Wednesday, 05 October 2016 10:47

West Michigan craft brewers pick their go-to beers

Written by  Joe Boomgaard
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Seth Rivard of Rockford Brewing with many Hamm’s Seth Rivard of Rockford Brewing with many Hamm’s

We all have our favorite craft beers, the ones we consider the pinnacle of the style, rare big beers that only come out on special occasions, or the ones that hit the right flavor notes for our palates. And then there are the beers we buy all the time because they’re available, relatively affordable and refreshing. But that’s just for us mere mortal beer drinkers. Revue wanted to know what the go-to beers are for people in the brewing industry. Ten brewery owners let us open their refrigerators and take a peek. 


Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Pale Ale, 5.6%, Chico, Calif. 

“Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It’s not only the original but also the beer that got me into home brewing. I’ve always admired their passion for brewing, it’s evident that is priority one. It’s no coincidence you find this same passion at Founders as well.” —Mike Stevens, Founders Brewing Co. 


Blackrocks Brewery 51K IPA 

IPA, 7%, Marquette, Mich.

“I have a love for Blackrocks 51K IPA and it seems to always find its way into my shopping cart. I drink a lot of Belgian beer, which is my first love, but sometimes I just need a solid, unfiltered American IPA. Plus those dudes are cool and I like supporting their brewery.” —Jason Spaulding, Brewery Vivant


Founders Brewing Centennial IPA

IPA, 7.2%, Grand Rapids, Mich.

“The one beer that I keep in my fridge is Founders Centennial IPA. Centennial is just a classic malty and hop blend of a beer. Founders may be big, but they still kick out solid beers.” —Dan Hain, Fetch Brewing


Founders Brewing All Day IPA

Session IPA, 4.7%, Grand Rapids, Mich. 

— and —

Pabst Blue Ribbon

American adjunct lager, 4.6%, Woodbridge, Ill.

“My go-to beer from another brewery is All Day IPA from my good friends at Founders. As a brewer, I have to spend the day tasting and evaluating complex flavors in beers, so the last thing I want when I get home is a 10 percent barrel-aged stout. It is nice to have something in the fridge that I know is going to consistently quench not just my thirst, but also my love of hoppy beers. I like that it comes in a can and is always fresh when I check the dates. It’s hop-forward but crisp and refreshing. …  Non-Michigan wise, I do keep PBR stocked in my fridge like most brewers do. The PBR is great when you want to take a complete vacation from having to think about beer, but you never stop being a beer drinker.” —Eric Hoffman, Unruly Brewing


Rockford Brewing Hoplust IPA

IPA, 7.1%, Rockford, Mich. 

“While I don’t carry much bottled beer at home anymore, aside from cellar beers, I do keep growlers stocked several times per week. My mainstay is Rockford Brewing Company’s Hoplust IPA, which is lovely, balanced and always flavorful for my fresh hophead fix at home.” —David Ringler, Cedar Springs Brewing Co.


Hamm’s Premium

American adjunct lager, 4.7%, Milwaukee, Wis.

“Hamm’s! Because everyone has their go-to swill beer. You can’t always drink craft beers. You need something in between to appreciate them — or rather, you need something to hydrate with. As an impressionable kid, the cartoon beer commercials made a lasting imprint. When we were building the main bar at RBC, it was over 100 degrees and we must have gone through 666 cases of this stuff.” —Seth Rivard, Rockford Brewing Co. 


Beards Brewery Serendipity 

Porter, 5.5%, Petoskey, Mich. 

“Beards Serendipity Porter. Mainly it is a go-to because I have been leaning more heavily on darker beers and it is nice to have one available all year. Also, living in Northern Michigan means a lot of use for cans, which Beards is packaged in. Beards has had good quality that is critical to the continued health of the industry and are expanding into a new retail location in Petoskey, so it is great to see other companies developing the economic base of Northern Michigan and bringing craft beer to more people.” —Scott Newman-Bale, Short’s Brewing Co. 


Stone IPA

IPA, 6.9%, Escondido, Calif.

“I’ve had a long and great relationship with Greg Koch and Steve Wagner. Greg has been kind and gracious to me from the day we met — maybe 11 years ago now. Their IPA is an iconic beer, emblematic of San Diego-style IPA. It’s also my wife’s favorite IPA. Any day is a better day when Stone IPA is in our fridge.” —Ron Jeffries, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales


Victory Brewing Prima Pils

Pilsner, 5.3%, Downingtown, Pa.

“As a lot of folks might say, my tastes tend to change with the seasons. But if there is one beer I tend to gravitate to and buy more than any other beer, it is Victory’s Prima Pils. It’s easily one of the best lagers in the U.S. As a brewer, you have to respect a good lager and it makes a great bourbon beer back. What more can you ask for? It’s a beautiful beer.” —Nathan Hukill, Brewer


Cranker’s Professor IPA

IPA, 6.6%, Big Rapids, Mich.

“I am going to come off as an arrogant asshole, but the Professor IPA is my go-to. The El Dorado hops in that beer are so smooth, delicious and just leap out of the glass. As far as a non-Cranker’s product, I have the opinion that if you love craft beer (which I do), your go-to beer is whatever is available to you at that time. There’s so much diversity and choice in craft beer right now that I believe there is no such thing as a go-to beer.” —James Crank, Cranker’s Brewery

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