Great Lakes Brewing News February/March 2014 : Page 1

1 COLLABORATION FASCINATION ROCKIN' ROCKFORD. Seth Rivard, Brian Roeters, Steve Berthel, and Jeff Sheehan celebrate after another brew day. PHOTO BY STEVE BERTHEL Brewers Work Together to Create Special Beers By Karen Bujak ILLUSTRATION BY HANS GRANHEIM By Steve Berthel en miles north of Grand Rapids, Michigan lies the little bedroom community of Rockford. Nestled on the banks of the Rogue river this quiet town is surrounded by rolling hills and has a picturesque downtown area. We are driving up highway 131 north from Kalamazoo on this cold January morning for two reasons: one, to make a batch of beer with Jeff Sheehan and two, to gather an understanding of how three relative strangers happened to meet and open what is one of the best new breweries in the Great Beer State of Michigan. The three partners in Rockford Brewing Company are Jeff sheehan, Seth Rivard, and Brien Dews, and this is their story. became a self-professed craft beer aficionado and remembers Larry Bell showing up at parties with early versions of Bells beer in the trunk of his car. Soon some friends got into homebrew-ing and he was exposed to what went in to the hile it may not have been the first time two brewer-ies collaborated on a beer, “ Collaboration, Not Litigation ” made collaboration sud-denly more visible and popu-lar. Russian River Brewing Co (CA) and Avery Brewing Co. (CO) both had a Belgian style beer named Salvation . Rather than fight over who had rights to the name, they got together and blended their two beers and named it Collaboration, Not Litigation . That was in 2004. Since then, brewers across the nation and the world have increasingly gotten together to share their knowledge, exper-tise and recipes to the greater benefit of each other, not to mention beer-lovers. In Ohio, for Cleveland Beer Week in 2010, the Northeast Ohio brewers paired up to each create a collaborative beer for a special limited edition 12-pack to promote Cleveland Beer Week. While legal issues delayed the release of the 12-pack until early 2011, it was the largest collaborative mixed-pack known at the time. Generally these joint efforts involve a lot of exchanged emails and/or phone calls to develop the recipe together, then actually getting together at one of their respective breweries to brew the beer. Fred Karm of Hoppin’ Frog Brewery finds it “hugely rewarding and a challenge.” Karm has recently done a series of collaborative beers with three European breweries: De Molen in the Netherlands and Fanø and Amager in Denmark. All recipes were designed via email, and Karm then visited their breweries to brew the beers. He says they wanted American hops… lots of hops, so all three beers; Supercharged Saison IPA (De Molen), Natasha Rocks America , a chocolate rye imperial stout (Fanø), and Frog Hops from Amager , an imperial wheat stout, are high in alcohol, high in hops, and high in flavor! We Need a Brewery Brien Dews has lived all his life in Rockford. His father was a talented clockmaker and trained Brien to follow in his footsteps and learn this trade. While attending college, Brien See Rockford p. 6 INSIDE Event Calendar .......................... 3 The Beer Queendom ................. 8 Homebrew: Eisbock .................10 Beer Beacon .............................12 Jolly Giant ................................15 Map/Directory ......................18-23 State by State News Ohio ................ 13 Michigan ......... 14 SE Michigan ... 16 SW Michigan .. 17 Indiana ............ 24 Wisconsin ....... 26 N Wisconsin ... 27 Chicago .......... 28 Illinois ............. 29 Minnesota ....... 30 New York ........ 34 Ontario ........... 32 Pennsylvania .. 38 See Collaboration p.5

Rockford Brewing Co.

Steve Berthel

Ten miles north of Grand Rapids, Michigan lies the little bedroom community of Rockford. Nestled on the banks of the Rogue river this quiet town is surrounded by rolling hills and has a picturesque downtown area. We are driving up highway 131 north from Kalamazoo on this cold January morning for two reasons: one, to make a batch of beer with Jeff Sheehan and two, to gather an understanding of how three relative strangers happened to meet and open what is one of the best new breweries in the Great Beer State of Michigan. The three partners in Rockford Brewing Company are Jeff sheehan, Seth Rivard, and Brien Dews, and this is their story.

We Need a Brewery

Brien Dews has lived all his life in Rockford. His father was a talented clockmaker and trained Brien to follow in his footsteps and learn this trade. While attending college, Brien became a self-professed craft beer aficionado and remembers Larry Bell showing up at parties with early versions of Bells beer in the trunk of his car. Soon some friends got into homebrewing and he was exposed to what went in to the manufacture of beer and eventually another friend who managed an apartment complex gave him some homebrew equipment that a previous tenant had left behind. He ended up building a system out of old kegs and enjoyed it so much that he used to brew on the sidewalk in front of his clock shop in downtown Rockford. People were soon saying “you need to open a brewery”. In 2008 he followed the advice of another business owner and ran for a seat on the city council, and won. He was than interviewed by the local paper and asked what he would like to see happen in Rockford. The first thing he said was, “we need a brewery downtown.”

