Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tickets on Sale May 1 for 12th Annual Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival

WHO: Michigan Brewers Guild Member Breweries

WHAT: 12th Annual Summer Beer Festival – a showcase of more than 300 hand-crafted beers from over 50 statewide breweries; live music and food.

WHERE: Riverside Park – Depot Town – Ypsilanti, Michigan

WHEN: Friday, July 24 (5-9pm) & Saturday, July 25 (1-6pm)

TICKETS: $25 for Friday | $30 for Saturday (each day includes 12 drink tokens). Available starting May 1st at participating breweries, select retail outlets and online at

Must be 21 or over to attend. Rain or Shine the Festival goes on.

Designated driver tickets are available at the gate only for $5 each.

The Michigan Brewers Guild exists to unify the Michigan brewing community; to increase sales of Michigan-brewed beer through promotions, marketing, public awareness and consumer education; and to monitor and assure a healthy beer industry within the state.

For more information about the Michigan Brewers Guild or the Summer Beer Festival, log on to

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pure Michigan on Draft at French Laundry

The French Laundry Café & Market in Fenton has made a major commitment to the Great Lakes State, with the recent announcement that it will be pouring exclusively Michigan draft beer from here on out.

“The Laundry is proud to feature fresh craft beer from local Michigan micro-breweries,” says bartender Jon Foley. “We’ll regularly rotate our nine pulls…with seasonal pulls such as Whitsun – our mainstay summer beer.”

Foley says the rotating beers will span the spectrum of styles, coming from a variety of Michigan breweries including Arbor Brewing, Arcadia Ales, Atwater, Bell’s, Darkhorse, Dragonmead, Founders, Frog Island (Michigan Brewing Company), King’s, New Holland, Sherwood, Short’s and The Livery. Featured selections will be posted each week at the restaurant as well as online at

“This marks a major triumph for us as a business, especially in our solidarity with the Michigan brewing industry,” says owner Mark Hamel. “We believe Michigan makes the best beer in the country and now there’s finally going to be a place to get consistent Michigan draft in Genesse County.”

According to Hamel, the French Laundry is more than an eatery. “For me, it has always been an opportunity for me to share, one-on-one or in our classes, what I have learned, discovered and come to appreciate about amazing foods and beverages – and especially those made right here in Michigan,” he says.

The first major Michigan beer event at The Laundry will be in July, in conjunction with their Bastille Day 5k/15k run for Habitat for Humanity. July is also Michigan Craft Beer Month, as designated by the Michigan Brewers Guild.

“One of our featured activities will be a New Holland tent outside the restaurant and some high-gravity ales and cheese pairings inside,” Foley says.

Mark Hamel spent a year studying in Paris during his college career at Michigan State University. He had long planned to open a restaurant and says he wanted something with a French name, but not necessarily a French-influenced menu. He purchased a building at 125 W. Shiawassee Avenue at Adelaide in Fenton – a former laundry building – and in 1997, The French Laundry was born.

Known for its large plates of American food and an amazing beverage list, The French Laundry features several dining options and an open-air kitchen that allows guests to observe the culinary artistry that takes place on a daily basis.

Featuring a variety of bakery and deli offerings, The Laundry serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week – including a kids’ menu and a full catering menu. Classes, focused on a variety of food and beverage themes, are also offered on a regular basis.

The casual market setting features Zingerman's breads as well as fresh pastries and deserts. A second casual seating area offers high ceilings and 1950s kitchen-style vinyl-topped tables. The dining room, added nearly five years ago, includes a bar stocked with everything from boutique beers and wines and an array of single malt Scotches and Irish whiskeys.

Whether it’s any number of breakfast meals, to one of 40 different deli sandwiches or the more sophisticated entrees for dinner – such as pork tenderloin medallions, turkey meatloaf or pan-seared scallops atop pasta – guests rarely leave The Laundry hungry. What they do take home are memories of a great culinary experience and a desire to return with family and friends, for another gourmet taste.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Days Hotel Downtown Grand Rapids to Celebrate Earth Day with Hotel & Restaurant Guests

The Days Hotel Downtown Grand Rapids is taking steps to celebrate Earth Day with its staff and guests. On Earth Day – Wednesday, April 22, 2009 – each overnight guest and diner in the Pearl Street Grill will be presented with a “plantable seed” card representing a tree that will be planted in their honor, in coordination with the Arbor Day Foundation.

