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our brewing

Our Brewing Company is a micro-brewery, small winery, and micro-distillery in the heart of downtown Holland, Michigan. With tiny words like “micro” and “small” followed by traditionally massive words like brewery, winery, and distillery it is refreshing to hear co-owner Trevor Doublestein say how important it is to keep their business smaller on purpose.

our brewing

In an industry where many seem to be clamoring to expand, grow, and be the next “big” thing, Our Brewing Company is embracing their roots. This is a place where you feel welcome to bring your kids and play a board-game in the middle of the afternoon. Where you can belly up to the bar, glance at the chalkboard menu, smile at a craft beer name or two, and order nearly any beverage your heart may desire. And make no mistake, whatever you order will be bursting with flavor.

Our Brewing Company creates distinctive craft beer concoctions with entertaining names to match the flavor — like Andes Milk Stout, Careless Whisper IPA, Witches Blood Barrel-Aged Sour Cherry. If cider is more your speed, try a Blackjack Cider with a hint of anise/black licorice flavor. Our Brewing’s creativity and whimsy will seamlessly flow into their new draft cocktail options as well.

Wait… Draft Cocktails? Yes. Cocktails hand made in bulk using UltraPure, a gluten-free organic liquor, along with fresh, seasonal ingredients like raw ginger and simple syrup for their own ginger beer, for example — to create Our Brewing Company’s twist on a Moscow Mule. Once created, these cocktails are placed into a keg and put right into the draft line up. Bartenders simply need to ice and garnish a glass; keeping things simple, lines flowing, and beverages pouring with ease: making everyone happy.

Their customers mean quite a bit to Our Brewing Company. The micro-brewery has recently incorporated a Brew With Us Program where patrons write down their own creative craft beer concept into the Suggested Brews Pot, and once a month one brew is drawn as the lucky winner. That selected beer is then brewed with Doublestein and brewer Ed DeGalan alongside the winner, giving customers a chance to not only tour the Our Brewing Company facilities, but learn the beauty of the craft beer brewing process. While the Brew With Us Program is still fairly new, it has been successful so far with a Pistachio Cream Ale and a Blood Orange Mandarin Double Hopped IPA selected as winning brews.

Another exclusive feature for loyal patrons is a punch-card system where customers earn a stamp for every beer they drink in order to be featured on the *grabs megaphone* Mustache Wall of Fame! It does not take long for regulars to begin earning perks. After 10 beers, customers earn a logo pint glass. Keep drinking, and patrons will enjoy howlers, growlers, t-shirts, and hats, oh my! After 100 stamps, their name is inscribed on the exclusive Mustache Wall of Fame. And these Mustache Wall of Famers earn swanky deals, like $2 craft beers on random days of the week, typically announced via Facebook.

our brewing

The warm and comfortable vibe this downtown Holland micro-brewery features has not changed, even if the chalkboard menu behind the bar may have a few more unique options and variations available on draft. Our Brewing Company has and always will remain smaller on purpose.

 

Photography: Steph Harding

New Holland Brewing

Holland, MI — A tricked out beer trailer? An eight foot tall metal dragon that will be looming over you as you sip deliciousness? A crazy ambitious series from New Holland that provides 16 variations of Dragon’s Milk? Um, yes. Count me in New Holland Brewing. Your presence at the 11th Annual Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival is worth squealing with excitement about.

It’s no secret that Dragon’s Milk, a bourbon barrel aged stout, has stolen the hearts of many, and for good reason! It’s a solid, damn good product. So, how can New Holland Brewing up their game with the beer? By making it an “Unlimited Release” of course. The company has announced that, “We are all in on Dragon’s Milk this year and truly view it as an “Unlimited Release”. We strive to make it “unlimited” by being available year round (no easy feat), everywhere (working towards contiguous US), available to everyone (not just the “geeks”) and now with unlimited variants and flavor possibilities.”

New Holland BrewingBefore I go any further, let’s check out what exactly the selection from New Holland Brewing will be at Winter Beer Fest 2016…

Dragon’s Milk
Dragon’s Milk Coconut Rum Barrel
Dragon’s Milk Mexican Spice Cake
Dragon’s Milk Peanut Butter
Dragon’s Milk Mint Chocolate
Dragon’s Milk Maple Coffee
Dragon’s Milk Brandy Barrel Apple Pie
Dragon’s Milk Bacon
Dragon’s Milk Chocolate & Orange
Dragon’s Milk Sarsaparilla
Dragon’s Milk Black Cherry
Dragon’s Milk Hazelnut
Dragon’s Milk Vanilla Chai
2015 Dragon’s Milk Reserve Triple Mash
2014 Dragon’s Milk Reserve with Raspberries
2015 Dragon’s Milk Reserve with Toasted Chilies

I know I know. A pretty robust list, right? After taking a peek I had a few questions for Fred Bueltmann,  Vice President of Brand and Lifestyle and Partner of New Holland, and Joel Petersen, Vice President of Marketing of New Holland Brewing about these new brews.

