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Traverse City, MI – Not many industries thrive on collaboration. In the brewing industry, however, working together can lead to amazing beer for everyone. In this spirit, Right Brain Brewery is excited to share details of its upcoming 3rd annual Collaboration Day, taking place on February 11, 2017. The event celebrates the collaborative nature of the brewing industry, and will feature unique beers on tap that Right Brain brewed with local Michigan companies such as Storm Cloud Brewery, Tapistry Brewery, Starving Artist Brewery, Lake Charlevoix Brewery, BeeWell Meadery, and Cultured Ferments. 

right brain

“This year, we teamed up with breweries we’ve never worked with before and also used ingredients we’ve never brewed with before, including peach fritters, pineapples, ground ginger, and Kombucha,” says owner Russell Springsteen. “The collaboration brews don’t just occur at Right Brain. We provide great learning opportunities for our brew crew to travel to the other breweries we’re working with and brew the same exact beer at their facility. It’s a win-win because our partner brewery’s fans get to enjoy a unique collaboration beer, and our brewers get to learn from some of the best breweries in the state!” Right Brain will also release barrel-aged brews using barrels from Two-Lads Winery and Grand Traverse Distillery. 

In addition to Collaboration Day, Right Brain’s tap room will host the Grand Traverse Art Bomb’s second artist reception, featuring live music and performance art throughout the day. Both events are family-friendly and there is no cover charge to attend. Doors will open at 11 AM

right brain

TC Beer Week

traverse city beer weekMany cities have their own beer weeks which highlight the best of the local craft beer scene. Traverse City Beer Week, held every November, does just that with its own twist. Traverse City has made its mark on the beer map with over a dozen breweries, hundreds of acres of hops, and one of the top 100 beer bars in the country: there’s plenty to celebrate.
This will be the fourth year for Traverse City Beer Week (TCBW), and events will take place from November 11 through November 17. Every year, Imperial Beverage coordinates with breweries, restaurants, and other distributors to highlight the area’s booming beer scene. A wide variety of events take place throughout the week, offering something for everyone.

And, as the beer scene has evolved in Traverse City, so too has TCBW. Some traditions have held strong, like the Short’s Pub Crawl, while venues like 7 Monks, Little Fleet, and Right Brain Brewery get more creative every year.

“We aim to exceed expectations, have fun, and be adventurous,” said Matthew Blanchfield from Imperial Beverage.

traverse city beer weekTraverse City Beer Week has a local focus, but is not just designed for locals. It can be a great week to travel to Traverse City, which is known to be quite busy in the summer time. By November, festivals have slowed down, the weather has cooled, and the tourists have left.

“Fall and beer just go together,” added Coryn Briggs, Digital Marketing & Design Specialist for Traverse City Tourism.

If you’re looking to partake in Traverse City Beer Week, there are a number of ways to enjoy it. TCBW works nicely around any budget and any schedule. Most events are free to attend (with the exception of cost of beer/food) and happen throughout the day.

traverse city beer weekIf you’re from the area, simply attend an event or two after work or stop in to your favorite bottle shop for a beer tasting.  This is a good way to explore new places and brews, as well as experience some of your favorites in new ways.

If you’re from out of town, it’s easy to find a fun place to stay for the weekend. Many area hotels offer special “Fall Fab” packages through the season and still have availability for beer week. If you cannot commit to the entire weekend, beer week is a great reason to take a day trip up north. For instance, you could run (or walk) in the Great Beerd Run in the morning, and then enjoy a nice beer pairing in the evening.

The luxury of Traverse City Beer Week is that there’s more than enough going on to keep everyone busy, but there’s no major commitment to make and each person’s experience can vary.

“It’s good for any type of drinker: we offer everything from casual beer tastings where you can grab a six-pack and go, to five course beer pairing dinners,” said Briggs.

Events to consider:

Short’s Pub Crawl

If you know Short’s, you know it does things a little differently. This rings true for the pub crawl the Short’s crew puts on every year to kick things off on Friday night.

“We try to coordinate a different Short’s beer at each stop,” said Matt Blanchfield from Imperial Beverage.

At the start of the crawl, each participant gets a punch card and then can “choose their own adventure.”

“There’s no set timeline, so you can go on your own. It keeps things busy and staggered throughout the night. And once you get five to six punches, you get a t-shirt,” said Rachel Payne, Short’s Northern Michigan Beer Liberator..

The Short’s crew is usually on site to help direct the crawl, but people travel in all directions along the route. Tip: Start at the opposite end to avoid large crowds.

Guided Beer Tastings

“These are a good way to try something new. And the brewery rep is usually on hand to answer questions,” said Payne.

Guided tastings take place throughout the week, are free, and happen in a variety of locations. These work well if you’re looking for a free and/or quick event. These events work well for a quick stop after work or before eating dinner at a downtown restaurant.

