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COMSTOCK PARK, Mich – Anticipated flooding on the Grand River in Comstock Park has forced the Michigan Brewers Guild to postpone this weekend’s popular Winter Beer Festival to next weekend, Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3. All tickets already purchased will be honored on the respective Friday and Saturday of the new weekend.

After meeting with the Whitecaps staff and taking into consideration information provided to us by the National Weather Service and the Kent County Emergency Management, the MBG Board of Directors has decided to take cautious approach and postpone the festival by a week to allow the Grand River to drop below the flood stage.

Rain is forecast for Friday morning between 5am and 10am. That will contribute to the levels of the Grand River, which is expected to crest its 18-foot flood stage on Friday afternoon and rise as much as three feet above that over the course of the weekend. The Sheriff’s Department has issued Flood Warnings for this section of the Grand River untilTuesday, February 27.

“We reviewed several contingency plans and discussed multiple options before coming to this decision,” says Scott Graham, MBG Executive Director, “but in the end the safety of our attendees, our breweries and volunteers is of utmost concern.”

Over 9,000 tickets have been sold for the festival, with a “Sell Out” status for Saturday at 6440. Friday tickets are still available for purchase for $45 in advance (www.mibeer.com/winter-festival) or $50 at the event at the main Whitecaps ticket office.

At this point, the Guild expects most of the 142-member breweries to participate in the rescheduled dates and the event to run just the same.

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 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 conservatively contributes more than $144 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $600 million. In terms of overall number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

 

 

michigan brewers guildKALAMAZOO, Mich – The Michigan Brewers Guild recently elected its 2018 Board of Directors at its annual meeting, January 13, at the Kalamazoo Radisson Plaza Hotel. Each board position is a two-year term, elected in alternating years (4, 3).

The conference was a record-breaker in many ways for the organization, with more than 525 attendees and 112 vendors in the Allied Member Trade Show. The Guild also reported a record 245 member breweries during the Annual Meeting—an increase of 22 members since the previous January.

This year, four people were elected to the Guild board:

  • Ryan Cottongim, Owner of Witch’s Hat Brewing Company in South Lyon, was re-elected to serve his second term on the board, and will serve as the Guild’s Secretary.
  • Scott Newman-Bale, Vice President of Short’s Brewing Company in Bellaire, was re-elected to his fifth term and will once again serve as the Guild’s Treasurer.
  • David Ringler, Owner of Cedar Springs Brewing Company in Cedar Springs, was elected to his first term on the board.
  • Chas Thompson, Beer Engineer at Schmohz Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, was appointed in 2017 to fill a vacancy on the board and he was elected to his first term on the board.

Additional board members include:

  • Eric Briggeman, Director of Brewing Operations at Rochester Mills Production Brewery, continues his seventh term on the board and will serve his eleventh year as Guild President.
  • Isaac Hartman, “Ambassador of Great Beer” from New Holland Brewing Company, continues his fifth term on the board of directors.
  • Garry Boyd, Managing Partner at BarFly Ventures (HopCat & Grand Rapids Brewing) continues his second term on the board and chairs the organization’s sustainability and quality committees.

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 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 conservatively contributes more than $144 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $600 million. In terms of overall number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

 

summer beer fest

In the beginning, 1997 to be precise, there were approximately 30 breweries with membership in the newly minted Michigan Brewers Guild. The purpose of their inception was to form an alliance to promote our state’s emerging beer industry and advocate in legislative matters. Two decades later, with their support and guidance, that number is 239 and growing. More than half of the current members helped celebrate this milestone anniversary at the 20th edition of Summer Beer Festival in Depot Town.

The Guild’s first sanctioned beer festival took place in their inaugural year with a couple dozen breweries and approximately 600 attendees. Eleven of those original participating breweries have returned for this year’s festival, although not all of them have been present at every festival in between.


This weekend’s celebration nearly broke the perimeter of Riverside Park and exemplified the exponential growth realized over twenty years, with more than 145 breweries serving over 1,140 beers, and a two day total crowd of 12,000 people enjoying the wealth of choices.

