Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Inaugural Beerfest at the Ballpark Tickets On Sale Now - Event Planned for April 5 in Lansing

The tickets went on sale Monday at 10am for the inaugural Beerfest at the Ballpark scheduled for Saturday, April 5th at Cooley Law School Stadium. Festival hours are scheduled from 1pm-6pm with a special VIP entry starting at noon.

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door and include entry, a logoed tasting glass, and 10 tasting tickets. Special VIP Tickets may be purchased for $35 in advance and include early entry to the festival at noon, a logoed tasting glass, and 15 tasting tickets. Tickets are available at BeerfestAtTheBallpark.net, lansinglugnuts.com or by visiting the Cooley Law School Stadium Box Office.

“There’s been a great deal of excitement about this event since we announced it last month.” said, Nick Grueser, General Manager of the Lansing Lugnuts. “I would encourage everyone to get their tickets immediately.”

Beerfest at the Ballpark is the result of a joint effort between the Lansing Lugnuts and I’m A Beer Hound. It will be a unique experience providing attendees the opportunity to sample over 100 craft beers, ciders and meads from over 32 Michigan Breweries while enjoying the ballpark’s atmosphere.

“The level of interest in Beerfest at the Ballpark is unprecedented for a first time event. We’ve added eight brewers in the past three weeks and doubled the number of beer, cider and mead selections we initially planned.” said Paul Starr, creator of I’m A Beer Hound.

You must be 21 years of age to attend. Ground transportation will be readily available from iCab Taxi Service and a $5 Designated Driver ticket will be offered on the day of the event. Area hotel accommodations can also be found at Lansing.org.

A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit Old Newsboys, a local charity that provides shoes for deserving school children.

For more information including a full list of the attending brewers, visit BeerfestAtTheBallpark.net

About the Lansing Lugnuts
The Lansing Lugnuts, Class-A Affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, 'Go Nuts' as they enter their 19th season in Michigan's Capital City . Featured in USA Today and on CNN for their successes, the Lugnuts make their home at beautiful Cooley Law School Stadium. Built in 1996, Cooley Law School Stadium continues to be a key component in revitalizing Lansing's downtown while providing fun, affordable, family entertainment to fans in Mid-Michigan and beyond. Find them online: lansinglugnuts.com

About I’m a Beer Hound
I'm a Beer Hound is a Michigan Beer News Website, App, Event Promotion Group & Membership Card featuring discounts at over 90 Beer Bars, Breweries, and Restaurants statewide. Find them online: ImaBeerHound.com or Facebook.com/ImaBeerHound

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Salt of the Earth Presents 2014 Michigan 'Surprise' Dinner Series

Southwest Michigan’s premier farm-to-fork eatery Salt of the Earth announces its 2014 Michigan ‘Surprise’ Dinner Series. “We love ‘playing with our food’ and beverage. Come out and have some fun with us!” says proprietor Mark Schrock. “At Salt of the Earth we are always ‘cooking in the moment’, so we thought we’d have some fun and introduce the element of the “unexpected” into these three dinners. We really enjoy working outside of the box, and we intend to push the envelope of the food and beverage experience. ” adds Executive Chef Matthew Pietsch. Space is limited and reservations are required by calling 269.561.7258.

The three events planned for winter/ spring 2014 include:

Thursday February 20- The ‘Not-Your- Average’ Wine Dinner- featuring the award winning wines and celebrated winemaker Coenraad Stassen from Brys Estate. Enjoy these sought after wines in a creative five course dinner from Chef Matthew Pietsch and the SotE culinary team. Expect the unexpected! 6:30PM $75 per person + tax and gratuity.

Thursday March 27- ‘Shorts Brewery Beer Dinner and ‘Roast’ Reunion!’ Shorts Brewing Company's mission and culture pairs perfectly with everything we love about food and hospitality! We will celebrate the best that Shorts has to offer with seasonal and perfectly crafted brews. Join our friends from Shorts, along with a Mid-West cast of guest chef alumni from Michael Symon’s ‘Roast’! 6:30PM $75 per person, plus tax & gratuity.

