Thursday, December 29, 2011

Salt of the Earth Announces 3rd Annual Michigan Wine & Beer Dinner Series

In what has become a wildly-popular winter/spring tradition, West Michigan’s Salt of the Earth announces its third-annual monthly Michigan Wine & Beer Dinner Series at its downtown Fennville rustic American eatery, starting on January 11 and running through June 20.

“We’re excited to continue this unique experience where we showcase the finest Michigan beverages paired with our own style of casual cuisine,” says proprietor Mark Schrock. “Winemakers and brewers are present at each event, along with a very special lineup of guest chefs from around the state. We invite you to come celebrate the best of Michigan food and beverage with us!”

The 2012 series will span six months and feature Michigan wineries and breweries exclusively. Multiple courses will be served at each event, paired with the best from each producer. Many taste selections are from wine and beer maker’s personal cellars that are not always available to the public. A “Guest Chef” will also join SotE Chef Matthew Pietsch in the kitchen to prepare the evening’s locally-infused menu.

The series kicks off on Wednesday, January 11 at 7:00PM when the SotE team – along with Chef Drew Turnipseed from Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids – will prepare its first “Wine Meets Beer” themed dinner – a double-tasting, featuring wines from nearby Fenn Valley Vineyards and beer from Grand Rapids’ Brewery Vivant. The five-course menu includes: Course 1 – Salt / Vivant Cured Meats (pork – venison – lamb – beer wort); Course 2 – Soup & Salad (peach – turnip – rye – poppyseed); Course 3 – Swedish Chef (char – potato – beef – parsnip – smoke); Course 4 – Duck, Duck, Goose (confit – roast – poach – squash); and Course 5 – Doughnuts! (sour cream – yeast leavened – cake). Cost is $65 plus tax & gratuity. Reservations are required, call 269-561-SALT (7258).

Brewery Vivant opened its doors in late 2010 under the ownership of former New Holland Brewery founder Jason Spaulding, and his wife, Kris. Their aim is to create a world-class experience through beer and food. With a bent toward Belgian styles of beer, Brewmaster Jacob Derylo is constantly experimenting with the highest quality ingredients at his disposal. Additionally, they are now distributing throughout the state with plans to service Chicago in early 2012. Although a natural in producing amazing food, Chef Drew Turnipseed attended culinary school at the Art Institute of New York City. He is a trained sommelier through the International Wine Center and holds a graduate certificate in Food and Beverage Operation from New York University. His experience ranges from the vineyards in Bordeaux, France to an adventure lodge in Alaska, to the catering company he and his wife Lauron started in Southwest Michigan. (

Fenn Valley Vineyards is a family owned and operated vineyard and winery complex established in 1973. Their goal then, as it is now, was to produce world-class wines from grapes grown along the Eastern shore of Lake Michigan. The Fenn Valley estate is a 230 acre farm located five miles from Lake Michigan just south of Holland, Michigan. Fenn Valley continues to be a progressive estate bottled winery, growing the grapes that are processed in the cellars. The vineyards are located on the top of a large sand ridge that extends inland from Lake Michigan between the Black River and the Kalamazoo River valleys – in one of four federally-recognized viticultural areas in Michigan. The vineyards are being expanded as new varieties are tried and additional plantings are made of those varieties that prove to be successful. The numerous awards and medals that Fenn Valley continues to receive for its wines attest to the fact that they are always keeping an eye on quality. (

Salt of the Earth is a rustic American eatery and bakery, tucked away in a historic building in quaint downtown Fennville – in the heart of the Southwest Michigan’s thriving agricultural region. Under the direction of Chef Matthew Pietsch (protégé of ‘Iron Chef’ Michael Symon), this full service restaurant offers a seasonal menu of made-from-scratch entrees, shared plates, wood-fired oven pizzas, pastas, sandwiches and creative desserts – using fresh ingredients, often sourced locally. Artisan bread is baked in house, served with dinner and available to take home. You’ll also find a bar stocked with an impressive selection of Michigan wines, craft beers, and spirit, alongside other domestic and international selections. Salt of the Earth is also a popular venue for local and regional musical artists, with live house concerts held weekly. Winter Hours: Dinner served Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday 5-9pm, Friday & Saturday 5-10pm. Fresh baked artisan bread is available at the restaurant during dining hours and at select local retail outlets.