Several of the breweries participating in last weekend’s edition were also celebrating their 20th anniversary and have grown alongside the Guild. In 1997, Founders Brewing Company was a relatively small operation whose back door read “Canal Street Brewing.” Dark Horse Brewing Co began its first incarnation in downtown Marshall as a now-closed gastropub that would blossom into an entire compound of craft businesses in it’s second life. Dragonmead Microbrewery was formed and preparing to open. Atwater Brewery began producing German style lagers in Detroit’s historic Rivertown district, adding more locations as their range of beers expanded. CJ’s Brewing Company set up shop in Commerce Township, later opening a second location in Plymouth. Woodward Avenue Brewers began “putting the ‘ale’ in Ferndale” and hasn’t stopped. The list of breweries with proven staying power goes on.



Inevitably not every beer business succeeds. As the years have come and gone, so have some of the breweries. Fortunately for enthusiasts there’s a steady stream of new breweries willing to take their place in the game. Those new to the MBG festival circuit this summer include Transient Artisan Ales, Greyline Brewing Company, Speciation Artisan Ales, and several others. Breweries are able to participate as members when they’ve satisfied the Guild’s requirements including a waiting period.

The seasonal festivals planned in 2018 are sure to impress with steadily bigger numbers representing the ever-expanding beer scene as the Michigan Brewers Guild reaches the equivalent years of the legal drinking age in our Great Beer State. In the meantime, enjoy the remainder of Michigan Craft Beer Month and toast a hearty cheers to 20 years!

 

michigan craft beer month

(LANSING, Mich) – The Michigan Brewers Guild has once again designated July as Michigan Craft Beer Month—this year, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the non-profit organization dedicated to representing more than 220 member breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs throughout the state.

The Michigan Brewers Guild was formed in 1997 and held its first festival in July 1998. Today, the Guild hosts four festivals dedicated exclusively to Michigan craft beer produced by its members breweries, which attracts more than 35,000 people collectively each year.

This year’s Michigan Summer Beer Festival will take place July 21-22 at Riverside Park in Ypsilanti’s Historic Depot Town. Tickets are still available for both days and can be found online at MiBeer.com.

Other festivals coming up this year include:

Proclamations were also recently introduced in Lansing. Representatives Farrington, Crawford, Elder, Ellison, Hughes, Rabhi, Rendon, Sabo, Schor and Sneller offered House Resolution No. 127, while Senators MacGregor, Zorn, O’Brien, Hertel, Jones, Schuitmaker, Proos, Robertson, Ananich and Hune offered Senate Resolution No. 76, each recognizing that:

  • Michigan craft brewers are a vibrant affirmation and expression of Michigan’s entrepreneurial traditions, operating as community-based small businesses and providing employment for more than 5,000 workers;
  • Michigan has craft brewers in every region of the state and more than 220 craft brewers statewide; and Whereas, Michigan ranks sixth in the nation for overall number of breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs;
  • The Michigan Brewers Guild celebrates Michigan Craft Beer Month each year by hosting a Summer Festival in July;
  • Craft brewers in Michigan support state agriculture by purchasing hops, malted barley, wheat, beet sugar, cherries, apples, and numerous other fruits, herbs, and vegetables grown in Michigan;
  • Michigan craft brewers promote Michigan’s spirit of independence through a renaissance in handcrafted beers like those first brought to Michigan by European settlers and produced here by our forefathers, including Bernhard Stroh, for the enjoyment of the citizenry;
  • Striving to educate legal drinking-age residents, Michigan craft brewers convey awareness about the differences in beer flavor, aroma, color, alcohol content, body, and other complex variables, beer history, and gastronomic qualities of beer;
  • Michigan craft brewers champion the message of responsible enjoyment to their customers and work within their communities to prevent alcohol abuse and underage drinking;
  • Craft brewers in Michigan produce more than 100 distinct styles of flavorful beers, the quality and diversity of which have made Michigan the envy of many states, contributing to balanced trade with increased Michigan exports and promoting Michigan tourism;
  • Michigan craft brewers have been a successful business model by contributing more than $144 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $600 million, thriving and expanding in furthering their economic importance to the state;
  • Michigan craft brewers are vested in the future, health, and welfare of their communities as employers providing a diverse array of quality local jobs, as contributors to the local tax base, and as committed sponsors of a broad range of vital community institutions and philanthropic causes, including not-for-profit housing development associations, chambers of commerce, humane societies, athletic teams, and medical research.

 

michigan craft beer monthThe 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 conservatively contributes more than $144 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $600 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

 

In sharp contrast to a city built on politics—a force with the power to polarize millions, beer just proved to have the strength to do the exact opposite. Nearly 15,000 professionals just converged for a week in Washington, D.C. for Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America®, the industry’s largest annual convention, hosted by the Brewers Association.

