Thursday, October 31, 2013

Guest Post: Craft Beer Infographic!

Today, we highlight the hard work of our friends at the Kendall College Hospitality School!  They designed this infographic.  Text by Matthew Zajechowski.

The craft beer industry has seen a lot of growth in the last decade in the great beer state, the Midwest and beyond.  Recent craft beer expansion can be seen all over Michigan, from the Kuhnhenns expansions to the growth of Greenbush.  New breweries are popping up throughout the state and the brewers build festivals continue to see growth each year.  The growth of craft beer can be felt not only throughout the Midwest but also throughout the entire country. Over the past thirteen years the number of food and beverage jobs has jumped over 25%. The number is impressive on itself, but when you compare it to the growth of jobs overall in that time period at only 4%, that number looks a lot more impressive.  These growth numbers caught the eye of the students and professors at Kendall College.  Assistant professors John Laloganes and Phil Mott along with students in the Kendall Hospitality program provided insight and knowledge into this infographic. They both agreed this was a subject they were both interested in researching and learning more about.  They looked into several aspects of the craft beer industry including: overall growth numbers, job and employment growth within the industry, food and beer pairings, taste preferences and also surveyed different demographics to see how their views compared on craft beer.  These findings are presented in the craft beer infographic by Kendall College.  I’ve highlighted some of the more interesting points below:

  • Consumers were asked if they enjoyed the taste of craft beer.  36% of people surveyed said that they did indeed enjoy the taste of craft beer.

  • Sales of craft beer has seen a steady increase within the last 5 years and is expected to grow even more within the next 5 years. In 2007 craft beer sales equaled roughly 5.7 billion.  Within 5 years that number doubled to just over 12 billion in 2012.  Industry experts are projecting that number to triple by 2017 to nearly 50 billion.  That is a large amount of growth in a short period of time.

  • Craft brewers provide a good deal of jobs both in the U.S. and abroad.  An estimated 103,585 jobs are provided by craft brewers in the U.S. alone.  This number also includes serving staff in brewpubs.

  • There are 2,403 open and operating breweries as of 2012.  That is the highest number since the late 1880’s.  This shows an enormous growth in the amount of small breweries opening up.

  • Food and beer go great together.  Different beers are more appropriate to enjoy with different types of foods than others.  If you like drinking an Irish Red, try pairing it with a juicy burger.  If you like lighter less filling beers, opt for a salad or sushi with your beer.

  • 45% of consumers would be interested in trying more craft beers if they knew more about them.  This shows the responsibility of craft breweries to educate their consumers on their product offerings.

  • Younger people are more apt to trying craft beer.  Only 32% of baby boomers say they prefer the taste of craft beer.  If you look at the millenials' demographic, you see a rise to 43% that say they prefer the taste of beer.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Detroit Fall Beer Festival

It’s a chilly, crisp day on the east side of the state; the type of day where the sun has yet to lose its battle against the clouds, and insists on sending welcoming rays of light through the bleak sky.  The landscape is a stark contrast to our last adventure, with barely tamed natural wonders giving way to miles of asphalt, a horizon of sparkling blue water replaced by tall storefronts advertising meat and fish and appliances and other downtown items.  It’s the Michigan Fall Beer Fest, definitely; but six weeks after Marquette and a 450 mile trip south.  Welcome to the Detroit Fall Beer Fest!

The Fall Beer Fest housed at Detroit’s Eastern Market has a feel to it that’s just as unique as any of the other Guild sponsored festivals. Taking place only a few days before Halloween, right as the colors in southern Michigan begin to peak, the festival channels that “end of the harvest” energy into an exciting event.  Yes, it’s an event heavy on pumpkin beers, harvest ales, and barrel-aged-everything, but if you weren’t expecting that then you don’t read stuff about beer very often.

Nestled among the vast selection of 450 beers (one for every mile separating Detroit from Marquette…coincidence?) we found, as always, a few big standouts:

Kuhnhenn Brewing, a stalwart mainstay at these events and no stranger to high quality, experimental ales, made a sweet and spicy sour pumpkin beer that was so strikingly delicious that someone literally ran up to us to have us try it…which in turn caused us to run up to other people.  Kuhnhenn has always made fantastic sour beers, and this careful combination of bold pumpkin, balanced spices, and rich, natural sweetness all cut with careful souring made for a truly unforgettable experience.

 Short’s Brewing seems to have achieved the semi-impossible.  Their American IPA, ControversiALE (previously known as Hanging Frank), has been my favorite American IPA brewed in Michigan since I first tried it.  Finally, they outdid themselves.  If you ignore the fact that the name sounds like a bizarro version an IHOP breakfast, Sticky Icky Icky is a beer that’s so good, it reminds you why you began loving IPAs in the first place.