What others are saying-

“ Salt of the Earth has done so much with their Michigan wine dinner series, to raise awareness of the quality revolution taking place in Michigan's wine industry, that they deserve an award – if one existed,” says Jim Lester, owner of Wyncroft Winery and a three-time series participant.

“We have always enjoyed the food at Salt of the Earth, but, the wine and beer dinners really elevate their take on local cuisine to new heights,” says Brian Cain – Grand Rapids Magazine wine columnist. “The braised brisket served at the Short’s beer dinner is the best I have ever eaten!”

“My wife and I have attended three of the dinners…great food, great wines, lots of friendly folks to meet,” says Bill Koski, manger at Rose’s on Reeds Lake and coordinator of the “Wine School” at the Gilmore Collection in Grand Rapids.

2012 SotE Michigan Wine & Beer Series Schedule

Wednesday January 11
“Wine Meets Beer”
Double tasting event with Fenn Valley Winery and Brewery Vivant and five courses.
Winemaker: Doug Welsch | Brewer: Jason Spaulding | Guest Chef: Drew Turnipseed, Brewery Vivant $65

Wednesday February 8
“Rustic Bubbles- v2”
L. Mawby/M.Lawrence
Michigan sparkling wines, with appetizers and canapés.
Winemaker: Mike Laing | Guest Chef: Jesse Hahn, Trailer Park’d & Fork in the Road restaurant $45

Wednesday March 14
“Jolly Pumpkin & North Peak Beer Dinner”

Wednesday April 18
“WOMP Wine Dinner”
Seven Old Mission wineries, seven courses!

Wednesday May 16
“Founders Beer Dinner”

Wednesday June 20
“Wyncroft Summer Wine Dinner”

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

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Northern United Brewing Company Takes “Civilized Spirits” Statewide - Just in Time for the New Year!

Just in time for the New Year, Northern United Brewing Company delivers two of its Civilized Spirits – Vodka and Sakura – to retail accounts throughout the state. General Wine & Spirits has added Civilized Spirits to its portfolio and spirit-connoisseurs will now be able to seek out these Michigan-made liquors at retails stores, restaurants and bars around the Great Lakes State.

Previously, Civilized Spirits have only been available at Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin restaurants on Old Mission Peninsula, just north of Traverse City. Additional spirits – rum, whiskey and gin – which are currently available exclusively at Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin, will be released state-wide in the coming months.

Civilized Spirits are created in a forest hideaway on the Old Mission Peninsula, a site with a long tradition of distillation. Spirits have been made on the site since the late 1800s when it was built by lumber baron J.W. Stickney and his wife, Genevive. Civilized Spirits is a family of liquors created for the woodland gentleman of yore – the sort of man who cut wood for a living and wrestled grizzlies for fun, but still found time to wax his mustache and comb some pomade through his hair. Although the grizzlies may have gone, the legacy of dedication and appreciation of artisanal spirits lives on in every hand-bottled Civilized Spirit.

Master Distiller Mike Hall is the big gun on Old Mission Peninsula. A native of Nova Scotia, he is ultimately responsible for the sublime list of artisanal Civilized Spirits. A world-renowned distiller, brewer, designer and educator, Hall is also a Senior Member of The European Institute and Guild of Brewing. He has trained more than 100 brewers and distillers during his career and has also designed, built and installed over 60 breweries and distilleries around from as far way as Siberia to the Bahamas, as well as several here in Michigan.

Civilized Spirits are produced through the grand collaboration between Hall and brewer/distiller Ron Jeffries, handcrafted from the fruit of the Northern Michigan landscape. Grapes are picked from vineyards on the property, as well as from throughout Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas; cherries are harvested from the Old Mission Peninsula, while sugar beets are grown in the fertile soils downstate in Eastern Michigan near Saginaw/Bay City. Locally-grown ingredients such as these enable Hall to distill remarkable vodka, sakura, whiskey, gin and rum, with unique character, smoothness and flavor.

“Jon and I grew up on the Old Mission Peninsula,” recalls Greg Lobdell, who – along with Jon Carlson, Ron Jeffries and Mike Hall, are the managing partners of Northern United Brewing Company, in Traverse City – the parent company for Civilized Spirits. “As children, we used to pick buckets of cherries and set up a stand downtown on Front Street and sell them during the Cherry Festival parade. I remember picking cherries for two days and then working all day selling them at the parade. I think we brought home $12 for the three days work and we were the happiest kids in the world. It is only fitting that we are now distilling cherries from the same trees on Old Mission Peninsula, making Sakura, and distributing it throughout the state.”


