Beer Education Series – How to drink/taste your beer properly!
It’s Beer Education Day, folks!
Every week (we aim for Thursdays, but sometimes the universe interferes) our Harbinger of Beer brings us beer facts, tips, and tricks to improve your craft beer drinking experience.
This week, she’s walking you through how to drink your beer.
Drinking might seem like a Duh! concept, but drinking for ultimate enjoyment takes just a little more time, enthusiasm, & effort.
So, let’s break it down into 4 easy steps:
1. LOOK at the beer in your glass. Notice the color of the beer, the head on the beer, the effervescence (bubbles).
2. SWIRL the beer in your glass. This fun motion agitates the ingredients in the beer, meaning all of that aroma and flavor from the hops and malt (and any extra ingredients) gets a little boost of energy.
3. SNIFF, that’s right, stick your nose into your beer glass and take a big ol’ sniff. All of that swirling you did should provide you with a satisfying olfactory experience. *Tip: try different kinds of sniffs! Don’t worry about looking silly! Remember, a majority of what we taste comes through our nose.
4. Finally, TASTE the beer in your glass. Don’t just swallow it! Hold the beer on your tongue for a few seconds and really savor the mouthfeel. Exhale as you swallow to really enjoy the flavor and aromas.
Not too complicated, right? It just takes a little intention and there you have it, a simple way to enjoy your next pint of beer a little more.
Does your drinking technique differ? Do you have a patented sniff? Let us know your thoughts and feelings on the subject in the comments below.
Cheers & happy beer adventures to ya!
Beards A-Z Series – “B” is for Bitters
It’s another week of Beards A-Z!
Each week Mary will be diving into her own beer knowledge as well as outside research to provide us Beards Enthusiasts with more craft beer trivia and knowledge.
So this week, we are tackling the letter ‘B!’
‘B’ is for bitters. Here’s what Mary has to say on the subject:
To the beer drinker, it is simply a style of beer with a bit of hop flavor. The style is broad and can vary in color, hops, and ABV. In almost all cases, the Bitter is an ale, a beer fermented at a higher temperature than their “cool” counterparts, the lagers.
Looking at it historically: At one time, a single style of beer in Britain was referred to as both a “pale” and “bitter” ale, the only difference being a pale ale came in a bottle and a bitter was served on draft. As time passed however, the two beer styles diverged and each developed their own style and characteristics.
The bitter is a beer with more hop “bite”, but a different kind of hoppy when compared to its cousin, the India Pale Ale. These two also differentiate themselves by the types of hops used. For example, an English bitter uses hops that have an earthy aroma and flavors of tea and spice. As compared to the IPA, which tends to use hops that play up citrus, pine, grapefruit, and resin.
Different kinds of Bitters:
Michael Jackson (the British beer guru, not the musician) noted that many breweries in the UK used to offer different levels of Bitter: Ordinary, Best, & Extra Special Bitter (ESB). Starting at Ordinary and moving to Best and finally ESB, the bitters get darker in color, heavier in ABV, and stronger in malt and hop additions. **Of course, it’s all “at the brewer’s discretion”**
Here at Beards, we have our autumn seasonal ESB ale, Silent Planet, which, as an ode to the origins of English bitters, is named for one of England’s infamous authors, C.S. Lewis. It’s made with a London Ale Yeast and the English Noble hop, which both give it a caramel-reddish color, medium maltiness, and tea-like aroma and bitterness.
What can we say, Team Beards is not only nerdy about beer–we like our books and short stories, too!
Have you enjoyed a Bitter before? Did you learn something new from this post? Give us your feedback below, and if you have further questions, please comment or email us at: email@example.com
***Check out our throwback pictures of Silent Planet from when we once canned it!
Beer Education Series – Imperial
Thursdays are for Beer Education!
Today, our Harbinger brings you another Beer Vocab word:
Much like “session” from last week, “imperial” is a term based mostly on the alcohol percentage and drinkability of a beer. But where “session” refers to lower ABV beers that have an easy drinkability, “imperial” mostly refers to higher ABV beers with amped up style characteristics.
Let’s look at some history!
“Imperial” came on the scene linked with the origination of the Russian Imperial Stout, which was a new beer style made in England in the 1700s specifically for Catherine the Great (and her imperial court), the illustrious Czarina of Russia at the time.
Even though this term has some centuries under its historical belt, it’s really the last 30 years that we’ve seen it used alongside a variety of beer styles. Indeed, “imperial” can be added to any existing beer style—for example, you can not only have Imperial Stouts, but also Imperial IPAs, Imperial Brown Ales, etc.
The common meaning behind “imperial” means that a beer style has a high ABV—usually 9% and above. It also tends to represent an amped up version of a beer style, i.e. Imperial IPAs have increased hop bitterness, stouts and browns have amped up malt characteristics, and so on and so forth.
Are these strict rules to using the term “imperial?” No way! This is a general term whose definition has broadened over the years. Use it as you will and look for it on beer cans and tap lists—compare how different breweries define the term.
Remember, we educate because we want you to have the best craft beer drinking experience! Knowledge and beer are fun compatriots!
Beards A-Z Series – “A” is for Abbey Beer
We are happy and excited to officially launch our weekly Beards A-Z featuring the hard work and fun talents of our Beards Storyteller, Mary Clinton, and Harbinger of Beer, Emily.