“We view Earth Day as a perfect opportunity to strengthen our commitment to promoting the ease of sustainability within our business and the community,” says Ellen Markel, Days Hotel General Manager. “New traditions and opportunities for involvement are important to our guests and staff members.”

Earth Day is also the kick off for the hotel’s team-wide “Adopt-a-Highway” project for 2009, which will run through October. Adopt-A-Highway is a Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) program designed to help keep the state's highway roadsides clean and attractive. The hotel is adopting both sides of a section of state highway roadside to clean up for at least a two-year period. Since 1990, Adopt-A-Highway local groups have collected over a million bags of trash. Currently 2,600 groups are participating in the program and have adopted over 5,700 miles of Michigan highways.

The Days Hotel Downtown Grand Rapids is a 175-room hotel offering single, double and suite accommodations. The property features pool, fitness center, meeting space, complimentary high-speed Internet access, and on-site Pearl Street Grill restaurant.

Friday, April 17, 2009

ASPARAGUS! (Stalking the American Life)

Asparagus! Stalking the American Life - the multiple award-winning documentary film about the “Asparagus Capital of the Nation” in Western Michigan – will be simultaneously broadcast on all Michigan PBS stations on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 8:00 PM. These stations include: WGVU-TV Grand Rapids; WFUM-TV Flint; WDCQ-TV Saginaw; WNMU-TV Marquette; WKAR-TV East Lansing; WTVS -TV Detroit; and WCMU-TV Mt. Pleasant.

The 53-minute broadcast is being sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance and The Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board. Farm Bureau Insurance is one of Michigan’s major insurers, protecting over 480,000 Michigan policyholders and nearly 70% of all Michigan farms. Known as Michigan’s Insurance Company because of its commitment to the state, the company has been serving Michigan since 1949 and has a statewide force of 450 agents. The Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board, led by Executive Director John Bakker, is a grower-sponsored organization which provides combined efforts of marketing and policy for the Michigan asparagus industry.

The award-winning documentary film by Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly tells the story of Oceana County, Michigan, whose spear-struck residents built their identity and economic survival on asparagus, but now find themselves taking on the U.S. War on Drugs, Free Trade, and the Fast Food Nation, all to save their beloved “roots”. Asparagus! Stalking the American Life journeys to the heart of Asparagus Country to discover why one little vegetable matters so much.

Asparagus! Stalking the American Life had its World Premiere at the acclaimed Full Frame Documentary Film Festival - the largest documentary film festival in the U.S. - and has been popular on the festival circuit for over two years. It garnered Best Documentary awards at the Rural Route Film Festival in New York and at the East Lansing Film Festival, as well as Audience Awards at the Newburyport Documentary Film Festival and Waterfront Film Festival.

The film also won the W. K. Kellogg Foundation Good Food Film Award at the Media That Matters Film Festival and a special finishing funds grant from P.O.V./American Documentary through New York’s Museum of Television and Radio. The film most recently played in New York City at the Food For Thought Film Festival in April and launched a series of town hall discussions on food policy, U.S. agriculture policy and local sustainability.

The DVD was released in Spring of 2008 and is available at well as several Michigan farm markets and independent restaurants and stores. The film has been traveling the country for the last two years on the “GrassRoots Film Screening Tour” reaching out to community and educational groups. The tour began with a special screening sponsored by The Food Literacy Project at Harvard University on April 29, 2008.

The documentary is a 4-year independent film project of Michigan native, director Kirsten Kelly, and her film partner Anne de Mare from New York, who worked extensively with Michigan arts, humanities and agricultural organizations from the film’s inception to its completion. Kirsten was raised on an asparagus farm in Oceana County and was a proud member of the pre-teen asparagus dance troupe “The Oceana Stalkers.”

The filmmakers were honored in December of 2008 to be chosen for the “Michigan Agricultural Communicators of The Year” award by Michigan Farm Bureau.