Eleven years ago, Jeff Sheehan lived in Pocatello, Idaho and was brewing for Portneuf Valley Brewing Co. After a few years he moved back to Michigan and settled in Rockford, where he commuted to his new job as a production brewer at New Holland. He was soon moved to the enviable job as pub brewer at the downtown location, where he was able to experiment with many different beer styles. This fueled his passion to someday open his own brewery in downtown Rockford. Finally the time was right and he resigned from New Holland to pursue his dream. In 2008 Jeff read the article that Brien was quoted in. Jeff reached out, the two started talking, and things clicked between them.

Seth Rivard had been homebrewing for about seven years and was living in Muskegon. In 2007 he started to think that Muskegon needed a brewery and gave it his all to make it happen, but in 2010 he gave it up and moved with his wife to Rockford. He immediately fell in love with the town and it started to rekindle the idea of opening a brewery. In 2010, the city manager introduced Seth to Brien Dews. Seth and Jeff had already met, so as the three new friends sat around and talked over pints about their individual ideas for a brewery, they decided to join forces and make it happen. Financing was approved in 2011, and Rockford Brewing Company became a reality on December 20, 2012.

A Public House

The first thing you notice as you walk up the stairs to the entrance is the ornate timber framing of the entryway. The second thing is their sign with the logo of a salmon streamer fishing fly followed by the words “Public House”. As you enter the pub you immediately notice the beautiful inlaid bar top, inlaid timber framed long tables and chairs, handmade wooden tap handles and interior timber framing. This is definitely not your typical decor in a pub in southwest Michigan. From the start, all three guys wanted this to be a meeting place for their community, hence the words Public House.

The long tables are an attempt to encourage people to sit with strangers and learn their individual stories, just like times past. The fishing fly logo is a nod to recreation and the great outdoors scene we have in Michigan. Fly fishing, mountain biking, kayaking and canoeing, and rails to trails routes are all just a stone’s throw from the pub. All the pine wood that was used in the manufacture of the timbers and the curly maple inlay in the bar top and tables came from northern Michigan. This is a result of their passion and commitment to promote what Michigan has to offer.

The Beer

This commitment carries over to the beer as well. Try their Michigan pale ale, or MPA, called Paradigm. This 70 IBU and 6% abv ale is brewed with pale malt, wheat malt, and crystal 35 malt all produced by Wendell Banks of Michigan Malting Company in Shepherd. The hops came from Hop Yards of Kent in Greenville. The beer is a beautiful copper color with burnt marshmallow and caramel notes followed by an assertive hop character. Jeff’s dream is to have every Michigan brewer produce a similar beer with local ingredients to embrace the local terroir, and to have the MPA moniker catch on just like IPA. Another standout beer is their 1 year Anniversary Ale. This 8.2% abv Belgian style multigrain ale was brewed with barley, Michigan wheat, rye, oats, and Michigan beet sugar. It is very malty with a peppery clove finish from the Ardennes yeast strain.

About 8 months ago Jeff brought in longtime bartender Brian Roeters to assist in the brewing operations. Jeff and Brian have 15 taps to keep full and 4 of those are mainstays. These include Carriage House Ale, a 5.9% blonde ale; Rogue River Brown, a 6.5% northern English style brown ale; Sheehans Irish Stout, a 5.3% dry stout, and Hoplust, a 7.1% 70 IBU India pale ale. Jeff has worked with local fruit growers for beers made with strawberries and raspberries, and he convinced Brien to break out an old homebrew recipe for a blueberry wheat ale called Summer Cruiser, which has become a seasonal favorite. Jeff and Brian have also done beers utilizing local summer squash, honey, and maple syrup. They also feature Michigan made wine and ciders.

There is additional seating upstairs with a second bar, and on Thursday and Friday nights Brien books in local and regional bands of all different genres that play original music, always with no cover charge. They have also been very busy in their first year with social activism in the community. They assisted the local food bank, sponsored can drives, and worked with the local group in Grand Rapids to bring the rapids back to the river and get rid of the dams. In January they held a benefit show at the brewery with several local bands to help out a local musician who lost 2 fingers in a snowblower mishap. It is impressive to see these guys living their dream to be a positive force with their business and to make a difference in their community.

