2019 Beer Guide

. June 30, 2019.
Beer Guide

These are boom times in the Michigan beer scene. The amount of beer sold in Michigan that was brewed in state has increased six fold since 2007, ballooning into a $10.5 billion industry. With names like Drag Me to Helles (Wolverine State Brewing Co) and NonStop Disco Powerpack (Original Gravity), there are a lot of options for the beer enthusiast with a taste for drama and adventure. And all of that competition seems to be a good thing. There were 34 Michigan breweries in 2007, and by 2017, 283. So pull up to the bar at your local brewery and raise a foamy head in praise of the Great Beer State!

 

Jamie Brooks

O & W

Jamie Brooks

3003 William Ave.
Ypsilanti, MI 48198

Hours of operation: 8:30am-5pm, but our warehouse works 24 hours 5 days a week!

What is O&W’s role in the Michigan beer community?
Well, I’d like to first just explain that we are a beer distributor in the three tier system. After prohibition, a checks and balances system was put in place to ensure a level and fair playing field in the market. We buy beer from breweries and sell it to only licensed retailers in specified territories. Collection of taxes, complying with MLCC regulations, maintaining quality and being responsible for recycling are all part of the job.

What’s special about the Washtenaw County craft scene?
When talking to our breweries and retailer customers, we all agree that Washtenaw County is very unique! It is IPA land, the bigger the better IPA in fact. Local, local, local is incredibly important, sour beers are hot along with just crazy unique flavors.

What advice do you have for people new to the craft beer scene?
Don’t judge a beer by your first sip. It’s surprising how you can change your mind from the beginning sip to the end of the glass. Tasting beer can be like going on a journey. Different flavors come out from aroma, start, middle and finish.

What’s the next big thing in beer?
People are becoming more and more health conscious. We have a new category labeled “Lifestyle.” This is the low calorie, low carb, sugar reduced, etc. We have seen a HUGE spike in hard seltzers such as White Claw and Truly, but I think brewers are going to get even more unique in their base brews. Everyone is reading labels, and many have gluten sensitivities or crave options such as ancient grains like quinoa and millet. I think brewers are going to start to get creative with base brews to accommodate those who have dietary needs. Crook & Marker is a new product we picked up that is full of flavor and checks all the boxes of the life-style category of organic alcohol, sugar-free, gluten-free, ancient grains, etc. I think they’re onto something and am excited to see how it influences across the industry.

What was the first beer you ever had?
First craft beer I’ll say— Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. An OG! Still sooooooo good.

Best beer-related story?
I’d have to tell you over a beer…;)

Favorite drinking game?
BS & LRC. Unless my sister, Erin, (my euchre partner) is in town from AZ…then watch out!

Dan Kolander

Dan’s Downtown Tavern

Dan Kolander

103 E. Michigan Ave., Saline.
734-429-3159 | facebook.com/DANSBARS

Monday – Thursday 11am-12pm
Friday Saturday 11am- 1am
Sunday 12pm-9pm

How has the Michigan beer community developed?
The Michigan beer scene is and has been crazy. We are very fortunate to have some of the best breweries in the country. All of the breweries in Michigan have done very very well winning medals in Colorado at the Great American Beer Festival for the great beers they have produced!

What’s special about the Washtenaw County craft scene?
The Washtenaw Beer scene is awesome. With 64 drafts, I am able to offer a huge variety, from easy-drinking beers to Russian Imperial Stouts. We counted the other day and 50 of our taps had craft beer and, of those 50 taps, 43 were Michigan-based beers!!!

What’s an exciting brew you’re bringing to the MBG Summer Fest this month?
The newest beer craze has been the Hazy IPA’s M43 from Old Nation Brewing. It changed the market which I personally think is awesome. My personal opinion is that Hazy IPAs have more flavor.

Give a piece of advice for people new to the craft beer scene.
I think in order to make it as a new brewer you’re going to have to really come up with something unique, something really really different!!

Other than your bar, what’s your favorite local place to grab a pint?
My favorite place to grab a pint would be my garage. But I really like OG in Milan. Brad does a great job! Arbor is also great and Founders in Detroit is a very cool place.

What was the first beer you ever had?
My first beer was Budweiser from dad’s garage fridge.

What’s a favorite beer story?
One of my favorite beer stories is when I first met Jim Koch of Sam Adams. He came into a bar that I was working at and had this new beer called Sam Adams. Jim went to every single bar himself to show off his new brown lager. That beer destroyed the Killians market. It was good beer, had great flavor and, to this day, is a huge seller. More recently, I got to meet Jim and I told him the story and he said, “yes, I did go bar to bar in Ann Arbor it was very cool.”

