Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Celebrate Summer’s Last Hurray at a Michigan Campground

Campsites still available for Labor Day Weekend at private facilities throughout Michigan

An estimated 1.2 million Michiganians will travel during the 2010 Labor Day holiday, according to a recent AAA survey. Among the top five most popular driving destinations in Michigan: Traverse City, Mackinaw City, Petoskey, Frankenmuth and Munising.

Most Michigan travelers – an estimated 98 percent – will go by vehicle to enjoy “summer’s last hurrah,” with campgrounds and resort areas among the popular destinations. This year’s Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, Sept. 2 to Monday, Sept. 6.

Whether attending a specific holiday weekend event or enjoying the woods and waters that the Great Lakes State is known for, Michigan campers will find a variety of site options – from rustic to luxury full service set-ups – throughout the state. There are plenty of camp sites – for tenters, RVers and cabin-dwellers – available at private campgrounds from New Buffalo to Metro Detroit to the Straits of Mackinac and throughout the Upper Peninsula for the upcoming holiday weekend. The Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) – Michigan has compiled a list of those campgrounds with availability for the holiday weekend; the list below and is posted online at www.MichCampgrounds.com.

ARVC represents 200+ member campgrounds with more than 32,000 sites available throughout the state. Whether pitching a tent, parking an RV or reserving a rustic or modern cabin, Michigan campgrounds offer a great way to disconnect from busy lives and reconnect with families. Campers in Michigan enjoy the great outdoors while fishing or canoeing on the countless lakes, rivers and streams or hiking, biking and riding on the miles of trails that wind throughout the state. There’s definitely no shortage of activities, no matter where the campground is located.

The 2010 Michigan Campground Directory, published by ARVC – Michigan, is now available at various locations statewide, including all Welcome Centers. A PDF version is also available for viewing online at www.MichCampgrounds.com. The directory not only lists campgrounds by region, but also includes helpful information on the type of sites available, various amenities such as restroom, laundry and dumping station facilities; recreational offerings such as pools and golf courses; and seasons of operation. Campgrounds that now offer wireless internet access onsite are also identified.

Campgrounds reporting availability for the upcoming holiday weekend include:

Ann's Putman Lake RV Park & Campground, Baldwin
231-745-2621 | www.putmanlake.com
Beaver Trail Campground, West Branch
989-345-7745 | www.beavertrailcampground.com
Big Cedar Campground, Germfask
906-586-6684 | www.bigcedarcampground.com
Cadillac Woods Campground, Cadillac
231-825-2012 | www.cadillacwoodscampground.com
Cedarville RV Park, Cedarville
906-484-3351 | www.cedarvillervpark.com
Clementz’s Northcountry Campground, Newberry
906-293-8562 | www.northcountrycampground.com
Crystal Lake Campground, Ludington
231-757-4510 | www.crystallakecamping.com
Drew’s Country Camping, Holland
616-399-1886 | www.drewscountrycamping.com
Dumont Lake Campground, Allegan
269-673-6065 | www.dumontlake.com
East Branch River RV Park, Tawas City
989-362-8000 | www.Eastbranchriverrvpark.org
Gaylord KOA, Gaylord
800-562-4146 | www.gaylordkoa.com
Grand Rogue Campground, Grand Rapids
616-361-1053 | www.michcampgrounds.com/grandrogue
Grayling Jellystone Park, Grayling
989-348-2157 | www.graylingjellystone.com
Hearthside Grove Luxury Motocoach Resort, Petoskey
231-347-0905 | www.HearthsideGrove.com
Indian River RV Resort & Campground, Indian River
888-792-2267 | www.indianrivercampground.com
Kampvilla RV Park, Bear Lake
800-968-0027 | www.kampvilla.com
Lake George Campground, Lake George
989-588-4075 | www.lakegeorgecamp.com
Leisure Time Campground, Irons
800-266-8214 | www.LeisureTimeCampground.com
Lighthouse Family Camping Resort, Mecosta
231-972-2112 | www.lighthousefamilycampingresort.com
Lucky Lake Campground, Rothbury
231-893-9608 | www.LuckyLakeCampground.com
Moscow Maples RV Park, Moscow
517-688-9853 | www.moscowmaples.com
Northland Outfitters, Germfask
906-586-9801 | www.northoutfitters.com
Petoskey KOA RV & Kabin Resort, Petoskey
231-347-0005 | www.PetoskeyKOA.com
Pickerel Lakeside Campground, Baldwin
800-464-1468 | www.LakeCamp-Cottages.com
River View Campground, Sterling
989-654-2447 | www.riverviewcampground.com
Rogers Resort, Jones
269-476-2655 | www.rogersresortinc.com
Sequoia Campground, Adrian
517-264-5531 | www.sequoiacamping.com
Snow Lake Kampground, Fenwick
989-248-3224 | www.snowlakekampground.com
Stony Haven Campground, New Era
231-861-5201 | www.campingfriend.com/stonyhavencampground
Timber Ridge RV Resort, Traverse City
231-947-2770 | www.timberridgeresort.net
Timber Trails RV Resort, Decatur
269-423-7311 | www.michcampgrounds.com/timbertrails
Traverse Bay RV Resort, Traverse City
231-938-5800 | www.traversebayrv.com
Welcome Woods Campground, Hastings
269-945-2803 | www.welcomewoods.com
Wooded Acres Family Campground Houghton Lake
989-422-6031 | www.woodedacrescampground.net

