Consumer demand for craft beer is off the charts, but without locally grown, craft ingredients it’s really just the same old beer, isn’t it?
Ponder for a moment the number of people that metro San Diego is home to (about 3 ½ million)…and consider all the locally sourced food and beer they have access to in that big city (hint: it’s A LOT). Next envision that same number of people coming through a tiny village on the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, squeezed in over only three to four months of the year. Now imagine only having one small, burgeoning brewery in that entire town to service all those travelers in that short span of time.
I personally think it is not only important for us to use as much locally produced food and products as possible, but we also have a responsibility to be good partners with all food businesses in the area. It helps elevate the whole industry in a way that benefits us beyond dollars. Eating local should be looked at as the norm, not the exception.
When we re-opened Harvest in its new location in 2017, we also added a liquor license and one of our first priorities was to source beer and cider from local producers. That led to the idea of having a beer brewed specifically for us. It only made sense that we would take the idea as far as we could by then brewing the beer with local malt and hops. Because of the amazing relationships in the food and brewing community in Traverse City this was not a tall order. Working with Earthen Ales, Great Lakes Malting, and Michigan Hop Alliance we were able to brew a beer that is almost entirely made out of locally sourced ingredients, aptly named Local Shade of Pale. It’s really amazing to think of how far and fast the brewing culture has come in just a few short years. We feel so fortunate to not only enjoy the work of these great folks but also to be able to collaborate with them to create something that exemplifies our common goals.
Q&A with our Partners
Michigan Hop Alliance
Brian Tennis, Founder
Established: Michigan Hop Alliance was started 7 years ago as a way for hop farmers to work together to bring their hops to the brewing community as economically as possible. New Mission Organics was started 13 years ago, and has been growing hops for 10 years. New Mission Organics was the original farm name.
What makes Northern Michigan hops unique and great?
The 45th Parallel has historically been the sweet spot for growing hops, both in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. We have the perfect climate, including soil, water, heat, and day lengths, to be able to grow a world-class product. We are also lucky to be able to work with some of the best farmers in Michigan, and can leverage their knowledge and expertise to our overall farming operation.
What does it mean to you to be involved in brewing a beer for a local restaurant with local brewers and local malt providers with your local hops?
We have been growing hops for nearly a decade, and have sold over a million pounds of hops over the years, but there is still something that is so very special and rewarding as tasting a beer that was made from hops that you had a hand in. To me, that excitement never gets old. These brewers and restaurateurs are not just accounts, but my friends, and I share their passion. My very first commercial sale was to Short’s Brewing Company and was used in a harvest ale called Kind Ale. I still remember the very first time I saw our hopyard name up on the chalkboard in Bellaire and the rush I had from tasting that beer. That proud moment doesn’t leave you.
Great Lakes Malting Company
Jeff Malkiewicz, President & Co-Founder
Established: Great Lakes Malting Company has been crafting great malt from the Great Lakes since 2016, with the mission of producing the finest malts right here in Traverse City and connecting breweries and distilleries to the region with locally-grown and processed ingredients.
Why do you believe in locally sourcing barley?
The answer is two-fold, economic and sustainability. When brewers/distillers use locally grown and processed ingredients, all of that money stays in the community and is re-invested in the community. Also, sourcing locally reduces carbon footprint through reduced transport. Most ingredients that are currently being used by breweries and distilleries come from the Western US/Western Canada and from overseas.
Describe your relationships with local farmers.
One of the things I enjoy most about this opportunity is my interaction with farmers. After all, quality malt starts at the farm. We can’t produce the finest malts without the finest grains! I have spent a lot of time working with farmers and educating them to help ensure their success in growing malting-grade barley. However, farming is not always easy and sometimes difficult conversations take place. This is where mutual trust and respect are critical to maintaining and growing these relationships.
Jamie Kidwell-Brix, Co-Founder/Brewer
Established: Earthen Ales opened its doors in December 2016. Owners Andrew and Jamie started Earthen Ales because they love making beer.They were both brewing before they met each other, and when they met and started brewing together – it got out of control, and Earthen Ales was born!
