Friday, February 27, 2015

70th Annual Grand Rapids Boat Show Reports Impressive Crowds, Sales & Dealer Satisfaction

Organizers, attendees and exhibitors at the 70th Annual Grand Rapids Boat Show, which was held last week at DeVos Place, are all reporting positive feedback and touting the fact that Michigan boating is back! A West Michigan tradition since 1946, the Grand Rapids Boat Show is Michigan’s longest running boat show.

ShowSpan Inc., which produces the show—in addition to 14 others throughout Michigan and Milwaukee—said just under 25,000 guests came through the doors between February 18-22 to check out more than 400 boats from some 100 manufacturers and 40 dealers, spread out over a five acre indoor showroom.

“The 70th anniversary of the Grand Rapids Boat Show was spectacular…..just what the boating families needed in the midst of this arctic freeze, it was truly summertime at DeVos Place as every aspect of the boating lifestyle came to life,” says Henri Boucher, Show Producer. “The dealers and manufacturers showed the newest products for summer fun and the largest crowd of ten years came to check it all out.”

According to the Secretary of State, Michigan currently ranks 4th in nation for the number of registered watercraft, with 898,289 as of February, 2015. Michigan's registered boaters spend $873 million on trips during the relatively short boating season. Overall, recreational boating contributes about $2 billion annually to Michigan’s economy. Tourism as a whole is a $20+ billion industry in Michigan.

“The weekend traffic was fabulous and the buyers were there,” says Liz Carney, President of Grand Bay Marine in Traverse City and Charlevoix, who this year featured the Queen of the Show—a 42-foot Regal Sport Coupe. “We were thrilled with the interest and actual sales. It’s going to be a fabulous year!”

The National Marine Manufacturer’s Association says that in 2013, the latest data year available, Michigan ranked #4 in total new marine expenditures (new boats, engines, trailers, and marine accessories) with $678 million. This was an increase of 5% over 2012. There are approximately 1,404 boating businesses that create about 16,670 direct boating industry jobs in Michigan.

“We are thrilled to have exhibited in a show where everyone who stopped by to see our boats was excited and looking forward to the upcoming boating season,” says Rick Venner of Walstrom Marine in Harbor Springs. “Not once did I hear anyone talking about the poor economy, fuel prices or politics, instead the atmosphere was positive. Michigan boating is back!”

In addition to the variety of boats, the Grand Rapids Boat Show also featured accessories, services, destinations, educational opportunities and various entertainment elements throughout the weekend.

“We have been involved with the show since 2013, and it is obvious that it has grown each year by adding more exhibits to both the business of boating and to appeal to a family atmosphere,” says Elek Hutchinson, Commodore of the Michigan Hydroplane Racing Association. “I have not seen so many kids at a boat show as I did this year—it was wonderful! It's nice to know that groups such as ShowSpan are promoting to the youth of America, a necessity to grow an ever-evolving industry.”

ShowSpan Inc., held its first show in 1946 and today hosts 14 the state’s largest and most recognized consumer shows in Grand Rapids, East Lansing, Novi and Milwaukee.

“In a few weeks, the 70th annual partner to the Boat Show—the Ultimate Sport Show-Grand Rapids—comes to DeVos Place (March 19-22), featuring more summer fun for all outdoorsmen and women,” Boucher says. “People will find everything from fishing and hunting to taxidermy and morels. And, for the 70th anniversary, the Lumberjacks are back!”

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Five Michigan Distilleries Receive Collective 16 Awards at American Craft Spirits Association 2nd Annual American Spirits Competition

Five Michigan distilleries were honored with 16 individual awards last week at the 2nd Annual American Spirits Competition, presented by the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA)—a not- for-profit trade association dedicated to protecting and promoting American craft spirits.

According to the Michigan Craft Distillers Association, New Holland Artisan Spirits received “Best of Class” in the Gin category for its Barrel Aged Knickerbocker.

Other awards included:


The ACSA reports that 329 entries were submitted from more than 200 craft dispirit distillers from across the country in six main categories: Whiskey, Brandy, Rum, Gin, Liqueurs, Distilled Spirits Specialty (DSS), and Vodka. Almost half (155) of all the spirits entered were whiskeys.

“We’re seeing more whiskies than ever,” states Ted Huber, ACSA vice president and Judging Committee co-chair. “They are literally and figuratively ‘coming out of the woodwork,’ as these spirits have now been aging for up to four years and are ready to be appreciated. It’s a clear sign of the maturing of our craft industry.”

The Michigan Craft Distillers Association was formed in 2014 as a non-profit organization charged with marketing the individual member businesses, their products and events, but also help bring a voice for the industry when it comes to legislative issues that affect the overall beverage industry.