Type and date(s) of site availability vary by property. This is not an all-inclusive list. This list includes campgrounds that responded back to a survey indicating availability, as of August 30, 2010. Availability subject to change. Reservations are required.

ARVC Michigan’s mission is to lead in the development of the RV Parks and Campground industry through education, communication and representation. ARVC Michigan is a member of the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds.

Updated August 30, 2010


Northern United Brewing Company Adds “Bonafide Wine” Collection to its Extensive Beverage Portfolio

Northern United Brewing Company in Traverse City is serving up something new with the recent release of its “Bonafide Wine” collection -- crafted primarily with grapes grown on the Old Mission Peninsula.

Most of the grapes for the line are grown either in the nearby estate vineyards of Peninsula Cellars or the 3-acre Bonafide Vineyard – one of many properties in the area developed by peninsula natives and childhood friends Jon Carlson and Greg Lobdell. Their desire to collaborate with like-minded, passionate and talented people led them to build a partnership with another Old Mission Peninsula childhood friend and classmate – local grower and Peninsula Cellars winemaker, John Kroupa. Although the men have been friends since the ripe age of 7, it has been over the past three years that they have cultivated their relationships to produce the award-winning Bonafide brand.

“One of the things that drew us to John as our winemaker is his reputation and tradition as a grower – a farmer – on the peninsula,” says Carlson. “He knows the intimate features of the land here – the curves of its hills, the make-up of its soil, the cool breezes that blow in off the bay and the heat that the summer sun delivers – and he uses that knowledge and his passion for what he does to create these amazing varietals of wine that are absolutely delicious.”


• Peninsula Red: A blend of Cabernet Franc, Lemberger, Baco Noir and Marchel Foch, the medium body wine boasts fruit flavors like black current, blackberry and blueberry, with a hint of beef jerky.

• Cabernet Franc Rose’: Like a glass full of strawberries, blended with raspberries and a hint of watermelon, one might also detect an edginess of spicy herbaceous flavor reminiscent of rhubarb-custard pie.


• Chardonnay: This unoaked wine boasts sweet spices, with hints of cinnamon and ripe green apple in the background with the crisp finish of ripe pear. The lack of oak exaggerates the fruit components to really showcase the grape. **Bronze Medalist – Michigan Wine & Spirits Competition 2010.

• Peninsula White: A blend of Cayuga, Riesling and Pinot Blanc bring out the light tropical fruit tones of this semi-dry wine. One will detect peaches, apricot, lemon curd, orange, pear and grapefruit and a hint of candy (think green sweet tarts).

• Pinto Grigio: With hints of lime and citrus flavors, this wine is clean and crisp. The lingering finish of lime and light minerality make this an enjoyable four-season wine. **Silver Medalist – Michigan Wine & Spirits Competition 2010.

• Dry Riesling: Opening up with light tropicals and a background of floral notes, this wine expresses itself with hints of apricot and pineapple, without the sweetness. **Bronze Medalist – Michigan Wine & Spirits Competition 2010.

• Gewürztraminer: Classic rose petals and white pepper spice carry through on the palate of this youthful and lively wine. A light sweetness rounds out the mouthfeel.

• Late Harvest Riesling: Like tropical fruit candy, with a spicy edge similar to a ripe mango, this wine is like a summer sweet fruit salad in a glass.

Keeping things local – whether it be produce or people – is a personal value that these men all share. Their focus on conservation and sustainability supports a growing trend in farm to table philosophy.

“Peninsula Cellars uses more labor-intensive practices than many farms,” Lobdell says. “All their grapes are harvested by hand, whereas other farms use mechanical harvesters to shake the grapes off the vine. This causes trauma to the fruit and increases waste, as many more grapes fall to the ground. They also use people, instead of pollutant-producing machines to take care of pulling or hoeing weeds and minimize chemical use in their vineyards and gardens, thus reducing the farm’s overall impact on the environment.”

