Friday, April 15, 2016

Wolverine Expands Capacity and Distribution Footprint

Wolverine co-founder and owner Matt Roy.

In over the transom is this latest news from Ann Arbor's favorite all-lager brewery.
Wolverine State Brewing Co. has officially completed a twelve-month, 6,000 square foot on-site expansion in the production facility at its 2019 W. Stadium location. The expansion ultimately allows for Wolverine State to more than double its production capacity, from 2,300 barrels to 4,700 barrels per year.

Additionally, Wolverine State has signed with several new distributors in the state as a result of an agreement with Kroger, which has brought Wolverine State bottled beer into all of its stores statewide. Both draft and bottles will be available in on- and off-premise accounts in new territories across the state starting this spring.

In addition to tearing down walls to add 6,000 square feet to the production facility, bringing in several new fermenters and brite tanks, and constructing a large new cooler, the expansion also entailed the creation of a new, much larger kitchen space and cooler.

Wolverine State Brewing Co. was founded in 2006 by lifelong 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, of which it boasts a portfolio of more than 50 different varieties.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Annual Downtown Ann Arbor Oberon Pub Crawl Returns March 21

Obligatory photo from seven years ago or so.

Nothing says spring in Michigan like the release of Oberon Ale, the iconic seasonal wheat beer from Bell's. Its return signals warm days and summer fun just ahead. This year's official release date is Monday, March 21.

In recent years, a new tradition has developed: the Downtown Ann Arbor Oberon Pub crawl. The event has increased in popularity each year and is now, with the possible exception of Kalamazoo, home of Bell's Eccentric Cafe, the largest Oberon release celebration in the state. Certainly, thanks to Ann Arbor's walkability, it's the largest such pub crawl.

Planning on joining the Bells team for some, most, or all of the March 21 crawl? Here's the (always somewhat tentative, timewise) schedule:

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Latest on Glasshouse Brewing

Photo from Glasshouse's Facebook page.

There have been some new developments on Glasshouse Brewing (note development one: the web address is functioning again) since I last posted about it a few weeks ago. First, Glasshouse has hired none other than Kuma Ofori-Mensa, former assistant brewer at Arbor Brewing Brewpub, as their head brewer. According to his Facebook page, Kuma is busy working on recipes in preparation for a late March/early April opening. The opening has been pushed back so many times (as those familiar with brewery openings know is not uncommon), but co-founder/owner Brent Payeur and team are now posting updates on their progress on Facebook. For those interested in obtaining founding memberships, they are again available via the website.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Update on New Ann Arbor Breweries

I've received a few inquiries about the status of Glasshouse Brewing, which was supposed to open on the city's west side in November. Their website is down and Facebook page hasn't been updated lately. I don't have any firsthand information, but there's this in this month's Ann Arbor Observer:
"Eight years ago I had my first craft beer in Traverse City. I didn't like it at first," says Brent Payeur. His brother Brad adds: "We started going on tours. We'd hit ten different breweries, started keeping a diary, then started touring facilities." The thirty-eight-year-old identical twins, whose family owns and operates Diamond Glass & Feiner's, are still in the glass business (which may be the oldest extant business in Ann Arbor, something they reasoned out when they discovered they predated Arnet's). Behind it, they've been gradually building a brewpub. In mid-January they guess the Glasshouse Brewery would open "in about six weeks."
Meanwhile, on the other end of town, Pointless Brewery & Theatre has announced taproom hours, in case you wanted to try their beers without committing to going to an improv show. They are as follows: Friday, 3-7pm; Saturday, 5-7pm; and Sunday, 4-7pm. Beers currently on tap include: Have Your Cake Chery Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, Pointless IPA, Pointless Standard Light Ale, and Roasty Toasty Oatmeal Stout.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Rat Fest Returns

After a year hiatus, the Rat Fest homebrew event is returning to the Corner Brewery February 20 in Ypsilanti. In its six-ish year history, Rat Fest has expanded and evolved considerably, and if you've not checked it out, I would recommend doing so. Tickets are on sale now and the event usually sells out, so act fast. Here's the official press release with all the details:
In a celebration of their roots, Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery in Ypsilanti is hosting the sixth annual Rat Fest homebrew competition February 20, 2016.