Each week Mary will be diving into her own beer knowledge as well as outside research to provide us Beards Enthusiasts with more craft beer trivia and knowledge. Remember, here at Beards we are all about expanding the Full Beards Experience–the more you know about the beer in your pint, the happier you’ll be, we say.
So, without further adieu, let’s kick things off at the beginning with the letter ‘A.’
‘A’ is for ABBEY BEER.
In the craft beer world, the Belgians are renowned for their beer and for the great variety of beers they brew. But hold on! Let’s not confuse Abbey beer with the infamous and centuries old Trappist beer. Among the most famous Belgian beers are the Trappist beers. Trappist beers are ales that are brewed by monks within their monastery. Example Trappist breweries: Westmalle, Orval, Chimay.
Abbey beers on the other hand, are those brewed outside of an abbey, but in the style of an abbey beer. They may have a historic connection to a brewery, but are typically true commercial enterprises. Some may even retain the name of the abbey that began the beer. In his 1997 book “The Classic Beers of Belgium” Christian Deglas identifies nearly three dozen abbey beer breweries in Belgium. The true Trappists breweries, on the other hand, are just a few in number (More on that when we get to ‘T’).
To summarize: Trappist beers are Abbey beers, but an abbey beer is not necessarily a Trappist beer, get it? The monks are important!
Does that make abbey breweries Trappist imposters? Heck no! The importance & tradition of brewing in the Trappist style has merely inspired Belgium and her residents to provide us with more amazingly-concocted beer! They may not have the Trappist title, but they have the respect.
In regards to connecting Belgium all the way to wee Beards Brewery in NoMi we can honestly say that Belgian beer styles have always been a part of inspiring and influencing our own brewing recipes and styles. And although we cannot call any of our beers Trappist or Abbey, we can refer to one of our core beers, Luna.
Luna is a Wheat Saison, which we have always referred to as a hybrid of an American Ale with a French/Belgian-inspired twist. The Saison style of beer originated in a French-speaking region of Belgium. What makes Luna a Saison is the yeast we use to ferment the beer, giving it the awesome aroma and flavor of citrus and cloves.
Thanks for tuning into Beards A-Z! If you want to know more about Abbey beers, give us a shout in the comments below. Mary and Emily are here to whet your appetite for beer knowledge–we aren’t experts by any means, but we have lots of enthusiasm and a penchant for research.
This week, go to your local craft bottle shop and poke around for some Trappist or Abbey beers! Compare them to American-style Belgian beers to see what you think. It’s fun to experiment & discover in the craft beer world (it usually involves drinking, Huzzah!).
Image below: Eduard Grutzner’s “The Connoisseur”
Beer Education Series – Session/Sessionable
Happy Beer Education Thursday!
This week we are featuring another beer vocab word:
SESSION or SESSIONABLE
Simply put, ‘session’ refers to the alcohol percentage & drinkability of a beer. Specifically, session style beers are below 5% and have easy drinkability.
Most commonly in the beer industry, we see ‘Session’ in front of IPA; in fact, Session IPAs were popular back when we didn’t quite know what a New England IPA even was.
Can other beer styles be considered sessionable?
In the craft beer world, ‘session’ is a term that helps label a beer ‘low gravity’ and ‘light.’ Here at Beards, our most popular Session beer is Oh! The Citranity!, a 5% IPA with citrusy hops & a balanced malt finish.
…But we have also made a Session Porter before—a roasty, malty beer with a 4.0% ABV for easy drinkability!
Do we call every beer we make under 5% a session style beer?
NOPE. Some beer styles just come in low percentage/gravity traditionally (example: Amber Ales).
Sometimes the label is necessary and sometimes it’s not! Know the term and use it to improve your drinking experience.
**Oh and thanks to our new animal ambassador friend, Amy the snake, for helping to promote this post! **
Beards A-Z – Meet Mary Clinton, our new Beards Storyteller & Historian
Saturday means it’s usually Staff Spotlight Saturday, but we are going to mix it up a bit by introducing not only one of our original Beards Enthusiasts, but also a new project here at Beards.
During the pandemic we have recognized that most of you have appreciated knowing more about the Beards brand and products, but also it’s team members, communities, travels, and core principles. We DO believe sharing is caring, so we thought this would be an excellent time to take that a step further.
So, without further adieu, we would like to introduce Mary Clinton, an original Beards supporter from our earliest days, who will be acting as our Beards Archivist and Storyteller. She’ll be partnering up with our Harbinger of Beer to provide fun Beards trivia, old stories, the facts, and perhaps also connections to what’s coming in beer communities in the future.
For now, here’s a bit about Mary:
Mary has lived in Petoskey since 2011, but before that she grew up in Southwest Michigan in the Wyoming/Kentwood suburbs. She grew her passion for beer alongside and thanks to her late husband, Fred (another pillar of the Beards community), who had been a beer aficionado dating back to the 1970s. We can totally vouch for their long standing dedication to beer–their international brewery t-shirt and bar flag collection is impressively filled out.
Mary has been a Beards Enthusiast since before day one, owing to the fact that her & Fred literally helped build the original Beards Brewery Pub 1.0 on Howard Street back in 2011. **Beards officially opened its doors in August 2012.
They were relative newcomers to the Petoskey community and eager for a local pub/brewery where they could enjoy a pint (or 2) with friends and family. They figured lending a hand would be a win-win for everyone and we are still forever grateful for their generosity and enthusiasm.
Mary is now a mostly retired attorney, and prefers to keep busy with volunteering, reading, practicing the ukulele, and helping Beards with marketing projects (thanks, Mary!). She says a lot of people tell her she’s pretty great at gardening, and we would have to agree with everyone–her gardens are beautiful!
