Short’s Brewing Co.’s $2 million expansion will nearly double capacity

BELLAIRE, MICH. — Bell’s Brewery. Founders Brewing. New Holland Brewing. Arcadia Brewing. Atwater Brewery. Keweenaw Brewing.

What do these breweries have in common?

In addition to being based in Michigan, they have each recently undertaken or completed expansions to boost production.

Now, you can add Short’s Brewing to that list.

CFO, Scott Newman-Bale, tells BeerPulse that the company will shut down production for part of July so that workers can make a number of critical upgrades to the facility. The highlight of the project will be the installation of sixteen 90-barrel fermenters. The company will also improve efficiency, quality control and make some upgrades on the packaging line.

Once completed, the $2 million project will have nearly doubled working capacity from 16,000 barrels to 30,000 barrels.

As with so many other breweries, expansion can’t come soon enough for Short’s. The brewery is right up against capacity, having brewed nearly 13,000 barrels in 2011 on 56% growth from the year prior (per The Brewers Association).

The expansion, however, will not result in further distribution. “Michigan forever,” Newman-Bale quips.

In beer news, the company just revealed on its Facebook page that Spruce Pilsner should hit shelves next week. “It is already on sale in six-packs at our pub. The 2012 batch yielded about 540 cases and 32 half barrels.”

Before the shutdown takes effect, Strawberry Short’s Cake Golden Ale will also hit shelves.

Once the brewery is back online, Key Lime Pie will return, right on schedule.

Then there is the return of Short’s Peaches and Crème High Gravity Golden Ale, a beer that hasn’t been brewed since 2007 when it was released as part of the Imperial Series. Its return will come in 12 oz. bottles.

The Short’s team also gave a talk at SAVOR earlier this month, which you can listen to on Craft Beer Radio.

Third Annual Kalamazoo Beer Week is Jan. 12-18, 2013.  Click here for more info about what to do in KalamazooCheers!

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Kalamazoo Beer Advocates: Pilsen Klub Manager

The building, not the man

Bruce Hayes is the Assistant Manager for Waldo’s Campus Tavern/Pilsen Klub located right on Western Michigan University’s campus. In the cozy fireplace-warmed basement you can find the Pilsen Klub, a den-like watering hole serving Beer Lovers in the Kalamazoo area for years (and years to come)

I have been working in the restaurtant industry for roughly 20 years. I think that alot of my love for beer came from setting up beer and food tastings. Then when I started working in The Pilsen Klub at Waldos Campus Tavern and finished my first Pilsen Klub Passport I realized how much I loved beer…0r it could have been sitting in Riga Lativia drinking beers with Marty Pone (owner of Waldo’s/Pilsen)  and Bob Lewis (partner of Millennium Restaurant Group).

My favorite style of beer is probably Hefeweizen (a Bavarian specialty beer in which a significant proportion of malted barley is replaced with malted wheat). My favorite brewery I would say is New Holland Brewery, I like the types of beers that they are producing and I have worked with there sales staff throughout the years and they have always been top knotch.

 

Cheers!

Kalamazoo Beer Advocates: Bartender, Server, Beer Geek

The man himself

Phil Stressman is a bartender and a server at downtown Kalamazoo’s Central City Tap House. As a self-described beer geek, Phil has always been a great person to get beer advice and opinions from. Over the past year he has also tried his hand at homebrewing.

 I am in love with beer.  I have been for several years now.  And while I cannot pinpoint a specific experience or moment in time that began this love affair, I can attribute it, I think, to a certain dominant personality trait.  I am a serious geek.  Like, bought thousands of comic books, have a favorite Star Trek captain, can recite off-hand all the characters of Battlestar Galactica level-geek.  And if there’s one thing that unites all geeks, it’s an instinct to collect.  We share a magpie-like love of assembling and maintaining stockpiles of shiny, pretty, unique things and bits of knowledge relating to various categories of nerdy crap.  And so it was that when I turned twenty-one, I decided that I would buy and try a new six-pack of beer every week, until ran out of beers to acquire or pants that fit (you can guess which happened first).

 That was five years ago.  And while I don’t still follow my rule explicitly, I do still love to experience new beers.  The more unique or weird or challenging, the better.  So it should come as no small surprise to you that probably my favorite Michigan brewery is Shorts.  When it comes to experimenting with the limits of beer flavor, they boldly go where no brewery has gone before.  A key lime pie beer? Delicious. A bloody mary beer?  Amazing, especially with celery salt. A white russian flavored beer? Terrible. But dammit, somebody had to try.  On top of all that, Shorts produces what may be my favorite beer of all: Spruce Pilsner.  Crisp, resiny, grassy, piny, and refreshing, and above all, wholly unique.

 I’m young however, and have decades and wardrobes worth of beer drinking ahead of me, so it could be supplanted by something new and outlandish and delicious at any point in the future.  Because craft brewers are going to continue to push the limits of beer into strange new worlds, and I’m going to continue to collect and drink all the weird and wonderful beers I can find.

Have your own beer story?Let us know! Email it to Vitkin7@yahoo.com and we’ll put it up!

Cheers!

Beer and Food Pairing: A Feast for the Tastebuds

As the snow starts to linger around the ground longer, and the sun is only out for what seems like a few hours, it’s easy to start day dreaming of warmer days, and sitting outside in the sun. Sitting in the sun with a cold (but not too cold) and refreshing Hefeweizen. While in this dream land, you put your tall Bavarian glass down next to a plate of fresh peel’n’eat shrimp. Perfect. sigh.