Thursday April 24- ‘Bubbles and Booze- a Michigan Cocktail Party’- join in the fun with Mike Laing from Mawby and M. Lawrence sparkling wine, and the good folks from Coppercraft Distillery in Holland. Enjoy imaginative cocktails, sparkling wines, and an evening full of creative bites, unexpected flavors, and lively execution from Chef Matthew and guest Chef Jesse Hahn from ‘Fork in the Road’. PLUS dueling pianos by Hugh Little and David Raffenaud!!! $60.00 per person plus tax and gratuity.

Salt of the Earth- rustic American eatery and bakery is located in a historic building in downtown Fennville, in the heart of southwest Michigan farm and orchard country. A meal at the restaurant is an authentic Midwest American rustic food experience, built from a foundation of fresh high quality seasonal ingredients from growers within a fifty-mile radius of Allegan County. Under the direction of Chef Matthew Pietsch, the SotE kitchen cooks from scratch to create dinner entrees, wood oven fired pizzas, creative soups, fresh salads, desserts, and artisan breads.

A full-service bar proudly serves Michigan craft beers, hard ciders, spirits, and wines alongside other domestic and international products. Salt of the Earth is also a popular entertainment destination presenting the finest roots musicians on the scene at weekly house concerts.

Expect a high quality destination dining experience in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. Please call 269.561.7258 or visit www.saltoftheearthfennville.com for menus, current hours of operation, house concert, and event schedules.

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

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Michigan Maple Weekends Celebrate Sweet Agricultural Heritage

The Michigan Maple Syrup Association is planning three weekends of celebrations focused on the state’s oldest agricultural activity during the 2nd Annual Michigan Maple Weekend. Overall, more than 25 sugar makers are participating in the festivities; a list is available here.

Due to the state’s diverse weather and geographical elements, events are first held in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula (south of US10), March 15-16, followed by events in the upper half of the Lower Peninsula (north of US10), March 22-23 and throughout the Upper Peninsula, March 29-30.

“The weekend provides the people of Michigan and surrounding states a chance to see how our oldest crop is produced,” says Joe Woods, event coordinator. “For many people it is a chance for them to experience firsthand where their food comes from and the work and expense that goes into bringing a crop to market. For the producer it is a chance to meet new customers, educate consumers and display the workings of a sugar bush. Together this brings awareness of the maple syrup industry to the public.”

The family-friendly events held around the state are a great time for people to get out and get a firsthand look at how maple sap is collected, boiled down and turned into sweet maple syrup and other maple treats. Many of the farms will offer tours of their operation including tree tapping demonstrations, samples of their products, recipes for the use of maple syrup and local maple syrup products available to purchase.

Visitors to a local farm will have a chance to meet the farmers and their families that produce maple syrup and to get outside and enjoy Michigan’s early spring weather. Attendees are reminded to wear boots as mud and snow will still be abundant at this time of the year.