With Jeff handling production duties, Seth taking over marketing and sales, and Brien doing taxes, payroll, and the accounting, they are busy guys. But this doesn’t stop them from looking to add a restaurant in the pub and a production facility at another location in the very near future. And if this isn’t enough, in 2012 Brien was elected mayor of Rockford!

Read the full article at http://glbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Rockford+Brewing+Co./1630455/196030/article.html.

Collaboration Fascination

Karen Bujak

While it may not have been the first time two breweries collaborated on a beer, “Collaboration, Not Litigation” made collaboration suddenly more visible and popular. Russian River Brewing Co (CA) and Avery Brewing Co. (CO) both had a Belgian style beer named Salvation. Rather than fight over who had rights to the name, they got together and blended their two beers and named it Collaboration, Not Litigation. That was in 2004. Since then, brewers across the nation and the world have increasingly gotten together to share their knowledge, expertise and recipes to the greater benefit of each other, not to mention beer-lovers.

In Ohio, for Cleveland Beer Week in 2010, the Northeast Ohio brewers paired up to each create a collaborative beer for a special limited edition 12-pack to promote Cleveland Beer Week. While legal issues delayed the release of the 12-pack until early 2011, it was the largest collaborative mixed-pack known at the time. Generally these joint efforts involve a lot of exchanged emails and/or phone calls to develop the recipe together, then actually getting together at one of their respective breweries to brew the beer.

Fred Karm of Hoppin’ Frog Brewery finds it “hugely rewarding and a challenge.” Karm has recently done a series of collaborative beers with three European breweries: De Molen in the Netherlands and Fanø and Amager in Denmark. All recipes were designed via email, and Karm then visited their breweries to brew the beers. He says they wanted American hops… lots of hops, so all three beers; Supercharged Saison IPA (De Molen), Natasha Rocks America, a chocolate rye imperial stout (Fanø), and Frog Hops from Amager, an imperial wheat stout, are high in alcohol, high in hops, and high in flavor!

Karm says he learns something every time he visits another brewery, and sometimes that education is brought home to improve his own brewery. At Amager, for instance, they used a German screening system instead of filters. As most Hoppin’ Frog beers are unfiltered, he thought this was an excellent idea and is now incorporating it into Hoppin’ Frog’s brewery. Karm plans to continue collaborating with other brewers and thinks it adds “another level of fun to the business.” He brewed a collaboration with Odell Brewing Co. In Fort Collins (CO) that is currently aging in rare Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrels and due to be tapped in February, in Colorado.

A Learning Experience

Matt Cole, of Fat Head’s Brewery has also been at the forefront of collaboration beers, starting his first collaboration, called Texas Brown Ale, with Stone Brewing before Fat Head’s was even open for business. For Cole, it was not only a learning experience but good business to have an association with established brewers. He has since collaborated with others such as Troeg’s, Victory, Alpine, Bear Republic, and Ohio breweries Chardon Brew Works, Black Box, and Jackie O’s. The Jackie O’s collaboration, Fatty O’s Liquid Courage, is a wet-hopped barley wine and may still be available at the brewery tap house.

Cole has also ventured to England on a couple of occasions to collaborate with English breweries Shepard Neame (Britain’s oldest brewery) and Bateman. “The problem”, he says, “with brewing over there is that you don’t get to taste the beer.” To solve that dilemma, he brought home the recipes and brewed them here. He was also fascinated by the history aspect of it, like using a wooden mash tun that is centuries old.

The spirit of collaboration is alive and well in Southeast Michigan also, with two area breweries teaming up with counterparts both across the country and across the ocean to produce three new and noteworthy brews. In April, Arbor Brewing Co. Unveiled two beers brewed in collaboration with Brouwerij de Musketiers of Ghent, Belgium, known for the Troubadour series of beers. The idea behind the collaboration was to bridge the Old World traditions of Belgian brewing with newer American ingredients and techniques. The results were Mundus Vetus (Old World) Rye Tripel and Mundus Novus (New World) Rye Dubbel.

Arbor’s brewers traveled to Ghent to join the Troubadour team in making Mundus Vetus, a strong (9% abv) but delicately complex blend of sweet and spicy malts balanced with a generous dollop of American hops. For Mundus Novus, Troubadour’s brewers came to the Arbor microbrewery in Ypsilanti to help brew the 8.5% brew of spicy rye, caramel, and chocolate malts.

