GRAND RAPIDS — Forgive Joe Short and his colleagues from Bellaire-based Short’s Brewing Co. if they look a little tired. They had a busy day on Wednesday. That’s when the Northern Michigan brewery released Psychedelic Cat Grass, its triple dry-hopped IPA, across its entire multi-state distribution footprint.
Since this is Revue’s road trip edition and it is summer in Michigan, we decided to head north on a meandering of our own, in search of what the area’s nascent craft beverage scene has to offer. Here’s what we found.
Oberon from Bell’s Brewery served as a gateway for many drinkers entering the world of craft beer.
It’s an approachable wheat ale that’s become synonymous with summer and warm weather. But we wondered how the iconic Oberon would hold up to some of the other offerings from West Michigan breweries that loosely fit into the same style profile. Here’s what we determined.
On a gorgeous sunny Friday last month, this writer and the Revue team — aka The Merry Band of Millennials including Kelli Belanger, Rachel Harper, Nick Manes, Josh Veal and John Wiegand — decided to break out of the office to see what the breweries of Muskegon and Grand Haven had to offer. Here’s what we uncovered.
A handful of West Michigan craft breweries have started producing sour beers. Here is a (by no means exhaustive) list of some of the locally made sours and wild ales.
In America, the IPA reigns supreme among craft beer drinkers. But many beer lovers have discovered a new-found love for some of the oldest of beer styles that date back centuries to the earliest of brewing traditions in Europe.
Back in the day, brewers made sour beers and wild ales because that’s all they could make. They didn’t have the cultured brewers yeast that’s available today. Rather, they relied on the natural “bugs” and open fermentation to do its work.
The styles have undergone a renaissance in recent years and are growing in popularity among local breweries.
West Michigan native Mitch Ermatinger brewed award-winning sour beers at Denver-based Former Future Brewing Co. He and his wife, Whitney, have returned to the region with plans to launch Speciation Artisan Ales, an all-wild brewery. The pair are still working to identify a location in Grand Rapids but the plan is to open a taproom for a bottle release one day per month and later expand to weekly hours. In the meantime, Ermatinger is helping Harmony Brewing Co. to launch its own sour program.
Everyone loves to find a new favorite craft beer.
In this tasting session of new beers that just hit distribution in West Michigan, we’ve found two options we’d happily recommend you seek out — and a host of others worth trying as well.
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