Michigan Maple Syrup Facts:
• Michigan ranks 5th in maple syrup production in the United States.
• Average maple syrup production in Michigan is about 90,000 gallons per year.
• Economic contributions of the pure maple syrup industry to Michigan are nearly $2.5 million annually.
• Maple syrup is a Michigan tourist benefit. It is a "thing" to buy.
• Maple syrup, as an agricultural commodity, benefits Michigan farm markets.
• There are an estimated 500 commercial maple syrup producers in Michigan with some 2,000 additional hobby or home use producers.
• Michigan law requires that processor of maple syrup must be licensed.
• The production of pure maple syrup is the oldest agricultural enterprise in the United States.
• Maple syrup is one of the few agricultural crops in which demand exceeds supply.
• Only about 1 percent of Michigan’s maple forest resource is used in maple syrup production.
• In an average year, each tap-hole will produce about 10 gallons of maple sap, enough for about a quart of pure Michigan maple syrup.
• Maple sap is a slightly sweet, colorless liquid.
• It takes approximately 40 gallons of maple sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.
• A gallon of standard maple syrup weighs 11 pounds and has a sugar content of 66 percent.
• Maple syrup is the first farm crop to be harvested in Michigan each year.
• Maple syrup is not the recipient of any crop support or subsidy programs.
• A maple tree needs to be about 40 years old and have a diameter of 10 inches before tapping is recommended.
• The maple season in Michigan starts in February in the southern counties and runs well into April in the Upper Peninsula.
• Warm sunny days and freezing nights determine the length of the maple season.
• The budding of maple trees makes the maple syrup taste bitter. Thus, production ceases.
• Freezing and thawing temperatures create pressure and force the sap out of the tree.
• A very rapid rise in temperature (25 to 45 degrees) will enhance the sap flow.
• While the sugaring season may last 6 to 10 weeks, but during this period, the heavy sap may run only 10-20 days.
• Average sugar concentration of maple sap is about 2.5 percent.
• Maple sap is boiled to remove the water and concentrate the sugars in a process called evaporation.
• In a conventional evaporator one cord of hard wood is required for every 25 gallons of syrup produced.
• Tubing collection systems with vacuum can increase average sap yields approximately 50 percent.
• Maple sap becomes maple syrup when boiled to 219 degrees Fahrenheit, or 7 degrees above the boiling point of water.
• Pure Michigan maple syrup has 50 calories per tablespoon and is fat-free. It has no additives, no added coloring and no preservatives.
• Maple syrup has many minerals per tablespoon: 20 milligrams of calcium, 2 milligrams of phosphorus, 0.2 milligrams of iron, 2 milligrams of sodium, 35 milligrams of potassium.
• Maple syrup is classified as one of nature's most healthful foods.
• Michigan has a Maple Syrup Week held in March of each year.
• March 22 is Michigan Maple Syrup Day at Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling and Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the Upper Peninsula.
• Michigan is noted for having two maple syrup festivals – the 74th Annual Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival, April 25-27 and the 56th Annual Shepard Maple Sugar Festival, April 24-27. Several Michigan State Parks also offer maple sugaring activities during the spring months.

Information about the farms participating in the Michigan Maple Weekend can be found on the Michigan Maple Syrup Association web site www.Mi-MapleSyrup.com (Michigan Maple Syrup Association Facebook) or by contacting members of the Michigan Maple Syrup Association. Information can also be found at Michigan Welcome Centers.

Founded in 1962, the Michigan Maple Syrup Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of maple sugaring in Michigan and the promotion of Michigan pure maple products. If you have more than just a passing interest in the science, industry, commerce, or enjoyment of maple products anywhere in the world, please consider becoming a member of our organization.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine Distilling...Bringing Sexy Back


When you’re born with the suave Italian name Rifino Valentine, you’re destined to do one of three things – rock the screen as a star in the adult entertainment industry, rule the neighborhood as a gangster or take on the beverage industry as an award-winning, hand-crafted distiller.

It was option three that this Michigan-born-and-raised entrepreneur opted for in 2009 when he returned from an 11-year stint on Wall Street to launch Valentine Distilling Co. Drawing inspiration from the 1920s-era, the Valentine Vodka brand exudes sex – complete with a pin-up girl dressed in a tight red corset and fishnet stockings, holding a dirty martini – as a salute to Detroit’s pre-prohibition history.

But Valentine isn’t just a pretty face!

Today, Rifino utilizes a world-class Christian Carl Still to craft his traditional vodka, an elderflower infusion called White Blossom and the newly-released Liberator Gin.

The brand has accumulated a handful of prestigious awards over the past few years, most recently a 94-point ranking from Anthony Dias Blue, editor-in-chief of The Tasting Panel magazine – proudly placing higher than noted international brands like Belvedere, Ketel One, Grey Goose and Absolut.

