Beer Buzz Hits The Road: Michigan
We're lucky to live in the midwest, home of iconic beers including KBS and Hopslam. It's been a while since the Beer Buzz team last traveled to Michigan, so we packed up the bus and hit the road again. This time even more beer-loving Binny's employees explored, tasted and learned about some of Michigan's best breweries - and even a cidery - and we're bringing our passion back for you.
The team at Greenbush has made quite the home in Sawyer, Michigan. The building used to house a laundromat and coffee shop. Since becoming a brewery, their 15 barrel brewing system has been worked to the limit. They recently expanded distribution to Indiana, in addition to Illinois and Michigan. They are still using a manual bottling line which takes two people an hour to package 80 cases. They're extremely hard working and efficient at making the stellar lineup of beers. If you are a fan of bbq, it's worth the trip up north to taste what they're cookin'!
Odd Side Ales are new to our shelves here at Binny's, but they have been brewing unique beers in Grand Haven since 2010. Their new warehouse is filled with shiny fermenters and has plenty of room for growth. Their barrel program team, led by Joel Brower, has been experimenting with barrel aged imperial IPA's and sweet potato pie strong ales, beer aged in rum barrels and more. We'll begin see some of these wild creations, like barrel aged Hazel's Nuts, in Chicago soon. If you can't tell, they aim for complex and unusual flavored ales. If you haven't had a chance to pick up a six pack, what are you waiting for?
900,000. That's the number of barrels Founders is projected to brew in 2017. You can find their beer in 20 different countries and 38 different states. All Day IPA is the number one selling IPA in the United States and they are currently the fastest growing brewery. You can close your mouth now. It wasn't always sunshine and flowers for the Grand Rapids brewery. Since Mike and Dave started in 1997, they've gone bankrupt three times and had to lock up their doors on multiple occasions. If you haven't heard, Dirty Bastard was the beer that saved Founders. And we're so glad it did.
Each batch of Totally Roasted calls for 144lbs of delicious Georgia pecans, and it takes 20 minutes to roast just 8lbs. That's just one reason Vander Mill is one of our favorites. The time, effort and appreciation that goes into making their cider is worth recognition. It all started in 2006 by Paul and Amanda Vander Heide in Spring Lake, Michigan. The plan was to open a small-town cider mill for the locals. Fast forward to 2008 and Paul is hand delivering kegs to Binny's in Chicago. From there it quickly grew into what it is now. The Vander Mill team just celebrated the grand opening of their new 43,000 square foot cidery in Grand Rapids.
If you want to get your motorcycle fixed, get inked, pick up a growler, listen to some tunes, and check out a sweet fish tank - Dark Horse is the place for you. Oh and soon, you'll be able to grab some ice cream and a pizza cooked in a woodfire oven. It's a small town of its own within the small town of Marshall, Michigan. Dark Horse Brewing is led by Aaron Morse, his wife Kristine and mom Cally. Their beers are in a league of their own when it comes to taste and quality. We stand strongly behind any of their beers on our shelves. Grab a six pack and see for yourself!
Two words: Holy cow. We visited Bell's ever growing production brewery and it blew our minds. Bell's is currently the 7th largest brewery in the United States and it sure feels like it. They're housing 36 400 barrel fermenters and 24 800 barrel fermenters. Their advanced bottling line is producing a case every two seconds and they can fill up to 210 kegs per hour. The brewery is full of natural light and fresh air, on purpose, for the benefit of employees who work long shifts in the brewhouse. To think this all started because English major Larry Bell began homebrewing with a 15-gallon soup kettle while in college. Bell's has come a long way since 1985. We can't get enough of their hoppy and eccentric beers. Check out the Beer Buzz for updates on new beer, tastings, sales and more!