*These distilleries are current members of the Michigan Craft Distillers Association

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ten Years and Growing Strong! A Look Back at the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival


The Michigan Brewers Guild held its first Winter Beer Festival in Old Town Lansing on February 25, 2006 in Old Town Lansing, on Turner Street at Grand River. That first year, 40 breweries poured approximately 160 beers to 1200 thirsty Michigan craft beer drinkers.

This week, the Guild will celebrate its 10th Annual Winter Beer Festival where a record 103 breweries will pour 1035 beers to an expected crowd (over two days) of more than 10,000. The festival will be held Friday, February 27 and Saturday, February 28 at Fifth Third Ballpark, just north of downtown Grand Rapids. The impressive list of breweries and beers can be viewed here.

Earlier last summer, the Guild announced the expansion of its wildly popular Winter Beer Festival to a two-day event to accommodate growing demand for tickets. Tickets went on sale on December 4 and Saturday’s sold out in record time—6500 tickets sold in less than a half-hour. The growth in the festivals is on par with the growth of the craft beer industry in Michigan.

Here’s a look back at the last 10 years of the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival:


Tickets for this year’s Friday’s session, which will run from 3-7pm (2pm entry for Enthusiast Members), remain available for $45 each at MiBeer.com. Overall, 1000 fewer tickets are available for Friday meaning slightly smaller crowds and shorter lines. Friday will also feature special beer releases and tappings, a live ice carving demonstration by The Ice Guru Randy Finch, sideshow acts and street performers, musical entertainment and fireworks (weather permitting).

If the Friday session does not sell out prior to the event, tickets will be available at the gate for $50 the day of. There will NOT be tickets at the gate on Saturday.

The musical entertainment schedule for this year’s festival includes:

Friday, February 27

2:00-3:00 DJ Snax
3:00-4:30 The Concussions
3:30 Live Demo – The Ice Guru Randy Finch
4:30-5:30 DJ Snax
5:00 Welcome and firkin tapping
5:30-7:00 The Concussions
7:00-7:30 DJ Snax

Saturday, February 28

12:00-1:00 DJ Snax
1:00-3:00 The Moxie Strings
3:00-4:00 DJ Snax
3:30 Welcome and firkin tapping
4:00-6:00 Rick Chyme
6:00-6:30 DJ Snax

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 more than 150 member breweries. 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. Michigan ranks #5 in the nation for the number of craft breweries – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State”.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

103 Breweries & 1035 Beers Make 10th Annual Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival BIGGER and BETTER than Ever Before!

A record 103 breweries and 1035 beers will be featured at the 10th Annual Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival, coming up Friday, February 27 and Saturday, February 28 at Fifth-Third Ballpark just north of downtown Grand Rapids. The impressive list of breweries and beers can be viewed here.

Tickets for Friday’s session, which will run from 3-7pm (2pm entry for Enthusiast Members), remain available for $45 each at MiBeer.com. Overall, 1000 fewer tickets are available for Friday meaning slightly smaller crowds and shorter lines. Friday will also feature special beer releases and tappings, a live ice carving demonstration by The Ice Guru Randy Finch, sideshow acts and street performers, musical entertainment and fireworks (weather permitting). If the Friday session does not sell out prior to the event, tickets will be available at the gate for $50 the day of. There will NOT be tickets at the gate on Saturday.

Earlier last summer, the Guild announced the expansion of its wildly popular Winter Beer Festival to a two-day event to accommodate growing demand for tickets. Tickets went on sale on December 4 and Saturday’s sold out in record time—6500 tickets sold in less than a half-hour.

“We are pleased to offer a second day to allow more thirsty Michigan craft beer fans an opportunity to experience this festival,” says Scott Graham, executive director of the Michigan Brewers Guild. “I don’t ever want to take for granted how enthusiastic our fans get when it comes to attending our festivals. It is both humbling and overwhelming that our festivals are so popular. It’s a testament to Michigan’s great craft brewing culture.”

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 more than 150 member breweries. 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. Michigan ranks #5 in the nation for the number of craft breweries – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State”.

Monday, February 16, 2015

New Saugatuck Restaurant Hosts Celebrity Chefs & Honors Local Morels at Spring Foraged Dinner

Morel mushrooms are the black truffle of the Midwest. They are one of Michigan’s most prized and fleeting culinary treasures. On May 5th and 6th, The Southerner, a new restaurant in Saugatuck, Michigan, will host a spring foods event with the region’s most noted foragers—Michelle and Andy Davis.

Michelle and Andy, experts in all things wild and edible, will team up with Southerner owners Katie Fris and Matthew Millar to offer a unique opportunity to eat through spring’s finest offerings, from field and forest. Millar, a two-time James Beard Award semi-finalist chef, is enlisting the help of some high profile friends to join him in the kitchen to prepare what Andy and Michelle forage.