The Arbor Brewing Company brand has deep roots in the homebrewing community. Owners Matt and Rene Greff began homebrewing long before Arbor Brewing was born in 1995.

Rat Fest started off as a competition to brew 24 beers in one 24-hour session on two systems between the brewery staff and members of the Ann Arbor Brewer’s Guild. Over the course of the first two years, the event grew and eventually the brewery decided to open the competition up to more of the local homebrew clubs in Southeast Michigan.

This year the microbrewery has invited eight home brewing clubs to come and demonstrate their brewing creativity on a 10-gallon brewing system, affectionately known as The Rat Pad. The AABG Hopheads, AABG Yeasters, Burns Park Brewing, Brighton Brew Club, The Brew Divas, Motor City Mashers, The Sons of Liberty, and Hyperion Brew Club are each brewing four beers for public competition.

As an added bonus, the ABC Microbrewery brew staff has come up with a challenge for the homebrewers: One of their four beers must be a sour. A sour beer is one that is characterized by an intentional sour or tart taste by allowing wild yeast or good bacteria to be introduced into the brew. The result is a wide array of fantastically tart, puckering brews!

This year’s Rat Fest will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. on February 20 at Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery in Ypsilanti. Tickets are $30 in advance, or $40 at the door, and include a commemorative tasting glass, beer samples and appetizers. Tickets can be purchased in person at the microbrewery or by phone at 734-480-2739.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

First Look Inside the New Ypsi Alehouse

The Ypsi Alehouse, 124 Pearl Street, is set to officially open in early January

Note: This post was updated on 12/31/15 to reflect new official opening date and hours.

More than 30 years after co-founding Michigan's first modern microbrewery – the Real Ale Company of Chelsea – Ted Badgerow has returned to commercial brewing with the launch of the Ypsi Alehouse in Downtown Ypsilanti, tentatively scheduled to open January 1 scheduled to open Saturday, January 2, at 3 p.m. The Alehouse will be the first brewery to open in Ypsilanti since the Arbor Brewing Co. Microbrewery, née Corner Brewery, opened in 2006, and the city's second overall.

Ted and co. held a soft opening the evening of December 29, which I infiltrated in the interests of investigative journalism. Here are a few nuggets from my visit.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Wolverine Celebrates Five Years of Leading the Lager Revolution

Wolverine State Brewing co-founder Matt Roy.
Five years ago, when Wolverine State Brewing Co. opened on Ann Arbor's west side, it seemed odd for a small brewery to focus only on making lagers, which often take more time and care to make than ales. But now in 2015, growing numbers of people are re-discovering great lager styles like classic American pilsner, Vienna amber, doppelbock, and more.

Wolverine has been doing it right since day one, expanding people's minds about what lager can be. Stout lager? Saison lager? There's always something interesting on tap at 2019 W. Stadium. Now Wolverine is marking its fifth year in Ann Arbor with a special beer release and party Saturday, December 5. Here are the details from the official press release:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Wolverine State Brewing Co. is excited to mark five years of operating out of their brewing facility and Tap Room, located at 2019 W. Stadium on Ann Arbor’s west side.

The company will be celebrating this milestone at the Tap Room on Saturday, December 5, beginning at 6 p.m. Local artist Dragon Wagon will be performing at 9 p.m; a brand-new lager, Vers l’Avant, will make its debut; and brewery tours will be available in the evening.

The anniversary comes in the midst of a 6,000 square foot on-site expansion, which will effectively double the brewery’s production capacity. Construction is slated to be finished in early 2016.

Wolverine State Brewing Co. was founded in 2006 by lifelong 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, of which it boasts a portfolio of more than 50 different varieties.