Thirty years ago, Oceana County, Michigan proclaimed itself the Asparagus Capital of the Nation! Hailed as “Green Gold”, asparagus was exactly what this poor rural community needed - a spring cash crop at the end of the long cold winter. Asparagus quickly became Oceana’s biggest claim to fame, with everyone from the local clown band to the dance teacher inspired by the “Super Stalk.” Then, in a twist of fate, the U.S War on Drugs ushered in a free trade agreement that threatens to take it all away.

Virtually overnight, Oceana’s asparagus farmers find themselves smack-dab in the middle of international drug policy and the turbulent global economy. They call an Emergency Asparagus Summit, pull up their bootstraps, and jump head-on into the fray. While Mrs. Asparagus advocates at Oceana’s National Asparagus Festival, the farmers leave their fields and head into a world of high-powered marketing thinktanks and Asparagus CheezePak Volcanoes-- determined to save their most prized crop. This is the story of one rural American community scrambling to keep its proud identity and source of survival against impossible odds. “Asparagus! Stalking the American Life” journeys to the heart of asparagus country to discover why one little vegetable matters so much.

PBS Broadcast Sponsors: Farm Bureau Insurance (Michigan’s Insurance Company)
The Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board
Film Production Major Sponsors: P.O.V. / American Documentary, Inc.
The Birdseye Foods Foundation
The W. K. Kellogg Foundation
The Community Foundation for Oceana County
Holland Area Arts Council
Michigan Arts Council
Rural Arts & Culture Program
of the Michigan Humanities Councl
Honee Bear Canning Company
The Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board
Peterson Farms, Inc.

Chef’s Challenge Event Welcomes Spring to Northern Michigan

The finest Chef teams from Northern & Southern Michigan will again compete in the 2nd Annual CHEF’S CHALLENGE for CHALLENGE MOUNTAIN event at Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire, April 24-26. The event celebrates Springtime Splendor Week in Michigan, highlighting Michigan’s great agricultural diversity and its growing wine and craft beer industries.

The North vs. South competition on Saturday will again feature fantastic entrée samplings by 12 chef teams, complimented by fine Michigan wine and micro-brew tastings. North & South winning teams will be chosen by the public and professional culinary judges, and face off in an “Iron Chef” competition dinner that evening.

Well-known Michigan Chef Hermann of HERMANN’S in Cadillac, and Chef Michelle Bommarito, frequent participant on Food Channel competitions, are among the judges at the Iron Chef show-down. All proceeds benefit Challenge Mountain, which provides adaptive outdoor recreational opportunities for the developmentally challenged.

With the soft economy, the Governor and First Family, as well as all legislators, are being encouraged to set an example and attend. Instead of heading south for Spring Break, they are reminded it’s a perfect time to explore Michigan’s many historical and cultural venues, as well as participate in the outstanding recreational options that surround us.

In the words of Platinum Partner Farm Bureau Insurance Director of Strategic Marketing, Jack Stucko, “We look forward to the Chef’s Challenge rapidly becoming a great Michigan event. The ’09 concepts on the table assure a broad involvement for Michigan families, students, culinary organizations, agriculture and businesses to promote Michigan and its many resources in people, ideas, performance and creativity.”

Complete details are available at, which will be updated as various seminars are finalized. Or call (231) 535-2227.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Toast the Arrival of Spring with Founders Cerise Cherry Ale

In the “Cherry Capital of the World” it’s no wonder that Founders Brewing Company produces a popular craft beer that highlights this sweet and juicy Michigan fruit. Cerise Cherry Ale, the warm weather seasonal, was released April 1 and is available through August.

“We are excited about this beer, it supports our local agriculture and blends so well with the cherries,” says Alec Mull, Founders’ Director of Operations. “Cherries and beer are a marriage made in heaven, or in our case, here at Founders.”

As much as 53 gallons of Michigan cherries are used in every batch, masterfully crafted by Founders’ Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki. The Michigan cherries are harvested throughout West Michigan in communities such as Benton Harbor, Coloma, Grand Rapids and, of course, Traverse City.

“Cherries are added during separate stages of the Cerise fermentation process,” says Kosmicki. “This creates a refreshingly tantalizing beer with intensive flavors, balanced somewhere between tart and sweet.”

More than 9,300 cases of Cerise will be sold this year in Michigan and nearly a dozen other states throughout the Midwest and along the East Coast.”