Tragic circumstances resulted in Matt’s Dream Rye’D, a West Coast-style IPA created by Liberty Street Brewing Co. In collaboration with San Diego County’s Stone Brewing Co. The beer honored the life and legacy of Stone and former Liberty Street brewer Matt Courtright, who died in a freak brewery accident at Stone in August. It was brewed at both locations according to Matt’s own recipe and simultaneously released December 18, with the Courtright family joining in via Skype for a commemorative toast. According to Liberty Street owner and head brewer Joe Walters, some of the hops, specifically Helga and El Dorado, were difficult to procure, but contributed flavors that highlighted Matt’s creative talents as a brewer. Liberty Street donated all proceeds from the beer to a charity founded by Matt to build schools in Ethiopia, and Stone and Liberty have plans for another Courtright-inspired collaboration in 2014.

B-Side, Ontario

To the north, Beau’s All Natural Brewing, in Van Kleek, Ontario, has introduced its new ‘B-Side Brewing Label’, which will see internationally renowned brewers brands produced, sold, and delivered from the brewery, under the umbrella of the B-Side label. Beau’s co-founder, Steve Beauchesne, said in a press release that B-Side is ‘like a record label, but for beer. Not to sound too prolific or anything, but I think this project might totally change the way beer is sold in this province.’ He added: ‘B-Side is not about new beers from Beau’s — it’s us travelling the globe to meet like-minded brewers, and then working with them to create authentic versions of their recipes we can brew fresh right here in Ontario.’

On hand for the announcement was Ander Kissmeyer of Kissmeyer Beer in Denmark, a brewer who is the first to ‘sign’ to the B-Side Brewing Label. His B-Side creation, called Kissmeyer Nordic Pale Ale, features a unique northern-inspired medley of ingredients including sweet gale, yarrow, dried heather flowers, rose hips and cranberries for a balanced fruit-and-herb bouquet, while a maple syrup addition rounds out the character of the beer, according to a press release. B-Side’s pilot batch of Kissmeyer Nordic Pale Ale will be on tap at select restaurants and pubs in Ontario.

Maverick and Gose, a 5.9% abv collaboration brew from the Amsterdam Brewery and the Great Lakes Brewery, both of Toronto, features mainly malted wheat, alongside pink Himalayan salt and spices, and it is aged for four months in Ontario chardonnay barrels prior to bottling. It presents a hazy, pale amber color, with a spicy and woody nose. It’s rather yeast forward, slightly salty and tastes like a sour wheat beer.

To Düsseldorf and Back

Molson’s Creemore Springs Brewery brewery has partnered with Zum Schlssel of Düsseldorf, Germany to obtain some of their ancient yeast strain, in order to produce Altbier Collaboration Ale. It is a rich amber brew topped with a creamy foam, under which lurks a fruity, toasty nose. A smooth beer that tastes like caramelized honey, this is a stylish ale. The signature Zum Schlssel yeast imparts the characteristics of a true Altbier.

In Traverse City, Right Brain Brewing is collaborating with Greenbush Brewing Co. (MI) on a yet-to-be-named spiced and charred apple brown ale.

Two Brothers Brewing Company has been busy with their latest endeavor, a collaboration with Solemn Oath Brewing called Brotherhood of the Barrel. A strong brown ale of 8.3% abv and nicely but not over hopped (at 42 IBUs), BotB features two different versions, one aged in whiskey barrels for five months, the other dry-hopped with “a ridiculous amount of Cascade hops.”

In Indiana, Sun King Brewery has partnered with Oskar Blues to create CHAKA, a limitedrelease Belgian-style ale — the first craft beer to be packaged in the Alumi-Tek® re-sealable pint bottle from Ball Corporation. This was released in May of 2012 and was available in both home markets. More recently Sun King collaborated with Three Floyds on Royal Brat, an English-style best bitter, currently available in cans and draft. Sun King and Three Floyds had an earlier collaboration called Urine Trouble, a heavily hopped imperial IPA fermented with a special brettanomyces strain creating earthy barnyard notes, pineapplecherry pie aromas. Three Floyds has also had several collaborations with Mikkeller (Belgium).

East Meets West

Class of 88 is an interesting collaboration series featuring breweries that were founded in 1988, created to celebrate their 25th anniversary (in 2013). These included Deschutes, Goose Island, North Coast, Rogue, and Great Lakes. The Deschutes and Great Lakes Brewing partnership resulted in a “super porter.” Both breweries had won awards for their porter-style beers (Black Butte Porter and Edmund Fitzgerald Porter respectively), and thus the Class of ’88 Imperial Smoked Porter was born. The recipe was created together, but each was brewed at their own breweries. They each used their house yeast, and of course local water makes a huge difference in the flavor, but otherwise both beers utilized the same recipe, which includes a mix of several roasted and smoked malts and muscovado sugar.

Collaborations will continue, because it is fun and educational for the brewers, good for business and good for the consumer.

Read the full article at http://glbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Collaboration+Fascination/1630459/196030/article.html.

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