Right now Mary says a song that reflects her current person and feelings is Dougie Maclean’s “Ready for the Storm.” Her favorite color is tie-dye (her & Fred’s tie dye collection is legendary). Mary does lean towards turquoise the most though.
For eating and drinking merriment, Mary enjoys Lebanese & Indian foods, usually paired with a dry red wine or an ESB/Saison style-beer. If she had a beer named after herself, it would be a Flemish Red and it would be called Duchesse Marie du Nord (inspired by Duchesse du Bourgogne).
Mary is most looking forward to reuniting with her ukulele-playing groups after this pandemic is over, and also just meeting up at Beards for a pint with some of her favorite people. She would also like to keep travelling–Alaska is the last state on her list to visit here in the US. Mary would also like to take the mail boat up the coast of Norway, which sounds like immeasurable fun!
We look forward to working and collaborating with you Mary! leave some love and/or questions for Mary in the comments below.
Beer Education Series – Effervescence
Happy Beer Education Thursday fine folk!
This week, we are going to introduce a newfangled thing: BEER VOCAB
Our Harbinger of Beer will be peppering in some fun new beer terms for you to try out and explore.
Today’s vocabulary word is EFFERVESCENCE.
According to the dictionary, effervescence simply refers to the foaming or fizzing that results from a gas being evolved from a solid or liquid…aka bubbles you see in liquid.
Heyo! Beer is totally a liquid and because of carbonation and fermentation, we know beer has lots of bubbles, hence…
***BEER IS EFFERVESCENT***
Bonus trivia: ‘Effervescence’ stems from the Latin word ‘fervere,’ which means ‘to boil.’ Neat, huh?
Next time you pour a beer into a glass, watch the bubbles that form and rise to the surface. Tip: if you film it on your phone using the slo-mo function, you can really see the bubble action! It’s pretty cool.
Beer Education Thursday is here for you to improve and increase your beer nerd-dom, so embrace it and share it with your friends.
Craft beer is all about trying and learning new things! Enjoy the journey & Cheers!
Beer Education Series – Glassware
This week’s beer education we are focusing on the shape of different beer glassware.
That’s right, the shape of the glass further affects and emphasizes aroma, flavor, mouthfeel, and appearance.
Some simple takeaways:
-Beer glasses have wide, smooth rims for a combined, simultaneous awesome sip & sniff experience
-IPA glasses traditionally have ridges at the bottom of the glass—these help aerate and punch up those hop characteristics
-Tulip glasses confirm one thing: the bigger the “bowl” of the glass, the better it holds and emphasizes the malty, robust, layered goodness of darker, heavier beers
-if you want to keep it simple, just remember this:
BEER IS BETTER POURED IN A GLASS (any glass).
Remember, we are here to ensure you have the best beer drinking experience.
Cheers & thanks for tuning in!
***If you’d like our Harbinger of Beer to cover a certain topic, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org ***
Shop Beards collection of glasses on our merch shop by clicking here
Beer Education Series – IPA
Today, our Harbinger of Beer is coming to you all about IPAs: the history, the style of beer, and what Beards has to offer.
To start, IPA stands for India Pale Ale.
How did it get that name though? Well, let’s take a jaunt back to the 19th century when merry olde England was expanding her worldly empire.
An island country, England has always been an empire built on shipping, aka using the seas to explore new lands and trade goods. Now, an important part of English culture was also their beer-drinking, and traditionally they were consuming & brewing dark beers like porters, browns, and stouts.
What they found was that these darker, heavier styles could not survive these new, longer sea voyages to new continents like India and Africa–the barrels would arrive sour and funky and just NOT GOOD.
So what to do? Well, they decided to throw a bunch of extra hops into lighter styles of beer to hopefully preserve aroma and flavor. And guess what? IT WORKED!
And thus a new beer style was created, although because of all the extra hops, it quickly became known for it’s bitter finish.
Today, the IPA has been the most popular category of beer for (at least) the last five years, and it has inspired new ways to brew them and experiment with them. So we have offshoots of the IPA like the New England IPA, Juicy IPAs, Red IPAs, Black IPAs, Session IPAs, Lifestyle IPAs, West Coast IPAs, and more!
What makes an IPA different from other styles of beer? All beers are made from the same 4 ingredients: water, grain, hops, and yeast.
Simply put, IPAs use a larger quantity of hops and different kinds of hops to denote flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel. With there being over 100 varieties of hops from all over the world, this means there are a lot of creative freedoms within the IPA style.
Here at Beards, we brew many different kinds of IPAs using lots of different hops!
Oh! The Citranity!–Session IPA made with Citra hops for a citrusy, piney flavor and aroma & balanced hop finish
Owlmadillo–IPA made with Mosaic & Amarillo hops for a tropical flavor and aroma and bitter hop finish
Copperstar Galactica–Fruit IPA made with Copper hops & pomegranate for a fruity front and mellow hop finish
Low! The Citranity!–Lifestyle IPA made with Citra hops and super low ABV for a big citrusy aroma and flavor, but balanced hop finish
Did you learn something new? Thanks for tuning in! Check out your beer cans to see what hops are in your IPAs! Ask your bartenders what they know about hops!
Remember, craft beer is a social experience (even if we have to do it safely and distantly for now).