Since we have the pleasure of living in Michigan, we obviously have quite a ways to go until that dream is realized. But it’s time to replace that image with the dream sitting inside near a crackling fire, and drinking a hearty Scotch Ale in between bites of a warm and comforting Beef Stew (and hey, make the beef stew WITH beer. Here’s a great recipe from Esquire Magazine), or even a nutty English-style Brown Ale with a sharp cheddar cheese.

Sure a beer on its own is great, but few things are as wonderful as eating a a great meal while washing it down with a complimenting beer, no matter what the season. Wine has traditionally been known as the food-pairing beverage, but as beer dinners and great craft beers become more prevalent, it’s obvious that malts and hops are catching up the the grapes.

A few rules of thumb from Beerutopia

  • Match strength with strength. Intensity of flavor may involve many aspects: alcoholic strength, malt character, hop bitterness, sweetness, richness, roastiness and so on.
  • Find harmonies. Combinations often work best when they share some common flavor or aroma elements.
  • Consider sweetness, bitterness, carbonation, heat (spice) and richness. Specific characteristics of food and beer interact with each other in predictable ways. Taking advantage of these interactions ensures that the food and beer will balance each other, each giving you a desire for a taste of the other.

For a VERY detailed approach to food and beer pairing, check out this chart created by Craftbeer.com

mmmm...too much information

Looking for a more “no brainer” approach to food and beer? Try any of these foods that are just screaming for a beer: Mussels, Burgers, Oysters on the half shell, Sausages, any well-made Cheese (don’t try it with anything that says “cheese flavored product”, something tells us it won’t be very good), Pretzels, Chocolate, Mashed Potatoes, any kind of thick/rich Soup or Stew, and Grilled Vegetables.

Lucky for us we have plenty of great restaurants in Kalamazoo that not only have great beer on tap, but offer great beer-pairing food as well. Do you have any favorite food/beer pairings?

Cheers!

Kalamazoo Beer Advocates: Home Brewer

Home Brewing -or- A Need to Know

The man himself

Scott Donovan, a local to Michigan that is connected to the craft beer game through both personal passions and profession, came to appreciate craft beer when he first toured Local Color Brewery in 1997.  During that visit he tried a fresh batch of scotch ale out of a tank, and describes having been hooked ever since.

Like many avid beer lovers that become home brewers, my first experience with home brewing was brought on by the need to know why beer tastes as it does. Part of the beauty of the effort is the way a recipe can be altered to achieve slightly, or tremendously different results.  I always enjoy changing recipes and making beers that suite my tastes. In my case, the more hops the better! Admittedly, I learned the hard way that brewing is all about keeping the equipment clean. It was a tough-love lesson, as I lost my second batch ever made to some funky bacteria.  (At least, that is my story.)

As a lover of craft beer, I feel particularly connected because I am surrounded by great breweries in Michigan that produce unique and innovative styles. I believe that brewing is one of the last true artisan professions that are in demand today, and I’m grateful to be part of the process that gets craft beer in the glass.

Think you have what it takes to take the reins of a deliciously brewed beverage? Want to learn more about homebrewing?

Cheers!

Beer Styles: All Your Friends Are Here

What’ll it be today?

What a loaded question. As any great beer lover (in the presence of a well-stocked bar) knows, that can be a tough question. Am I drinking to complement my food? To complement myself? Is it a Tuesday afternoon and the weather is mediocre so naturally I’m thirsty? Your next move will set up the rest of the day’s activities (choose well and you’ll have such a great time work will be awful tomorrow!).

Beer Nerds are such egg heads.

 

Well, lucky for us, beer comes in many different styles, and each style comes in lots of different brands and approaches, each with it’s own unique mouth-feel, taste, aroma, and experience. I was lucky enough to attend the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, CO this past October. I was even luckier to be at Session 3 during the Beer Style Awards Ceremony (sorry, but I had to do a little bragging about that). What’s interesting is that the way the Beer world has progressed and changed through the years, it is getting harder and harder to define and categorize beer styles (which, coincidentally, makes this competition harder each year to judge). Should brewers brew their beer specifically for a category? Or let their heart and tastebuds lead them into a totally new and unique “style” of beer.

While we could spend many a long night discussing the philosophies of each beer and their particular styles (and who knows? maybe we will, considering Kalamazoo Beer Week will be flooded with beer lovers from all over the State),  for now let’s get back to the basics.

Dunkels and Dubbels and Trippels, oh MY!

 

Beer-loving site “The Full Pint” (whose mission statement is “to provide you with craft beer news, and to provide all the craft brewers in the world with a place to share their news and product info. In this information age, we find it hard to believe people are going to pay money for yesterdays news, when they can get it today, for free on the Internet.” Amen to that!) has a great and full list of beer styles, complete with specific breweries and beers under each. Check it out HERE

What’s your favorite style of beer? Ours is anything made out of water!

Cheers!

Welcome!

With Kalamazoo Beer Week just around the corner, the KBW blog is underway! We are excited to share with you news of impending Kalamazoo Beer Week events, but also stories about Kalamazoo people that love craft beer.

In the coming weeks, you’ll read of area brewer’s efforts to develop, craft, and bring their fermented arts to market. You’ll hear about the love of beer from the world’s first Master Cicerone, and from those that sell it (and drink it!) in our area. These great testimonials to the craft beer movement are, without a doubt, from the mouths of the people that love it most.

Care to share your own craft beer story? We’d love it!

Comment on any of the articles you find here.

Or, submit your own “How I came to Love Craft Beer” story,                                         by emailing vitkin7@yahoo.com

 

Cheers!