Kroupa holds a horticulture degree from Michigan State University and in late 2006 took on an ownership stake in Peninsula Cellars – which was founded by his parents, Dave and Joan Kroupa. The family also produces about 1.5 million pounds of cherries annually, at its Old Mission Peninsula farms.

Lobdell and Carlson have been working together on various development and design projects since 1995. Their focus has been to repurpose historic buildings around the state of Michigan, recycling them for a second chance at life. Their projects are almost exclusively centered around the culinary industry – and their portfolio includes restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries in Traverse City, Ann Arbor and Royal Oak. In all aspects of their operations, they’re dedicated to maintaining a sense of local pride and partnerships with regional producers who are driven by the same business philosophies.

Northern United Brewing Company encompasses the North Peak, Grizzly Peak and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales craft beer brands; the Bonafide Wines collection; and the soon-to-be-released Civilized Spirits line. NUBC’s philosophy focuses on a dedication to conservation, inspiration and locally sustainable practices. All of the beers, wines and spirits under these brands are produced at either the new 5600-square-foot facility on Old Mission Peninsula adjacent to Mission Table (former Bowers Harbor Inn) restaurant or at the original Jolly Pumpkin facility in Dexter.

Find NUBC products at stores, restaurants, and bars all throughout Michigan, including: North Peak Brewing Company, Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, Blue Tractor Restaurant and Bar, all in Traverse City; and Jolly Pumpkin and Grizzly Peak, Blue Tractor BBQ and Brewery, in Ann Arbor. Bastone, Blue Tractor Brewery and BBQ.

Salt of the Earth Celebrates Excellent 1st Year

It has been just over a year since Salt of the Earth – a rustic American eatery -- started serving its unique and locally-flavored cuisine in downtown Fennville. And what a year it’s been! Tucked away in the heart of Southwest Michigan’s growing agricultural region, Salt of the Earth has quickly gained a reputation as one of the hottest restaurants in the region.

“We’ve seen a very large number of guests this summer,” says Mark Schrock, co-owner of Salt of the Earth. “Our sales projections for June and July were each exceeded by almost 40 percent. About half of that summer business is attributed to the tourists – many from the Chicago area who have vacation homes in the area or others who may be staying at the area bed-and-breakfasts in tourist towns who make the drive to dine with us.” He adds, ‘We also have a very strong local following.”

The average diner at Salt of the Earth travels about 25 miles for the experience, with Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo residents making up about 15% of the business. Groups range from two to 20, with an increasing number of large groups coming in for special events and family gatherings.

Under the direction of Executive Chef Matthew Pietsch (protégé of ‘Iron Chef’ Michael Symon) and Chef de Cuisine Jesse Hahn, Salt of the Earth delivers a seasonal menu of house-made entrees, shared plates, wood-fired oven pizzas, pastas, sandwiches and creative desserts – using fresh ingredients, sourced locally whenever possible.

The bakery café features pastries, artisan breads, coffee and espresso drinks, lunch offerings and free wi-fi for their guests. The bar is stocked with all the standards, as well as an impressive selection of Michigan wines, craft beers and spirits.

A widely popular “Michigan Wine & Beer Dinner Series” was held during the winter months, giving locals and regulars a family-style culinary experience like no other. In all, four Michigan wineries and four Michigan breweries were featured which helped bring in many guests to the restaurant for the first, but likely not the last, time. The series will be held again this winter, January through April.

“There’s a growing interest in the farm-to-table concept,” says Pietsch, who takes pride in the number of regional growers and producers who provide him with the freshest ingredients. “More and more guests are seeking to dine and drink local product, even going as far to choose these types of restaurants over others. That just reinforces our philosophy here at Salt of the Earth.”

Featuring an attractive warm and homey décor, paired with a chic and modern menu, Salt of the Earth is also a popular venue for local and regional musical artists, with live music every Friday evening. House concerts are held on selected Sunday evenings as well.

“Special events like the first annual Fennville Art Jam and our summer concert series “Tuesday’s in the Park” help to draw people to the area and through our doors,” Schrock says. “We also see visitors who have been to nearby Fenn Valley Winery and Crane Orchards, who are looking to add our culinary experience to their visit. Families visiting the Children’s Museum of Fennville are also finding us and enjoying our kid’s menu”

Salt of the Earth is open year-round, currently seven days a week – from 7am to 9pm, Sunday thru Thursday and 7am to 11pm, Friday and Saturday. Hours may be seasonally adjusted. The restaurant is located at 114 E. Main Street in downtown Fennville, just 10 miles from Saugatuck, 50 miles from Grand Rapids and 140 miles from Chicago.