We attended because… well, beer, of course. And so did an honorable contingency from Michigan. When I travel to a new city or an international destination, the last thing I want to consume is something I can get back at home. You’ll never catch me eating a Big Mac in Europe (or domestically, for that matter, but you get the point). However, when you see people from all over the U.S. waiting excitedly in line for MI beer, and then bummed when the keg of Two Hearted kicks, it makes you feel proud to be an American, reppin’ The Mitten State.

On Wed, Apr. 12, Michigan Brewers Guild threw a party, Michigan Hoppy Hour, at Capital Lounge, and picked up a generous bar tab that I can only imagine had a few zeros on it. For a couple hours, we hung out with our arms around our friends from back home, and got to watch D.C. locals gush about the beer we have at our fingertips on any given day. It makes you pause, and realize we’re a part of something special—regardless of whether you voted for Trump.

 

To all those from MI we bumped into, saw in passing, or shared a few pints with throughout the week, here’s to you—a shout-out!

  •      Shannon from Michigan Brewers Guild
  •      Jeff from Harmony Brewing
  •      Mitch from Speciation Artisan Ales
  •      Chris and Brendan from Transient Artisan Ales
  •      Rings and Matt from Cedar Springs Brewing Company
  •      Jeff from Rockford Brewing Company
  •      Dave, Francesca, Lauren, and Jason from Founders Brewing Co
  •      Jason, Kate, Jacob, Brooks, and Josh from Brewery Vivant
  •      Chris and Max from The Mitten Brewing Co.
  •      Mike from Cheboygan Brewing Company
  •      Fred, JP, Adam, Mark, and Isaac from New Holland
  •      Tim from Territorial Brewing
  •      Dave from City Built Brewing Company
  •      Stephen from Batch Brewing Company
  •      Brian from StormCloud Brewing
  •      Brad and Matt from Atwater Brewery
  •      Erik, John, and Michael from Pilot Malt House
  •      OpenRoad Brewery
  •      Jay and Steve from North Pier Brewing Company
  •      Matt and Rene from Arbor Brewing
  •      Boyd and Chris from Coldbreak Brewing Equipment
  •      Steve from Hunter’s Handmade Brewery
  •      Brew Detroit
  •      Laura & crew from Bell’s Brewery
  •      Steve from Henry A. Fox
  •      Justin & crew from Hop Head Farms
  •      Brown Iron Brewhouse
  •      North Channel Brewing
  •      Alliance Beverage Distributing
  •      Imperial Beverage


Photography: Steph Harding

detroit fall fest

Beer festivals happen several times a year. From fest to fest, some things are different—the weather, the breweries, the food. But many things are exactly same from year to year—the 15 tokens in the plastic glass, the good beer, and at least one discovery of a fantastic new-to-me brewpub. This year, I discovered not one, not two, but three new-to-me breweries. It was a good fest.

First, the top five brews from pubs I knew about.

Big Lake’s Leroy Brown appealed to me because of the name and the fact that there were dice on the can. It would have been cool to have the custom Continental and the El Dorado, but the dice were a nice touch. The beer was very nice too! An English brown ale made with four malts and chocolate, it had a smooth finish of toasty bread.

Schmohz Gingerbread Brown was great as always, as was the Mad Tom’s Porter. Brewer Gabi Palmer explained that this beer “is a solid porter—smoky, some chocolate. No hype, no b.s., just a solid beer.” And it was! Slightly bitter with a hint of smoke made for a tasty beer.

The Smoke on the Porter from ROAK was another excellent porter. An imperial smoked porter by style, this beer hit all the right notes. Roasty, dark, and perfectly balanced. But I would expect no less from this outstanding pub.

Unruly Brewing had the Orange Julius beer, which my husband described as “smelling like an Orange Julius, tasting like it, but then finishing like a bourbon barrel aged Belgian wheat.” Orange peel and vanilla beans make this beer what it is.

Lake Charlevoix Double Cookie Stout is one of the tastiest stouts I have had. Made with ten pounds of Oreos, it manages to not be overpowering or too sugary sweet. This is a solid, hearty beer.

The first of the big discoveries at this fest was One Well from Kalamazoo. Their Sweet Water Street was billed as a “coffee and donut” beer and it delivered. Much like the breakfast of champions itself, this beer had a hint of the sugary taste of donut plus all the roasted coffee taste one could want. They also had a Root Beer Stout that—unlike some root beer beers I could mention—managed to not just taste like thick, sappy syrup. It actually had a taste of root beer but never forgot it was a beer—absolutely wonderful!

