Saturday, July 6, 2019

Helles Bock to Be Tapped at "Summer in Bavaria" Event at Grizzly Peak

Spencer and Duncan sharing a well earned post-brew brew. Photo courtesy Duncan Williams.

Grizzly Peak head brewer Duncan Williams has been teaming up with local homebrewers to collaborate on some cool new brews. His most recent partner-in-beer is longtime Ann Arbor Brewers Guild member Spencer Thomas. You can get a taste of their collaborative beer, a helles bock, at the "Summer in Bavaria" release party on Tuesday, July 9, at 6 p.m. in the Grizzly Den. Try the beer, talk to the brewers, and, if you're so inclined, get a tour of the brewery. Prost!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Edelbrau Brewing Announces Grand Opening

Owner and brewer Teo Ahlbrandt-Watson (center) and comrades are ready to sell you beer.

Edelbrau Brewing, on Ann Arbor's south side, is officially opening its doors to the public beginning Friday, February 15, according to owner and brewer Teo Ahlbrandt-Watson.

For now, it's a beer-to-go only retail operation, with cans of Amber Ale, American Pale Ale, Edelbrau IPA, Helles, Imperial IPA Citra, and Oat Malt Brown Ale (and t-shirts and other gear) available for purchase, while supplies last. At some point in the future, Edelbrau plans on adding distilled products to the lineup.

Ahlbrandt-Watson is a veteran of the Michigan brewing scene, with previous stints at Arbor Brewing and Dark Horse Brewing, as well as consulting gigs with Big Hart Brewing and Biercamp, among other breweries. He also has an advanced degree in microbiology from Eastern Michigan University. You can read more about Edelbrau, Teo, and his philosophy in this 2017 article from The Ann Arbor News.

Edelbrau's retail room is in an industrial park at 719 W. Ellsworth Rd., and has limited hours for now: Friday, 5:30 - 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 9 p.m.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Wolverine Names New Head Brewer; Oliver Roberts to Start New Brewery

You get a picture of Oliver because I don't have one of Alexis.

It's the end of an era. Wolverine State Brewing has announced its longtime head brewer, Oliver Roberts, is leaving at the end of February and will be succeeded by Alexis Jorgensen, formerly of Stone Brewing and Witch's Hat Brewing.

I first met Oliver back in 2010 at – as I recall – the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival. Wolverine was getting ready to open its taproom but the only product anyone in my circle had ever had from them was their Premium Lager, which at the time was contract brewed and bottled at the now-defunct Michigan Brewing Co. in Webberville. Truth be told, I did not like that beer nor did I know anyone who had tried it who did.

When Oliver offered me the first (as far as I know) Wolverine-brewed beer, a Baltic porter confusingly named Faustian Stout, my taste buds danced with joy. I told everyone I knew to put aside their impressions of Premium Lager and give the new brewery a chance. Ever since, I've rarely – maybe even never – been disappointed with any Wolverine beer.

Oliver is planning on opening his own brewery, up in gorgeous Beulah. I hope to have a chance to catch up with him before he goes to get more details. I'll miss seeing him around, but I trust Alexis and the team at Wolverine will carry on the tradition of finely crafted lagers Wolverine has become renowned for.

