Saturday, May 16, 2015

Spring Showers Bring New Jolly Pumpkin Sours: Rojzilla & La Roja du Kriek

Jolly Pumpkin’s quintessential beer – La Roja – may be hard to find, but two new specialty brews will hit the marketplace in limited quantities this month and are sure to quench the thirst of sour beer lovers around America. Rojzilla and La Roja du Kriek will be distributed in Michigan and 34 other states during the brand’s “April Showers Bring Jolly Pumpkin Sours” campaign.

La Roja (7.2% ABV | 25 IBU) was the second beer to be released by Jolly Pumpkin, after opening in 2004. This artisan red ale, brewed in the Flanders tradition, is deep amber in color with earthy caramel, spice and sour fruit notes that are developed through natural barrel aging.

Flanders ales are fermented with usual brewer’s yeast in an unfiltered and unpasteurized fashion, then placed into oak barrels to age and mature. The mature beer is then blended with younger beer, to adjust the taste for consistency. The name comes from the usual color of these ales, which are descendent from English porters of the 17th century.

Due to the extensive time involved in the production of La Roja, it is only released in limited quantities and is considered one of the most sought-after sour ales in the country.

Rojzilla – Michigan Sour Biere. Aged for a year-and-a-half in a 100-bbl oak foudre before being blended with a few “normal” size barrels of varying ages to create a complex, mellifluous combination of flavors and sophistication. (7.4% ABV | 750ml)

La Roja du Kriek – Sour Amber Ale with Michigan Cherry Juice. This is what happens when 3100 gallons of 2013 La Roja meets 50 gallons of Michigan tart cherry juice, aged in oak barrels and bottle conditioned – a perfect blend of sour and tart joie de vivre! (7.5% ABV | 750ml).

Jolly Pumpkin celebrates its 11th year in 2015, and is regarded as the nation’s first and premier all-sour brewery. Under the watchful guidance of master brewer Ron Jeffries.

Jeffries began studying and experimenting with brewing in the early 1990s, always with an eye towards opening his own brewery. With a special interest in rustic country ales, he launched his professional brewing career in 1995, and quickly became known as an innovative and respected member of Michigan’s emerging craft beer scene.
Jeffries realized his dream in the summer of 2004 when he and his wife, Laurie, launched Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in Dexter, Mich., the first brewery focused on and offering an exclusive selection of oak-aged, wild and sour beers in the United States. Together Ron and Laurie Jeffries, with the help of their son Daemon, have grown Jolly Pumpkin into a boutique brand with widespread distribution and global recognition.

Over the years, Jeffries’ vocation has evolved from brewer, craftsman and artist to most recently, philosopher and visionary of all things beer. His outstanding dedication to the art of brewing has led to international attention and accolades.

An advocate for the simpler life, Jeffries believes in decelerating the hectic tempo of modern life and returning to a slower, more livable pace. He runs the brewery on what he calls “Hawaiian time,” allowing Jolly Pumpkin to maintain traditional small scale production while protecting both the outstanding complexity and simplicity of the beverage.


A draft and bottle release for Rojzilla and La Roja du Kriek will take place the weekend of June 6-7 at the Null taproom in Dexter, as well as Jolly Pumpkin locations in Ann Arbor, Midtown in Detroit and Traverse City.

Throughout the coming month, special tastings and release parties will be held around the country featuring these two beers as well. All events will be promoted on the Jolly Pumpkin Facebook.

Jolly Pumpkin is part of Northern United Brewing Co., which also encompasses the Grizzly Peak and North Peak Beer Co. craft beer brands, as well as Nomad Ciders, Civilized Spirits and Bonafide Wines. NUBC’s philosophy focuses on a dedication to conservation, inspiration and locally-sustainable practices.

Find NUBCo products at stores, restaurants, and bars all throughout Michigan, including: North Peak Brewing Company, Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, all in Traverse City; Jolly Pumpkin and Grizzly Peak, in Ann Arbor.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Food Dance Raises the Roof on Grilling

Looking to amp up your grilling techniques before the summer season is in full swing? Food Dance, the award-winning Kalamazoo-based farm-to-table restaurant, offers an experience like no other during its three-day “Fire & Sky Grilling Class” this June.