Salt of the Earth114 East Main Street
Fennville MI 49408
269.561.SALT (7258)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Talented Young Cast Arrives in Grand Rapids for Filming of “Playback”

An impressive young cast of actors has arrived in Grand Rapids for the filming of “Playback” – a thriller written and directed by Michael A. Nickles and produced by John M. Bennett and Lawrence Robbins for Bennett-Robbins Productions LLC. Filming begins on Tuesday, August 31 and will run through the end of September.

Playback follows a group of high school students who dig into their town’s infamous past and unwittingly unlock an Evil that corrupts and destroys them. Possessing its victims through video playback and using them for malevolent purposes, evil closes in on one specific soul – threatening to expose the town’s deepest, darkest secret.

The primary cast for Playback includes (in alphabetical order):

• Ambyr Childers (Riley)
Credits include the latest Joel Schumacher film, Twelve, nearly 140 episodes as Colby Chandler on “All My Children” between 2006-2009, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003) and Carolina (2003). In addition to Playback, Ambyr had three other films in pre- and post-production.

• Dorien Davies (Mrs. Milton)
Credits include This is Not a Film (2003), Lucky (2002) and Trysting (2001). In addition to Replay, Dorien has 1 film – Bunyan and Babe – in production to be released in 2011.

• Toby Hemingway (Quinn)
Credits include the upcoming Darren Aronofsky film, Black Swan with Natalie Portman (2010), CSI: Miami (2008), Feast of Love (2007), The Covenant (2006) and Bones (2005). In addition to Playback, Toby has two other movies in pre- and post-production.

• Jonathan Keltz (Nate)
Credits include 10 episodes of the award-winning Entourage (2009-2010) as Jake Steinberg, Disney’s 2011 release for PROM, as well as appearances on CSI Miami (2010), Heartland (2009), House of Pain (2008), Cold Case (2007) and four episodes as Nate on Degrassi: The Next Generation (2004).

• Jennifer Missoni (Dee Dee)
Credits include 2 episodes of Royal Pains (2009-2010), Medium (2009), Melrose Place (2009), Army Wives (2009), Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2007-2009) and Law & Order (2007).

• Daryl "Chill" Mitchell (Wylie)
Credits include 13 episodes as ‘Chill’ Trainor on the Fox network series Brothers (2009), Spike Lee’s Inside Man, the Suite Life of Zack and Cody (2007), 39 episodes as Eli Goggins on Ed (2002-2004) and 64 episodes as Leo Michaels on Veronica’s Closet (1997-2000), as well as appearances on Desperate Housewives (2010), Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2004) and Fresh Prince of Bellaire (1994) and the House Party films.

• Johnny Pacar (Julian) ** Born in Dearborn, Michigan (June 6, 1981)**
Credits include 15 episodes as Damon Young on Make It or Break It (2009-2010), 30 episodes as Jackson on Flight 29 Down (2005-2010), Ghost Whisperer (2009), Wild Child (2008), Medium (2005), George Lopez (2004) and 7 episodes as Jimmy Fancis on American Dreams (2003-2004).

• Alessandra Torresani (Brianna)
Credits include 17 episodes as Zoe Graystone in Caprica (2009-2011), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2009), Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008), Bones (2007), Grounded for Life (2004), Arrested Development (2004) and Malcolm in the Middle (2001).

In addition to the credited cast above, over 100 locals will serve as extras on the project, with over 15 locals hired for crew.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Explore Leelanau in Fall During The Homestead’s Autumn Wine Tour Weekend

Celebrate the fall color show during an elegant weekend exploring the vineyards and wineries of Leelanau Peninsula with The Homestead – America’s Freshwater Resort. This year’s annual Autumn in the Vineyards weekend is set for October 29-31.

Located within a half hour’s drive of more than a dozen vineyards and winery tasting rooms, The Homestead has become Northwest Michigan’s premier wine country destination, working closely with the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association (LPVA) to offer seasonal wine tours and dinners.

This season’s tour includes visits to four of Leelanau county’s finest wineries – Circa Estate Winery, 45 North, Bel Lago and Chateau Fontaine. Brunch will be served at The Homestead on Saturday morning, prior to leaving for the tour, which departs at approximately noon and returns at approximately 4 pm. Then, guests will gather at The Homestead at 6pm for a decadent five-course winemaker dinner prepared by Executive Chef John Piombo.

Weekend packages for Autumn in the Vineyards, including two nights’ lodging, wine tour with transportation, Saturday brunch, winemaker dinner and Sunday breakfast, as well as welcome gift basket including a logo wine key, is $531 per couple, based on double occupancy (plus applicable tariff/taxes).