Anyway, here's the official press release:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Wolverine State Brewing Co is pleased to announce that it has named Alexis Jorgensen as Wolverine’s next Head Brewer and Production Manager. Jorgensen will succeed Oliver Roberts, who currently holds the position, when he steps down at the end of February.
Jorgensen is a current employee at Wolverine State Brewing Co., most recently serving as its primary Assistant Brewer. In that role she has displayed “an impressive depth of knowledge, along with a strong work ethic and a refreshing burst of creativity,” according to company president Matt Roy. “As a true believer in Wolverine’s lager-focused approach to craft beer, Alexis is an ideal candidate to continue the work of pushing the limits of what lager can be.” 
Jorgensen’s career in the craft beer industry includes prior positions at Witch’s Hat Brewing in South Lyon, Michigan, Stone Brewing in California, and Begyle Brewing in Chicago. 
Wolverine’s current head brewer and production manager, Oliver Roberts, has served in that role since prior to the opening of the brewery in Ann Arbor in 2010. He will be leaving Wolverine at the end of February to start a brewery outside of Traverse City, Michigan. 
The two brewers are working together in the interim to ensure a smooth transition for the
company, its employees, and its customers. “The collaboration between Oliver and Alexis is terrific,” observed Roy. “We’re really fortunate to have two people so focused on making sure we don’t miss a beat during this transition.” 
Wolverine State Brewing Co. was founded in 2006 by longtime friends and Ann Arborites, Matt Roy and Trevor Thrall. Production began at 2019 W. Stadium in early 2010 under the direction of Brewmaster Oliver Roberts, and the taproom opened at that same location later in 2010. 
Wolverine State, the leader of the Lager Revolution, specializes in creating balanced, unique, and innovative lagers, and boasts a portfolio of more than 200 varieties.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Celebrate Halloween with a Beer Dinner or Three

"Hey, Bob, when is the food coming out? I'm wasting away here!"

Fall in Michigan is in full swing, and that means a couple things: harvest time and Halloween. Also, beer. Three area eateries are blending all these things together in ticketed events coming up later this October.

First up is the Fillmore Bar and Grill (formerly Terry B's) in Dexter and their Halloween-themed beer dinner on October 24. Tickets are $50 and include five courses and a welcome beer. Pairings include brews from Arbor Brewing, Dark Horse, Jolly Pumpkin, New Holland, North Peak, and Witch's Hat. Call 734-426-3727 to reserve your place, and take a look at the full menu here (warning: pdf).

On October 25, the Carlyle Grill in Ann Arbor is hosting a four-course dinner with beers from Wolverine State Brewing Co. The menu hasn't been published, but you can get tickets (for $35) here. (On a side note, Wolverine's release party for their Massacre Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Lager is October 27 at the taproom.)

Finally, Ollie Food + Spirits in Ypsilanti is teaming up with Bell's Brewery for an October 29 Halloween beer dinner. Four courses of harvest-inspired food will be paired with such brews as Larry's Latest Fruit Ale, Two Hearted Ale, Arabicadabra Coffee Milk Stout, Third Coast Ale, and Black Note Stout. Tickets are $45 (or $80 for two) and can be purchased here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Wolverine Brings Home Two Medals from the 2018 GABF

Wolverine's brewing team is no stranger to awards.

By now, you've probably heard the news. Here's the official press release from the horse's mouth:

Wolverine State Brewing Co. is pleased to announce that it has been awarded two medals in this year’s Great American Beer Festival competition: a silver medal for NZ Pils and a bronze medal for Raucher Smoked Lager. Presented by the Brewers Association, the GABF is the largest commercial beer competition in the world and recognizes the most outstanding beers produced in the United States. The medals were awarded on Saturday, September 22, in Denver, Colorado. 
NZ Pils is a delicate pilsner recipe made with light colored European malts and 100% Nelson Sauvin Hops from New Zealand. The unique light fruit and white wine character of these New Zealand hops helps give this lager a distinguishable hop profile compared to traditional pilsners. The beer was developed by Brewmaster Oliver Roberts in 2017. It is being brewed this week and will be available in the taproom soon. 
Raucher is a smoked lager built on a base of German Beechwood smoked malt. True to its style, it boasts a balanced profile of smoke, malt sweetness, and hop bitterness. The beer was developed by Brewmaster Oliver Roberts in 2015. It is currently available in the Tap Room. 
The medals constitute the second and third for Wolverine State in the GABF. Past awards for the brewery include a gold medal at the GABF in 2016, a bronze medal in the World Beer Cup in 2016 and several medals from the World Expo of Beer. That medal count is composed of 23 medals in a wide variety of categories, including a full category sweep of the Euro Malty Lager category in 2018. Gulo Gulo IPL was also named one of DRAFT magazine’s Top 25 Beers of 2013. 
The Great American Beer Festival takes place every year. This year, over 2,400 breweries entered beers into competition. Of the 8,496 beers entered, 306 were awarded medals. Wolverine State’s medals were two of nine medals awarded to Michigan breweries. 
Wolverine State Brewing Co. was founded in 2006 by longtime friends and Ann Arborites Matthew Roy and Trevor Thrall. Production began at 2019 W. Stadium in early 2010 under the direction of Brewmaster Oliver Roberts, and the Tap Room opened at that same location later in 2010. Wolverine State, the leader of the Lager Revolution, specializes in creating balanced, unique, and innovative lagers, and boasts a portfolio of more than 200 varieties.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales + Kitchen Opens in Dexter