“Returning to Michigan to start this venture, my goal was to craft a product that competes with the elite imported brands,” Rifino says. “With this latest ranking from the most well-respected wine and spirits reviewer, it really is satisfying that we were able to do just that! Now, we can truly say that you’re not just buying local, you’re buying better!”

In 2012, Valentine Vodka was also awarded a Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. TheFiftyBest.com graced Valentine with a Double Gold Medal in the “Best Domestic Vodka” category in 2011. The Beverage Tasting Institute also awarded Valentine Vodka with a Gold Medal “Exceptional” in both 2010 and 2011.

Valentine products are currently found at more than 1800 retail stores, restaurants and bars throughout Michigan, Illinois and Tennessee. For the full experience, be sure to visit the “speak-easy” style martini bar and production facility at 161 Vester Street in downtown Ferndale. Hours: Wed-Thurs, 4:30-11pm; Fri-Sat, 4:30-Midnight.


Photo: Glen Arbor Sun

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Grand Rapids New Car Dealers Association Recognizes Proos Manufacturing as West Michigan Automotive Supplier

(L-R) Blair Sharpe, GRNCDA President; Amy Proos, CEO/Owner – Proos Manufacturing; John Irwin, President-West Michigan Region at Huntington National Bank. (Photo By Marty Dunham)

The Grand Rapids New Car Dealers Association (GRNCDA) is pleased to announce Proos Manufacturing as the recipient of its 2014 “Celebration of Innovation: Automotive Supplier of the Year” award. The award was presented to CEO Amy Proos during the February 5 VIP Reception, held prior to the Charity Spectacular Preview for the 2014 Michigan International Auto Show.

“It is an honor to recognize a brilliant company like Proos Manufacturing during this incredible event,” says Blair Sharpe, GRNCDA President. “In its 50 years serving the automotive market, Proos has proven it has the knowledge and experience to be flexible in its ability to develop processes and products to meet the challenges of the automobile industry.”

Companies throughout Kent, Ottawa, Ionia, Allegan and Muskegon counties were invited to submit nominations for the award. A selection committee from GRNCDA then met to review the nominees.

“You don’t often hear about the incredible ingenuity of West Michigan suppliers when talking about the impressive vehicles in our showrooms today,” said Mr. Sharpe, who presented the award. “But it is companies like Proos that help improve the quality and safety of the cars and trucks on roads throughout Michigan and the United States. The Celebration of Innovation award allows us to recognize the importance of local companies competing in the international automotive industry.”

Amy Proos is the third generation, and first woman, CEO and owner of her family’s manufacturing company. For almost 95 years, Proos Manufacturing has excelled in the art of metal stampings, metal forming and value-added assemblies. Today, Proos is a leading provider of manufacturing and engineering solutions for the automotive, industrial, furniture, medical, defense and energy application industries.

Proos prides herself on having an open line of communication with her employees and focusing on the individual needs of her customers to consistently provide solutions with ingenuity. She states, “Being candid about details of the business has earned me the trust and respect of my 83 employees and our customers.”

Established by Neal Proos as a manufacturer of casket hardware and cookie die stamps in 1919, Proos Manufacturing evolved into metal stampings and partnered closely with the automotive industry. Throughout the history of the company, customer support, problem resolution and providing solutions with ingenuity and innovation have been cornerstones of the Proos family business. In 2012 Proos Manufacturing was named one of the “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch”. For more information about Proos Manufacturing please visit http://www.proos.com.

The 16th Annual Michigan International Auto Show is presented by the Grand Rapids New Car Dealers Association and is one of 16 consumer expositions produced by ShowSpan Inc., Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Michigan International Auto Show: February 6-9, 2014

Thursday, February 6 3:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Friday, February 7 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Saturday, February 8 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sunday, February 9 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Admission: $10 adults, $4 children aged 6 to 14. Kids 5 and under are admitted free.

www.GRAutoShow.com | www.facebook.com/GRAutoShow | www.twitter.com/GRAutoShow