The Homestead is Northern Michigan’s largest waterfront resort community, located in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – a unit of the National Park Service. Along with its unmatched natural setting and miles of frontage on Lake Michigan and the Crystal River, the resort offers guest pools, tennis and golf in the summer; downhill and cross country skiing in the winter; and shops, restaurants, meeting centers and the luxurious new Spa Amira throughout all four seasons.

For more information, visit www.thehomesteadresort.com or call 231.334.5100. Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thehomesteadmi.

Monday, August 23, 2010

St. Julian’s Simply Pink Awarded “Rose of the Year” Honors at Indy International Wine Competition

St. Julian Winery’s Simply Pink was recently named “Rose of the Year” at the Indy International Wine Competition, held in early August in West Lafayette, IN. More than 50 judges from throughout the United States, Europe and Canada, gathered on the campus of Purdue University to taste, analyze and score wines from 12 countries and 39 US states in what is touted as the largest scientifically organized and independent wine competition in the United States.

Served slightly chilled to deliver an explosion of summer fruit and berry aromas, like strawberries and apple blossoms, with tropical fruit and Red Haven peach flavors touched by honeyed sweetness, Simply Pink is a refreshing wine that pairs well with grilled foods and lighter fares. Made with a blend of Chambourcin, Foch, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc grapes, Simply Pink is a semi-dry blush wine, perfect for sipping on the patio on a warm summer evening or next to the fire on a cold winter night.

Without a doubt, Simply Pink is the most personal wine that St. Julian President David Braganini has ever released. Simply Pink is dedicated to the memory of Julia Meconi Braganini (1926-1971) – daughter of Mariano Meconi, the founding father of what is now St. Julian Winery. Shortly after WWII, Julia met Apollo Braganini, a veteran of the Army Air Force. They married in 1947 and eventually had five children, including David – who has been running the day-to-day operations at St. Julian since 1978.

“It is with a glass in my hand and a tear in my eye that I toast to our new Simply Pink table wine to the memory of my mother, Julia,” says St. Julian President, David Braganini. “Mom fought the good fight for a number of years before finally succumbing to breast cancer at the much too young age of 45.”

Since it was introduced to the market last summer, St. Julian has produced 6000 cases of the award-winning Simply Pink wine. With every bottle sold, a donation is made to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

“We are so happy to report that sales of Simply Pink have exceeded our expectations,” says Angela Braganini, St. Julian Director of Public Relations and granddaughter of Julia Meconi Braganini. “It gives us great pride to make ongoing contributions to the Foundation so that someday soon we may rid the earth of this dreaded disease which took my grandmother’s life.”

The family-owned St. Julian winery, Michigan’s oldest and longest-operating winery, was founded in 1921. It is one of 12 wineries to make up the Lake Michigan Shore Appellation – a designated American Viticultural Area (AVA) and is part of the Southwest Michigan Wine Trail. In 2011, St. Julian will proudly celebrate its 90th Anniversary.

Simply Pink (12% alcohol | pH: 3.17 | acid: 9.0 g/L | residual sugar: 2.2%)

St. Julian Wine Company
National Breast Cancer Foundation

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Dozen Reasons to Fall for Autumn in Pure Michigan's Harbor Country

The eight communities of Harbor Country – Michiana, Grand Beach, New Buffalo, Three Oaks, Union Pier, Lakeside, Harbert and Sawyer – welcome you to tour their backroads in search of fall colors this autumn season. Among the favorite activities:

1. Get lost in a corn maze at Dinges Farm in Three Oaks.

2. Pick the perfect pumpkin at Grower’s Choice in Sawyer.

3. Take a luxury limo tour with Fruitful Vines and sample the new vintages at one of the area wineries.

4. Sample the local harvest for breakfast or lunch at Retro Café in New Buffalo.

5. Take home a memory at Season’s Harvest in Harbert.

6. Play a late-season round of golf at Whittaker Woods in New Buffalo.

7. Feel the leaves under your feet hiking the trails at Warren Dunes or Warren Woods.

8. Pedal along the area’s Backroad Bikeway routes or join in the Apple Cider Century ride on Sept 26.

9. Take to Lake Michigan for a surfing lesson with Third Coast Surf Shop.

10.Paddle along the Galien River with Outpost Sports.

11.Discover the treasures of Harbor Country along the West Michigan Pike historic route, US-12 Heritage Trail, Red Arrow Highway or Lake Michigan Circle.

12.Take a brisk stroll along the beach, then watch the sunset over Lake Michigan from your cozy room at Sandpiper Inn in Union Pier.