Imagine gathering on the rooftop of the Food Dance building in downtown Kalamazoo, where you can enjoy a refreshing summer-influenced cocktail, soak up the sunset skyline and learn tricks of the grilling trade from some of Food Dance’s culinary team’s top leaders. From pork to chicken to beef and lamb, you’ll pick up helpful hints about butchering cuts, heat source and temperatures, and flavorful recipes to wow your family and friends at your next backyard party.

Open spots for Fire & Sky are available for Tuesday, June 9 (the Wednesday, June 10 and Thursday, June 11 classes are already sold out, but there is a wait list). The class runs from 6:30-8:30pm. Space is limited to 24 individuals and the cost is $75 per person, excluding tax and gratuity.

Food Dance creates opportunities for people to come together and connect through the experience of food. We passionately cook with the freshest locally produced ingredients and believe in giving great, caring service, and providing great experiences for everyone we come in contact with.

401 E. Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo MI 49007

SAVE THE DATE: Traverse City to Host 2nd Annual City of Riesling (Sunday, July 26 - Monday, July 27)

What: 2nd Annual City of Riesling

Where: Traverse City, Michigan

When: Sunday, July 26, 2015 — Night of 100 Rieslings @ Clinch Park Pavilion

VIP Admission: 5-6pm | $100 per person

Includes early and complete access to the wine, food and entertainment, as well as access to visiting winemakers and sommeliers, including those items that will be available for purchase only during the main event.

General Admission: 6-10pm | $50 per person

Includes 13 tasting tickets for the Bar of 100 Rieslings, food from two stations and live entertainment, as well as access to visiting winemakers and sommeliers.

Featuring Music from The Go Rounds, from Kalamazoo. The Go Rounds are furious live act and progressive recording unit fueled by the history of its diverse lineup and collaborative spirit. Equally inspired by their record collections as the beauty of the Great Lakes State, the band explores soul music, baroque folk, art rock, country and classic rock n' roll. The four-piece will release their latest full-length record "dont go not changin" in May 2015.

Monday, July 27, 2015 — Salon Riesling @ The Franklin

An all-day symposium with sessions featuring the energy and insight of Riesling leaders from all sides of the wine trade, including curated tastings of difficult to find Rieslings from around the world.

Sessions will be held from 10:00-11:00am, 11:30am-12:30pm, 2:30-3:30pm and 4-5pm. A Rare Riesling Luncheon will take place from 12:45-2:15pm.

Cost is $50 per session; the Rare Riesling Luncheon is $100 (inclusive of tax/gratuity). Advanced registration is required, space is limited to 20 per session.

The specific session topics and presenters will be announced at the beginning of June.

History: City of Riesling is the brainchild of winemaker Sean O’Keefe of Chateau Grand Traverse and Villa Mari Vineyards; restaurateur and sommelier Amanda Danielson of Trattoria Stella and The Franklin; and wine writer and Riesling evangelist Stuart Pigott.

During its inaugural year in 2014, more than 300 people attended the festivities in Traverse City—a waterfront community recognized as the culinary capital of Michigan and the Midwest’s most active wine region, specifically for world-class Rieslings.

Why: This event features not only a diverse range of award-winning Riesling from around the world. Michigan is perfectly situated in the heart of the Great Lakes Region, which creates a cool climate environment ideal for vineyard development—especially for Riesling grapes. Combine that natural element with the talented and passionate winemakers that call this area home and you’ve crafted a winning combination. That’s why Traverse City has earned the privilege of hosting an event of this magnitude!

More Info: (#TCRiesling15)

Contact: Dianna Stampfler, Promote Michigan
269-330-4228 |

Friday, May 1, 2015

Legendary Schuler’s Restaurant Recognizes Long-Time Patron and his “Greatest Joy in Life is Giving” Philosophy

George Petredean (l) shares a moment with Hans Schuler at Schuler's Restaurant & Pub in Marshall.

One of the treasured elements of the historic Schuler’s Restaurant & Pub in Marshall are the murals which line the walls and the eloquent sayings etched into the beams of the main dining room, both the result of Win Schuler’s insatiable interest in history.

This month, a new quote from long-time patron George Petredean, age 97, was added to this collection: “The greatest joy in life is giving.” Those who know him say that George not only expresses this saying verbally, but also in the way he lives his life on a daily basis.

“He’s always been a giver,” says son-in-law Ron DiSalvio.

