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li grand zombi

The concept will feature a rotating selection of Creole inspired dishes

 

Grand Rapids, Mich.  — City Built Brewing Company has announced a Creole-inspired alter ego, Li Grand Zombi, named for the sacred serpent spirit worshipped among voodooists. The takeout/delivery pop-up restaurant is part play on the ghost kitchen trend, part embrace of Louisiana style of cooking where West African, French, Spanish and Haitian influences meet.

“One of our taglines is ‘Where Cultures Collide,’”City Built CEO Ed Collazo said. “This is another opportunity to highlight a different culture whose cuisine we enjoy.”

After spending time eating his way across New Orleans and absorbing techniques, City Built head chef Kyle Murray returned eager to reinterpret what he’d tasted. Those ever wowed by a City Built taco can anticipate the same standard of perfection. Li Grand Zombi’s menu will focus on quality before quantity featuring just one item at a time that rotates on a weekly basis.

li grand zombieFirst up is the delectable house-made and house-smoked spicy andouille sausage served with red beans and rice. Accoutrements include house-made cornbread with a serrano-garlic honey butter and a side of fried okra.

Foodies can expect other Creole classics like jambalaya, gumbo, po boys and more. While the concept is certainly a pivot from City Built’s Puerto Rican fare, Collazo sees a throughline between the two cuisines.

“The story’s the same: you have a marginalized group of people that have made the most of what’s available to them. White rice and beans are pretty cheap but they spice it up to make something really simple really grand,” Collazo said.

Thursday through Saturday, Li Grand Zombi will be available for takeout and through Uber Eats, GrubHub and DoorDash. For those ordering in, it’s a way to experience what’s coming out of the City Built kitchen from the comfort of home. Those who make it down to Monroe Avenue can look forward to “Social Zones” with beer, a food cart, yard games and barrels to hang around—a pandemic proof party.

Li Grand Zombi aims to bring The Big Easy’s energy to Grand Rapids.

“We’re excited to take advantage of this opportunity to do something different and fun,” Collazo said.

 

About City Built Brewing Company 

Cities are where cultures collide. Ideas get remixed. Societal shifts start. Old traditions combine and become new trends. City Built Brewing Company strives to reflect that energy in their innovative beer recipes and methods, and in their Puerto Rican inspired food served in their downtown Grand Rapids taproom. Visit them and learn how they make the strange familiar, and the familiar fresh and bold. Follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter.

bottled in bond

Grand Rapids’ first craft distillery celebrates fifth anniversary with limited-edition whisky release

Grand Rapids, Michigan – Grand Rapids-based Long Road Distillers will celebrate their fifth anniversary this weekend with a limited release of a brand-new offering, Long Road Bottled-In-Bond Bourbon Whisky.

“Obviously, we never expected to celebrate our five-year anniversary under the circumstances we find ourselves in,” said Jon O’Connor, co-owner and co-founder of Long Road Distillers. “All of our locations are closed to dine-in service, and we’ve been producing more hand sanitizer over the past 8 weeks than craft spirits. We can’t throw the party this birthday deserves, but we’re grateful for the opportunity to still offer take-out service of spirits, cocktail kits and food.”

Unique environment aside, the distillery wanted to mark the anniversary with something special. The Bottled-In-Bond designation is a significant milestone in the life of a distillery, and carries with it certain requirements that go above and beyond the average bourbon.

bottled in bondA bottled-in-bond whisky must be distilled in a single distilling season for a single distillery, aged in a federally bonded warehouse for at least 4 years, and bottled at 100 proof. All these requirements were established by the Bottled-In-Bond Act of 1897. As the label on Long Road’s Bottled-In-Bond expression calls out, this bourbon is quite literally “Bottled-In-Bond Under U.S. Government Supervision”.

Only a single barrel of Long Road Bottled-In-Bond Bourbon will be available this week, less than 180 bottles in total.

Since Governor Whitmer issued an Executive Order on March 16 to shut down dining rooms of bars and restaurants, the team at Long Road Distillers has shifted gears to produce hand sanitizer and to offer take-out of Cocktail Kits, craft spirits, and more recently food from their Grand Rapids kitchen.