Beer Education Series – Growlers
So today we are going to cover very simply how to clean and care for your growler.￼￼
1. Treat it like a giant pint glass, meaning rinse it with hot water and soap until all the suds are gone and your growler no longer smells like, well, beer.
2. Repeat if necessary!
3. Tip upside down carefully on a non-slippery surface so all moisture can drain and dry
4. An extra cleaning measure: soak your growler in hot water with a couple drops of bleach. It’s pandemic times, you might as well! Let dry completely before using.
DID YOU KNOW that if you look at the back of your Beards growler, it features a rather fun quote by Edgar Allen Poe?
Buy a Beards Growler: get awesomely delicious beer (or cider!) and also improve your literary prowess.
Huzzah! And cheers.
Beer Education Series – Beer Temperature
Today, Harbinger Emily is coming at you about beer & temperature: pouring, drinking, & storing. Beer & temperature are best buddies and the worst of enemies since the wrong temperature can severely affect how your beer tastes, smells, feels, and looks.
Remember, the point of all of this is to improve your craft experience! Also, it’s fun trivia to know and share to your beer-drinking mateys.
Now, we have fact-checked my info with the amazingly experienced and intelligent American Homebrewers Association, and they say beers should be served between 38-55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Did your minds just explode? What does that mean, though?! Unless you live in NoMi, there’s a huge difference between 38 and 55 degrees (heh, catch that joke there?)
Well, it means you have some wiggle room and personal choice. See, there are some beer styles that are traditionally poured colder (Ex: Lager) and then some that are poured warmer (Ex: English Stout). Usually, if you’re out at a bar or brewery, all of their draft lines run through the same cooler, hence making all the beers poured at the same temperature. Commonly, most bars/breweries are pouring their beer between 38-45 degrees F. Here at Beards, our coolers are set at 38 degrees!
But what if you’re not at a bar or brewery? How do you temperature responsibly on your own?
Well, most refrigerators are supposed to clock in at around 40 degrees F. This means if you’re keeping your beer in the fridge at home, you’re doing great, congratulations!
Should you keep beer in the freezer? Should you keep your beer mugs in the freezer? NO. NOPE. NOPITY NOPE. Don’t do it (I fight with my dad on this all the time). Chris Hengstebeck
First of all, your beer cans and bottles WILL FREEZE, and what happens when liquid freezes? It expands, and if there’s no space for it to expand, what happens? IT EXPLODES. So, sure, a few minutes in the freezer won’t hurt your beer, but don’t forget about it in there, lest you have a mess to clean up!
Now, how about the cool, refreshing frosty mug? NO. Pouring a delicious beer into a frosty mug automatically renders that beer: tasteless, odorless, carbonation-less, etc. It also amps up bitterness and dryness, the horror!
So what about when you buy cold beer at the store but won’t be drinking it all in one sitting? Does it need to go in the fridge in order to survive? Will the beer gods from wherever come over and punish you for not maintaining proper temperature?
No way, don’t sweat it. That beer you bought cold doesn’t need to be immediately stored cold in order to maintain quality. Sure, you might not want to forget about it for an entire month or so, but it’ll be ok, we promise.
A basic rule of thumb for storing beer: no extremes! Don’t freeze it and don’t put it in the direct sun (or I guess in an oven, but why would you do that anyway?).
Lessons learned: Store your super-cool glassware in a room-temp cupboard, don’t play extreme temperature changes with your beer at home, say no to frosty mugs at bars, trust your fridge, and drink up mateys! Cheers.
Beards Blog - Archive
A Month of Giving
Starting at the first of September, Beards Brewery in Petoskey has dedicated itself to giving back to the community in more way than one.
Actually starting at its 5 Year Anniversary Party, Beards is hosting a food drive to help The Manna Food Project, a local food bank.
Now, through the month of September, Beards Brewery, is asking for help collecting non-perishable food donations to send directly to Manna. The brewery will also collect monetary donations which will be directly given to the food bank to help purchase food items.
Extending past the local community, Beards is also participating in Hops Against Hunger this year.
Hops Against Hunger is a coalition of Michigan breweries, restaurants, and good-hearted beer geeks working together to solve hunger in our state by donating to food pantries throughout Michigan.
This year, other breweries participating include Arcadia Ales, Burnt Marshmallow Brewing, Ellison Brewery and Spirits, Hop Cat, Ore Dock many more.
In response to the event, Beards will be serving Copperstar Galactica, an IPA made with local Michigan Copper hops grown in Williamsburg by MI Local Hops, from Sept. 22-24. Every glass sold will help raise money towards the cause and for every 10 o.z. sold, Beards and MI Local Hops will both donate 50 cents and $1 for every 20 oz. sold.
While Beards is passionate about craft it is also passionate about its patrons and the state it calls home. Come in and share a glass with us while knowing that beer you’re drinking is helping local families.
Independent Craft Beer
Recently Beards Brewery received its independent craft brewer seal from the Brewers Association. This seal helps enthusiasts to easily differentiate beer from craft brewers and beer produced by non-craft companies.
“In Michigan, almost everyone is an independent craft brewery with few partners for larger breweries. On the national scale though, it gets much muddier as the mega brewers keep buying breweries or releasing their own brands they try to market as craft,” said Ben Slocum, co-owner of Beards.
“Like I said, breweries like Short’s, Bells or Beards, we’re all ourselves. Brands like Blue Moon and Shock Top were created by MillerCoors and AB Inbev to appear crafty. Others like Lagunitas and Goose Island sold to big beer. Here at Beards, we’re about the beer. Always have been; always will,” he said.
