This past Labor Day weekend I had the pleasure of spending 24 hours at a woodsy cabin not far from Lake Michigan. Aside from drinking, there was plenty of hiking, swimming, beach play and fireside sitting. Upon return to my humble abode, only two things sounded good as a method of unwinding: A hot shower and a cold beer.
A good beer’s story never begins in the brewer’s tank. Every hop, grain of barley and drop of water in that tank comes from one place: The Earth. Without the fields and the farmers that work to sow them, our mugs would be empty.
For many consumers, their connection to a particular craft beer starts not with the liquid itself, but with the artwork on the can or bottle as it sits on the store shelf.
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).
After nearly three years of planning, Kelly Rozema Finchem and Luke Finchem have finally realized their dream of opening a craft brewery in West Michigan. The creators of Dutch Girl Brewing Inc. employed a different startup philosophy than most brewery owners in that they launched their company with plenty of room to grow.
Traverse City may be known for its cherries and wine, but the Northwest Michigan town has been slowly making a name for itself because of its thriving craft beer scene. The city of around 15,000 people has no fewer than 10 microbreweries or brewpubs — and that’s not even counting many more beer producers that continue to pop up in nearby towns like Acme, Lake Ann and Suttons Bay. (Lest you fudgies forget: Short’s Brewing Co. is actually based 40 miles away in Bellaire.)
Once the beer began flowing in Hudsonville, people started to take notice. While it had the dubious distinction of being Michigan’s last dry city, a title it held until 2007, the Ottawa County town now boasts two growing microbreweries that come highly regarded by the region’s craft beer cognoscenti.
Good beer comes to those who wait. The Looman family had been plotting for years to find a way to bring their homebrew concoctions to a wider audience, and they got serious in 2014. Nick and Krista Looman quit their jobs and relocated to Newaygo County to start Newaygo Brewing Company.
Sure, you could drink a beer and eat some chocolate, but many craft brewers have both vices covered with an all-in-one product. Mama, this surely is not a dream; it’s wonderful reality. We assembled 10 chocolate-based beers for a blind taste test, conducted by the following judges:
As yet another high holy holiday of the drinking variety approaches, craft beer fans owe it to themselves and their friends to remember this simple mantra: Friends don’t let friends drink green beer.
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