AS: It appears that the Dragon’s Milk variants have several options that mesh together beer (of course) with other beverage types (root beer, apple pie brandy, etc). Have you found that creating these new flavor relationships resulted from organic curiosity in production or have you found that listening to and observing the consumer trends (Not Your Father’s Root Beer comes to mind immediately) inspired these variants? Or possibly both?

FB & JP: In this particular case, they were dreamed up by our team of brewers in a very explorative, freestyle manner. Creating variants for the festival, removes some of the common barriers that come with our normal obligation to volume, and commitment to recreate flavors consistently. In this instance, they were charged with creating fun, one-off flavors in small, festival-sized batches, that may never exist again.

AS: Which ingredient(s) in the group of Dragon’s Milk variants was the most difficult to brew with? Anything that gummed up or got stuck in the mash tun or proved to be too powerful of a flavor in too little quantities? Essentially, which variant provided the most challenging brewing experience?

FB & JP: Bacon and peanut butter are currently the big question marks in terms of methodology, as well as cleanup.

AS: Acquiring barrels is never easy nowadays. How do you stay ahead of the pack in terms of collecting barrels for flavor and aging, especially less common ones in the beer scene such as rum and brandy barrels?

FB & JP: We have been barrel-aging beer since 2001, so we have learned a lot and developed many relationships. We have a great relationship with our cooper, who also serves as a bourbon-barrel broker, and we project our needs well ahead of time.  Our barrel cellar also produces a large amount of second-use barrels, so the relationship is reciprocal at times.  Our barrel sourcing efforts are as important and serious to us as our grain and hops.  

AS: Speaking of rum and brandy, could you give us an idea of the flavor differences you noticed between using rum or using the brandy barrels for the Dragon’s Milk?

FB & JP: This is the first brandy barrel we’ve used for Dragon’s Milk, so time will tell.  Rum is made from molasses and cane sugar, and typically expresses the darker flavors of it’s distillate and sugars.  Caramel, molasses and toffee are common to the flavor profile, which is a delicious connection to the dark and roasty malts, as well as the vanilla component found in Dragon’s Milk.  We expect the barrel that held brandy, which is fruit-based distillate, to have more fruit-like sweetness and play a bit brighter, accenting more of the toasty notes from the oak.

AS: What was the method used for including the bacon characteristics in the beer? Allowing full pieces of cooked bacon to hang out in the fermentation tanks? Were they included during boiling? Or was it some sort of steeping method towards the end? I bet the facilities smelled amazing that day…

FB & JP: We are conditioning the beer with bacon, post-brew and post-barrel.  Finished Dragon’s Milk will be transferred to a tank where crispy cooked bacon will be added. This allows us to manage the ingredients well and gauge conditioning time. Bacon brings lots of flavor as well as mouthfeel, so this should be velvety smooth, with tremendous porcine flavors.

AS: What advice would you give enthusiasts out there who are looking to pair these new variants with food? There are numerous pairing options, but perhaps some stood out in particular during your trial period?

FB & JP: Our advice is always to Stop & Taste.  Trust your intuition and think about what flavor you’re picking up, more than any given technique.  Also, since these are Winter Beer Festival only, we suggest, they should be paired with giant turkey legs and whatever chocolate you can get your hands on while enjoying the fest.

AS: You’ve created a purpose-driven program for the Dragon’s Milk series. Allowing the beer to be available year round in all your distribution networks and launching the “Unlimited Release” idea is incredibly difficult and I think will be received very well by your fans. What is the most challenging aspect of this idea? Do you think it’ll push other breweries to attempt this line of thinking with their rare or specialty items?

