In case you forgot, it’s almost time for ArtPrize. To benefit the annual celebration of artistic renderings of Jesus and assorted other professional and amateur artworks, Founders Brewing Co. is again releasing a beer to correspond with the competition.
This year’s brew, Spectra Trifecta, is a traditional Kolsch style made with chamomile, ginger and lemongrass. Look for it in six packs of 12-ounce bottles starting in September (or slightly beforehand).
The beer’s label, a mixed-media piece with markers, ink and watercolors, was created by Grand Rapids-native and Founders Brewing employee Alexis Brooke. Proceeds from the sale of Spectra Trifecta go to support the nonprofit ArtPrize organization.
Bell’s Brewery Inc. turns 30 this year. To celebrate, the company is throwing a huge Funvitational beer festival Sept. 12 that’s likely sold out by the time this edition went to press. The company is also releasing a special 30th Anniversary Ale, an 11 percent ABV imperial stout that will be available in bottles (six packs) and on tap next month. Additionally, with an expanded kitchen and dining space, the Eccentric Cafè in Kalamazoo now offers full table service, as well as a completely revamped menu. And, as if that wasn’t enough from Bell’s, the brewery has now started offering its flagship Two Hearted Ale in 12-packs of 12-ounce cans, a format it debuted with Oberon earlier this year.
Starcut Ciders plans to start shipping six-pack bottles of three Michigan-sourced ciders by the end of this month. The division of Bellaire-based Short’s Brewing Co. will launch distribution with two flagship ciders, the semi-sweet “Octorock” and semi-dry “Pulsar,” as well as a seasonal release known as “Squishy,” a semi-sweet cider made with cherries. Starcut worked with nationally-known artist Don Pendleton for the label artwork. “Like anything born of Short’s, it was important to create a memorable icon for each of these ciders,” said Art Director Jesse DenHerder. “Don’s work is so unique and was a perfect vehicle to express the personality of each cider.”
New Distillery Alert — Long Road Distillers LLC has opened for business at 537 Leonard Street NW in Grand Rapids. The tasting room offers views of the stills that are used to produce the spirits, as well as a limited food menu. The company launched with three clear spirits — vodka, gin and white whiskey — and plans to add other products in the future. Be sure to check out a flight of the craft spirits. The Spring Sour, Cold Vein and Polish Falcon mixed drinks are also recommended.
Three Oaks-based Journeyman Distillery LLC in Southwestern Michigan has changed the name of its award-winning rye whiskey from Ravenswood to Last Feather. The reason: Some major corporate-owned winery took issue with the similarity of the product’s name to its brand and demanded that Journeyman change it. While founder Bill Welter may have been left with only his “last feather” out of the ordeal, he says the only thing that’s changed about the spirit is its name. (Pro tip: Whatever it’s called, Journeyman’s rye is damn tasty.)
Attention beer connoisseurs:
For this year’s Beer Issue that will drop in October, REVUE West Michigan is taking suggestions for the best “no-rules” mixed six pack. If you had to pick six different beers — available in Michigan or not — which would they be and why? Send your “desert island” six pack ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to win some REVUE swag. Cheers!