The State of Beer in Michigan

Thursday, March 27, 2008

While Kwame is busy screwing his Chief of Staff and the taxpayers of Detroit and dragging the region down, Southeast Michigan brewers are doing their part to spur the economy...and citizens' happiness.

Mrs. Smitty, always looking out for my best interests, sent me this article about the success and engagement of the breweries in Southeast Michigan.

The first half of the article focuses on the success of each of these breweries during the recent Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival. But the second half gets into what I think is so damn American about the craft brewing scene. Despite the success of the mainstay European beers...the beers that defined the styles as we know them...it's American brewing ingenuity that have really made the States stand apart in the brewing universe.

Take for example, this brewery's response to the crippling world-wide hops shortage:

After winter thaw, Black Lotus will debut a green jasmine tea beer. "With a shortage of hops in the industry, it's important to find alternative ways to flavor the beer," says Harper, who is pleased with his test batches. Black Lotus is big on supporting local commerce, and even uses the tag line, "think global, drink local." It's partnering with Ono Teas, a Novi-based company, on the creative concoction.
Flavor your beers with alternative bittering agents, and use support local business partnerships at the same time. Sure, the drafters of the reinheitsgebot are rolling over in their graves, but screw 'em. That antiquated law has hamstrung German brewers for several centuries now from reaching even newer heights.

I'd also point out the efforts of Bobby Mason over at Michigan Brewing Company. Over the past few years, he has switched some of his recipes so that all of the grains he uses come from Michigan. Further, he is using his spent grains and other brewing biproducts to create biodeisel. He does this in conjunction with Michigan State University, who uses a corner of their now-vast brewing warehouse to teach students how to make biodeisel. Soon, he hopes to power his entire brewery off of biodeisel created by his own brewing waste, and even be able to sell some energy back to the grid. That's how to run a business, people.

Local brewers are creating local business partnerships and powering themsleves more and more on energy created from their own products. They are relying on local farms and creating products that challenge what we know about beer...and by last year's sales figures, the public loves it as microbrewed beer continues to out-pace the macrobrews in growth.

There's a new revolution. And just like the first one here in the States, it is starting in a bar.

5 comments:

Mike 6:50 AM  

So fill me in! How's tea that's "hopped" with green tea taste?

Smitty 8:31 AM  

I'll find out in a few weeks...

Sopor 9:49 AM  

YEA!!! This is what I like to hear! I LOVE the fact that MBC goes out of their way to buy local ingredients, it's that kind of thinking that can really save our Economy, and our GD Planet!!

Have any of you guys heard of "True North" Vodka, from the Grand Traverse Distillery? (Here's some info) This distillery is owned by a man named Kent Rabish, who just happens to be one of my Father's ex-coworkers, and still best friend. Kent has sunk TONS of time and money into making premium Vodka, and he's doing it all right! He's using locally grown Rye, locally grown cherries for flavoring, and he's doing GREAT! Apparently his stuff is ALL the rage in Chicago, as all the C-town wigs have been introduced to it while on vacation on Lake Michigan. True North was just recently awarded a Gold Medal from the Beverage Tasting Institute, and he's been making this for less than two years!

Well, enough of a plug for Kent, but I just get so excited about local business doing local business and staying afloat in otherwise VERY tricky markets/businesses. Go Michigan!!

Sopor 9:54 AM  

Oh yea, one more plug, You can buy True North at Meijer or participating Spartan Stores (Spartan Stores that get their liquor from Spartan should have it, not all Spartan Stores get their liquor through Spartan...)

Otherwise, there is a full retailer list on Grand Traverse' site

Bob "Chief Beer Advocate" 10:14 AM  

Sorry I missed the Brewer's Caucus meeting wednesday. Mrs. Bob got sick, so I was needed to take care of the 2 year old.

The list of brewery destinations for the Brewer's Caucus within an hour and a half drive of Lansing is a long one. I say we take a trip to Warren. I know that is one of Smitty's favorites.

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