Great Beerd Run

Are you a runner who also enjoys beer? The Great Beerd Run just might be for you. This 5k race is held at the Grand Traverse Resort, features local craft breweries, and fun swag.

traverse city beer week

“There are beer samples at each mile marker and a gathering after,” said Payne.

This year, the race will be on Saturday November 12. Visit http://www.thegreatbeerdrun.com/ to register.

North Versus South Beer Pairing

Another event held at the Grand Traverse Resort, the North vs. South pairing is a more formal event for TCBW.

“Last year, similar style beers from Short’s and Atwater were paired with dishes coordinated by the Aerie chefs,” explained Blanchfield.

This event, and other formal beer dinners, may require the purchase of a ticket.

Tap Takeovers and Beer Pairings

traverse city beer weekRestaurants and taprooms throughout downtown hold their own events throughout the week.
Takeovers feature not only local breweries, but also
Michigan favorites and other well-known breweries throughout the country. Pairings often combine beer and unique food options: tacos, desserts, cheese, etc.


There are a wide array of other options as well. As events are planned, they will be added to the
Traverse City Beer Week website. Traverse City Beer Week information and highlights can also be found on their Facebook page or by following #HoppyinTC.  

 

 

Sponsored by Traverse City Tourism

Photography courtesy Traverse City Tourism

We love summer, and we love the beers that define it for us. Below are just a few beers we thought you all would like to check out and drink before this balmy season comes to a close.

Sparkle from Petoskey Brewing

summer beerThere’s barely a head on this golden, clear-as-crystal beer. It’s the epitome of summer drinking in my glass, because Petoskey Brewing decided to make their ‘Sparkle’ beer a Classic American Lager.


A whiff of crackers, some bread crust, grassy hops, and I’m on my way to tasting this little number. I receive a pleasant twinge of sweetness before a drying effect settles in. I’m left with a balancing, barely-there bitterness to round it out. A simple and to the point kind of a beer. Prepare yourself for true pleasure by pairing this summer quencher with seafood of the crustacean variety.

Even better, this beer comes in a  pint sized can, which means bringing this beer along when heading to the lake is a must.

 

Cake Walk from Right Brain Brewery

A cake walk, hey? AND it’s a Vanilla Cream Ale? Don’t mind if I do…

SummerBeer (6)Lovingly subtle Madagascar vanilla is in the nose, which is enveloped mostly by the aroma of corn. They suggest a “floral” note on the bottle and I don’t disagree, what with me thinking of lavender and lilies when I smelled it.

The mouthfeel is to die for! Incredibly smooth and pillowy, I gulp the beer down and find an explosive, yet not overwhelming, vanilla note. This dies down into the remnants of corn characteristic, and eventually into a lingering, small sense of bitterness.  It’s not sweet, but rather crisp. A very welcome thing on a hot day.

I’d explore this beer with cold cucumber soup, crab, or a béchamel and white cheddar grilled cheese.

 

Power of Love from Short’s Brew

SummerBeer (2)This, my friends, is a shandy-style ale. They chose to utilize rosemary and raspberry lemonade, and man, does it ever remind me of eating red popsicles in the summer while sitting on my mom’s lap. I’d get occasional whiffs of the American style lager she was drinking, and this shandy ale here brings those two scents together once again. No wonder they called it “Power of Love.”

As expected, the lemonade, raspberry, and rosemary scents make their way into my nose. I sip a bit and stagger a little at the sweetness, though it does make me want to freeze this beer in an ice tray and eat it as a popsicle….

A tiny bit of bitterness escapes at the very end, letting you know this is still part beer after all. It’s bright, fruity, sweet, and the perfect pairing with lemon basil chicken salad.

 

Tasmanian Hatter from New Holland Brewing Company

12oz-TasmanianHatter_Label_2015It’s an aroma bomb of dank, garlic, juicy mango and pineapple hops.  So far so good, now let’s dive in.

This ‘Galaxy India Pale Ale’ is punchy as all hell in the nose, but transforms itself into a sweet, bitter, and chewy beer that focuses on mouthfeel. It’s well rounded, flavorful, yet doesn’t feel disorganized.

Tasmanian Hatter can go in many directions with pairing, but I’d especially save this one for a roast rabbit with mango chutney or brisket tacos with pineapple slaw on a corn tortilla.

 

 

Mackinac Island Fudge Stout from Arbor Brewing Company

SummerBeer (4)What better way to end a meal in the summer than with a hot fudge sundae? Let’s re-create our own by pouring a little of this brew onto some ice cream and relish in the fact that chocolate beer and ice cream are a classic hit for a reason.