The event begins on Tuesday, May 5th, when Andy, Michelle and the chefs will spend the day foraging for morels, ramps, violets, watercress and all manner of other wild foods in preparation for the next day’s meal. Event attendees are invited to join in the experience and learn proper foraging techniques from the Davis family and discuss with the chefs how to cook what is found.

On Wednesday, May 6th, the chefs will spend the day preparing an unparalleled seven-course feast showcasing the spring bounty, the first official meal to be served in the Southerner’s dining room. In addition to the spring edibles, the talented chefs will utilize the best produce, meats, cheeses and breads from the area’s best producers.

Local luminaries Matthew Pietsch of Salt Of The Earth and Matthew Green of Reserve Wine and Food will be joined by Joel Wabeke, chef de Cuisine of Wright & Co.—one of Detroit’s hottest new restaurants; James Rigato, head chef of The Root in White Lake and Top Chef Boston contestant; Chris Pandel, chef/owner of The Bristol, Balena, and Formento’s in Chicago; and Paul Virant, of Perennial Virant, Vistro & Vie in Chicago—a James Beard Award nominee and author of The Preservation Kitchen.

The Beervangelist, Fred Bueltmann, will assist with beer and spirits pairings, courtesy of New Holland Brewing Company.

The Southerner hopes to open to the public in early June for breakfast, lunch and dinner at 880 Holland Street in Saugatuck. As the name implies, the restaurant will focus on southern comfort foods, namely handmade fried chicken. Chef/owner Matthew Millar says it’s “a love letter to Appalachia,” where his mother’s family has roots and where his immediate family lives today.

“As a kid traveling to east Tennessee, I think I may have been even more excited by the food than the mountains,” he says. Owner Katie Fris adds that “sitting around a well-laid table, with the ones you love, is the foundation for living well.”

Tickets for this two-day culinary experience are $200 per person and space is limited to 40 people. For tickets, visit, https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-southerner/x/7807473

Like The Southerner on Facebook for for info and updates.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Celebrate a Love Affair with Michigan Beer!

Craft beer enthusiasts are passionate about Michigan brews…and February is the perfect time to fall in love with rich, chocolaty and fruity beers. As you head out with your sweetheart this year for Valentine’s Day, consider ordering up a pint of one of these deliciously romantic Michigan made libations.

51 NORTH BREWERY

Chocolate Covered Cherry (6.6% ABV | 20 IBUs). Adding tart dried cherries to the Velvet Moose chocolate oatmeal stout makes this beer that tastes like a chocolate covered cherry, and thus…the name.

ARBOR BREWING COMPANY

Espresso Love (7.5%ABV | 15 IBUs). Oatmeal and 20 pounds of fresh roasted 100% fair-trade coffee, from the nearby Ugly Mug Café Brewed, contribute to a mildly chalky espresso character balanced by a rich, sweet creamy maltiness. The coffee finish dissolves into chocolate, with a slight roasty bitterness. Pairs well with desserts, especially dark chocolate, raspberries, and cheesecake.

ARCADIA ALES

Cocoa Loco Triple Chocolate Stout
(7% ABV | 39 IBUs). This award-winning beer gets its rich flavor from Simpson Chocolate, Weyerman Chocolate and Crisp Chocolate malts. The addition of lactose lends the beer a creamy quality- not unlike a milkshake- while the Blackstrap Molasses adds rich, burnt, syrupy flavors. Flavors of baker’s chocolate and espresso dominate, while rich malty flavors and a subtle kiss of hops add nice balance, making this a truly one-of-a-kind BIG beer.

ATWATER BREWING

Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale
(5.2% ABV | 11 IBU). Holding true to the Northern English tradition, this beer has at its foundation a nutty profile with a round mouthfeel. Added is a chocolate extract consisting of three blended chocolates of varied depth. The result is a rich, but not overtly sweet, experience for both the beer and the chocolate enthusiast.

BELL’S BREWERY

Smitten Golden Rye Ale
(6.0% ABV | 42 IBUs). This spring seasonal offers rustic flavors from rye malt combined with citrusy, resinous hop aroma from Pacific Northwest varieties to create a crisp, refreshing take on the classic pale ale.

BREWERY TERRA FIRMA

Ancho Chili Dutch Double Chocolate Porter
(5.5% ABV). There's a special magic that happens between chilis and chocolate that was discovered by early foodies in ancient Latin America and never forgotten. This beer honors their innovation and showcases the beauty between chocolate and the perfect balance of chili flavor and warmth. Chocolate malt and Dutch chocolate add richness and body while whole Ancho Chilis add depth, warmth and complexity to this unique beer. Savor some with sweet desserts but don't be afraid to break it out for the firecracker shrimp either.