Orders for Long Road Bottled-In-Bond Bourbon and a variety of other spirits and kits can be placed through the Take-Out section of the company’s website www.LongRoadDistillers.com, and picked up at any of their three tasting room locations this weekend. A full list of days and hours of operation are available on the site.

 

About Long Road Distillers:

Long Road Distillers was born from the belief that making world-class spirits means never taking shortcuts along the way. After becoming the first craft distillery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Long Road Distillers formed relationships with local farmers to bring that mission to Grand Rapids’ West Side neighborhood. Each spirit produced at Long Road Distillers is milled from locally sourced ingredients, fermented, and distilled on-site. The result is an uncompromised lineup of spirits including Vodka, Gin, Whisky and more. Their spirits, along with a handcrafted collection of cocktails and a wide variety of food can be enjoyed at their Grand Rapids and Grand Haven Tasting Rooms, and visitors can enjoy samples of their spirits and purchase merchandise and bottles to-go at their Boyne City Tasting Room.

 

hand sanitizer

Grand Rapids distillery has converted from producing craft spirits to Michigan-made hand sanitizer

 

Grand Rapids, Michigan – Over the course of the last month, Long Road Distillers has shifted from producing Michigan-made craft spirits to Michigan-made hand sanitizer in order to help meet the tremendous needs of the community during the current outbreak. To help speed up the process, the Grand Rapids distillery has partnered with several Michigan breweries to provide beer that can be distilled and converted into ethyl alcohol, the primary ingredient in hand sanitizer.

“We have all of the equipment on site to produce hand sanitizer from scratch,” said Jon O’Connor, co-owner of Long Road Distillers. “Our two large stills allow us to take fermented grain or fruit and turn it into 190 proof neutral spirit, much like we do in the process of producing our vodka.”

For Long Road, the pinch point in speeding up production is fermentation capacity. To overcome that roadblock, they are now working with several Michigan breweries who are providing beer that can be run through the still. To date, Long Road has partnered with The Mitten Brewing Company, Founders Brewing Company, Perrin Brewing Company and Shorts Brewing Company. Some of the beer had been kegged for restaurant use, while some was brewed by the companies specifically for the purpose of distilling into sanitizer.

hand sanitizer

“The craft beverage world has always been about creativity, excellence and service,” said Chris Andrus, co-owner of The Mitten Brewing Company. “This effort is just a natural extension of that; quickly working together to solve problems and meet a need in our community.”

So far, Long Road Distillers has worked with nearly 300 health care providers, nursing homes, grocers, social service agencies and other essential businesses to provide sanitizer to keep patients, residents, employees and customers safe. Their ability to offer this is due in large part to those who have come to the support of the distillery at this time.

“We’re fortunate to have such a collaborative beverage community in Michigan!” exclaimed Kyle VanStrien, co-owner of Long Road Distillers. “The willingness of our friends to step up and help us in this effort has certainly been one of the brightest silver linings during these difficult days.”

Long Road Hand Sanitizer is available for purchase in individual spray bottles and in bulk refill jugs, with primary focus given to front-line providers and essential businesses and their employees at this time. Interested organizations may submit inquiries about procuring sanitizer through Long Road’s website: www.LongRoadDistillers.com/handsanitizer/

A limited number of individual spray bottles are being sold to the public through the distillery’s weekly take-out service, and orders must be placed in advance through the takeout link on their website. Pick-up of sanitizer, as well as cocktail kits and bottles-to-go are offered Thursdays (12-5p) and Fridays (12-6p) in Grand Rapids, and Saturdays (10a-2p) from their Grand Haven location. Long Road Hand Sanitizer can also be found at several local retailers.

About Long Road Distillers:

Long Road Distillers was born from the belief that making world-class spirits means never taking shortcuts along the way. After becoming the first craft distillery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Long Road Distillers formed relationships with local farmers to bring that mission to Grand Rapids’ West Side neighborhood. Each spirit produced at Long Road Distillers is milled from locally sourced ingredients, fermented, and distilled on-site. The result is an uncompromised lineup of spirits including Vodka, Gin, Whisky and more. Their spirits, along with a handcrafted collection of cocktails and a wide variety of food can be enjoyed at their Grand Rapids and Grand Haven Tasting Rooms, and visitors can enjoy samples of their spirits and purchase merchandise and bottles to-go at their Boyne City Tasting Room.  For more information, visit www.LongRoadDistillers.com or find Long Road Distillers on Facebook or Instagram @longroadgr.