My six pack would have…
Founders Blushing Monk, Founders RUBAEUS, Bell’s Two Hearted, and M43.

Ethan Bright

Adventures in Homebrewing

Ethan Bright
Ann Arbor Store Manager

Store contact info:
313-277-2739 | Hops@homebrewing.org

Hours of operation:
Monday – Friday: 10:00 am-7:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am-5:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm-4:00 pm

What is different about the Michigan beer community now than when you first started brewing?
I’m really a relatively recent entry into the homebrewing scene. I began only about seven years ago and started like many others have: went inside a homebrewing store (AIH in Ann Arbor!) and purchased a beginning kit for extract brewing. My association with AIH has really been an education on beer, wine and cider making. If I had to think about the differences between when I started and now, it would be the increased focus on getting the most out of one’s ingredients and expressing the most out of the fermentation process, and less on having the latest and greatest equipment.

What’s special about the Washtenaw County craft scene?
It’s the diversity of people from all walks of life that are engaged in the joy of creating beautiful beverages. We’re situated by a very large metropolitan area and close to several world-class university institutions, yet the rural environment is right next door. Brewers are also expanding into making wine, cider and mead, a lot of which is locally or regionally sourced. With the raw sources of making great beer, wine and cider, the diversity of people inject new ideas and new creations.

Give a piece of advice for people new to the craft beer scene.
With new brewers, it’s important to clean your equipment, sanitize anything that the yeast will touch, and watch your temperatures. If you do that, and follow instructions, you should be able to brew a good batch of beer. Approach brewing like a culinary endeavor: practice, experiment and read. And read some more.

What is a one-off beer you’re brewing this summer?
I will be making my last batch of wheat beer fermented with a limited edition yeast that was cultivated from Danish apples. Might be some time before I can make it again.

What’s the next big thing in beer?
Probably something I’d not be a fan of. Seriously, I don’t know. If I was forced to bet, I’d guess the IPA arms race will probably continue, with continued experimentation with hop types together with a trend towards sweet and punch (alcohol).

What’s your favorite local place to grab a pint?
Ypsi Ale House— excellent beers, good food, live music, and a colorful backstory harkening to the beginning of the craft brewery scene in Michigan.

What was the first beer you ever had?
Probably some awful soda-pop beer I nicked from my parents’ laundry room refrigerator when I was in high school. They either never noticed or didn’t care. Or maybe they noticed but figured my taste buds would be discerning enough to never want to crave crummy beer again via negative imprinting. And back in the 1970s, I…guess…they were right? Fortunately, I lived in Germany and Belgium in the 1980s, which thankfully reset my criteria.

If you were stranded on an island and could only have one six-pack, what would it be?
Hanssens Oude Kriek. However, could we pair that with a meal of Belgian mussels cooked with garlic, shallots, butter and herbs, with a side of Belgian-style fries dipped in herbed mayo? Heavenly. That might make island survival more likely. However, if a case of 2010 Pétrus washed ashore, I’d ditch the beer in a heartbeat.

Favorite drinking game?
Keeping my memory intact. I guess I’m pretty boring. However, I do enjoy watching Drunk History.

Kaiya Rain Wolff

Lucky’s Market

Kaiya Rain Wolff
Cafe Supervisor

1919 S. Industrial Hwy.
734-368-9137 | luckysmarket.com
8am-10pm, daily.

What is different about the Michigan beer community now than when you first started brewing?
Heck, I dunno. But I do beer hard. Hit me up.

What’s special about the Washtenaw County craft scene?
All of the small breweries, the close-knit community, and all the interesting small batch /“weird” flavors.

Give a piece of advice for people new to the craft beer scene.
Ok, here’s something! When I introduce my friend to new beers they don’t like the hoppiness. So I always tell them to check the IBU’s (International Bitterness unit). Start light or, you know, just go for it!

What is a one-off beer you’re brewing this summer?
I don’t brew but if I did… I would do a lavender moment and I’d throw some citrus in it. Summer loves citrus! Throw a flower in there. Sunflowers all the way.

What’s an exciting brew you’re bringing to the MBG Summer Fest this month?
I’m not bringing anything, but I’ll be there! I love beer and I love fest!

What’s the next big thing in beer?
Alright.. Give me a basil beer. Give me herbal beers. Give me a high ABV.

What’s your favorite local place to grab a pint?
Oh, that’s easy! Cultivate in Ypsi.

What was the first beer you ever had?
A PBR I stole from my friend’s dad. (I was totally 21…)

Favorite drinking game?
Flip Cup Champ ‘05! Unfortunately, I cannot remember any of my beer-related stories.