Considered a philanthropist by friends, family and the community, George is a big supporter of his Homer community, giving generously to their library and the Homer Area Community Foundation. He is also a supporter of his college alma mater, Eastern Michigan University.

“I can’t help but feel grateful for all the gifts I’ve received in my life, and it’s so important to me to give back,” George says. “It is always better to give, than receive, with the joy in your heart.”

When he was a teenager, George and his family immigrated to the Detroit area from Romania. Throughout his life, the U.S. has truly been a land of opportunity for him in raising his own family and operating a successful business in the Calhoun Foundry.

“I’ve always felt grateful to be a part of this great country and the education received coming here,” he says.

George has been a loyal customer of Schuler’s, often entertaining customers prior to retiring. He was a true friend of Win Schuler, son of restaurant founder Albert Schuler.

“No matter who it was, Win would remember your name,” George recounts. “He was such a great guy and I’m thankful to have known him.”

Not only is George considered a good Schuler friend, but his children and their children have become familiar faces of the restaurant and pub as well.

“George Petredean, the ‘chairman’ I called him, was a close friend of my father’s,” says Hans Schuler. “We are honored to celebrate him next to my father on the beams of our Centennial Room. The chairman was a great mentor to many individuals and businesses in the Calhoun community. His generosity and leadership has set a great example to many.”

Founded in 1909, the iconic Schuler’s Restaurant & Pub epitomizes hospitality excellence as a family owned and operated business, now in its fourth generation. Located in downtown historic Marshall, Schuler’s is recognized as world-class Michigan destination focused on offering guests quality food and excellent service, in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Schuler’s Restaurant & Pub
115 S Eagle St.
Marshall, Michigan 49068
(269) 781-0600

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day! Hudsonville Ice Cream Announces Expanded Naturals Line

In celebration of the spring season and Earth Day, Hudsonville Ice Cream proudly announces an expanded all-natural line of flavors which will be part of their All Season portfolio. The four flavors, available in the green packaging, include Vanilla Bean, Salted Caramel, Strawberry and Chocolate Cocoa Bean.

“This new product line focuses on a clean ingredient label, using only simple and natural ingredients for a finished product that is rBST free,” says Raymond Sierengowski of Hudsonville Ice Cream. “In fact, not only is our Naturals line rBST free, but our entire line of products are and always have been rBST free. More than 20 of our products are also gluten-free.”

• Vanilla Bean: Created for those who cannot get enough of the great taste of Vanilla, this extra decadent flavor satisfies the most discerning palette. Perfect alone or for pairing with your favorite homemade pie!

• Salted Caramel: Natural ingredients in this ice cream blend harmoniously to unleash the pure salted caramel flavor that only nature can deliver. Our natural cane sugar takes salty-sweet to new heights.

• Strawberry: Natural ingredients in this traditional hand-crafted flavor are bursting with real strawberry flavors and colors.

• Chocolate Cocoa Bean: Chocolate lovers will enjoy savoring this rich, tasty flavor made with organically-processed cocoa.

“Hudsonville Ice Cream partners with family-owned and operated dairy farms of the Michigan Milk Producers Association to ensure the milk and cream used in Naturals is as fresh as possible,” Sierengowski says. “In fact, the milk we use travels less than an hour from the farm to our facility.”

This Naturals line delivers real flavors: milk, cream, cane sugar, strawberries, vanilla, organic cocoa and other real ingredients. No artificial colors or flavors of any kind are used in Naturals. Cane sugar makes Naturals sweet – not corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup. It’s as Natural as it gets!

These, and countless other Hudsonville Ice Cream flavors can be found in grocery stores and ice cream parlors in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. In addition to its “All Season” flavors, which are available year round, several “Limited Edition Flavors” are offered on a limited basis throughout the year.

Started in 1895 as a farmers’ cooperative, the Holland-based Hudsonville Creamery & Ice Cream is the largest manufacturer of branded ice cream in Michigan. For more than 80 years, this Midwest company has been producing its creamy, delicious ice cream – using many of its original flavors, while at the same time creating refreshing new recipes inspired by the Great Lakes.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Grand Traverse Distillery’s Ole George 100% Straight Rye Whiskey Wins Again!

Grand Traverse Distillery’s Ole George 100% Straight Rye Whiskey was awarded its third set of medals from the American Distilling Institute’s panel of judges at this year’s Craft Spirits Competition, held in March, in Louisville, KY.