 

founders

Founders Brewing Co. has launched #CraftedinMI, a new online campaign to support the local arts community in Michigan. Founders has pledged to use their social media platforms to help promote artists that are deeply affected by Covid-19 Michigan, including makers, musicians, culinary artists, small business owners and more. Throughout the stay-at-home order, the team will be sharing some of their favorite Michigan-based craftspeople with the goal of bringing awareness to their talent and driving support during this time of need.

“Michiganders are known for their persevering spirit and relentless creativity, especially in the face of adversity,” said Co-Founder and President, Dave Engbers. “We want to celebrate and support our local makers by promoting the amazing work they continue to create, and we hope it will inspire others to do the same.”

“I’m so appreciative of the visibility that Founders provided by sharing my artwork through their social platforms,” said Dayna Walton, owner of Solstice Handmade. “Last week was tough and it’s so hard to sit back and watch everything I had been looking forward to financially and otherwise cancel, postpone, or disappear. With the help directing eyes to my artwork and online shop, I was able to recoup income lost from workshop cancelations in March and continue to move forward with projects that employ other local makers in collaboration! I hope that I can pass on joy and relief I felt with others. It’s during times like these that we realize how essential the non-essentials of life are. Art gives life to our minds, homes, and communities, even when everything else in our world is at a standstill.”

How can you get involved? Visit our site and follow us on social media (@foundersbrewing) to read #CraftedinMI stories and to find out more about lending direct support. Please consider purchasing an item, downloading an album, grabbing a coffee and other meaningful way to keep Michigan’s vibrant artistic and crafts businesses open. For MI-based makers who’d like to be considered for a feature, please reach out to social@foundersbrewing.com.

 

The first beer’s debut coincides with the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Feb. 22 Winter Beer Festival

 

Grand Rapids, Mich. — The Fibonacci Sequence is a simple equation—the next number in the series is found by adding the two numbers before it—but strangely, from the lowliest acorn to the arms of the Milky Way galaxy, the sequence reveals itself throughout all of nature’s design.

It is also the inspiration for a new series of pastry stouts from Grand Rapids’s City Built Brewing Company, the first of which will be released Feb. 22.

When City Built Brewing Company came up with an idea to test the effects of the sequence on beer, divine providence would show how the sequence applied. Adjusting the boil times from three hours to five hours, to 13 hours and finally 21 hours produced interesting results on each stout.

The first beer in The Fibonacci Sequence, 3 Hour Stout, is a 10.5% ABV imperial stout. It will be available on draft and in cans at $20 per four pack starting Feb. 22. Smooth as velvet, with notes of caramel and coffee, the base stout is perfect without adjuncts involved.

city built

“The number three is often associated with completion or perfection,” said Ed Collazo, CEO of City Built Brewing Company. “When we see the number three, it is a reminder from the universe of our creative potential and our innately divine nature.”

As the series progresses, so does the ABV. The 5 Hour Stout with coconut and vanilla hits at 13.5% and the 21 Hour Stout at 19%. Though unannounced, Collazo hinted at coveted barrel-aged versions of these beers down the line as well.

For the art, City Built tapped Kyle DeGroff, a Grand Rapids-based artist and muralist, who helped inspire the concept for the series. His celestial, colorful and psychedelic designs look like Tool album covers come to life.

3 Hour Stout’s Feb. 22 release date coincides with City Built’s Base Camp Beer & Breakfast Buffet, a prelude to the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Winter Beer Festival. A $25 ticket covers entrance to the event, a Teku logo glass, your first drink, the buffet and first access to purchase cans. Snow on Monroe, a 6% sour wheat with blackberry and black currants, will also be available for purchase at $15 per four pack.

“I’m excited because we’ve wanted to do pastry stouts since we opened and this is our first go at it,” Collazo said. “These are beers that I like to drink and share with friends. I think our personality is really coming through in the art and beer we’re putting out.”