Adding to this, Peter Manthei, co-owner, said that, “…there are a lot of people who don’t take the time to care, but I think our core consumers want transparency. They really want to know who has sold out and who is still owned independently.”
“I believe this will help in the years to come as people learn what this seal means. I also think, with the average consumer, it’ll reinforce that they are glad they stopped in. A lot of people have a sense that they want to help the under dog and, in some ways, that’s who we are,” Manthei said.
Aside from the seal showing independence as true craft brewery, the seal can also help the brewery reach out to new markets through the state.
“When I tell people out there who we are, I have always told them we are an independent, local brewery born out of Petoskey by two Petoskey natives” said Emily Hengstebeck, head of sales. “It’s nice to have the label but we have always been what the label defines us as.”
Hengstebeck also added that being independent also means we have a small and mighty community behind the brewery.
“Our community knows our beers and our brand as well as our staff and are shamelessly biased about our beer. hey let us know what we’re doing wrong, and are the first to praise us when we succeed. In this aspect, our community is our best salesman,” she said.
To engage one more step further with the customers, inside the brewery all of the staff will be briefed about what the seal means for them and the brewery.
Kathleen Chimko, general manager, said that she will be telling the staff what it truly means being an independent craft brewery.
“I will be sure to go over this with our staff. I foresee it becoming typical table conversation between Beardstenders and our customers,” she said.
“I think it sets us aside from other breweries that have sold out. We don’t have a large corporation pulling the puppet strings on our decisions of quality and craft for our beer and food.”
The bittersweet has finally come. Our final party at the old pub was smashing and we begin the march down the street to the new location. We will be closed until the end of May; prepare yourself, because we will be back in style!
If you appreciate a good view; then you’re going to love our new location. The last few weeks while pub-tending I was chatting with a few different patrons. One thing each mentioned was the scenery we will have from the massive lake-front windows at the new place. They would be correct in assessing the new location as prime. We are so excited to have that SUNSHINE pouring into the pub while you, our guests, enjoy a nice cold pint.
If you’ve been living up North for the winter then you know how I feel when I say the sun will be pouring in. With sunshine everything is cheerier; you can hear the birds singing; you have hope again; it’s like a small miracle really.
Oh, how sunshine helps to brighten ones mood. It’s funny too how it affects the desire for a beer. When it’s nice out the idea of having a beer overlooking the bay is a hard one to beat. If you’re in the mood to be outdoors you can grab a growler or some cans to enjoy around a campfire or or on a hiking trip or just in the back yard. The options are plentiful when the sun is around!
Personally I find that the sunshine gives me a craving for a nice hoppy beer. Something with complexity and intrigue, multifaceted if you will. We have plenty of those types at Beards, along with a variety of other beers. So if an IPA isn’t your forte, don’t worry. We’ve got your style!
What I am most looking forward to at the new location is the view with the sunshine. Some other things that we can look forward to are: the availability of delicious food to go with your beer; maybe it’ll be the space for you to enjoy that beer in; maybe it’ll be the games or the new performing area; or maybe something else entirely. What will you be looking forward to?
Changing Our View
Big changes are coming our way… but they aren’t here yet. It’s exciting and thanks to the internet we can see all of you, our beer friends, around are excited too. It’s tough to wait. What do we do while we anticipate what is coming? The anticipation for the unveiling of the new pub this Spring is almost palpable, almost. I bet if you sat back for a minute and visualized yourself sipping your favorite Beards beer you would get close to imagining the actual flavor. Now if you try to imagine yourself sipping that beer in our new pub, you’d probably be at a loss as to what your surroundings would be. This is part of the excitement, not knowing what the place will look like. True, we hope to keep the atmosphere the same but the rest, who knows (except for the people who have seen the blueprints of course.)
As I thought about this, I realized we do it every year. We wait. Wait for Spring then wait for Summer and Fall and for the rare few, we wait for Winter. We have a built in waiting test each year. I think it’s good for us to have this time frame set to keep us in check. It’s not the best when we get what we want right when we want it. At the least it can teach us patience and really help us to appreciate what we do have. So my point is, enjoy today, plan for tomorrow but don’t worry about it beforehand.
So appreciate this time while we are still setting up the new location. Stop by the pub that is about to become a memory and sip on some Beards craft beer. Walk down that long hallway of memories into the pub we all know and love. Check out some of Beards history on the way. Take in the artwork gracing the walls and let the ambiance surround you. Grab a delicious taco from Happy’s to go with your Beards beer. If your brain is still kicking after the workday grab one of our games and have a go. If the day has been tough, “rock ‘em sock ‘em robots” is pretty easy; you can blow off steam while drinking your craft brew. Enjoy today while things are the way they are and in a couple months it’ll all be different again. Have fun in the moment, plan for the future and remember …don’t worry, grab a pint and some perspective.
See you at the pub.
It’s a new year and for Beards that means a new location is on its way! If you are at all curious you’re probably wondering about some details. Well, I tried to scrounge some up for you here. I got Ben and Pete, the co-owners and founders, to give me some insight to pass onto you. Get some sneak peeks into the beer, the construction and fun to come! Hold onto your seats because 2017 is going to be a spectacular year for Beards Brewery…
What has you the most excited for this coming year?
For us the most exciting change for 2017 will be the new pub. While we love where we’ve been with our original space we outgrew it a long time ago. Pub 2.0 will be something we’ve had our minds set towards since the beginning, a 50 year pub where we can have a home forever.