Here we are then, with the dark brown brew that is the Mackinac Island Fudge Stout. It’s got medium body, a little bit of acidity, and a creamy chocolate (almost tootsie roll candy) flavor that emerges in the flavor and aroma. Not overbearing or dense, this beer is a great way to get your chocolate fix even on the warmest of days.

You should also consider using this beer in a recipe for braised pulled chicken with beer mole sauce, using this fudge stout for the mole sauce.

Get out there, enjoy your continuing palate exploration, and live up the rest of the 2016 summer with season-perfect brews.

Cheers!

Traverse City, MI – At this year’s Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival on July 22nd & 23rd in Ypsilanti, MI, Right Brain Brewery will be doing more than just serving beer. They will also offer samples of the Marou chocolate that was used to make XOCO, an imperial golden ale brewed with Marou dark chocolate and cocoa nibs. XOCO will debut at the beer festival as well. The concept for XOCO derived from the strong relationship building of Right Brain sales rep David Springsteen. “It’s what makes the craft beer business so fun; a simple conversation with someone turned it to magic with this beer,” says Springsteen.

Right BrainXOCO’s golden color is blanketed with a soft hue of chocolate. Cocoa nibs added during aging impart a nutty chocolate aroma, followed by a Vietnamese cocoa flavor. The beer finishes with a subdued boozy flavor, making for a very drinkable 9.2% ABV high gravity ale. “It’s been truly rewarding to see an idea come together with such passion. Right Brain Brewery has surpassed all my expectations,” says Marou Owner/Importer Ewa Mourou, who initiated the collaboration.

Another Right Brain Summer Festival release is a raspberry rhubarb IPA, a collaborative brew they did with Michigan women brewers group, Fermenta. Adventurous beer drinkers will also be able to sample Right Brain’s Great American Beer Festival gold medal winning Mangalitsa Pig Porter.

More information on this weekend’s Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Festival can be found at http://www.mibeer.com/summer-festival.

Traverse City, Mich – Just in time for Traverse City’s world famous National Cherry Festival, Right Brain Brewery will debut their 2016 Cherry Pie Whole beer. Cherry Pie Whole is a medium bodied amber ale brewed using whole cherry pies (crust and filling) from Grand Traverse Pie Company, and Balaton cherry concentrate from Northern Natural Cider House and Winery. The flavor of Cherry Pie Whole is described by its name. The aroma brings to mind a graham cracker crust pie straight out of the oven, followed by a balance of caramel from the amber ale and tart sweetness imparted by the cherry pie filling, which is used during fermentation.

cherry pie whole beer

The beer is part of a larger series Right Brain brews called the Pie Whole Series, which includes Blueberry Pie Whole, Pecan Pie Whole, and Apple Pie Whole. The idea for this series stemmed from a speech Right Brain owner, Russ Springsteen, gave at the University of Michigan where he discussed the creation of Right Brain’s Great American Beer Festival gold medalist, Mangalitsa Pig Porter. The owner of Grand Traverse Pie Company was in attendance, and asked Springsteen, “If you can brew a beer with pig heads and bones, why can’t you brew a beer with whole pies?” “So, the rest of the story is a new partnership was formed,” says Mike Busley, co-founder of Grand Traverse Pie Company. “Our partnerships with other Michigan companies like Right Brain are a great way to support entrepreneurial opportunities within the agricultural and food businesses of our state. Our initiatives with Right Brain support these values while promoting Pure Michigan’s cherry and micro beer industry, so cheers to the 2016 Cherry Pie Whole beer!”

Cherry Pie Whole will debut at Right Brain Brewery’s Traverse City tap room on Friday, July 1st, and will be available on draft, with to-go growler fills offered as well.

 

right brainTraverse City, MI – Right Brain Brewery will once again team up with breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries from all over the Midwest on a series of brews that will be tapped at their Collaboration Day festival.

The annual event begins Friday, February 12th, with the release of multiple barrel-aged beer collaborations and live music with The Moxie Strings. The Ann Arbor-based trio will take the stage at 7PM.

Festivities continue Saturday, February 13th, with the full release of Collaboration Day’s brews. Special Right Brain Brewery employee brews will also be available.

This year’s collaborations include a peanut butter-bacon beer, a Belgian Dubbel aged in Port Wine barrels, bourbon barrel-aged beers, an ale brewed with toffee and maple syrup, a Belgian Saison blended with hard cider, and roughly ten other collaborations on tap.

All collaborations are brewed with real ingredients, as extracts, flavorings, and any other unnatural ingredients are strictly prohibited at Right Brain Brewery. Collaboration Day beers will not be bottled or distributed, they will only be available at the brewery.

Collaboration Day concludes with the Hot Licks and Cherry Jam Guitar Competition beginning at 8pm.