 

About City Built Brewing Company 

Cities are where cultures collide. Ideas get remixed. Societal shifts start. Old traditions combine and become new trends. City Built Brewing Company strives to reflect that energy in their innovative beer recipes and methods, and in their Puerto Rican inspired food served in their downtown Grand Rapids taproom. Visit them and learn how they make the strange familiar, and the familiar fresh and bold.

winter beer fest

(LANSING, Mich) – Attendees at this year’s 15th Annual Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival on Saturday, February 22 will find more than 130 breweries offering samples of 840-plus different beers. Admission to the festival is for those 21 years of age or older, with valid I.D. required.

Tickets for the one-day event, held from 1-6pm outside at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park just north of downtown Grand Rapids, are available online for $55 (plus a $5 online service fee from EventBrite). Each ticket comes with 15 tokens which are exchanged for a 3 oz. sample of beer (certain higher-priced specialty selections may require additional tokens per sample). The detailed Beer List can be viewed online or is available in the official app from BeerFestList (iTunes and Google Play).

Those wishing to enter the festival an hour before the general public – when a handful of special beers will be available for sampling – should look at becoming an Enthusiast Member at an annual rate of $55. Other benefits include VIP ticket pre-sales for all festivals, members only events and MiBeer swag (a t-shirt, hat or bag).

This year’s entertainment includes Slumlord Radio on the stage from 1:30-3pm, followed by the ceremonial tapping of the festival keg and singing of the Michigan Beer Fight Song, then rounding out the day with Stone Soup and the Broken Teeth from 4-5:30pm.

For more about Winter Beer Festival, especially for those new to the event, the FAQ page provides details about everything from parking to designated driver tickets to what is allowed to be brought into the festival.

The MBG 2020 festival schedule includes:

  • Winter Beer Festival – Saturday, February 22 at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park
    Tickets on sale now
  • Spring Beer Festival – Saturday, May 16 at Turtle Creek Stadium in Traverse City General admission tickets go on sale on Thursday, March 5 at 10am
  • Summer Beer Festival – Friday, July 24 & Saturday, July 25 at Riverside Park in Ypsilanti
    General admission tickets go on sale on Thursday, April 30 at 10am
  • U.P. Fall Beer Festival – Saturday, September 12 at Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette
    General admission tickets go on sale on Thursday, June 25 at 10am
  • Detroit Fall Beer Festival – Saturday, October 24 at Eastern Market in Detroit
    General admission tickets go on sale on Thursday, August 6 at 10am

For more on each festival, visit MiBeer.com/events.

The Michigan Brewers Guild was formed in 1997 and held its first festival in July 1998. Today, the Guild hosts five festivals dedicated exclusively to Michigan craft beer produced by its more than 290 member breweries (a number that increases on a monthly basis).

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 Michigan Brewers 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 contributes more than 21,000 full-time jobs and $872 million in labor income, with a total economic impact of over $2.5 billion. In terms of overall number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #4 in the nation—supporting its title as “The Great Beer State.”

 

Grand Rapids, Mich. – Broad Leaf Local Beer, the alter ego of the largest independently owned brewery in Grand Rapids, Brewery Vivant, is preparing to launch its beer into the market through self distribution in early 2020. Since late summer, the brewery has been quietly operating in its new tap room at 2885 Lake Eastbrook Blvd, just around the corner from Trader Joe’s. During this time, the brewery has been experimenting with beer and food recipes. It has already carved out a reputation for its progressive offerings being recently voted as a 2019 Best New Brewpub by Revue Magazine readers.

They recently teamed up with Grand Rapids based Koeze Company to make a beer version of their famous Cream-Nut Peanut Butter Cluster candy. The beer is part of a pre-launch of the brewery’s beers into the marketplace where the public is invited to vote on which of the four beers will be distributed. The kick-off party will include a ‘Rube Goldberg’ inspired machine that through a series of pulleys, ramps and match box cars will automatically bag the first four-pack sold to a lucky customer. 

“As we approach our 110th anniversary as a Grand Rapids based company, we were excited to work with a brewery who has such a great reputation for both beer and food and its connection to the community,” says Koeze Nut Company President Jeff Koeze. “It seemed like a difficult task to re-create our specialty candy in beer form. However we tried the beer and the Cream-Nut Peanut Butter Cluster side-by-side and it was amazing!” 