FORT STREET BREWERY

The Honeymoon is Over
(7% ABV | 30 IBUs). The honeymoon may be over, but the party is just getting started. Help Fort Street celebrate its 10th birthday this weekend with special tapings and releases. This wheat stout is made with 71% wheat, including roasted wheat, plus honey malt and actual honey and Michigan-grown Chinnok hops making it a creamy, chocolaty delight that will set your heart aflutter.

FOUNDERS BREWING COMPANY

Founders Porter
(6.5% ABV | 45 IBUs). Described as “Dark, Rich and Sexy,” this beer pours silk black with a creamy tan head. The nose is sweet with a strong chocolate and caramel malt presence and no absence of hops gives this beer the full flavor you deserve and expect…it’s cozy like velvet. This 2010 World Beer Cup silver medalist is described as “a lover, not a fighter.”

HARMONY BREWING

Aphrodisiale
(7.2% ABV | 29.2 IBUs). This honey chocolate porter is brewed with honey and cocoa nibs, making it the perfect Valentine’s date beer!

JOLLY PUMPKIN

iO Saison
(6.8% ABV). Part of the Baudelaire series, this beer will capture the hearts of art and artisan beer lovers alike. Drawn in by the historic elegance of the label design and then held tight by the rapture of flavors, it will be released in limited quantities. iO Saison is brewed in a lovely fashion, with rose hips, rose petals and hibiscus. Yet, don’t be easily deceived by her looks, for like love – she can be oh so dangerous. Available in late February.

LIBERTY STREET BREWING COMPANY

Steamy Windows
(4.7% ABV). This "steam" style beer is made with a lager yeast and fermented at ale temperatures and then aged at lager temperatures for a smooth, clean finish. Very much like a pale ale, this California Common is fermented with a lager yeast to create a crisp taste with fruity notes.

Chocolate Covered Chery (7% ABV | 22 IBUs). A blend of two of our most popular flavors with the chocolate character of our Liberty One Porter, blended heavily with our Cherry Cider, making this a dessert like drink.

Red Velvet (5.4% ABV | 32 IBUs). This is a smooth ale that has a beautiful red rose color with the aroma and flavor of chocolate, named after the classic rich cake.

MOUNTAIN TOWN STATION

Doctor Love
(8% ABV | 18 IBUs). This imperial red ale with ale brewed with eight different invigorating herbs and a touch of flavor hops

Love Potion #7 (7.5% ABV | 32 IBUs). This double chocolate stout is brewed with four different invigorating herbs, to get the blood flowing

Chocolate Cherry Porter (5.2% ABV | 28 IBUs). This full-bodied porter is brewed with cocoa nibs and Ludington Black Cherries.

Sacred Gruit (5.8% ABV | 4 IBUs). The flagship gruit brewed with 3 different herbs that stimulate the mind, create euphoria and enhance sexual drive. For a little added fun, try the Peach Fruit, with peace juice added.

NEW HOLLAND BREWING COMPANY

The Poet
(5.2% ABV | 37 IBUs). This is a romantic offering for Valentine’s Day. This beer reveals a rich, smooth malt character enveloped in tones of roast and chocolate. A soft mouth-feel brings luxurious flavors and a soothing aroma. The Poet is as versatile as it is delicious – the perfect accent to any chocolate dessert.

NORTH PEAK BEER

Dubious Black Chocolate Stout
(5.3% ABV | 50 IBUs). Sporting its “giant man-eating beaver” icon, this beer pays homage to Northern Michigan’s Beaver Island. This beer has the perfect combination of chocolate with roast and black malts, resulting in a smooth and rich beer. Judicious use of hops brings out a complex, yet subtle bittering, finished off with a big Goldings nose. This swirl of aroma, flavor and body is underscored by the rich, dark chocolate that is added at the end of the boil.

REDWOOD LODGE

Chocolate, Cherry, Vanilla Porter
(5.5% ABV | 28 IBUs). Organic cocoa nibs, dried Michigan tart cherries and bourbon-soaked vanilla beans are added to the traditional Brown Porter, for this sweet Valentine’s beer. Available in Cask Ale only.

RIGHT BRAIN BREWERY

Lips Like Sugar
(9.8% ABV). This Belgian Tripple is made with 300 pounds of Michigan sugar beets, boiled down to three gallons of syrup. What results is a caramel color beer, with a hint of sweetness. Available in the tap room only.

ROCHESTER MILLS BEER CO

Milkshake Stout
(5.3% ABV | 20 IBUs). The combination of four different malts, along with a low hop level creates a deep dark beer featuring rich, roasted, malt flavors. The addition of lactose (milk sugar) adds complexity, body, and a residual sweetness lending a smooth creamy texture to this full-flavored brew. Once a seasonal offering in the pub, now prominently featured due to popular demand.

Paint Creek Porter (6.0% ABV | 21 IBUs). This pub-only offering is a robust beer that features a rich, velvety chocolate malt flavor that will compliment any chocolate dessert.