Or, perhaps you'd prefer to plan your visit around one of the great autumn festivals or events being planned throughout Harbor Country...including:

Sept 16: THIRD SATURDAY GALLERY WALK (Also Oct 16 & Nov 20)

For even more autumn travel ideas, log on to www.VisitHarborCountry.org.

No matter which autumn activity appeals to you, the quaint bed-and-breakfasts, historic inns and variety of hotels in Harbor Country can offer a lodging package to suit your needs.

The Harbor Country Convention & Visitors Bureau was established in 1990 as the Harbor Country Lodging Association, in accordance with the state of Michigan’s Community Convention or Tourism Marketing Act 59 of 1984.

The mission of the organization is “to promote its members and the assessment district as a major destination for tourism and conventions in southwest Michigan.” The assessment district encompasses the Townships of New Buffalo, Three Oaks, and Chikaming, the city of New Buffalo, the Village of Three Oaks and the Village of Michiana, Michigan.


3rd Annual Great Lakes Cider & Perry Festival Planned for Sept 11-12 at Uncle John’s Cider Mill

The Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association has announced its 3rd Annual Great Lakes Cider & Perry Festival, September 11-12, at Uncle John’s Cider Mill at 8614 N US 127, St. Johns – just north of Lansing.

Throughout the weekend, samples of the finest fermented cider and perry (cider made from pears) from the states and provinces that border the Great Lakes will be available for tasting. Food vendors will sell sweet and savory selections. Activities such as sweet cider pressing, nature walks and the kids’ playground, will be open for family fun at Uncle John’s all weekend long as well.

The festival runs from 11am to 6pm on Saturday, with cider and perry tastings throughout the day at a cost of $10 per person, which includes a souvenir glass for the first 250 people, and 10 tasting tickets.

The second day of the event will include workshops open only to the alcohol beverage trade. Restaurateurs, retail sellers, distributors, media, chefs, sommeliers & cicerones are invited to sample hard cider & perry available to the Michigan market. Sunday events will include food pairings from Wrought Iron Grill in Owosso & artisanal cheese pairings from Hill’s Cheese Shops.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.michiganvine.com/blog/tickets.

All profit proceeds from the festival benefit the Great Lake Cider & Perry Association (est. 2008). Find them online at www.GreatLakesCider.com.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

North Peak Brewing Company’s Vicious American Wheat IPA Upgrades to Year-Round Production

Vicious – an American Wheat IPA – will become North Peak Brewing Company’s fourth year-round brew, crafted on the Old Mission Peninsula just north of Traverse City. Beginning in August, Vicious will be available n six-pack retro-style stubbie at retail outlets statewide (complementing Siren, Diabolical, Majestic and the summer seasonal Archangel). It will also remain available on tap at restaurants and bars around Michigan.

The frothy head, and pungent, piney dryhopped scent (from Cascade and Amarillo hops) of Vicious alerts you to this brew’s imminent attack on your senses. Next, Cascade, Perle and Willamette hops batter your palette with bitter ferocity. Finally, Pale, Crystal (30 and 75) and wheat malts converge in a cloudy, thick body, delivering a smooth kiss of sweet death that leaves you howling for more.

Master Brewer Mike Hall describes this American original simply as “hops unmuzzled!”

The Cascade hops used in Vicious are grown about two miles away, through the Old Mission Hop Exchange – Michigan’s first full-scale hop farm and processing facility. Situated on 10 prime acres in the heart of Northwest Michigan’s fruit and wine-grape region, the hops are matured on a high trellis system, harvested, dried and pelletized, before being sourced to North Peak.

Vicious, like all of the North Peak beer icons, is born out of Northern Lore,” says Greg Lobdell, who – along with Jon Carlson, Ron Jeffries and Mike Hall, are the managing partners of Northern United Brewing Company. “Many people from Northern Michigan have reported ‘Dogman’ sightings over the years and shown evidence of ‘Dogman’ encounters. This beer has a ferocious hop nose and body and became a perfect fit for the Vicious name and ‘Dogman’ Icon. (For the complete history on the ‘Dogman’ lore, visit www.michigan-dogman.com).

The North Peak is part of Northern United Brewing Co., which also encompasses the Grizzly Peak and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales craft beer brands, as well as the soon-to-be-released Civilized line of spirits. NUBC’s philosophy focuses on a dedication to conservation, inspiration and locally sustainable practices. All of the beers and spirits under these brands are produced at either the new 5600-square-foot facility on Old Mission Peninsula adjacent to Mission Table (former Bowers Harbor Inn) restaurant or at the original Jolly Pumpkin facility in Dexter.