Cerise – which is defined as a “deep, vivid purplish red” color – is one of the most popular taproom beers at Founders. New to the line-up, it replaces the former fruit beer – Rubeus.

Founders Brewing Company, 235 Grandville Avenue SW in downtown Grand Rapids, is a proud member of the Michigan Brewers Guild.

Founders Brewing Company
Cerise Cherry Ale
Available on tap and in 4-packs, April – August
6.5% alc. by vol. 15 ibu’s

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

KitchenAid Bolsters Epicurean Classic - Event Relocates to St. Joseph, Michigan – August 28-30

The Great Lakes’ premiere culinary event recognized for drawing serious attention to the region’s agricultural products, artisanal foods, and local wines and beers – and for attracting noted chefs and food lovers from around the country – is making the move from Traverse City to St. Joseph, MI this year with KitchenAid as its presenting sponsor.

The 6th annual Epicurean Classic, scheduled for August 28-30 in St. Joseph, MI will include dozens of cooking demonstrations, class-style wine/beer/cheese tastings, and a series of chef-hosted dinners and receptions. Among last year’s 30 presenting chefs and cookbook authors were James Beard and IACP award winners Joyce Goldstein, Joey Altman, Matthew Kenney, Jennifer McLagan, Laura Werlin, Raghavan Iyer and Brian Smith. Other notables included Jacquy Pfeiffer, founder of Chicago’s French Pastry School; and Detroit chef Dan Yamauchi, named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs in America. This year’s lineup of presenters is expected to be announced in the weeks ahead.

“As the nation’s second most agriculturally diverse state, Michigan has so much to offer foodies,” notes Debbie O’Connor, Senior Manager of Brand Experience for KitchenAid. “This sponsorship gives KitchenAid an opportunity to showcase our region to the nation’s finest artisans and tastemakers, and will play a key part in this year’s 90th anniversary of the brand.”

The Epicurean Classic joins a number of noted culinary events sponsored by KitchenAid, including the nation’s two largest, the Food & Wine Classic at Aspen and South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Among other support, KitchenAid provides full working kitchens outfitted with its products that serve as center stage for celebrity chef demonstrations.

“Epicurean Classic devotees are KitchenAid buzz agents; they have a viral passion for cooking and enjoying great food with family and friends”, notes Mark Dressler, Epicurean Classic co-founder. “Our goal is to provide attendees with a memorable and motivating experience and to reinforce the KitchenAid brand, whose valuable tools enrich the processes of cooking and baking in kitchens all over the world.”

Event information can be found at and will be updated as details are confirmed.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

2009 Michigan Wine Magazine Now Available

The new edition of the popular Michigan Wine Country magazine is now available, kicking off “Michigan Wine Month” and marking the beginning of the 2009 touring season. It is an indispensable guide for touring Michigan’s 64 wineries.

The 2009 Michigan Wine Country magazine features 48 pages of the latest news and information on Michigan’s world-class wines and wineries—including eight new wineries—plus maps, activities and events. The magazine also offers a winemakers’ list of favorites, as well as information on newly released wines and unique tasting rooms throughout the state.

Michigan wines continue to grow in popularity, outpacing the growth of wine consumption overall. Tasting rooms also see an increasing number of visitors every year. More than 800,000 tourists will visit Michigan wineries in 2009, generating more than $10 million in wine-related tourism expenditures.

Linda Jones, executive director of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, attributes this trend to two factors.

“Wine consumers across the U.S. are embracing local foods and wines as part of a growing movement to ‘buy local’ in tough economic times,” said Jones. “And in most cases, the grapes are grown near the winery, providing winery visitors with a sense of ‘place’ that enhances the enjoyment of the wine.”

Complimentary copies of Michigan Wine Country are available at Michigan wineries, Travel Michigan Welcome Centers and wine retail stores. The publication can also be requested online at, or by contacting the council at 517-241-1207.

The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council is an 11-member panel that supports the growth of the grape and wine industry in Michigan. It is housed in the Agriculture Development Division of the Michigan Department of Agriculture, which is the official state agency charged with serving, promoting and protecting the food, agriculture and agricultural economic interests of the people of the state of Michigan.