ROCKFORD BREWING

Hoplust IPA
(7.1% ABV | 70 IBUs). A profoundly hoppy hand-crafted American IPA!! An intense bouquet of fresh hops will greet you on the nose followed by the bursting tropical, citrus and piney flavors on your palette. Our approach to this IPA is to focus more toward satisfying the craving for hop flavor than bitterness. We use a proprietary blend of 6 different American grown hop varieties for a unique hoppy flavor experience – it is Valentine’s Dayesque!

THE LIVERY

St. Valentine's Day Massacre
(6% ABV | 40 IBUs). This sour Belgian dark wit is aged on blood oranges, giving off a citrus aroma with hints of peppercorn. Considered a wild/sour ale, the flavor comes from orange juice and orange peel, with peppercorn and spice, balanced by bread notes and a sour finish.


Of course, there are countless other beers to LOVE…and the best is the one in your hand. Hopefully, that’s locally-crafted here in Michigan!

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.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Coppercraft Distillery Introduces Copper Tulip Cocktail Made with Locally Sourced, Milled and Crafted Spirit—Genever

In anticipation of the upcoming Tulip Time Festival (May 2-9), Holland-based Coppercraft Distillery has introduced the Copper Tulip—a cocktail featuring Genever, a new spirit made locally to celebrate the region’s rich Dutch heritage. The cocktail was unveiled Thursday evening at the First Bloom Poster Release Party for the 2015 Tulip Time Festival, held at Evergreen Commons.

The Copper Tulip features Coppercraft’s Genever; a traditional Dutch spirit that features juniper, however it has more grain/malt flavors that are not commonly associate with gin. It also delivers more botanical and floral notes than juniper-forward gins.

“I was able to taste our Genever last weekend and spent all day refining the Copper Tulip cocktail,” says Jenney Grant, General Manager at Coppercraft. “I am really excited to share this spirit and cocktail with our community”.

“The grain selected by Coppercraft for Genever is a locally grown white winter wheat,” according to Walter Catton, owner and distiller of Coppercraft Distillery. To make the product even more localized, those grains were then milled at the De Zwaan Windmill on Windmill Island. This year marks the 50th year that the 254-year-old DeZwaan Windmill has called Holland its home.

De Zwaan’s name is Dutch for The Swan or Graceful Bird. First was erected in Krommenie, Netherlands in 1761, DeZwaan made its way to Michigan aboard the Prins Willem van Oranje in October, 1964.

It took approximately 6 months to reconstruct the 125-foot windmill, which is located on Windmill Island, a 36-acre site on the eastern end of Lake Macatawa. Formally dedicated in April 1965, the mill and the island welcome some 55,000 tourists each year.

It is the only authentic, working Dutch windmill in the United States. When winds are favorable (15 to 20 miles per hour from the west), De Zwaan's 80-foot diameter blades are usually in motion. Throughout its seven-month season, the mill works to produce stone-ground whole wheat flour, from grains sourced locally, which is available for purchase.

Genever will be released in bottle format through Coppercraft’s tasting room, and the Copper Tulip will be served throughout Holland during the 86th annual Tulip Time Festival starting May 2nd. “We are excited and honored to partner with Windmill Island and Tulip Time to share the results with many of the Holland area restaurants serving the Copper Tulip cocktail during the festival,” says Catton.

Coppercraft will also be releasing a short video that documents the process of creating Genever and the Copper Tulip. This video will be released during the festival as well.

“It doesn’t get any more Holland than this,” Grant says.

About Coppercraft Distillery

With simple ingredients grown by local farmers, Coppercraft Distillery creates a full line of distilled spirits that celebrates the harvest, as well as a shared passion for hard work, exceptional quality, and genuine relationships. Coppercraft Distillery is proud to present the community with a premium experience from grain-to-glass. Founded in 2012, Coppercraft Distillery joins the ranks of more than 30 other licensed companies in Michigan, a state that ranks sixth in the nation for distilleries. Industry experts estimate that the growing market for handcrafted spirits could add $400 million to the state economy in 2014. Coppercraft Distillery products are distributed by General Wine and Spirits in Michigan and are also available in the Chicago and Colorado markets.




Coppercraft Distillery is a proud member of the Michigan Craft Distillers Association.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Flavors to LOVE from Hudsonville Ice Cream


Scoop up a dish for two with these Limited Edition flavors released this month from Michigan-based Hudsonville Ice Cream—available just in time for Valentine’s Day!

• French Silk — Bringing back a long lost favorite, you’re sure to fall in love with this chocolate mousse ice cream laden with dark chocolate flakes. It’s smooth, rich and creamy—and perfect for sharing!

• Chocolate Craving — Can’t stop thinking about chocolate? Then, this is the ice cream for you! We start with our Original Chocolate ice cream and add rich swirls of butter fudge, then top it off with chocolate brownies and milk fudge truffles. Yeah, it’s chocolate and so much more!

