although it’s typically a pub exclusive, there is no doubt this one will warm your bones during the fall and winter.

Arbor Harvest Ale: This barrel aged, dry-hopped IPA delivered the full piney fragrance of fresh, locally grown Chinook hops along with a palate-pleasing balance of spicy bitterness and mildly toasted malt flavors. An impressive exemplar of what’s possible through the rapidly developing Michigan-grown hop scene.

The Livery FramBam Wild Ale: Barrel aged with raspberries, this tart delight stood out even from The Livery’s other solid offerings, which included several barrel aged brews. FramBam melded the raspberry fruitiness with oaky and bitter notes for a surprisingly dry and satisfying finish.

Odd Side Ales Bean Flicker Blonde: The draft version of this modified blonde was just as tasty as the bottle version. Coffee aroma dominates the nose and the consistency is smooth with a surprising clean body. This brew blends the best of both worlds with its light mouthfeel and stout qualities. For those who don’t like heavy stouts but appreciate the look and aroma, this one’s for you.

Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Plead the 5th Imperial Stout: OK, nothing new here obviously. But is there anything wrong with sticking to an old stand-by? BBPt5 is one of if not the best bourbon-barrel stouts around. Smooth, dark, creamy and strong. In a time where everything is being thrown into a barrel, Dark Horse is still showing how it’s supposed to be done. Damn-near perfection.

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Compiled by Erik Hart, Mike D’Orazio and David Bardallis.


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