Right Brain Brewing has always done well with vegetable beers.  I’ve written before about their surprisingly refreshing asparagus beer, but this year they brought two fantastic saisons that showcase new flavors.  For watchers of The Office, it should come as no surprise that Schrute Farms is a saison highlithing earthy and colorful beets.  This beer retained much of its refreshing nature, with a striking color and an unmistakable fresh beet flavor.  If you like beets, you’ll like this beer.  If you don’t like beets, grow up.  Right Brain also offered the delightful pun Cool Hand Cuke – a cucumber basil saison that I want to drink forever.  The sweet cucumber and assertive basil combine for a beer that is delicious on its own, yet practically begs to be used in a gin cocktail.

Odd Side Ales knows its way around the Citra hop.  Their Citra Pale is known statewide, and the brewer has taken this versatile beer to new heights with Bourbon Citra as well as Black Bourbon Citra.  Both of these options blend the citrus and tropical fruit characteristics of the hop with a light kiss of oak and bourbon, resulting in two similar yet wholly unique examples of a bourbon aged beer showcasing the Citra.  These beers are not thick, sweet, nor heavy; instead they use the bourbon flavor sparingly, an accent to the already great beer vs a distraction. It’s a perfect use of the flavor and a rare feat for many breweries.

When we first visited Brewery Ferment in April, I mentioned that some of their beers could use some polish.  I’m elated to find that the polish has occurred in spades, and Dustin and crew brought forth some of my favorite beers at the festival, including the 45th parallale Pale Ale and a superbly spiced Ghost Pepper Stout called Captain Scorch.   

With the fall colors tuned perfectly, the setting serene and a little surreal, you owe it to yourself to make a venture to Michigan's east side to sample the products here.  The environment is spectacular, the beers are perfect, and the mood is phenomenal.  Take a look around you, because the Detroit of 2013, for better or worse, won't exist for that much longer. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Kalamazoo Announces Extensive Tap Wall Line-Up

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is excited to announce the opening tap list at its new Kalamazoo, MI location that will be opening in November at 180 Portage Street in downtown Kalamazoo. The Alamo is committed to highlighting local and regional beer in every market. The list in Kalamazoo features a wide selection of beer from Michigan producers, including selections from Bell’s Brewery, Founders Brewing Company, and Short’s Brewing Company.

In creating this menu, George Yarbenet, General Manager of Alamo Kalamazoo, tried to balance classic beers with other beer selections that may be new to Kalamazoo residents. The Alamo Cinema Drafthouse Kalamazoo will feature 32 taps, in addition to a wide selection of bottled and canned beer. “I think our beverage offerings will catch a lot of our guests by surprise,” Mr. Yarbenet says, “The wide selection of beers both regional and national will keep beer enthusiasts very happy.”

In addition to the beers listed on the menu, four rotating taps will be reserved to feature seasonal and special beers from national and Michigan craft breweries curated by the Alamo Drafthouse Kalamazoo.

Guests at the Alamo Drafthouse Kalamazoo can order beer from a team of stealthy servers before and during each film, and draft beer offerings are available by the pint and the pitcher. Our tap wall includes Draft Root Beer. The Alamo also offers gluten-free beer options for patrons.

Alamo Drafthouse Kalamazoo Draft Beer List
Local Drafts
Arbor Buzzsaw IPA
Arcadia IPA
Arcadia Sky High Rye
Atwater Vanilla Java Porter
Bell’s Amber
Bell’s Two Hearted IPA
Brewery Vivant Farmhand
Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale
Founders All Day IPA
Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale
Greenbush Anger Black IPA
Keweenaw Pick Axe Blonde
Latitude 42 Red Beard’s Imperial Red
New Holland The Poet Oatmeal Stout
Paw Paw St. James English Ale
Saugatuck Bonfire Brown
Short’s Pontius Road Pilsner
Short’s Soft Parade Rye Fruit Ale
Tapistry Beatnik Belgian Blonde

Other Drafts
Ace Pear Cider
Avery White Rascal
Breckenridge Agave Wheat
Dogfish Head Indian Brown
Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
Left Hand Milk Stout (Nitro)
Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale
Samuel Adams Boston Lager

For developments on the Alamo Drafthouse Kalamazoo, follow them on Facebook & Twitter.

