#michigan beer Archives – PorchDrinking.com
This article is written by Kyle Van Deventer, Former Director of Sales for Griffin Claw Brewing Co. and originally appeared on Better on Draft
Craft beer is an industry filled with thoughts of endless streams of alcohol, beer dinners galore, festivals every weekend (sometimes multiple) and just pure gluttonous behavior. As someone who has been in the industry for over 12 years and having known nothing but this behavior, the illustrious vision of others was becoming a stigma for me. As a 33-year-old father now, my health isn’t the greatest. My goals aren’t the same as they were when I was 21, and staying out at a bar isn’t what I would call a good time anymore. There needed to be a change, but I caught myself wondering how I could make that change. It started with plenty of fears both professionally and personally. Having the fear of missing out, the fear of peer and customer opinions and the fear of perception, kept me from making any change. That is until I went to get a check-up.
Old Nation Brewing Co. made waves a few years ago for their highly drinkable take on the New England IPA: M-43. What followed was a “New Orthodox” IPA series that has kept the brewery on top of best-in-beer lists. But the brewery ain’t no one-trick pony. Their Electron Brown and Over Privileged Stout have both been hits with beer enthusiasts and are a far cry from the Hazy IPAs that put them on the map. In what seems like a pattern of success, they’ve managed to create another winner with their newest brew, a 6.5% ABV Porter called Night Farmer.
There’s something about working alongside family that can make things a little easier. When you don’t have to put on a face, you can get things done, you can make things happen, and you can use that to be a success. Generations of farmers know this, embrace it, and pass it on to their children. And sometimes that can lead to new business, innovation and tasty beer. Or, maybe that’s just the case for Grand Rapids, Michigan-based farm brewery, Pink Barrel Cellars.
Rake Beer Project, in Muskegon, Michigan, is less than two years old, and whether you love them or hate being told to stay home to help curb a relentless global pandemic, they’ve probably slowed your newsfeed scroll at least twice in 2020. And, like it or not (trigger warning): they’re about to do it a third time.
At the onset of Covid-19 flipping Earth into The Upside Down, Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer was unfazed after being slapped with a belittling nickname, “That Woman From Michigan,” by (three guesses) “That President From New York.” Twitter deflected the shade and clapped back on her behalf: Photoshop helped place a pair of Cartier sunglasses (known as “Buffs” in Detroit) on Whitmer, and The Michigangster was soon rebranded “Big Gretch.” In a public display of support for the governor’s Stay at Home Order, Rake joined the party, threw a non-red hat in the ring, and made a beer in her honor.
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. What a year we’ve had in Michigan, eh? Nothing went the way anyone expected and for many, it went worse than they ever imagined. If you’re still standing, congratulations. However, one thing that definitely stayed as expected: Despite shutdowns and sickness and protests and kidnapping threats and endless elections, Michigan brewers once again made some of the best beer in the country in 2020. Which, of course, makes my job that much more difficult. I’m certainly not new to beer, but I am brand new to picking the Michigan Best in Beer Year-End Honors which, at 300+ breweries, is a daunting task, to say the least.
That being said, I still get the good news–and there certainly was plenty of it. So, I’ve compiled what I can of the best in Michigan. Here’s to an absolutely horrible, but completely wonderful, 2020.
~Jess, Michigan Editor at PorchDrinking.com
Black Calder Brewing, a new brewery opening in Michigan, launches on Black Friday. As the first Black-owned brewery in Michigan, owners Terry Rostic and Jamaal Ewing recognize how significant this is for representation and diversity in craft beer. PorchDrinking chatted by email with Rostic and Ewing to find out more about Black Calder Brewing and what to expect from the brewery.
On a rainy May 19, more than 1,000 people showed up to the sleepy, lake town of Bridgman, Mich., all because a dog tricked his owner to get out of bed, so he could have the warm spot.
They came …
Sometimes I struggle to figure out what beer to bring to an event. Other times the Universe throws an opportunity at you too good to pass up. This time, a serendipitous combination of a last-minute ski trip to Short’s land and a “diaper” party combined to make one of my favorite winter beers the obvious party choice: Short’s Brewing’s The Double Magician.