Of course, favorites like Winter Campfire, Chicago Caramel Popcorn and Toasted Coconut can still be found, in limited quantities, alongside Hudsonville’s vast array of year-round flavors to satisfy any appetite.

“We’re passionate about what we do here to create mouthwatering flavors that are rich and desirable,” says Ray Sierengowski of Hudsonville Ice Cream. “We love these chocolaty flavors and hope you, and your special someone, will too.”

These, and countless other 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 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.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Traverse Tall Ship Manitou Offers Weekly Microbrew Tasting Sails & Announces 4-Day Michigan Craft Brew Cruise


In recent years Michigan has made a name for itself as one of the premier craft brew states in the country. What better way to partake of these fine beverages than from the deck of a beautiful vessel resting in a peaceful harbor—aboard the Tall Ship Manitou in Traverse City.

On Sunday evenings, late June through Labor Day weekend, you’re invited to sample local beers paired with fresh, hot pizza during the Microbrew Tasting Cruise. Each Sunday will feature on a local brewery—including Short’s Brewing Company, Brewery Terra Firma, Rare Bird Brewery, and Petoskey Brewing. Tickets: $57 per person. Space is limited to 58 and advanced reservations are recommended.

New this year is a 4-Day Michigan Craft Brew Cruise, September 24-28. Chef and craft beer aficionado Amy Sherman will serve as host and guide for enjoying tastes with hors d'oeuvres, followed by specifically-designed food pairings with dinner.

After graduating from Aquinas College, Amy Sherman found her true calling in the kitchen. A 20-year restaurant veteran, she’s held every job possible, from ravioli runner, prep chef, book keeper, waitress, to manager, sous chef and pastry chef. She has taught cooking classes throughout West Michigan, runs a catering company called Two Chicks and an Oven, and with her husband runs the local food company, Farmlink. As the host of the Great American Brew Trail, Amy drank her way across Michigan, one pint at a time. She currently hosts a podcast called “Behind the Mitten” with MLive’s John Gonzalez, and leads culinary adventures here in the states and Europe. Her main job, however, is being mom to three ruffians in Grand Rapids.

Tickets for the 4-Day Michigan Craft Brew Cruise are $769 per person and include all accommodations, meals and beverage samplings. Space is limited to 22 individuals in 11-double-bunk cabins.

As one of the largest sailing ships on the Great Lakes, the Manitou is a replica of an 1800s “coasting” cargo schooner. A traditional two-masted, gaff rigged, topsail schooner, Manitou measures 114 feet in length with more than 3000 square feet of sail.

There is plenty of space for sitting and moving around the decks while under sail. While aboard the Manitou, passengers are free to leave the sailing to the experienced crew or lend a hand and learn the arts of the sailor. An excursion aboard the Manitou allows you to remove yourself from the trappings of modern life: no TV, phone (cell phones are discouraged), internet, email and definitely, no itinerary.

To make reservations for any of the 2015 Manitou sailing adventures, call toll free 800-678-0383, ext. 2 or order tickets online. Gift certificates are also available. For additional information about the Manitou, including its corporate charters, log on to www.TallShipSailing.com.

Traverse Tall Ship Company is located at 13258 S.W. Bay Shore Drive (M22) in Traverse City and shares a dock with the fleet from the Maritime Heritage Alliance, creating a unique nautical experience for the area.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Michigan Holiday Beers: A Merry Christmas to All, And to All A Good Night!


The holiday season is upon us – and with that comes hand-crafted beers made right here in Michigan. Whether pairing with your meal, warming up after a day in the snow or giving as a gift for someone special on your holiday list, these Christmas brews make the perfect selection.

Arbor Brewing, Ann Arbor

Figjam (11.7% ABV | 35 IBU). Nothing gets you in the holiday spirit quite like this Figjam Quadruple Belgian, with its warming alcohol, figgy undertones, dark dried fruit flavors of raison dates, hints of fresh baked bread, and a beautiful dry finish that leaves you wanting more.

Atwater Brewery, Detroit

Christmas Ale. Like trimming the tree, this beer should be part of every holiday tradition. Imported malts roll richly together to deliver a gift of raisin, caramel and honey flavors. A dash of spice brings forth almond and gingerbread aromas while leaving a clean, bright finish. Forget the cookies, leave this Christmas Ale out for Santa.

Bad Bear Brewing, Albion

Who's Driving the Sleigh?!? (6.5% ABV). A fa-la-la-la-lovely Porter brewed in classic holiday tradition with egg nog spices, real Dutch chocolate and peppermint candy canes. This rich, dark, wintertime offering is sure to leave you feeling all warm and toasty inside!