Find NUBC 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.

Northern United Brewing Company
Jolly Pumpkin Brewery | Mission Table at Bowers Harbor Inn
13512 Peninsula Drive
Traverse City, MI 49686
(231) 223-4222

North Peak, Grizzly Peak and Jolly Pumpkin are all proud members of the Michigan Brewers Guild (www.MichiganBrewersGuild.org).

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

TC's National Writer Series Hosts "An Evening with Food Network's Mario Batali" (Aug 14)

The Traverse City National Writers Series will host Food Network star and award-winning chef Mario Batali on the Historic Front Lawn of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons on August 14 for a spectacular outdoor celebration of food, chefs and restaurants, beer and wine, music and the local culinary culture.

Batali, the zealous and stylish star of Food Network programs including Molto Mario and Ciao America, has become one of the most recognizable chefs in America. With a restaurant empire, several cookbooks, a line of food products, and ubiquitous appearances on television and in print, it is hard to discuss current culinary trends in the U.S. without citing the name of Mario Batali.

The author has published acclaimed cookbooks including “Simple Italian Food,” “Mario Batali Holiday Food,” “The Babbo Cookbook” and “Molto Italiano - 327 Simple Italian Recipes.” Batali was named Man of the Year in the chef category by GQ magazine in 1999, won the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: New York City award in 2002 and was award Outstanding Chef of the Year by the James Beard Foundation in 2005. The famous orange-clogged chef splits his time with his family between New York City (where he owns and operates several Italian hotspots) and Michigan.

On August 14, Batali returns to his beloved summer community in Northern Michigan to participate in “An Evening with Mario Batali,” scheduled for 5-10 p.m. The event will feature dishes inspired by recipes in Batali’s cookbooks and prepared by chefs representing The Cook’s House and Epicure Catering, as well as world-famous mixologist Bridget Albert (who will create a signature Traverse City cocktail exclusively for the event), renowned magician and MC Billy Harris (of "Magic, Martinis and Mario" fame), and a live interview and interactive audience Q&A with Batali. The evening will close with music and dancing.

Guest host Paul Saginaw, co-owner and founding partner of Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, will interview Batali on stage at the event and facilitate the audience Q&A. Called “the coolest small company in America” by Inc. magazine, Zingerman’s expanded from a single deli started by Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig in 1982 to a multi-business conglomerate centered on a unique operational model of strong commitment to community, great food and service, and a passion for entrepreneurship and people.

Tickets for "An Evening with Mario Batali" are on sale now at www.nationalwritersseries.org and www.porterhouseproductions.com. Tickets range from $35-$100 and include two full plates of Batali food entrees (10 recipes total), cash bar, gelato station, live entertainment, an interactive audience Q&A with Batali and access to all event activities. Signed copies of Batali’s cookbooks will be available for purchase at the event.

Net proceeds from TCNWS events, including “An Evening with Mario Batali,” support the National Writers Series and its scholarship fund, which benefits college-bound writing and arts students attending Grand Traverse regional schools. Scholarship winners will have their works published in the Midwest’s best literary review, The Dunes Review, and receive their awards at a special multi-day gala reading event, also featuring nationally prominent writers. The program is currently accepting scholarship applications from junior and senior high school students through July 28.

The National Writers Series, founded by New York Times best-selling author Doug Stanton, Traverse City attorney Grant Parsons and Northern Express writer Anne Stanton, is a year-round book festival in downtown Traverse City, Michigan. The Series is dedicated to bringing to life great conversations with America's most celebrated writers. Past guests include legendary news anchor Tom Brokaw (“The Greatest Generation”), NYT best-selling author Mary Karr (“Lit”) and acclaimed memoirist Rhoda Janzen (“Mennonite in a Little Black Dress”).

For more information, visit www.nationalwritersseries.org.


Monday, August 2, 2010

The Livery - Benton Harbor Celebrates its 5th Anniversary with Hand-Forged MicroBrews & Pinetop Perkins

Festivities Planned for Friday, August 20 & Saturday, August 21

In celebration of its 5th Anniversary, The Livery in Benton Harbor is hosting a gathering August 20-21, focused on hand-forged microbrews, a summer-style picnic and plenty of musical pickin’s for all to enjoy.

The festivities kick off on Friday, August 20 at 8pm with Pinetop Perkins & Willie “Big Eyes” Smith playing throughout the night. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 the day of the show and may be purchased online at www.liverybrew.com, by calling 800-594-8499 or at the brewery itself (cash only).