“We are honored to again be recognized by such an esteemed organization as the American Distilling Institute,” says Grand Traverse Distillery President Kent Rabish, who also serves as Vice President of the Michigan Craft Distillers Association. “Michigan continues to garner national attention for its quality products and we’re happy to be part of the growth of this industry.”

Ole George was awarded “Silver – Best in Class “as well as “Gold – Best in Category” for a Craft Rye Whiskey. Landis Rabish, Lead Distiller, was on hand to accept the awards for the Distillery and was thrilled to have crafted such a popular and award winning Rye Whiskey.

“Ole George” Whiskey is distilled in a traditional fashion from a 100% rye mash bill and is bottled at 93 proof. Prior to prohibition, Americans drank rye whiskey – with its unique character that no other grain can provide, as the rye imparts a spicy flavor. “Ole George” Whiskey is made in small batches and is double-distilled in GTD’s copper pot still. It bottled straight from the barrel and is not chill-filtered, which can remove flavor from the whiskey. The goal with “Ole George” Whiskey is to let the unique flavor of the rye come through.

Since opening in June of 2007, GTD has prided itself as a “Grain to Bottle” craft distillery which supports the state’s active agriculture industry. It is the only distillery in Michigan to have every single Whiskey, Vodka and Gin we produce “Pure Michigan” certified.

Grand Traverse Distillery has added another accolade to its impressive award-wining portfolio with the recent “Best of Category – Gold Medal” honor in the Aged Rye Whiskey category for “Ole George”. The award was presented in early April in Colorado by the American Distilling Institute at its 7th Annual Judging of Artisan American Spirits. The Traverse City-based distillery has won awards for its various vodka brands – this is its first award in the whiskey category.

Grand Traverse Distillery operates tasting rooms throughout the state, including three in Traverse City (the original location on Industrial Circle, in The Village at Grand Traverse Commons and a new location on Front Street downtown), River Place Shops in downtown Frankenmuth, a seasonal tasting room in Leland on the Leelanau Peninsula, not far from historic Fishtown, and a new location at the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids.

For more information about Grand Traverse Distillery, log onto or find them on Facebook.

Monday, April 13, 2015

How Sweet it Is! Michigan Beers Crafted with Locally-Sourced Maple Sap & Syrup

Michigan boasts a rich agricultural heritage, and maple sugaring is the oldest—dating back to the Native American’s early history in the state.

Did you know that Michigan ranks 5th nationally for maple syrup production? Or, that it takes approximately 40 gallons of maple sap to make just one gallon of syrup? Learn more Michigan maple syrup facts here.

Michigan brewers are finding a sweet reward in crafting beers using maple sap and syrup to develop unique spring beers. Look for these beers in mid- to late-April.

Beards Brewery

Tree Blood (6.5% ABV | 28 IBUs). This is a traditional American stout brewed in an untraditional manner. All of the water is replaced with Maple sap that's fresh from the tree. As with any of our harvest beers through the season the recipe isn't adjusted from year to year, instead the conditions of the harvest make each year's batch unique. The sugar content of the sap will vary from 1-3% in the years we've done it while the mineral content of the sap can change dramatically. It gives each season's batch a special quality that represents the year for the maple tree stand. Since the sap hasn't been processed it doesn't lend the familiar maple syrup sweetness to the beer, instead it gives Tree Blood a wood barrel aged quality with subtle hints of maple and earth. ABV will vary as the sap will lend different sugars each season.

Brewery Vivant

Blandford Maple Amber (6% ABV). Made in partnership with Blandford Nature Center, this beer uses Belgian yeast and pure maple syrup made locally. Look for it sometime this spring.

Grand River Brewery

Sappy Daze Maple Belgian Dark Strong. (8% ABV). This Belgian Strong Ale is infused with Michigan maple syrup and easy drinking, with a great yeast spice character.

Northport Brewing

Waukazoo Wit (4.9% ABV | 14.9 IBUs). This spring summer seasonal is a straw-colored Belgian style wit bier. Has a low to moderate bitterness and is slightly cloudy in color, due to its traditional wheat-heavy malt bill. Finishes with spicy yeast tones and savory coriander, as well as an earthy, citrus aroma. The first 2015 batch is brewed with 100% maple sap water.