Beards Brewery, Petoskey

No Ragrets (Not even one letter) (6.4% ABV). An English brown ale spiced with fresh ginger, orange peel, cardamom, clove, and cinnamon. No Ragrets is reminiscent of all of the best Christmas cookies—gingersnap, spice cookie and molasses.

Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo

Christmas Ale (5.5% ABV | 33 IBU). The basic inspiration for this brew was to create a sessionable holiday beer, using locally-grown malt, which would stand apart from the array of spiced winter warmers that are typically introduced this time of year. In contrast to many other seasonals, Christmas Ale doesn't contain any spices: all of the dry, toasted notes and subtle toffee flavors come from the 100% Michigan-grown barley, custom malted by Briess Malting, while a blend of hops from Michigan and the Pacific Northwest lend earthy, herbal aromas. This seasonal stands as a smooth, highly drinkable beer intended to complement holiday menus, not overshadow them.

Dark Horse Brewing, Marshall

4 Elf (9% ABV). This spiced winter warmer is brewed with nutmeg, clove, allspice and other holiday flavors.

Dragonmead Microbrewery, Warren

Jul Ol Norwegian Spiced Christmas Ale (5.8% ABV | 26 IBU). This dark, malted beer is available exclusively at Christmas time. In the Norway beer classification this beer is considered a Sterkøl, a beer over 4.75%, so when you enjoy this Christmas beer, think back to some of those that came before it and go 'full Viking' and make your tradition!”

Frankenmuth Brewery, Frankenmuth

Christmas Town Ale (6% ABV | 27 IBU). Toasted dark malts and American hops combine with holiday flavors to create a taste and aroma that is unmistakably Christmas. The hops are delicately balanced with the sweetness of the malts in this medium-bodied brown ale brewed with just the right amount of winter spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to deliver a treat to your nose as it is does to your palate. Christmas Town Ale stands alone as a smooth and flavorful tribute to the town of Frankenmuth and the magic of the season.

Griffin Claw, Birmingham

3 Scrooges Winter Ale (6.5% ABV). Brewed with honey, orange peel and spices, this winter ale is perfect for the season.

Grizzly Peak, Ann Arbor

White Christmas White Ale (7.7% ABV | 30 IBU). ‘Wit’ is a Belgian style wheat beer. Wit actually means white — the milky whitish color coming from the large percentage of wheat used in the mash and fermentation by a special type of brewing yeast. Wits are also traditionally spiced with orange peel and coriander. This version is stronger (minus the coriander) and it has a bit more hop character (American Cascades) for this Hellish holiday season. It starts with a rich spicy and yeasty aroma, followed by a crisp and light citrus hop flavor, with a warming alcohol finish. Available in limited quantities at the pub.

Harmony Brewing, Grand Rapids

Gingerbread Man (6.8% | ABV 37.7 IBU) Using ginger root, nutmeg and cinnamon stick help to celebrate the season with the tradition expected from a gingerbread cookie. A holiday treat in a glass!

Jolly Pumpkin, Dexter / Ann Arbor / Traverse City

Noel de Calabaza (9% ABV | 45 IBU). Deep mahogany and malty, layered hops and hints of fruit and spice like figs, raisins, sugar plums, cashews betwixt rum laden truffles make this the perfect accompaniment for all kinds of good cheer!

Jubilance (7% ABV | 40 IBU). A collaborative brew made with locally-produced Press on Juice and local Crystal and Zeus hops. The specialty grains lend a candied sugar presence, while giving the beer a burgundy color that is sharpened by the color of the cranberry, orange, apple and ginger juices. The blend of barley, wheat and rye are complimented with ginger juice, while the fermented fructose from cranberry gives it a tart, boozy finish. Available exclusively in the Old Mission Peninsula-Traverse City tasting room.

Mountain Town Station, Mount Pleasant

Polar Express (8% ABV | 34 IBU). All aboard! This rich, full bodied stout is brewed with cocoa nibs and fresh-ground locally-roasted coffee from Narrativality Artisan Coffee Roasters.

North Peak Beer, Dexter / Ann Arbor / Traverse City

Blitzen Festivus Ale (6.8% ABV | 55 IBU). The raisin, currant and berry notes are attributed to Bramling Cross hops, three types of crystal malts, cara and chocolate malt, which rounds out the flavors and aromas, with a hint of burnt sugar and chocolate. A combination of citrus peel and citrus pith flavors are accented by Hercules, Cascade and Pilgrim hops added throughout the boil. The subtle spiciness of Riwaka’s hops, combined with the crisp spiciness from rye malt, presents liberated flavors, reminiscent of savory holiday cakes.