FB & JP: Our decision to go year round several years ago has definitely changed the face and footprint of the brewery. The need for dedicated blending tanks, refrigerated barrel storage, re-orienting how our barrels are stored, projecting the cash flow for all of those barrels to hang out for three months and having a robust quality control program to make shelf-stable barrel-aged beer, are all challenges that have been discovered and met at one point or another. Who knows whether other breweries will follow suit, but you have to look at it two different ways. Making rare or specialty items more widely available is one thing, and it should be in concert with demand.  Dragon’s Milk has grown in response to our customers demonstrating that they want more and will buy more. The second point is that taking barrel aged beers to market has significant technical challenges to assure that the bottles will be shelf stable and will age gracefully. Once beer is in contact with wood, it has met potential souring and/or staling agents, and we go to great pains to protect our barrel aged beer from preventable negative consequences to that exposure. Both of these points should be considered before breweries expand specialty lines, and are challenges that may keep some rare or specialty beer closer to home and in more limited contexts and volume. 

#unlimitedrelease

Photography: Steph Harding

 

HOLLAND — When Justin Mendez attended New Holland Brewing’s Hatter Days Street Party in 2014, he could hardly move because it was so packed with craft beer fans.

However, this year after the party moved from a downtown Holland street to a spacious parking lot behind the brewery’s pub, Mendez had room to focus on his goal: trying all seven Hatter-style beers on tap for the event.

“It was hard to traverse [last year]. I think it is growing and that is a good thing,” he said as he listened to a band playing on the main stage. “There is no way they could keep it in the street.”

As the cloudy Saturday afternoon turned into a sunny evening, crowds flooded into the grounds, heading right for beer, straight for music and left for food. Throughout the parking lot, the Daredevil Circus entertained guests with juggling on stilts, air acrobats and balancing acts.

Hatter Days offered a relaxed, carnival-like atmosphere, catering to all ages with photo booths, lawn games and coloring activities. As the opening band, Delilah DeWylde and the Lost Boys, played honky tonk country, rockability and surf music, guests started dancing in front of the massive stage.

“If you want to get hot and sweaty, this is the place to be,” said Delilah DeWylde, the band’s lead singer.

To cool down, the crowd gathered around tall tables and enjoyed tasting New Holland’s ales.

The annual event, which celebrates New Holland’s birthday and its growing lineup of Hatter-style beers, is a can’t-miss summer activity for Mendez and his friend, Chris Darling.

Early on Mendez tried the newest Hatter, the Tasmanian Hatter (7% ABV), a galaxy IPA featuring hops from the New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Northwest regions.

“It’s definitely different,” he said. “It seems subdued compared to the other ones.”

One of his top choices two hours in? The White Hatter (5.5% ABV), a Belgian-style White Pale Ale that has citrusy notes perfect for the season.

“I think it’s an awesome summer beer,” he said.

Darling returned to their tall table, perfectly situated in the center of the event, with another round of beers, this time the Oak Aged Hatter (7.22% ABV). He was impressed by the oak-aged IPA after only one sip.

“A good oak flavor,” he said, pausing to reflect on the taste he just experienced. “Almost a sweetness on the backside of it.”

Chris Warner planned on spending Saturday afternoon simply purchasing a paddleboard. But when he came across the Hatter Days Street Party, he couldn’t resist stopping in.

Warner, an Indianapolis resident familiar with the burgeoning craft beer scene there, said he was enjoying the event and more importantly, the beer.

“The Oak Aged Hatter was really good,” he said. “You can taste the bourbon, the kick in it.”

He also appreciated the Michigan Awesome Hatter (5.8% ABV), a Michigan grown IPA that features hops from Northern Michigan.

“It’s a little lighter,” he said. “Good for a hot day.”

HOLLAND — The way Coppercraft Distillery owners run their business is creative, memorable, but most importantly, local.

Local means a farmer drives his tractor about 10 miles down the road and drops off a huge trailer of corn to produce their spirits.

Local means in-house mixologist Jenney Grant is a regular visitor to the Holland Farmer’s Market, methodically selecting the freshest ingredients possible for her inspired cocktails featured in the Coppercraft tasting room.

Local means the distillery collaborates with nearby breweries such as Our Brewing Company to ensure they have the barrels they need for aged beers.

Even the Coppercraft tasting room is adorned with reclaimed wood from local barns and factories to provide a unique local experience.

“We try to focus on as local as possible,” Grant said during a recent tour of the tasting room with a vintage industrial vibe.

Walter Catton and Mark Fellwock started Coppercraft Distillery in 2012. After producing enough spirits, they opened the tasting room, located at 184 120th Ave, in November 2013.

Since then “grain-to-glass” business has taken off. Grant said Coppercraft produces four clear spirits — gin, rum, vodka and citrus vodka — and four aged spirits — corn whiskey, high wheat whiskey, rye malt whiskey and applejack.

