Happy St Patrick’s Day, and welcome back to another edition of This Week in Beer.  This week we have another video from the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beerfest.  I’m not going to lie to you, if is hard to think about how cold it was that day while the weather here is taking a turn for the f*cking AWESOME!  It certainly is going to be a great weekend, involving sunny skies warm weather patio seating and lots of green beer.  Now I would be remiss if i didn’t implore you to please try not to get too out of hand this weekend.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  I should be telling you more about this great new beer I tried last month.  This sweet sweet concoction comes from Grand Rapid’s own, Brewery Vivant.  So here for you after the break are my thoughts on their Hubris Quadruple Anniversary Ale. Continue reading

Getting back into the swing of things and continuing with our videos from the 2012 Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival.  This week I’ve got a beer from Detroit Beer Company, the Dimondale Dunkelweizenbock.  Quite a mouthful of a title, but it comes attatched to a very fine brew.  Check out my cryptic review after the break.
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What is this madness? Life is stirring at thisweekinbeer.com.  We couldn’t stay down forever, and the perfect time to re-emerge from the shadows presented itself in the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival.  So we got our warm clothes together and stuffed hand warmers into our gloves and made our way to Grand Rapids.  There we got a taste of some great beers from around the state, one of which (also one of my favorites from the festival) came from The Livery.  Here is my cryptic review of their Belgian Dark Trippel. Continue reading

I’ve got two more videos here from the Bonteboktoberfest at Binder Park Zoo.  These come from what turned out to be one of our favorite breweries at this event, Olde Peninsula. We weren’t sure what to expect, but with a name like Stout Chokula, how could we stay away.  I gave that a try, while The Hopster had a sample of their Pumpkin Ale.  Check them out.

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So The Hopster and I found a great event at Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek.  Their Bonteboktoberfest celebration is a fun experience that combines a trip to the zoo and drinking lots of great beers.they close down the park at let you roam around while sampling brews from a number of great Michigan breweries.  Here we have the first two videos from this series, the Funky Monky from B. Nektar Meadery (not technically a beer I know) and the Burly from North Peak Brewing Company.  Enjoy.

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Beer and government, what’s the connection? We’ve all heard the media and lawmakers crying for small business owners to step up and create jobs. To create jobs you must make a product that the consumers want and oh boy do the consumers want craft beer. Craft beer is the fastest growing segment in alcohol sales in the United States and as so the breweries that make the beer are some of the fast growing small businesses.

During the mid-90’s regulations against small breweries were lifted and breweries started popping up throughout Michigan. Now we are entering two decades of brewing in our state and these 80+ small business owners and legislators are working together to further grow this industry. But it’s still young and the laws on the books are somewhat out of date and need tweaking to facilitate a climate that keeps this business steaming forward. We are also running into issues that we didn’t have before because these businesses didn’t exist.

Right now one entity can only own a certain number of breweries. Only have a minimal number of offshoot pubs. The tax bracket for brewpubs (don’t distribute) and microbreweries (do distribute) are different and can those tax amounts change to promote more growth. Also at what point does a microbrewery grow beyond its tax bracket?

Meeting with legislators in Lansing, the brewery owners found themselves being warmly welcomed by both the House of Representatives and Senate. With both honoring the industry by declaring the month of July “Michigan Craft Beer Month” for the fourth year in a row. This symbolizes the attention and admiration that our legislature has for these trailblazers and former home brewers turned dreamers turned businessmen and women.

Most of the breweries in Michigan are expanding in physical size, staffing and reach throughout the rest of the country. Creating more jobs in brewing beer, selling beer and giving the consumer an enjoyable and tasty way of supporting local Michigan made products. More restaurants are seeing the potential of serving Michigan made beer. Even seeing customers asking for Michigan beer. There are a few, and hopefully more on the way, restaurants that offer multiple Michigan beers on tap and/or in the bottle.

1 in 10 Michiganders work in the restaurant industry and this industry supports our tourism industry and a growing part of that tourism industry is… visiting our now over 80 different breweries. See the cycle? There are a rumored 20 more breweries to open in Michigan within the next year. Adding those breweries in might move Michigan from 5th in number of breweries per state to 3rd or 4th. With that growth comes jobs, comes more tourism, comes more tax revenue and a new industry that all Michiganders can stand behind and proud of.

With all of this growth there is still room to grow. In Michigan craft beer sales only make up around 2% of total beer sold, while in Oregon craft beer is at 28% and growing. So help your local and state economy, grab a Michigan brewed beer, visit www.michiganbrewersguild.org to find out where the breweries are and go on a brewery tour, and please every time you’re out having a beer ask “What Michigan beer do you have?”

Short's Ski BoothBrewers Guild Summer Beer Festival
Ypsilanti, MI Paul Stewart

Mother Nature was the first one there and the last one to leave. The Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival is a two-day celebration of beer and the love of beer. It was a beautiful weekend in the middle of July in which it rained really hard just before the gates opened on Friday the 22nd. Then cleared up and turned into a great weekend until about 2 minutes before the end on Saturday when the heavens opened again and baptized the event’s good times. And I for one thought it was amazing, every minute of it.
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Michigan does not suffer from a lack of breweries.  Living in the Lansing are, I am about a.5 hours away from more than a dozen great breweries.  Unfortunatly, not everyone is so lucky, especially our friends from north of the Mackinaw Bridge.  But just because they don’t have the concentration of great breweries we enjoy down here, does not mean that they are out of luck for getting great beers.  In fact they get to play host to one of the Michigan Brewers Guild’s four annual festivals.

On September 10th, in Marquette’s Mattson Lower Harbor Park MBG will be holding its 3rd annual U.P. Fall Beer Fest.  The festival starts at 1PM (noon for Guild Enthusiast members) and runs until 6pm.  Hopefully enough time to samplesome of the more than 200 different local beers that will be available.  So if you live up north and couldn’t make the trek down to any of the other festivals, or live under the bridge and want to make a journey northward, I recommend you check it out.

More information and full press release after the break

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I’m glad you asked, because I didn’t know either.  But a quick look at the wikipedia page tells me two things, first, that “Kombuchais a is an effervescent tea-based beverage that is often drunk for its health benefits or medicinal purposes,” and second, that the Image they choose is downright frightening.  Why am I talking about this strange and intriguing beverage?  Because Michigan’s own Unity Vibration Living Kombucha Tea has created a Kombucha Beer.  And if that isn’t exciting enough, it will be available at the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beerfest in Ypsilanti this coming weekend.  I will tell you this, I am very excited to give this a try.  If you’d like some more information, I have the full Press Release after the break.

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