Morazan Amber (5.5% ABV | 24.5 IBUs). This crisp, malty amber ale is brewed with Leelanau maple syrup and hops. It is light to medium bodied, with a faint honey-malt sweetness.

Pyramid Point Porter (5.7% AB | 33.4 IBUs). This crisp, creamy porter is brewed with Leelanau tart cherries, maple syrup and a touch of habanero pepper. Cherries complement this ale’s toasted-malt profile; the habanero accent at the end lends just enough heat to keep you sipping.

Right Brain Brewery

North Shore Iron Works (10.5% ABV | 25 IBUs). This Barleywine, brewed with five gallons of Michigan honey AND Michigan maple syrup, is a warming brew with rich, caramel flavors. North Shore Iron Works was incredibly helpful with the renovation and opening of Right Brain's brewery expansion in 2012. We made a strong, but complex beer in their honor. It's currently available in 22oz bottles, and on tap in the brewery.

Rochester Mills Beer Co.

Michigan Maple Brown Ale (7% ABV | 20 IBUs). A full-bodied, malty Brown Ale brewed with pure maple syrup from Shepherd Bar & Restaurant in Shepherd—home of the 57th Annual Maple Syrup Festival, April 23-26. Available beginning in mid to late April.

Rockford Brewing

Ain’t Jemima (6.3% ABV | 22 IBUs). The brewers replaced 100% of their brewing water with fresh maple sap directly from locally tapped maple trees. Caramel and Munich malts help build complexity around the unique maple character. This truly seasonal drifter is the first release annually of our Permaculture Series. It’s brewed every spring as the snow melts and sap starts to flow through the Maple trees of West Michigan. No artificial maple flavor used, this is the real deal.

The Michigan Brewers Guild was formed in 1997 and held its first festival in July 1998. Today, the Guild hosts four festivals dedicated exclusively to Michigan craft beer produced by its nearly 150 member breweries.

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry conservatively contributes more than $144 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $277 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #5 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

The Guild exists to unify the community of brewers, to increase the sale of Michigan Craft Beer, to contribute culturally and economically throughout the state, and to monitor and assure a healthy brewing industry. By working collaboratively with proponents of craft beer, we strive to achieve a 10% share of all beer sold in Michigan by producing world-class events, increasing public awareness, educating consumers, and encouraging responsible consumption.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hudsonville Ice Cream Celebrates Detroit Baseball with Seasonal Release of Tiger Traxx Flavor!

Spring means the arrival of two great loves—baseball and ice cream. The latest Limited Edition flavor from Holland-based Hudsonville Ice Cream brings together these two passions with the release of Tiger Traxx—the Official Ice Cream of the Detroit Tigers.

Tiger Traxx brings a taste of the ballpark home with you. Your family will cheer for creamy vanilla ice cream, loaded with chocolate covered pretzel baseballs and a thick fudge swirl. Enjoy this Limited Edition flavor while cheering on your favorite hometown baseball team.

“Michigan loves its Detroit Tigers—and we’re certain they’ll love this seasonal flavor as well,” says Raymond Sierengowski of Hudsonville Ice Cream. “This homerun combination celebrates two of America’s all-time favorite pastimes—baseball and ice cream!”

This is the fourth season that these two Michigan organizations have teamed up. Tiger Traxx and five other flavors will be available in the “Big Cat Court” section of Comerica Park, as well in the ballpark suites, throughout the full season. Tiger Traxx will hit retail freezer cases in mid-April, through early September.

Hudsonville Ice Cream flavors can be found in grocery stores and ice cream parlors in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. In addition to its “All Season” flavors, which are available year round, several “Limited Edition Flavors” are offered throughout the year.

Started in 1895 as a farmers’ cooperative, the Holland-based Hudsonville Creamery & Ice Cream is the largest manufacturer of branded ice cream in Michigan. For more than 80 years, this Midwest company has been producing its creamy, delicious ice cream – using many of its original flavors, while at the same time creating refreshing new recipes inspired by the Great Lakes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bella Solviva to Introduce Glamping to Michigan

Northern Michigan will soon be home to its first glamping destination facility to be called Bella Solviva. The project, spearheaded by Brad and Sandy Carlson of Alden, will ultimately feature approximately 100 unique sites spread out over a 100+ acre complex, with six hotel style suites to be added in 2016.

