Michigan Booze Release of the Month:
Long Road Distillers — The Wayfarer’s Whisky Series
When it laid down several varieties of whisky six months ago, Long Road Distillers decided to use smaller-than-normal wooden barrels as they experimented with different recipes, said co-founder Kyle VanStrien. The result: The spirits took on the barrel characteristics more quickly, leading LRD to plan a limited release of two young rye whiskies in early March. The release includes a single-barrel cask-strength version that clocks in at 124 proof that came out of the first barrel the company made. It’s distilled from Heffron Farms rye and Pilot Malt House malted barley. As well, LRD plans a rye whisky blend from several small barrels made with the same mash that will be around 92 proof. VanStrien tells Revue that Long Road has several recipes in total with various mash bills, so look for more offerings in the Wayfarer’s Whisky Series in the coming months.
—Reported by Joe Boomgaard
More Beer, Cider and Booze News
To celebrate the 5,000th batch of beer produced and packaged at its Elk Rapids facility, Short’s Brewing Co. released a special-edition triple IPA dubbed “Batch 5000,” which will hit stores about the same time this edition of Revue went to press. The “very-limited” release of Batch 5000 also marks the launch of a new production line for Short’s that will fill 22-ounce bottles. Look for more bomber-bottle releases in the coming months.
The People’s Cider Co. plans to open a tasting room at 539 Leonard St. NW on the west side of Grand Rapids. Owner Jason Lummen hopes to start pouring cider at the new location in May. He expects to offer seven ciders on tap — including one guest tap — and would be open to guests bringing in outside food. Production will continue at People’s Cider’s current facility at 600 Maryland Ave. NE near Oak Industrial Park in northeast Grand Rapids, Lummen said. Upon the opening of the new location, patrons will be able to sample the “holy trinity” of craft beverages from three independent companies (People’s Cider, Long Road Distillers and The Mitten Brewing Co.) at consecutive addresses on West Leonard Street.
Grand Rapids-based ELK Brewing Co. is building a second brewery and taproom in Comstock Park, owner Eric Karns told Revue sister publication MiBiz. The new 3,000-square-foot location on Dodge Street, just off West River Drive near the entrance to Fifth Third Ballpark, will feature a 15-barrel brewhouse (compared to its current three-barrel system), which will allow ELK to expand distribution and get into bottling. ELK Brewing North will have a much stronger focus on food than its Eastown location, and plans call for the 100-seat pub to have a 120-seat seasonal patio. Karns targets the new location to open this summer.
Citing production constraints for its prized barrel-aged beers like KBS and Backwoods Bastard, Founders Brewing Co. will add a second brewery in Grand Rapids as part of an investment totaling up to $20 million. The additional facility, located at 900 Hynes St. SW, will focus on “barrel-aged, experimental, high-gravity, and specialty beers that we’ve become known for,” the company said. Founders has no plans to open a taproom at the new brewery.
Fans of Dragon’s Milk from New Holland Brewing Co. take note: The company plans quarterly releases of special “Reserve” versions of the bourbon barrel-aged stout for 2016. The first, Dragon’s Milk Vanilla Chai, dropped in late January. The next release will feature a Coffee and Chocolate edition. Information on future special Reserve editions will be released in the coming months, according to the brewery.
Brewery Vivant is launching a wood-aged wild and sour beer program. The new series, which kicked off with the release of Barrel Weiss to celebrate the company’s fifth anniversary in December, will be bottled in 500-milliliter glass bottles. Initial plans call for three to four styles to be released on a quarterly basis, as well as special limited edition one-off varieties “as time, space and wildness allows,” said Kate Avery, Brewery Vivant’s abbess of beer and director of sales and marketing. And, for all those looking forward to a day of drinking at day two of the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Fest in Grand Rapids: Brewery Vivant is again offering its Brewer’s Big Breakfast, starting at 8 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 27 at the pub at 925 Cherry St. in Grand Rapids. All are welcome. No reservation needed.
—Reported by Joe Boomgaard
MOAR beer, booze, cider on the way in West Michigan
The growth of the West Michigan craft beverage industry just keeps on going. Here is a list of in-planning or expanding breweries, distilleries and cideries from across the region.
18th Amendment Spirits Co., 350 W. Western Ave., Muskegon
Atwater Brewing Co., 201 Michigan St. NW, Grand Rapids
Blue Sky Brewing LLC, 6262 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids
Brewery 4 Two 4 LLC, 321 Douglas Ave., Holland
City Built Brewing, 820 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
Creston Brewery Co., 1504 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids
DirtBag Brewing Co., 420 South State St., Gobles
ELK Brewing Co. (second location), 400 Dodge St., Comstock Park
Grand Haven Brew House/HawkPeak Brewing, 100/102 Washington, Grand Haven
Gray Skies Distilling, 700 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
Green Door Distilling Co. LLC, 429 E. North St., Kalamazoo
Greyline Brewing, 1727 Alpine Ave., Grand Rapids
Haymarket Brewing Co., 9301 Red Arrow Highway, Bridgman
High Five Co-Op Brewery Inc., location to be announced, Grand Rapids
Jayda Gale Distillery, 152 S. Main St., Wayland
Kalamazoo Distilling, 180 N. Edwards St., Kalamazoo
Ludington Bay Brewing Co., 515 S. James St., Ludington
New Holland Brewing Co., Bridge Street and Broadway Avenue, Grand Rapids
North Pier Brewing Co., 670 North Shore Drive, Benton Harbor
Red Belly Brewing Co., unknown address, Kentwood
Red Tail Brewing, 141 W. Upton Ave., Reed City
Silver Harbor Brewing Co., 721 Pleasant St., Saint Joseph
Speciation Artisan Ales, Location TBD, Grand Rapids area
Steele Street Brewing, 300 South Steele St., Ionia (Opened Jan. 9)
Sunshine Meadery, 501 Ottawa St., Lowell
The Open Road Brewing Co., 128 S. Main St., Wayland
Transient Artisan Ales, 4229 Lake St., Bridgman
Vander Mill Ciders (Grand Rapids location), 505 Ball Ave. NE, Grand Rapids
Watermark Brewing Co., 5781 Saint Joseph Ave, Stevensville
—Compiled by Revue from news reports and social media.