Peep this important press release that came in over the transom:

The latest Jolly Pumpkin location opened its doors Thursday, September 6, at their production brewery in Dexter. 
Unique from the rest of the company’s portfolio, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales + Kitchen will focus on seasonal fare and have a rotating menu that will change every month or so. A variety of cultural influences will be reflected on the menu. Chef Maggie Long recently traveled to South Korea to work alongside the culinary staff at Playground Brewery, an affiliate brewery of Jolly Pumpkin. The menu will showcase some Korean fusion with items like Deviled Eggs with kimchi and bacon, and Korean BBQ Pizza. Vegetarian options will be plentiful on the menu, including shareable items like Beet “Elote” and a Kabbouleh Salad, or entree items like a Shiitake “Chorizo” Taco. 
Naturally, the menu will also lend itself to beer pairings. The 30 taps currently in place at the brewery’s existing taproom will continue to pour the freshest and most current Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, North Peak brews, and Nomad ciders. 
“Opening a restaurant here in Dexter has been a long time coming. Maggie does such a phenomenal job in the kitchen and we are so happy she will be in Dexter,” said Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Co-Founder Laurie Jeffries
 “For me, this means so much because it’s all coming full circle,” shared Chef Maggie Long. 
Long started with Mission Restaurant Group at Grizzly Peak in the late '90s, where Ron Jeffries was the brewer at the time. Ron and his wife Laurie went on to open Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales and Maggie eventually became the head chef at Jolly Pumpkin Café & Brewery in Ann Arbor. “I’m excited to be joining Ron and Laurie in Dexter. It feels like I’m coming home. With this new restaurant, I look forward to becoming part of the community here,” said Long. 
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales + Kitchen is open Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. -11 p.m., and closed Sunday and Monday. The restaurant is fast casual and features a pool table, shuffleboard, and games for kids. The new restaurant will host weekly trivia nights, showcase local sporting events on TV, and have an event space for parties or private events. Mug Club members, of the existing Null Taphouse and Bottleshop, will continue to receive the same membership benefits.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Celebrate Oktoberfest in Downtown Ann Arbor September 28-29

Rumor has it that Arbor Brewing founders Matt and Rene Greff will be in town for Oktoberfest.

It's Oktoberfest time again in Ann Arbor, and that means a party on Washington Street. On September 28-29, the downtown avenue will be blocked off to through traffic so that revelers can enjoy Oktoberfest parties at both Arbor Brewing and Grizzly Peak.

Arbor's event begins at 5 p.m. Friday outside the brewpub and includes live music from The Rhinelanders (no cover), dancing, games, and German-inspired fare and (duh) beer. The party goes until midnight, and picks up again Saturday at 3 p.m., again going to midnight. Rumor has it that Arbor founders Rene and Matt Greff, currently enjoying a nomadic intercontinental existence, will make an appearance sometime Friday night.

On the other side of Main Street, Grizzly Peak's bash runs the same hours as Arbor's, and includes live entertainment, games (including giant beer pong!), and – you guessed it – German-style beer and food. This year, Grizzly is offering a limited number of advance VIP tickets: $50 for one day ($75 for both) includes five food/drink tickets (10 for the two-day pass), an Oktoberfest t-shirt and commemorative bracelet, and a souvenir "boot" glass. Call the brewery at 734-741-7325 or stop in to reserve your tickets.