VODKA (Percent Alcohol: 40 | Proof: 80) — Smooth as the bay waters at daybreak, subtle as a fleeting wisp of cool summer breeze. Proper manners dictate you put on your good shirt for Civilized Vodka, even though it will always extend you the courtesy of its company, and clean finish. Descended from wine borne of Northern Michigan Riesling vines, this vodka graciously hints at its ingredients with a bouquet of grape and clean finish. And finish it off is what you’ll be tempted to do. Distilled in the ways of the north woods, every bottle of Civilized Vodka has the social graces to complement and enhance the flavors of any cocktail or confidently stand alone. This vodka is as pure as the spring water at its heart and as approachable as the community in which it’s made.

SAKURA (Percent Alcohol: 40 | Proof: 80) — Although the first cherry trees were planted in the 1600, we have Peter Dougherty to thank for making a good thing great. He searched for the perfect combination of rich soil and weather patterns that lend to healthy cherry trees for the best tasting cherries on the planet. He was the first to bring cherry pits to the Old Mission Peninsula in 1852. This cherry vodka is hand-crafted in a custom-built still and with each level of distillation, the purest spirit rains though the 23 caps and trays of the still. The distillation of cherries from Traverse City’s finest orchards is expensive, but it produces a character that is unmatched. The distilled cherries blend well with our distilled vodka and the natural cherry flavor renders it delightfully smooth, with a cherry nose and distinct cherry sweetness. This cherry flavored vodka is perfect for sipping or mixing!

Northern United Brewing Co. encompasses the North Peak, Grizzly Peak and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales craft beer brands, as well as the Bonafide Wines and Civilized Spirits. NUBC’s philosophy focuses on a dedication to conservation, inspiration and locally-sustainable practices. All of the NUBC beverages are produced at either the 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.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Michigan's Homestead Resort Offers the Friendliest Family Pricing

The Homestead announced today that it is taking strong steps to encourage families to ski and ride – kids 17 and under will ski and ride free.

There are only three restrictions and there’s no fine print. The restrictions are:

• The family must be registered guests at The Homestead.
• At least one parent must have purchased a same day, all day lift ticket.
• Proof of relationship must be presented.

This offer is available every day of the season, including holidays, as there are no blackout dates. Call 231.334.5100 for reservations.

Jamie Jewell, a Vice President of the resort stated: “Industry research showed that younger people are not pursuing outdoor winter recreation opportunities that lead to healthy, lifetime skills. This goal of this offering was to make those outdoor opportunities accessible to families with the next generation of skiers and riders." Those first time visitors who pursue this opportunity will discover a place that’s luxurious yet relaxed, nearby yet far away. They’ll also discover the beauty of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the place the viewers of ABC’s Good Morning America chose as “America’s Most Beautiful Place.”

Repeat visitors will be welcomed back with a gift commemorating ABC’s recognition. While here, they will see and enjoy new facilities and services made possible with $1.5 million in improvements that were made to the property this year.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Enjoy the Tastes of the Season with North Peak’s Blitzen Festivus Ale

Just in time for the holidays, North Peak’s delivers its latest seasonal brew: Blitzen Festivus Ale – a gift to celebrate a joyous holiday feast from the enchanting Northern Magical Wood Elf.

The raisin, currant and berry notes in Blitzen 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.

Blitzen, like all of the North Peak beverages, is born out of Northern lore,” says Jon Carlson, who – along with Greg Lobdell, Ron Jeffries and Mike Hall, are the managing partners of Northern United Brewing Company, in Traverse City. “We created this beer to celebrate the holiday season this winter! It is the perfect beer to drink while competing in ‘Feats of Strength’ or to share with your loved ones during the ‘Airing of Grievances.’"

With 55 IBUs and 6.8% ABV, the well-balanced Blitzen warms the palate and soul, awakening memories of holidays past. As with the other North Peak beers, it is brewed incorporating locally-grown hops on the Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City. Blitzen is available through the holiday season. Find it on draft and in six-pack stubby bottles throughout Michigan and Ohio, wherever your favorite North Peak beers are sold.

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