This summer the company will unveil its bourbon, which it hopes will become a flagship product. Coppercraft also is brewing a special juniper-forward gin for the Tulip Time Festival in May and a smoked cherry malt coffee whiskey, Grant said.

Coppercraft spirits are distributed in more than 100 retail locations, including various restaurants and bars in Michigan. However, the craft spirits industry is still in its infancy, around 15 years behind the craft beer industry, according to Grant.

Consequently, the company has ramped up production to meets its positive growth forecast. It purchased a new Vendome copper still, equipment now requiring a two-year wait, nearly doubling its weekly output to 10 barrels.

In 2015, Coppercraft hopes to expand into Colorado, Illinois and the east side of Michigan.

“We are hitting the markets that celebrate craft,” Grant said.

HOLLAND — The way Coppercraft Distillery owners run their business is creative, memorable, but most importantly, local.
Local means a farmer drives his tractor about 10 miles down the road and drops off a huge trailer of corn to produce their spirits.
Local means in-house mixologist Jenney Grant is a regular visitor to the Holland Farmer’s Market, methodically selecting the freshest ingredients possible for her inspired cocktails featured in the Coppercraft tasting room.
Local means the distillery collaborates with nearby breweries such as Our Brewing Company to ensure they have the barrels they need for aged beers.
Even the Coppercraft tasting room is adorned with reclaimed wood from local barns and factories to provide a unique local experience.
“We try to focus on as local as possible,” Grant said during a recent tour of the tasting room with a vintage industrial vibe.
Walter Catton and Mark Fellwock started Coppercraft Distillery in 2012. After producing enough spirits, they opened the tasting room, located at 184 120th Ave, in November 2013.
Since then “grain-to-glass” business has taken off. Grant said Coppercraft produces four clear spirits — gin, rum, vodka and citrus vodka — and four aged spirits — corn whiskey, high wheat whiskey, rye malt whiskey and applejack.
This summer the company will unveil its bourbon, which it hopes will become a flagship product. Coppercraft also is brewing a special juniper-forward gin for the Tulip Time Festival in May and a smoked cherry malt coffee whiskey, Grant said.
Coppercraft spirits are distributed in more than 100 retail locations, including various restaurants and bars in Michigan. However, the craft spirits industry is still in its infancy, around 15 years behind the craft beer industry, according to Grant.
Consequently, the company has ramped up production to meets its positive growth forecast. It purchased a new Vendome copper still, equipment now requiring a two-year wait, nearly doubling its weekly output to 10 barrels.
In 2015, Coppercraft hopes to expand into Colorado, Illinois and the east side of Michigan.
“We are hitting the markets that celebrate craft,” Grant said.

The idea for Macatawa Ale Company fermented for years until Andrew Westerlund felt the timing was finally right to open a family-owned brewery in Holland.

His dad, Ed, a homebrewer for more than 20 years, has always supplied unique beer to family parties, which logically led to questions about when he would open a brewery himself.

Then Our Brewing Company and Big Lake Brewing Co. recently opened to complement New Holland Brewing Company in Holland.

Andrew said it made sense to provide another option to the city’s growing craft beer scene and convinced his dad and his uncle, Jeff Westerlund, to round out the partnership behind Macatawa Ale Company.

“(My dad) has been doing it since before it was cool,” Andrew said with a smile. “We are excited to do this as a family.”

Macatawa Ale Company, located at 102 River Ave., just north of downtown Holland, is expected to open in January, with brewing scheduled to begin in December.

Right now Andrew is focused on finishing the extensive remodeling required to transform the 50-seat tasting room and brewing area into what his family envisions.

Walking through the construction on a rainy afternoon, Andrew explains the small building was home to a pizza place his family frequented in the 60s and 70s. Macatawa Ale Company will honor that vibe with old pictures of the restaurant. Since he and his family are all musicians, Andrew expects live music will play an instrumental role in the tasting room experience as well.

“Music and beer,” he said. “That is a dream job for anybody.”

Andrew predicts Macatawa Ale Company will start with traditional, time-tested beers such as a brown stout, American style ale, hefeweizen and golden ale.

Eventually, Andrew hopes to try small scale distribution on his own, as Michigan law permits it for breweries that produce less than 1,000 barrels a year.

Serving food also could be an option, but initially Macatawa Ale Company will allow patrons to bring in food from wherever they want.

“We want to make sure the beer is where it needs to be before we add in other variables,” Andrew said. “Beer first. Period.”