Are there any specific inspirations that have really helped you design the new building?
Ben’s insight: The new space is inspired by Petoskey. This is where I was born and raised. I’ve traveled throughout the U.S. and five continents, and in the end this is where I want to be. There’s no where that had everything Petoskey is, and that’s why I chose to come back and live here. The pub is a reflection
Pete’s insight: Pub 2.0, or Beardcaps as some of us have lovingly called it, relies heavy on the inspiration of what we did with our original pub. The original pub inspiration came from design elements Ben and I found enjoyable and things we were capable of doing, as we did much of the work. At 2.0, we want to amp that up to the next level and do things we wanted to have in our first space but weren’t able to for various reasons.
Has the ground breaking begun?
We’re planning on starting demolition soon. We want to get started as soon as we can, but with licensing and other small hurdles we wanted to make sure we had all ducks in a row before starting.
When do you foresee the building being ready to open?
Our goal is to open the pub in late April and the patio in June. That is contingent on licensing of course, and we have to get both state and federal approval on that.
What kind of food fare do you plan to serve?
With food we’re aiming towards “expected food in unexpected ways”. Pizzas, burgers, fries, wings; items that go great with craft beer, but with creative twists. We make solid, quality beers, but we also do creative twists on ales, so the food will be similar in execution.
Why is this move so critical to Beards?
Ben’s why: The move is critical as we’ve simply outgrown our space. There are times we’re quiet as we aren’t able to offer a full menu, so the restaurant will help with that, but we have plenty of times when the pub is standing room only. 2.0 will give us the room to spread out.
Pete’s why: We are in our 5th year of operation, and we’ll be celebrating that in August. However, we have become extremely limited by what we can do with our existing pub. Our pub is a place to captivate and culture art and artists. We need more space to show off food, to show off visual arts and to develop our own craft of brewing and take it to the next level. Pub. 2.0 will give us that. We also need a place people can find, and with 2.0 we have that.
What do you hope to see in the future development of Beards?
Pete’s view: From the start, Ben and I wanted to create a place for locals, because that’s who we are, and we wanted the type of place we would enjoy hanging out. I think as the brewery grows, we don’t ever want to lose sight of that. So for the future, I hope we can continue to bring a unique, comfortable and warm feel to our pub for our regulars even as we bring Beards to the far reaches of this planet and beyond.
Ben’s view: Our future is great beer and great food with an emphasis on Petoskey.
There you have it folks, cheers to 2017! See you at the pub.
Huzzah for winter!
I recently heard it said that December is the Friday of months. Seems to be a good descriptor for this month of holiday time. Many people look forward to it because it means it’s time to party and enjoy our families! To me, it means family time: we eat, drink, and be merry. When I look back over the years of this holiday time I think of all these fond memories. Like the time my siblings and I “borrowed” a tree; or when I anxiously waited for my sister and now fiancée to arrive from Spain when I lived overseas; the time I played cranium with my cousins for endless hours; and when I made our whole family gingerbread man cookies and had us stand outside the most gingerbread-looking house I could find to eat them. Oh, the memories! When you stop to think about your own memories I hope you find it a warm experience as well, or at least humorous.
This year this season means a lot of Mexican food and beer for me. It also means my family is all together for the first time in years, which is very exciting! I have so much to be thankful for and this whole season reminds me of that. If really started back in the Fall with its culmination up to the New Year, thankfulness and bright spirits that is.
Wintertime means we get that chance to walk out of the blanket of white snow into a warm home where the hearth is blazing, or forced air is heating, or some kind of heat is happening. What a great feeling! When greeted by the smell of freshly baked bread, prime rib, roasted veggies and upon closer inspection, sighting that delicious glass of Beards beer just for you, what joy! Sitting down and enjoying that stout or porter or IPA or whatever strikes your fancy, and taking a load off…that’s holiday time. And you really can’t beat getting to share that beer with the people you care about over a lighthearted conversation of memories gone by and dreams yet to be filled.
Anyhow, I’m hoping you too have lots to look forward to in this season. We are excited to be hosting live music at the pub. So come on in and grab some local food, great beer, and check out the giving tree for Toys for Tots. You can help a child in need enjoy the season while you are out enjoying the season! At Beards we want everyone to be able to join in the community and share the joy this holiday.
That Beards beer, that steak, that pie, the memories I’ve shared over a pint or two each passing year in this season, make the rest of the months even more enjoyable. All one has to do is stop and taste the beer and remember the Friday of months is coming. Remember whatever month it is, it too, is a good month to enjoy! Cheers this season!
My preferred beer styles
Today I’ve decided to write about all the different styles of beer in the world. OK, maybe not ALL of them, but at least some of my favorites.
One of these styles would be the American Stout. Especially at this time of year, I can think of few beers that would be better. A Stout is a coffee and chocolate, and sometimes caramel, (dark malt) forward ale. I do enjoy some good dark chocolate and that coffee, YUMM. What a great idea for a beer style, thanks to whomever came up with this one!
A stout also has a hoppy aroma and touch of hop flavor, usually from a more citrusy hop. American Stouts are bold with a distinctive dry roasted bitterness at the end. That description just reminds me of the fall and winter months, especially up here in snow country. Makes me all excited to sit down with a nice stout, maybe in front of a fireplace and really enjoy the elements. Honestly, I can’t wait for some of our Beardly stouts to get back on tap! But the waiting and anticipating makes the actual first sip so much sweeter though.