The fun continues on Saturday, August 21 when a “no cover” gathering will be held from Noon to 6pm, with a summer-style picnic featuring local fruits & veggies, beer brats, burgers and more; “old school” vinyl music with DJ DannyBoy (the brewer at The Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti) and beer samplings include six barrel aged brews and the release of the “Anniversary Ale” – an Imperial Black IPA.

This “Anniversary Ale” will debut at the Great Taste of the Midwest in Madison, Wisconsin on August 14 and will then be available at the anniversary party in Benton Harbor. It will be well worth the wait! In February, Brewmaster Steve Berthel and fellow brewers Jared Williamson from New Albanian Brewing Co. in New Albany, Indiana and Josh Davies from Arcadia Ales in Battle Creek, Michigan got together on Steve’s birthday weekend to brew a batch for the 5th anniversary celebration – an incredible Imperial Black IPA, with about 11.5% abv and well over 125 IBUs.

One hundred years ago, the building known as the Palace Livery at 190 5th Street in Benton Harbor provided a vital service making it a gathering place for residents and travelers to Southwest Michigan. Five years ago, the former horse stable and carriage shop was been brought back to life as "The Livery" – one of Michigan's most exciting and unique microbreweries, featuring a diverse selection of beer styles, ciders and wines, an outdoor beer garden and a Cafe. All of the "Hand Forged Microbrews" are painstakingly created by brewmaster Steve Berthel on a 10 bbl. brewing system of his own design. Music and other live entertainment are regularly featured in The Upper Livery entertainment venue.

About Pinetop Perkins:
Pinetop Perkins is one of the last great Mississippi blues men still performing. He began playing blues around 1927 and is widely regarded as one of the best blues pianists. He’s created a style of playing that has influenced three generations of piano players and will continue to be the yardstick by which great blues pianists are measured.

Born Willie Perkins, in Belzoni, MS, in 1913, Pinetop started out playing guitar and piano at house parties and honky-tonks but dropped the guitar in the 1940s after sustaining a serious injury in his left arm. Perkins worked primarily in the Mississippi Delta throughout the thirties and forties, spending three years with Sonny Boy Williamson on the King Biscuit Time radio show on KFFA, Helena, Arkansas. Pinetop also toured extensively with slide guitar player Robert Nighthawk and backed him on an early Chess session. After briefly working with B.B. King in Memphis, Perkins barnstormed the South with Earl Hooker during the early fifties. The pair completed a session for Sam Phillips’ famous Sun Records in 1953. It was at this session that he recorded his version of Pinetop Smith’s Boogie Woogie.

Still, with recent successes the exception, Pinetop is best known for holding down the piano chair in the great Muddy Waters Band for twelve years during the highest point of Muddy’s career. Replacing the late, great Otis Spann in 1969, Pinetop helped shape the Waters sound and anchored Muddy’s memorable combo throughout the seventies with his brilliant piano solos. In 1980, Pinetop and other Waters alumni decided to go out on their own and formed the Legendary Blues Band. Legendary recorded two records for Rounder and toured extensively.

Pinetop, who had been labeled a sideman throughout most of his career, eventually left Legendary to concentrate on a solo career. Within two years, he had his first domestic record as a frontman and had a most impressive touring schedule. Since going solo, Pinetop has been featured on many nationally syndicated news and music shows, and appeared in numerous movie productions, as well as television and radio ads. He has also headlined nearly every major showcase room in North America and most of the major festivals around the world.

It’s certainly ironic that Pinetop waited for his eighth decade to blossom as a headliner releasing 15 solo records in 15 years beginning in 1992. Born In the Delta (a multimedia enhanced CD), his Telarc debut, documented an amazing historical figure and had an abundance of entertainment value for a contemporary audience. On his 1998 release, Legends, Pinetop collaborated with master blues guitarist Hubert Sumlin. Together, they blended the traditional delta blues sound with modern electric blues rock, showcasing the spirit and energy of the music. Both CDs were nominated for Grammy’s –in 1997 and 2000 respectively. This was followed by a 2005 Grammy nomination for Ladies Man released by MC Records.

In 2005 he was also presented with a lifetime achievement award at the Grammy’s. In 2000 he received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts. He has been featured in the documentary Piano Blues directed by Clint Eastwood for the Martin Scorsese PBS series, The Blues. In addition, he continued to win the Blues Music Award for best blues piano every year until 2003 when he was retired from that award, which now bears his name--the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year.

Perkins will perform at The Livery with vocalist/harmonica player Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. Smith was also a member of Muddy Water's band and appears on all of the band's Grammy Award winning albums.

The Livery is one of some 70 licensed craft brewing operations in the state of Michigan – most of which are proud members of the Michigan Brewers Guild (www.MichiganBrewersGuild.org).