“Koeze is well known for their high quality products, it seemed like a natural fit for our brands to work together,” says Brewery Vivant CEO Jason Spaulding. “Broad Leaf is our outlet to pilot new and creative beers and this project was the perfect fit. We achieved just the right balance of flavors and are excited to share it with the public.” 

Broad Leaf Local Beer’s launch event is on December 27 with four exciting beers; Hazy J, a taproom favorite New England style juicy IPA, Koeze Cream Nut Cluster, the Koeze Cream-Nut inspired peanut butter-chocolate beer, Vanilla-zilla a vanilla milkshake IPA, and Banan-Appeal a rich stout made with 200 pounds of bananas and blended with bourbon barrel aged beer. 

“We are looking for guest feedback on these beers. Based on what people think, we will select which ones to scale up and put out in the marketplace,” says Broad Leaf taproom manager Jared Rader. “Our owner Jason has a few tricks up his sleeve to make this a mind-blowing event. He loves Rube Goldberg machines and has been working on an overly complicated beer delivery system with pulleys, ropes, and matchbox cars that will drop a four-pack from the ceiling into a grocery bag for the first retail customer whenever we launch a new packaged beer.” 

“Part of what has made Broad Leaf beers sought after is that they have only been available at the brewery itself since we opened,” says Brewery Vivant President Kris Spaulding. “We look forward to sharing our beers with a wider audience through working directly with some of the industry friends we have made over the years. A select number of retailers and bars will soon have the beer available to sell at their locations. Even though the window of opportunity is short for public input, it will be fun to see what people think,” she adds. 

According to current liquor laws, Broad Leaf Local Beer will only be able to self distribute into the first few months of the year. Existing as two brands under one umbrella, once Broad Leaf and Brewery Vivant aggregate 1,000 barrels of production between the two entities, self distribution will cease. “Broad Leaf hasn’t been in the market before,” says CEO Jason Spaulding. “While our Vivant brands will continue to be sold through our trusted wholesale partners, this little bit of self distribution will allow us to see what the market thinks without having to commit to long-term wholesale contracts,” he adds. 

Launch event details: Doors open at 11:00 AM on Friday, December 27 at Broad Leaf Local Beer. The four new beers will be available on draft and customers are encouraged to vote for their favorites throughout the day and the following weeks until supply runs out. The main event begins at 4:00 when the “Beer-Delivery” machine will be activated and one lucky customer will be able to take home the 4-pack of that drops from the ceiling. Also starting at 4:00 Koeze Nut Company will be on hand with Cream-Nut peanut butter clusters to sample alongside the collaboration beer. Live music by local band “Cheap Emotion” begins at 9:00 PM. 

 

speciation

The natural brewery and winery will open a new tasting room on Wealthy Street in 2020

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.– Speciation Artisan Ales and Native Species Winery will have a new home at 928 Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids.

The new tasting room for the nature-inspired brewery and winery will open later in 2020 pending licensing and approvals.

Co-owners Mitch and Whitney Ermatinger say the move from Comstock Park will bring their products closer to their customers.

“It’s time to get more of our product directly into people’s hands,” said Mitch Ermatinger. “We have always looked at Wealthy Street for a potential taproom location because of the area’s strong sense of community and identity. We are excited to play a part in the growth of one of the best and most exciting business corridors in the city!”

Speciation Artisan Ales is a “mixed culture” brewery, which specializes in wild ales and ciders inspired by the variations that can be found in nature. Native Species Winery extends those concepts to wine, using foot-crushed grapes and natural fermentation techniques. Both businesses source Michigan-grown ingredients for their products.

Moving the businesses to the new location near the intersection of Wealthy and Diamond will enable them to stay on top of industry trends, Ermatinger said.

“The craft beer movement is shifting significantly—away from distribution and toward tasting room and direct sales,” Ermatinger said. “We would like to stay ahead of the changes in the industry and position ourselves for long-term stability with a wide range of house-made small batch beverages, including beer, natural wine, wine spritzers, seltzers and cider.”

The Comstock Park taproom will close when the new taproom opens, after which the Comstock Park location will be used for production only.

“Our current location in Comstock Park served its purpose to get us started, but it’s time to get more of our product directly into people’s hands. We believe the best way to do that is to move to a more central location,” Ermatinger said. “The many excellent businesses on Wealthy and Cherry Street complement each other so well, and we think that we will be a strong asset to that community.”