Rockford Brewing, Rockford

Big Jack Horner Style: Plum English Barleywine (11.2% ABV | 60 IBU). The richest and strongest of the English Ales, yet not as hop focused as the American versions. Historically English Barleywines were brewed for the winter or holiday season. A showcase of malty richness and complex, intense flavors balanced with higher levels of alcohol. This variation is brewed with fresh Michigan plums grown by the Meachum family at High Acres Fruit Farm in Hartford, which add a soft fruitiness to the background and help round out the flavor profile.

Schmohz Brewery, Grand Rapids

Miracle Off 28th Street (9.2% ABV | 28 IBU). Miracle is a paradigm of the finest malts and complex hop blends to build the superlative winter ale for mature tastes. Brewed as an Olde Ale, exhibiting the seasoned character of the brew house staff. Enjoy Miracle with family and friends, in front of hearth and home.

The Filling Station, Traverse City

Bristol Old Ale (10.5% ABV). UK Maris Otter, Rye, Special B, Black and German pilsner malts blend with UK Fuggles and Goldings hops and raw cane sugar to create this dark, rich beer with a bit of roast, with a sweet finish. Aging for over a year now, this will get your Yule log burning!

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 140-plus member breweries.

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.

Michigan ranks #5 in the nation for the number of craft breweries – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State”.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Give the Gift of Michigan Beer & Brewery Swag

Chances are you have a craft beer lover (or two) on your holiday shopping list. This year, give the gift of Michigan beer, while also supporting locally-owned businesses and the state’s overall agricultural industry.

Stop in your local microbrewery or brewpub and pick up a growler, four- or six-pack of a seasonal brew and build your own gift basket with a selection of brewery swag like stickers, buttons, t-shirts, home décor, bottle openers, gift cards and other unique stocking stuffers. A membership in the pub’s “mug club” would also be a nice offering.

Many retail outlets around the state also feature Michigan-made brews, including 12-bottle variety packs or build-your-own-six-pack options which provide a more personal touch to your gift giving.

Shop online at MiBeer.com for a variety of logoed items from the Michigan Brewers Guild. You’ll find everything from apparel, backpacks, tote bags, drinkware, eyewear, flags, license plates, beach balls, bottle openers, patches, pins, stickers, tin tackers, umbrellas and more.

Michigan Brewers Guild Enthusiast Memberships also make great gifts, providing a year of benefits like pre-sale dates for the four official festivals and one hour early admission to each, dollar-off pint options at participating breweries, special brewery tours and an official Enthusiast t-shirt — all for just $45.

A handful of books dedicated to Michigan beer can also be found to enhance a gift pack, including the Beervangelist's Guide to the Galaxy: A Philosophy of Food & Drink by New Holland Brewing Company’s Beervangelist Fred Bueltmann; Art in Fermented Form: A Manifesto by New Holland Brewing Company’s Brett VanderKamp; Ann Arbor Beer: A Hoppy History of Tree Town Brewing by David Bardallis; and Michigan’s Best Beer Guide by Kevin Revolinski.

For video fans, DVDs of the inaugural season of the Great American Brew Trail featuring Amy Sherman as well as The Michigan Beer Film from Rhino Media are also great gifts.

At Meijer, look for a 2015 calendar focused on a dozen Michigan breweries. Or, head over to the Pure Michigan store for one of their logoed 15-ounce beer mugs.

Consider a gift certificate to Saugatuck Brewing for their popular “Brew Your Own Beer” program (perfect for family gatherings). Or, indulge with one of the “Brew & Renew” spa packages available at the JW Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids.

About the Michigan Brewers Guild
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 140 member breweries. 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. Michigan ranks #5 in the nation for the number of craft breweries – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State”.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

MiWinter Beer Fest Tickets Sell at Record Pace

Saturday Tickets SOLD OUT!
Friday Tickets Remain Available at MiBeer.com

Saturday tickets for the 10th Annual Michigan Winter Beer Festival, held the end of February at Fifth-Third Ballpark north of downtown Grand Rapids have sold out in record time, once again. Tickets went on sale at 10am today (Thursday, December 4) and were sold out in less than a half-hour.

“We are pleased that we have added the second day to this popular event,” says Scott Graham, executive director of the Michigan Brewers Guild.

Earlier this summer, the Guild announced the expansion of its wildly popular Winter Beer Festival to a two-day event to accommodate growing demand for tickets. The Friday session will be held from 3-7pm. Tickets for Friday remain available, at $45 each, at MiBeer.com.

“I don’t ever want to take for granted how enthusiastic our fans get when it comes to attending our festivals,” Graham says. “It is both humbling and overwhelming that our festivals are so popular. It’s a testament to Michigan’s great craft brewing culture.”

Earlier this week, Enthusiast Members were offered a pre-sale period to purchase 1 ticket per person, per festival day, as a benefit of membership. Enthusiast membership also allows individuals the opportunity to one-hour early admission to all festivals, among other benefits.

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 140 member breweries. 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. Michigan ranks #5 in the nation for the number of craft breweries – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State”.