Often oatmeal is added to a stout in order to create a smoother and more full mouth-feel. In the wintertime that fullness really makes a difference. This style is usually darker in color, the IBUs (international bitterness unit’s) are typically mid to high range, and the ABV (alcohol by volume) is typically mid to high range as well.
Another great style of beer would be Wood or Barrel Aged. This can apply to multiple different beers as any beer can be placed in a barrel and aged. Pretty simple explanation, but when it is done right it creates a complex and delightful flavor. If it’s a whiskey barrel, I’m all over that. We recently made and consumed Beards Barrel Aged Serendipity Porter, our 4th Anniversary celebratory beer (which was back in the summer) and it was a hit! The beer is aged in the wood barrel in order to soak up the flavors of the wood and what was previously in the barrel. Barrel aged can vary in all aspects so this is all the detail I’ll add for now.
One last style I will cover is an American IPA (India Pale Ale). This snazzy little style is characterized by the hop character, it could be citrusy, piney, fruity, floral, or resinous in character. One of my favorites and America’s too, as it is the top income earner for craft beers. The color is typically pale (hope you guessed that) but can get ambery as well. The IBUs are high to very high and the ABV is in the mid to high range. This beer can also be malt-forward with a wide range of flavors. I know that it is certainly a very refreshing drink after a hard days work.
No matter your style these beers have one thing in common, they are craft and here at Beards we brew them all–well, we brew quite a few of them, and we’re working on the rest.
There are so many different styles that would take entirely too much time to explain them all. Good news though, for the super curious you can look up different styles online and therefore negate the need for me to cover all. An excellent resource to look into is the Brewers Association website: https://www.brewersassociation.org/resources/brewers-association-beer-style-guidelines/
Tales of a brewing newbie, part II
Hello again, both veteran and first-time readers! I’m back (Nichole, remember?) and I’m here to give you the simple-ish outline of the beer-making process. So, without further adieu……
To begin, we have to put our measured and combined grains into the mash tun. What is a mash tun you ask, well, apparently tun is a fancy word for tank. So we are working with a tank where we put the mash, or grains that create the beer. Fancy schmancy. This is the tank next in line after the hot liquor tank (HLT). To me all the tanks look the same so these special names threw me off for a bit. Thankfully Justin cleared that up. The HLT first is set to heat up the strike water (water being heated up) which is then transferred to the mash tun. Another thing, the liquor we are referring to here is really just hot water; it has to be called something or else it can get confusing or just sound less cool. The tank has to be heated to around 150-152 degrees fahrenheit in order to activate the enzymes to breakdown complex sugars in the grain. The heat helps the yeast (which will be added in a few steps) eat the simple sugars. Justin said there are a ton more scientific terms and details to all of this but it depends how far one wants to go. I stopped him from really going into detail so I could retain at least some thread of understanding before more terms got dumped on me.
After all those previous steps we just covered we have now created a base malt, this is where most of the fermentable sugars come from. The base malt in this case is a barley called Brewer’s Malt. There are over five malts in this particular beer, Peach Fuzz. They were weighed out and combined the evening prior to make this process slightly faster. The malts are not all for flavor, take the oats for example, they are in there to really produce smoother body and mouthfeel for the beer. This soaking process also allows the grain and water to balance each other somehow. During the soaking Justin would open the mash tun, which smelled delightful. He’d stir the mash with the mash paddle, which looks like a small version of a paddle (but would be no good out on the water because there are holes in it). The grains soak in this water to develop the sugars that will later feed the yeast so it can turn into alcohol. After the mash soaks for an hour it’s ready to move. This whole process is called mashing in.
The next step is lautering. This is where all the grain is separated from the liquid and that liquid is now called wort. It is then moved over to the next tank which is called a kettle.
Hops are then added in the kettle. The alpha acid of the hops creates either bitterness or flavor and aroma during the boil process in the kettle. Knockout comes when the kettle is hot and the wort is cooled so the yeast can be added. Once the wort is cooled from its stint in the kettle it is moved to the fermenter where the yeast can be added. The yeast is alive and goes crazy eating all the sugars that were created in the process up to now; then once the yeast has had it’s party it settles down and out in the fermenter. The wort has at this magical moment changed into beer!
From the fermenter the beer is crashed (cooled) to help the yeast settle and sent to the bright tank. The bright tank is a cooled tank that allows the beer to settle (this allows the sediment of hops, yeast, and grain particles to fall out of the liquid to the bottom of the tank) and be carbonated. After the beer has sat in the bright tank it is ready to keg. The amount of beer that came from the one barrel (about 31 gallon) system we have at the Petoskey location of Beards will fill two kegs. Once the beer is kegged we do it all again, it’s more like a cycle that can take from a few weeks to a few months to complete one round.
So basically here is our review: 1. We put the water in the HLT (Hot Liquor Tank) 2. Then that water goes on to mix with the grains in the Mash Tun 3. We put the hops into the Kettle 4. The yeast then goes into the Fermenter 5. Then we fill the Bright Tank with CO 2 6. Finally, we have beer to fill the keg! We then enjoy that beer, of course.
We learned that there are a lot of tanks and terms and things with special names and good brewers that are required to make a great beer. I am very glad we have brewers who knows what they are doing here at Beards. I learned quite a bit by being able to share this with you, so thanks. I hope you feel somewhat more educated after reading this!