What makes Northern Michigan beer unique and why is using locally sourced ingredients important to you?
The agricultural diversity of the region and access to fresh, clean water makes northern Michigan a great place to make beer. The abundance of ingredients and resources in the area have led to strong and creative food and beverage community; we love being a piece of that community, and hope we’ll contribute to making it even stronger. We used to work in the sustainability field in our former day jobs, and we’ve carried this mindset into brewing. We brew beer with a sense of place, and we’re inspired by the place we live. What better way to showcase this then working with ingredients that are native to this place.
What does it mean to you to be involved in brewing a beer for a local restaurant with local hops providers and local malt providers?
Brewing beer for a restaurant like Harvest is a new extension of our community. We’re excited that Harvest embraces the use of local ingredients daily and wanted to explore this further by collaborating on a beer with us. It’s great to align with other businesses on similar values and ideas. Harvest was excited and inspired by the diversity of new hops in the region, and was particularly excited about using a new varietal called Green Bastard – we’d never used this hop before. And guess what, we like making beer and trying new things too!
Local Shade of Pale is available on-tap at Harvest, Traverse City, as of April 5th.
Photo Credits: Just In Time Hospitality and Brian Tennis of Michigan Hop Alliance
The 4th Annual Empire Hops & Harvest Festival in downtown Empire will take place this weekend, October 7th from Noon – 10pm! The festival takes place after an annual harvest of hops, allowing breweries to bring Wet Hopped Beer to the festival, and use greens from the vine which gives the beer a distinctive flavor that you can only enjoy this time of year!
Oxford brewery, HomeGrown, has joined an increasing number of businesses turning to their own backyard for ingredients. The locally-sourced movement has taken off – in the US and around the world – and “locavores” aim to develop more self-reliant and resilient food networks and improve local economies by buying from nearby producers. In both the brewing and dining components of the business, HomeGrown predominantly sources local supplies.
Over 14% of the population is food insecure in the 11 SE Michigan counties TLD serves. In the heart of Ypsilanti’s historic Depot Town District, a unique coffee and tap house is helping to change that.
Cultivate Coffee and Tap House opened their doors in 2015 with the mission to end hunger (locally and globally) by 2030 and do good in their community and the world. To accomplish this mission, the non-profit focuses on the core values of Craft, Community, Cause.
For Immediate Release
Date: May 22, 2017
Contact: Bailey Samp, email@example.com
Return of the Red Drive Concert Series
TRAVERSE CITY – The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, Left Foot Charley and Taste the Local Difference are eager to announce the return of the Red Drive Concert Series, a monthly schedule of free community concerts held at The Village on June 16th, July 21st, and August 18th from 6-9 PM. Spread out a blanket and save your place on the Piazza for these free community events!
Welcome spring to the U.P. dressed as your favorite woodland creature drinking local beer, with local ingredients, while listening to local music at the Festival of the Angry Bear this Saturday, April 6 from 3 p.m. to midnight at the Ore Dock Brewing Company in Marquette.
Alpena Municipal Council just voted 5-0 to allow Eric Peterson to host a craft beer festival on September 30th this year at his restaurant, The Fresh Palate, and bar, The Nucleus. The festival will offer different craft beers from 30 breweries and brewpubs, including Austin Brothers Beer Company out of Alpena and Arcadia Ales from Kalamazoo from 3pm-9pm that day.
The city will block off 2nd Avenue in downtown Alpena for the event. There will be live performances from local artists, outdoor games, multiple food vendors including locally sourced options, and an opportunity to mark the occasion with specialty beer glasses and Beer Fest t-shirts. Each brewery will be educating people about the different styles of brews they bring to the fest and go in depth about tastes and aromas and truly inform participants about their craft. Alpena looks forward to this becoming an annual event and having an opportunity to offer more locally sourced items to Michiganders throughout the year.
This is still a developing story. So, mark your calendars for September 30th and keep tabs on www.freshpalategourmet.com/ and our social media for more info.
Local foods infuse Stormcloud Brewing Company, from the food to the brewery and even the hands-on customer experience.