Groundbreaking is expected on Earth Day (April 22nd) and will be partially funded using the crowd-sourcing platform called Indigogo. Monies donated may be used towards reservations for the various sites—including furnished safari tents, tree-houses, teepees, cabins, restored vintage RVs and airliner(s). With only five airliner lodging facilities in the world, Bella Solviva will be the first in the United States to offer these unique accommodations. Contributors who make their week-long reservations through the funding campaign will be able to choose which type of accommodation site they prefer, allowing the Carlson’s to better plan the types of lodgings to construct first. Funders will also be enrolled in the FoundersFIRST program – an exclusive opportunity to a lifetime of privileges including priority reservations on future promotional offers as well as other VIP perks. FoundersFIRST members will also have the chance to lock in rates for the 2015 and the 2016 seasons.

The campaign will kick off on Friday, March 27th and run for 30 days, with an expected goal of over $100,000 for this first phase. You will find the link to the campaign on as of the 27th.

Bella Solviva will be developed in several phases over the next few years. The Carlson’s expect to have around 36 sites available by the beginning of this summer - 2015, with an additional 25 expected to be complete by midsummer. The other 40 sites are will be available for the 2016 summer season. In addition to the various glamping accommodation sites, Bella Solviva will also welcome guests to bring in their own tents and equipment, while still providing the added glamping amenities the resort has to offer.

First Class projects on the horizon include a clubhouse; laundry facilities; swimming pool; tennis & multi-purpose sports courts; a natural playground; an ice skating rink in the winter; recreation hall with a variety of games, and trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. The installation of solar panels, wind turbines and hydro power and heat generators are also planned to assist in making Bella Solviva Michigan’s first 100% green and Eco-friendly resort destination.

In addition to the natural beauty Bella Solviva will provide, an array of programming and concierge amenities will be offered to guests for an added fee, including massage, catered meal services and more. Conveniences such as recycling and propane, as well as free ice, firewood and a special welcome gift featuring a s’mores kit and hot chocolate, are among the personal touches to be provided to all guests at Bella Solviva.

The Property
The anticipated 100+ acre parcel for Bella Solviva is located near the Antrim Chain of Lakes, situated on the western edge of the Jordan River Valley, in northwest Michigan. Located within three miles of Intermediate Lake, and six of beautiful Torch Lake, water recreation abounds, and the location is central to Traverse City and Harbor Springs, with short drives to a number of quaint villages such as Charlevoix, Alden and Elk Rapids.

The Bella Solviva property features handsome woodlands and cascading creeks nestled among rolling hills and gorgeous ridge-top views – perfect for a private, secluded getaway in this year-round destination. Sheltered among majestic hemlock, red pine forests and towering maples, Bella Solviva gives you plenty of room to “stretch your legs,” having only 1/8 of the density of other camping destinations. You’ll feel like you are in your own little corner of the world.

Why Bella Solviva?
Bella Solviva means Beautiful Hope. Solviva is the name of a Swedish flower that means hope or it will at last be the way we wish. The word also means sun life which is a primary goal of this venture—a sustainable, zero-footprint, solar heated and powered recreational community unlike any other in Michigan, if not the nation.

What is Glamping?
According to, “Glamping is a new word for a new kind of travel, defined as glamorous camping.” Glamping – a fusion of glamour and camping – emerged international and came across the Atlantic over the last decade. Both independent properties and global hospitality brands have capitalized on a rising demand of travelers who want to experience the positive aspects of camping without the uncomfortable negatives. Glamping pivots on a high level of service that focuses on the complete comfort of the guests. The amenities found at glamping destinations far exceed anything recreational camper’s experience. When you’re glamping, there’s no tent to pitch, no sleeping bag to unroll, no fire to build. Whether in a tent, airstream, hut, villa or tree-house, glamping is a way to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing luxury.”

About the Carlsons
Brad and Sandy Carlson have a passion for the outdoors and premium camping experiences, combined with real-world experience in a variety of companies that they have owned, making them ideally-suited to this venture.

Brad is an entrepreneurial, senior executive with over 30 years of proven leadership in business startups, team and project management. He utilizes a team oriented, process focused management style to build and retain highly motivated development, sales and support teams. Mr. Carlson is proficient in operations, development, technical application, testing, marketing and training of personnel for startups as well as established public and private sector companies.