Collaboration Day is family-friendly and there’s no cover charge to attend.

For more information, visit rightbrainbrewery.com.

TRAVERSE CITY — If you’re looking to expand your knowledge in the world of beer, look no further than Brewtopia presented by Right Brain Brewery.
Brewtopia is a monthly educational beer and social group. It has emerged from the previous Beer B.I.T.C.H. Coalition, an education group for women brewers and beer lovers. Brewtopia is open to both men and women and provides a great opportunity to understand and appreciate beer in new and intriguing ways.
I attended the second Brewtopia meeting Thursday evening, which featured chocolate pairings. I’ve enjoyed beer with dinner, but have never thought of it as coordinating with dessert.
“We love beer. We love chocolate. And we think they go well together,” said Ryan Engemann, Right Brain’s Resident Beer Geek and Certified Cicerone.
The meeting began with Engemann teaching the group about the roasting and fermenting processes of both chocolate and beer — they are ironically similar in nature. Engemann and Right Brain bartender Jessica Laffin then served six courses of Right Brain beer and chocolate. With each course, Laffin explained the features of the chocolate and beer and why they were paired together.
The Menu:

  • Course 1: White chocolate pecan bark (from Kilwin’s of Traverse City) with Pecan Pie Whole
  • Course 2: Homemade chocolate caramel pretzel with Northern Hawk Owl
  • Course 3: Homemade peanut butter fudge with Thai Peanut
  • Course 4: Dark chocolate with dried cherries (from Chocolate Exotica) with Debauchery Wheat Wine
  • Course 5: Maya Truffle (from Grocer’s Daughter) with Fire Starter Chipotle Porter
  • Course 6: Moomer’s Mint Chocolate Ice Cream with Naughty Girl Scout

A little weary at first, I was pleasantly surprised at how well each pair complemented each other. The butterfat in the chocolate lingers in your mouth and reacts with the high carbonation of the beer. As it reacts, you experience bubbles dancing and cleansing your palate for the next course. My favorites were the peanut butter fudge with Thai Peanut and the Maya Truffle with Fire Starter Chipotle Porter.
Brewtopia truly was a new experience for me and brought about an even greater appreciation for beer. Each Brewtopia meeting has a different focus, with the first meeting featured cheese pairings. In the future, look for more food pairings, homebrewing tips, grain demos, guest speakers and more.
To get information on upcoming Brewtopia meetings and other Right Brain events, visit rightbrainbrewery.com.

TRAVERSE CITY — If you’re looking to expand your knowledge in the world of beer, look no further than Brewtopia presented by Right Brain Brewery.

Brewtopia is a monthly educational beer and social group. It has emerged from the previous Beer B.I.T.C.H. Coalition, an education group for women brewers and beer lovers. Brewtopia is open to both men and women and provides a great opportunity to understand and appreciate beer in new and intriguing ways.

I attended the second Brewtopia meeting Thursday evening, which featured chocolate pairings. I’ve enjoyed beer with dinner, but have never thought of it as coordinating with dessert.

“We love beer. We love chocolate. And we think they go well together,” said Ryan Engemann, Right Brain’s Resident Beer Geek and Certified Cicerone.

The meeting began with Engemann teaching the group about the roasting and fermenting processes of both chocolate and beer — they are ironically similar in nature. Engemann and Right Brain bartender Jessica Laffin then served six courses of Right Brain beer and chocolate. With each course, Laffin explained the features of the chocolate and beer and why they were paired together.

The Menu:

  • Course 1: White chocolate pecan bark (from Kilwin’s of Traverse City) with Pecan Pie Whole
  • Course 2: Homemade chocolate caramel pretzel with Northern Hawk Owl
  • Course 3: Homemade peanut butter fudge with Thai Peanut
  • Course 4: Dark chocolate with dried cherries (from Chocolate Exotica) with Debauchery Wheat Wine
  • Course 5: Maya Truffle (from Grocer’s Daughter) with Fire Starter Chipotle Porter
  • Course 6: Moomer’s Mint Chocolate Ice Cream with Naughty Girl Scout

A little weary at first, I was pleasantly surprised at how well each pair complemented each other. The butterfat in the chocolate lingers in your mouth and reacts with the high carbonation of the beer. As it reacts, you experience bubbles dancing and cleansing your palate for the next course. My favorites were the peanut butter fudge with Thai Peanut and the Maya Truffle with Fire Starter Chipotle Porter.

Brewtopia truly was a new experience for me and brought about an even greater appreciation for beer. Each Brewtopia meeting has a different focus, with the first meeting featured cheese pairings. In the future, look for more food pairings, homebrewing tips, grain demos, guest speakers and more.

To get information on upcoming Brewtopia meetings and other Right Brain events, visit rightbrainbrewery.com.


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