The second new-to-me pub was Grand Armory from Grand Haven. Their Nutter Your Business Stout tasted like an honest-to-God peanut butter cup. My husband was so thrilled that he got three separate tastes of this beer, just so he could dance around delighting in the peanut butter and chocolate deliciousness (okay, he really didn’t dance around, but it’d be fun to pretend he did).

The top discovery this year was Railtown Brewing Company from Dutton. The brewery won a bronze medal at the recent Great American Beer Fest for its Good Mooed Milk Stout. And to be sure, this solid stout hit all the right notes. We also had their Peanut Butter Cocoa Time porter which conveyed the peanut butter taste while remembering it was a porter, and thus not too heavy or overpowering. The absolute hit for me was their Coffee Blonde, one of the best coffee beers I have ever had. Until this fest, I couldn’t find Dutton on a map but I can now, and I can’t wait to go there.

As I always do, I kept another tradition—ending the fest with Liberty Street’s Punkin Pie Ale. It is still the best pumpkin ale I have ever had, and nothing I’ve had since has changed my mind.

Some things change, some things stay the same, but Michigan beer remains far ahead of all the rest. It was a good fest.

 

Photography: Erik Smith

great lakes hops and barley conference

Educators from Michigan State University Extension with support from Michigan State University AgBioResearch, and the Michigan Brewers Guild will host the 2nd Annual Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference March 16­-17, 2016 at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, Mich.  

New this year, a larger venue has been chosen to accommodate more attendees.  An expanded trade show will also be featured.

Tracks will be offered for beginning hop management, advanced hop management, and barley and malt production. Participants are welcome to move between tracks to catch speakers and topics of interest.

Keynote speaker Fred Bueltmann will launch the conference on Wednesday before participants break into their respective tracks.

Those participating in the hop tracks will hear presentations covering topics including hopyard weed management, sustainable production, downy mildew management, and hop breeding.

Those participating in the barley and malt track will learn about DON management, the potential for winter barley production, and the evolution of malting and rise of the craft malting industry.

Additional presentations will highlight malting barley quality analysis and research conducted throughout Michigan.

Following the presentations, the Michigan Brewers Guild will host a Brewer/Grower networking event highlighting beers produced throughout Michigan. The conference concludes with a tour of MI Local, a new hop farm and processing facility located outside of Traverse City.

Registration is now live for the 2016 conference. To view the complete agenda, review sponsorship or vendor opportunities, or to register, visit here.  

GRAND RAPIDS — #MichiganBeer. The ubiquitous symbol you may have seen stuck on light posts, tacked onto bulletin boards and on t-shirts in breweries and shops in the West Michigan area. Simply phrased, a representation of 21st century sensibilities. It’s a hashtag. No, it means pound, you just didn’t know that because you’re 21. Pound Michigan Beer. Get it? Get it? No, it’s a hashtag. #MIBeer. 

Let’s just say it’s whatever you want it to be, but ultimately it represents the pride Michigan has in its brews, consuming and creating some of the best beer in the world.  Anyone can wear a “#MichiganBeer” shirt and feel that pride. 

And that is its’ creator, Mark Daniels, goal. A resident of Grand Rapids, Mark’s artistic eye, interest in design and business abilities led him to produce these now well-known t-shirts (on some of the softest, most comfortable material ever) in 2012. The year that will forever be known, at least in Grand Rapids, as the year of the tie for the BeerCity USA title.

“We sold them at the Eastown Street Fair, and sold out in two and a half hours. I told my wife ‘I think we might have something here.'”

More business followed.  And followed. T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, stickers, buttons and their newest product, beer koozies, are available on Daniels’ online shop and many retail locations around West Michigan. 

The newest design, Bike 4 MI beer, has steadily picked up steam. A very logical step in this bike-friendly community, Bike 4 MI beer represents a growing trend in the craft beer scene. Craft brew fuels bike culture, and those who ride hard like to play hard as well. 

Ultimately, Daniels hopes for organic growth with his company, and has no plans to limit this design to only the West Michigan area. After all, it’s all about Michigan pride in our beer, and there are too many wonderful breweries and craft beer aficionados all across our state for that. 

Expect some new designs in the near future. 

Interested in purchasing some merch for your shop or self?  Visit the website or Contact Mark & Co. here.

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