Sandy is a seasoned leader who has led, managed, and trained teams in a variety of service related industries including education, fitness, ministry, hospitality, and private duty home care over the last 25 years. As a trainer, Sandy has been invited to speak at seminars and conferences on the topics of personal development, interpersonal relationships, teambuilding and creating viable profit centers as a strategy for short and long term growth of an organization. She is recognized for discernment and strong interpersonal skills while compassionately serving the unique needs of others. Honest transparency, a strong work ethic and integrity - doing the right thing when no one is looking - are central to what she expects from herself. As an entrepreneur, she has started and/or owned several other businesses, including an adventure-based travel venture.

Bella Solviva Facebook

Monday, March 16, 2015

Consider Yourself Lucky with these Michigan-Made Irish-Inspired Beers

You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy these fine Michigan-made, Irish-inspired craft beers – available on draft or bottle/can distribution around the state. Sláinte!

Arbor Brewing

Michael Faricy’s Irish Stout (5% ABV | 42 IBUS). This crowd-pleaser has a dark coffee-like appearance with a creamy head and smoky, roasted grain aromas. It is rich and creamy on the palate with chalky, burnt flavors balanced by lush dark chocolates and never turns too dry through the smoky finish. Full-flavored yet highly drinkable—rich and creamy without being thick or heavy.

Arcadia Ales

Brigid's Irish Red (5% ABV | 20 IBUs). The story of Brigid (pronounced "Breed") is one shrouded in mystery; equal parts pagan history and Catholic sainthood, the one thing that seems to hold true is that she embodies the fiery spirit of Ireland. Our paean to her is held within the confines of a fine Irish-style red ale, a proud exultation that is bright, bold, and smooth. Brewed with molasses for a hint of jammy dark fruit, low-medium hints of earthy hops come through, and creamy malt provides a calming backbone. A modest alcohol content keeps everything convivial, as there's plenty to toast come early spring.

Loch Down Scotch Ale (8.5% ABV | 63 IBUs). Our tribute to the Scottish Highlands, this beer offers a gorgeous garnet color joined by the aroma of ripe plums and freshly-baked biscuits. The rich, full-bodied texture reveals notes of roasted chestnuts and caramel in the smooth single-malt style brew. Balanced with just the right amount of hop character, this beer delights with crisp alcohol finish. Pairs well with roast leg of lamb, roast beef, wild game, smoked salmon, Manchego cheese and toffee pudding.

North Peak Beer

Sinuous Celtic Ale (5.5% ABV | 45 IBUs). A beer unlike any other, Sinuous joins together the subtle roast notes and malty finishes of an Irish Red with the crisp, hop forward features of a pale ale. A complex malt bill and three different kinds of hops will keep you satisfied during the crisp spring weather.

Rochester Mills Beer Co.

Rochester Red (5.9% ABV | 19 IBUs). This Irish-style red features a rich, malty flavor profile, medium body and a low level of hop. This beer pairs well with a variety of cheeses, burgers, pizza, chicken, pasta, and spicy dishes. This is a great “gateway” beer for introducing patrons to the craft beer segment

Rockford Brewing

Sheehan’s Irish Stout (5.3% ABV | 40 IBUs). This is a very smooth and creamy, yet dry, roasty Irish stout. It has the delicate aroma of fresh chocolate and roasted barley. The flavor is well-balanced with the subtle fruity characteristics of an Irish Ale yeast fermentation and rich layers of chocolate, coffee and dry roasted malts.

O’Briens Irish Red (5.6% ABV | 22 IBUs). Intended to be an easy-drinking pint, this Irish red ale is malt focused. The light to medium body is garnet in color with deep red hues. The flavor is defined by moderate caramel malt sweetness with a toasty or toffee-like quality that transitions to the light taste of roasted grain, which lends a characteristic clean, dry finish.

Cernunnos (8.5% ABV | 25 IBUs). Scotch Ales, not to be confused with the smaller “Scottish Ales”, are rich and intensely malty. This is full-bodied and a sweet, yet has a smooth clean finish from a long cool fermentation. An extended boil promotes kettle carmelization and yields a darker color, deeper malt complexity and slightly roasty character.

Shorts Brewing

Moher Stout (9.7% ABV | 30 IBUs). This is a medium-bodied Double Irish Stout with light roast malt and bitter cocoa aromas that lead into a big creamy mocha flavor. Aided by the addition of flaked oatmeal, the finish is exceptionally smooth, with only a slight dryness and moderate roasted bitterness.