Scott Graham

Michigan Brewers’ Guild

Scott Graham
Executive Director of the Michigan Brewers Guild.

mibeer.com

What’s an exciting brew you’re bringing to the MBG Summer Fest this month?
This years’ Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival is the 22nd year of the Summer Beer Festival and it has grown from 26 breweries and about 100 beers to nearly 150 breweries and more than 1000 tasty Michigan craft beers. The festival is much larger than when we started but the atmosphere is still very friendly, fun and relaxed.

The Michigan Brewers Guild beer festivals are a favorite of craft beer fans but they are also fantastic for anyone who is just beginning to explore craft beer because there are so many different beers available from all across this Great Beer State. The variations in style and flavor are only limited by the creativity and imaginations of Michigan brewers. If you think beer is only yellow and fizzy there is a lot to discover at the Summer Beer Festival.

Some of the most interesting and unique beers at the festival will only be available during the Enthusiast Member VIP hour which is open to MBG Enthusiast Members one hour before general admission. An insider tip is to become a member and get in an hour early. See our website at MiBeer.com to join.

Alexis Jorgensen

Wolverine State Brewing Company

Alexis Jorgensen
Head Brewer and Production Manager

2019 West Stadium Blvd., Ann Arbor
734-369-2990
news@wolverinebeer.com
wolverinebeer.com/home

Monday-Thursday, 4pm to midnight
Friday-Saturday noon to 1am
Sunday noon to 10pm

What is a one-off beer you’re brewing this summer?
This summer we’re releasing Funcooker, a blackberry lime Gose. It will be crisp, clean, refreshing and fun.

What’s an exciting brew you’re bringing to the MBG Summer Fest this month?
This winter, we acquired some bourbon barrels from Valentine’s and we put our Baltic porter in them. We are stoked with the result and can’t wait to share it at the Summer Beer Fest!

If you were stranded on an island and could only have one six-pack, what would it be?
If I were stranded on an island, I would bring Stone IPA as my one six-pack. Delicious, happy, thirst-quenching— what more could you ask for?

Elroy Love Cole

734 Brewing Company

Elroy Love Cole
Bartender

15 Cross St., Ypsilanti.
734-340-3468 | 734brewing.com
11:30am-2am, daily.

What is something unique about your brewery?
We’re really involved in the community. We hold a lot of events. Open mic, karaoke, musical performances, storytelling. Artists display their work on the walls. We attract a wide base, young and old, black and white. Everyone comes in and enjoys us.

Give a piece of advice for people new to the craft beer scene.
Don’t settle with something that you think you’re supposed to like. Just because IPAs are popular doesn’t mean you have to like them. You might prefer something totally different, like an oatmeal stout (my current favorite) so just keep trying. The worst thing that could happen is you get a little tipsy.

What is a one-off beer you’re brewing this summer?
We have hibiscus wine and apple wine that are our big hits of the summer. Ladies like a colorful drink that isn’t harsh like an IPA. They can’t get enough of it!

What is the difference between apple wine and hard cider?
To be considered a cider, it has to have less than 7% alcohol. Apple wines are anywhere from 9%-16% alcohol. Apple wines are made from apple juice rather than apple cider, and contain about 2% sugar. Hard ciders are sweeter than apple wines because less of their sugars are fermented, and contain from 6% to 15% sugar. Apple ciders are typically carbonated, and apple wines are not.

Best beer disaster story?
My first day working here I was supposed to replace one of the kegs and instead I spilled the entire thing on the floor.

Jeff Robinson

Pizza House

Jeff Robinson
Manager

618 Church St., Ann Arbor
734-995-5095 | Pizzahouse.com
10:30am – 4am, daily.

What’s special about the Washtenaw County Craft Scene?
Diverse tastes, for a diverse crowd. Lots of local flavor, with international influence.

What is a one-off beer you’re brewing this summer?
While we do not brew, any beer, we do offer a delicious grapefruit mule on draft, and we will have more draft cocktails coming this summer.

What’s the next big thing in beer?
Lighter crafts, like sours, brut IPA’S, seems to be catching on.

Other than your bar, what’s your favorite local place to grab a pint?
Bills Beer Garden, or Dominicks, in the summer. Ashley’s in the winter.

If you were stranded on an island and could only have one six-pack, what would it be?
Bells Christmas Ale, or GL Edmund Fitzgerald porter

What was the first beer you ever had?
Half of an MGD, courtsey of Dad

Best beer related story?
I just won a case, in a golf outing, so that’s pretty neat!

Favorite drinking game?
Quarters, or but I’ll play whatever, if you’re paying:)

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