As Chicago barrels toward a week of historically cold temperatures, I was eager to get out to my local Binny’s and stockpile some dark, heavy stouts to keep me sane as I prepare for a week filled with cabin fever.
This fall and winter, if you’re looking for a dark beer without the thick texture of a stout or porter, look no further than Keweenaw Brewing Company Widow Maker Black Ale.
Located in Houghton, Michigan at the base of the Keweenaw Peninsula, Keweenaw Brewing Company was an early entry in the craft beer boom of the 2000s. This is unsurprising, given that Houghton is not only a college town (home to Michigan Technological University), but a cold and snowy one, with little to do in the winters but ski, snowmobile and drink. Founders Dick Gray and Paul Boissevain opened up their tap room in the heart of downtown Houghton, and it was an immediate hit with students and staff alike. Widow Maker is one of their “core ales, ” alongside Pick Axe Blonde Ale, Red Jacket Amber Ale and November Gale Pale Ale.
I love a good IPA. I know I’m not alone in this, and I do not mind. Because when people love good IPAs, they make good IPAs, and that means more for me. In Michigan, it’s not hard to find good IPAs, which is why when one stands out to me, it’s for good reason. The Mitten Brewing Company’s Country Strong American IPA is just one of those standouts, and it has become my new go-to brew.
7.2% ABV | 58 IBU
Brewed in Michigan: The New Golden Age of Brewing in the Great Beer State (Wayne State University Press, 2017) by William Rapai
It is possible in 2017 to find good beer and exciting breweries in every state in the union. Gone are the days of large beer deserts in this country; you might just have to look at little more diligently in some states than others. Still, a few states rise above the rest with an embarrassing wealth of great breweries both old and new. Michigan is one of those states, and if you need any persuading, a new book by William Rapai aims to quiet your objections.
As Founders Brewing Company enters its 20th year of brewing, they have announced the release of the first beer from their 2017 Barrel-Aged Series. Frootwood is a cherry ale aged in oak barrels that have previously held both bourbon and …
ABV — 6.8%
IBU — 80
I had the great pleasure of attending my friend’s bachelor party last month in Michigan. The original plan on that last Saturday in June was to go to a baseball game. Rain put an X through those plans, and we detoured to Ann Arbor instead. One of our stops was to Arbor Brewing Company, where I indulged in what is now one of my favorite beers of all time: Sacred Cow IPA.
Wedged between the three Greatest of the Great Lakes: Superior, Michigan, and Huron and Wisconsin and Canada lies a strange and mystic land called the Upper Peninsula. Many people don’t know that the Upper Peninsula, the U.P, even exists. It’s a beautiful place full of waterfalls, dense forests, and miles and miles of rugged shoreline, but it’s not for everyone. Harsh winters and a definite remoteness make Yoopers a special breed of people. Yoopers are tough, prideful, and stubborn, sometimes to the point of idiocy. Having moved from the U.P. a few weeks ago, I’m getting settled into my new Utah home, but I miss the Yoop every day.
I’m sitting here in the woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, sipping on a Pick Axe Blonde Ale from Keweenaw Brewing Company. There’s snow on the ground, and I just hacked down a tree with a hatchet for the bonfire. I’ve got some good friends with me, and our dogs are chasing each other in circles.I’m counting on my pooch’s body heat to keep the tent warm tonight.
This camping trip is a going away party of sorts.
Blackrocks Brewery, in Marquette, Michigan, named themselves after the cliffs just north of town that people hurl themselves off into icy Lake Superior. They opened a few years ago in a two-story house with their brewing setup in the kitchen and live music just about every night.
In Michigan, Bell’s Oberon Ale means summertime. All over the state, there are parties and midnight keg-tappings on Oberon’s early spring release date, which this year fell on March 24. In Bell’s Brewery’s hometown of Kalamazoo, Oberon Day is nothing short of a holiday.