Uncle Steve’s Irish Stout (4.5% ABV | 20 IBUs). Short’s version of the classic Irish Stout, complete with a dark color, soft head, and smooth full flavor typical of this lighter bodied beer. A simple grist formula provides a base of roasted malt flavors and a creamy drinkability everyone loves.

The Michigan Brewers Guild was formed in 1997 and held its first festival in July 1998. Today, the Guild hosts four festivals dedicated exclusively to Michigan craft beer produced by its nearly 150 member breweries.

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry conservatively contributes more than $144 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $277 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #5 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

The Guild exists to unify the community of brewers, to increase the sale of Michigan Craft Beer, to contribute culturally and economically throughout the state, and to monitor and assure a healthy brewing industry. By working collaboratively with proponents of craft beer, we strive to achieve a 10% share of all beer sold in Michigan by producing world-class events, increasing public awareness, educating consumers, and encouraging responsible consumption.

Beards Brewery Named Boyne Highland’s Brew-Ski Festival “People’s Choice Award” Winner for 2nd Consecutive Year

For the second year in a row, Petoskey-based Beards Brewery took home the “People’s Choice Award” from the Boyne Highlands Brew-Ski Festival, held March 14 in Harbor Springs. More than 65 breweries from Michigan and beyond served up nearly 300 different beers to over 2400 people in attendance at the 6th annual event.

Beards Brewery opened in August, 2012 by two friends—Ben Slocum and Peter Manthei—who had a common passion: beer. What began as a homebrewing partnership evolved into a small 1bbl brew house at 207 Howard Street, Suite A, in downtown Petoskey. A larger, 4,000-square-foot production brewery is scheduled to open this summer off Ferry Road in nearby Charlevoix. This new facility will allow for 15 times the capacity of the original pub location, giving the brewery enough product to handle draft demand around the state.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Hoppy Beer Lovers United in Hudsonville for Springfest – May 2

Hudsonville Fairgrounds will play host to more than 40 of West Michigan’s best, and newest breweries during the 2nd Annual Beer City Springfest, on Saturday, May 2. Gates open at Noon for VIP ticket holders (1pm to the general public), with the festival running until 6pm. This epic day will be filled with Michigan-made libations, as well as food, games and live entertainment.

Last year’s inaugural event saw more than 2000 individuals join in the festivities; this year’s capacity is set at 2500 with all proceeds benefitting local veterans.

“This year’s Springfest will once again showcase the talents of West Michigan best brewers,” says event organizer Joe Boyer. “We’ll welcome those who have achieved worldwide recognition as the best in the industry, as well as almost a dozen new breweries to the area.”

Many local brewers and producers will be on hand to describe their hand-crafted products and techniques used to create the refreshing Spring flavors. In all, some 200 beers will be available for sampling, along with local spirits, cider, wine and mead.

A variety of food options will also be available, including selections from Standard Pizza from Rockford; Low and Slow BBQ from Saginaw; and RnR from Hudsonville.

“We had so much fun last year, this is just a great way to meet some of the new brewers, try some new beers, and I still hear about how good the prime rib was last year,” Boyer says. ”Everyone is so friendly, strangers walk right up, and describe the best beer they have tried, like I’ve known them for years, many become great friends, I just love the people who come to these events.”

A VIP ticket for the Beer City Springfest gets attendees in at Noon and includes 18 sample tokens (3 ounces each). General admission ticket holders are admitted at 1pm, with 12 sample tokens. Tickets are on sale now at All attendees (including designated drivers) must be 21 with valid ID to be admitted into the festival grounds. Designated driver tickets are available at the door for $5.
Everyone who buys tickets online before April 1st is automatically entered to win a special VIP weekend that includes a deluxe suite in a local hotel, 2-personal brewery tours, hoodies and T-shirts for the event, transportation to and from the festival, and meals.

Parking at the fairgrounds is free. Shuttle transportation is available through the ticketing site for $20 per person and includes a round trip ride from 250 Seward Ave. (Dash Lot #9) on one of the New Salem party busses. Busses leave Grand Rapids at 11:30am and will leave Springfest at 4:30pm and 6:00pm.

Follow the Springfest Facebook page to get updates on VIP ticket releases and giveaways.