MORE ABOUT ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE: Alamo Drafthouse is an entertainment brand comprised of the acclaimed cinema-eatery chain, the largest genre film festival in the United States and a collectible art gallery. Named "the best theater ever" by Time Magazine, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has built a reputation as a movie lover's oasis not only by combining food and drink service with the movie-going experience, but also introducing unique programming and high-profile, star studded special events. Alamo Drafthouse Founder & CEO, Tim League, created Fantastic Fest, a world renowned film festival dubbed "The Geek Telluride" by Variety. Fantastic Fest showcases eight days of offbeat cinema from independents, international filmmakers and major Hollywood studios. The Alamo Drafthouse's collectible art gallery, Mondo, offers breathtaking, original products featuring designs from world-famous artists based on licenses for popular TV and Movie properties including Star Wars, Star Trek & Universal Monsters. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is expanding its brand in new and exciting ways, including the launch of Drafthouse Films, a new film distribution label and plans to extend its theaters and unique programming philosophy to additional markets across the United States. More information about Alamo Drafthouse franchise opportunities are available on the official website

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tahquamenon Falls Brewing Company

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula sports many state parks.  These areas showcase swaths of virgin forest, unsullied wildlife, and majestic waterfalls.  One of these state parks, the Tahquamenon Falls State Park, also hosts the third most voluminous waterfall east of the Mississippi; rust brown torrents of water scream down at 50,000 gallons per second.

Near the middle of the park – a few miles from either campground (there’s camping areas near both the lower falls and upper falls) – one finds a kitschy area that sports what looks like eight different gift shops stocked full of the type of souvenirs one expects from Upper Peninsula gift shops – shirts with Yooper slang on them, moose/bear/wolf themed clothing, and various hand crafted goods.

Oh!  There’s also a brewery here.

To my knowledge, the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery is the only brewery that’s actually inside a Michigan State Park.  It’s decorated exactly like how you would expect a restaurant in a state park in the Upper Peninsula to be decorated – lots of wood, lots of wood accents, lots of stuffed animals (literally stuffed fabric made to look like fuzzy versions of animals…there was no taxidermy level stuff that I could see), and a very attractive all-glass wall behind the bar, showing off the brewing equipment.

The people were exactly how one might expect people in a Michigan State Park – friendly, polite, lovers of Michigan who all smelled pleasantly of campfire.  Laura and I split nachos and a whitefish sandwich.  The nachos used liquid cheese like a baseball stadium vs sticking only to shredded cheese melted in an oven, while the whitefish sandwich was more bread than fish.  Coincidentally, they use the same type of French fries that Hopcat uses, albeit without the crack fry seasoning.

The beer brewed on premises at a state park was probably what I should have expected at a tourist destination.  There was nothing flashy or exciting or original at Tahquamenon Falls; the four drafts included a nitro stout that was literally advertised as “Guinness style,” along with a frightfully cloying cherry wheat beer that could suppress a cough.  The red ale – cleverly named Falls Tannin after what gives the water its deep red hue – was the best option, giving a slightly metallic burn to an otherwise malty red ale.

If you’re a Yooper, or if you’re visiting Michigan’s untamed beauty above the bridge, there are dozens of places you can go for excellent, carefully crafted Michigan beer.  That said, there’s only one place you can camp within earshot of Tahquamenon Falls.  If you've forgotten your growler from somewhere else, there’s always the state park brewery.

Check out more photos at our Facebook Page!

Friday, October 11, 2013

BRU Fest Grand Rapids Ticket Giveaway!

One of our favorite craft beer events is heading to Grand Rapids with beers from Bell's Brewery, burgers from Bagger Dave's Legendary Burger Tavern, wings from Buffalo Wild Wings, live music, and more on November 9th at the Delta Plex!  

Admission to BRU Fest includes tokens for beer & food, live music, a gift bag & more, including:
  • Access to Bell’s Brewery premium craft beers, including everyday favorites, rare out-of-season brews, exclusive specialty brews not offered to the public
  • 10 beer tokens
  • 4 food tickets for burgers and wings
  • Souvenir BRU Fest 2013 mug and tons of free giveaways for every guest
  • Live entertainment and games

But we have your chance to win a pair of tickets right here!

So how do you win? Just comment below on this post with your favorite Bell's beer, OR on our Facebook page or on Twitter. Only one comment per person will be counted. Comments will then be numbered and we'll choose the winner via the random number generator at

You MUST comment to be entered. Clicking "I'm In" or "Sounds Cool" will not count as a submission.

****Contest ends Wednesday 11/6/13 at 5pm so be sure to enter ASAP!****

Don't want to chance it and just want to get tickets? You can pick them up here.

BRU Fest benefits Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan, which provides information and support to Michigan families affected by leukemia, lymphoma, and blood-related disorders.

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