Tales of a brewing newbie
Hi, my name is Nichole. I like beer. I like other things as well, but for now we’ll stick with the basics. I recently moved back to Petoskey (I am a native) and the logical progression of my taste for beer and need to make money lead me to work at Beards. It is a job I actually enjoy and since I plan to stick around for quite awhile I decided I should get a beerducation. I know little about craft beer, other than the fact that I really enjoy drinking it. This made me realize that you too may be interested in learning along with me. So, I am writing this blog for those who know little about beer making, but want to know a lot more, even if it is just for the sake of being that much more knowledgeable about beer.
For those of you who already know your beer and the whole process, perhaps you’ll remember your own introduction into craft. You’ll remember the discovery, creation, triumph, and ALL of the stupid mistakes. Please do feel free to read and be mildly entertained by my own elementary beerducation.
Where: Beards Brew Pub – Downtown Petoskey (Yes, we do brew beer at this location.)
When: 8:30 am – A random brew day
Who: The Newb (me!) interviewing Justin Koziol, Head Brewer Extraordinaire.
Why: Because I need to get educated on the art of making delicious beer, and also, getting paid is nice.
For the next few blogs, I’ll be providing my first-person experiences working at Beards Brewery. To start things off, here is a verrrry scientific sounding overview (a conglomeration of online facts and Justin’s wisdom): Beer making entails creating a series of biochemical reactions in order to convert barley to fermentable sugars which then allows the yeast to thrive and thus convert the barley sugars to alcohol. If those terms went over your head, don’t worry, they went over mine too so I will explain them in better detail as you read. All is not lost!
Stay tuned next time for ::::wait for it:::: THE BEER-MAKING PROCESS!
Changing our view
A note from one of our fierce leaders, Ben Slocum:
Four years ago we opened Beards Brewery. I had graduated from NMU only a few months prior, spending that last semester commuting home weekends to build out our space. We raised what funds we could, used remaining student loans and credit cards, and somehow were able to open. It’s been a long four years, yet they’ve oddly flown by. Half the time the brewery is packed and overflowing with no space for more guests. The other half we’re dead as we’ve never had the space and resources to pull off a full menu. We’ve struggled to keep taps flowing with too little space to brew, even after starting every summer without space in the cooler for any more beer. Our brew room has doubled as a space for Happy’s when we aren’t running brewing operations. The winters have been cold as there’s no heat in the long hall back here, the summers have been sweltering as the sky lights bake the pub. We’ve tried to make it work as long as we could, but we’ve reached the point where it no longer works. Four years, and this will be our last anniversary here. We’re going to wind up operations around April 2017, and put the pub to bed. 207 Howard Street has been our second home, as well as many of yours, for the last four years. We’re going to continue to brew in Charlevoix where we’ve been doing our mainline beers for distribution, but we won’t be serving them here.
Downtown Petoskey is where we have grown. Where many of you have brought your families to enjoy not only beer, but also the games that you grew up on–I’m talking to you, Rock ’em sock’em Robots. So, it was very hard for Peter and I to come to the decision to close the Pub on Howard and we hope that you all understand.
However, the good news is that you will still be able to enjoy those beers and those games as well as a full menu at 215 East Lake Street beginning April 2017. Our current pub has been a start. It’s what we could scrape together to begin. Now it’s time to take the next step. We’re changing our view with a bigger venue, a more complete space, and we’ll be able to do what we’ve been aiming at from the beginning: build a 50 year brewery that will be here as long as we will. Petoskey is our home, and it’s time for that next step.
Cheers to craft!
Craft is a word that applies to not just beer.
Being a part of the craft industry is more than great people using great ingredients to make great beer. It means being connected to everything around us. If we could paint lines from our pub to all of the people, places, and things we touch, it would look like a giant web of awesome.
Whether or not beer is at the center of that, who knows; but I do know this: craft is a community. We embrace all trades because working together is way cool and mutually symbiotic (I like to drop some of my elementary school science knowledge where I can), meaning, we feed each other’s successes.
Petoskey is home to many different types of craft—music, art, food, beverages, theatre, architecture, etcetera—and as a result, our patrons, staff, family, and friends are pretty crafty people. And because they make us so happy by drinking our beer, we like to give back by embracing their craft in return.
Whether we do that by hosting monthly Open Mic Nights, pouring beer at community festivals, or holding art contests, we hope to do our part in giving back to those who help us achieve our dreams.
Sure, it sounds a bit corny, but corny makes me happy. I don’t know about you, but our work is our passion and I feel lucky to be working in one of the friendliest, most driven industries I know. And I wish this happiness on everyone.
Way before Beards was a tangible reality, craft was influencing its inevitable inception in many ways. Our owners, Ben Slocum and Peter Manthei, have always had a love for broken-down processes. For Peter it was coffee, blending his writing with music, and computer programming and coding. For Ben it was food, food, and oh yea, rallying (racing fast, modified cars on public/private roads in all weather across all terrains). They are both the type of person to do things meticulously and well, while also experimenting and challenging themselves to do something new.
This translated into homebrewing pretty seamlessly. Those sessions in the garage, discussing recipes and experimenting with ingredients grew in tandem with their passion for craft, and that, my friends, is how Beards began.
But Ben and Peter definitely had some help along the way. One of my favorite anecdotes dates back to when Ben and Peter were building the pub—literally, building the pub. They were both working on projects and noticed a gentleman had come in, tool belt all ready to go, and had picked up a paint roller.
They both were thinking:
—“oh, Peter has a friend helping out—nice.”
—“oh, Ben has a friend helping out—nice.”
And that quickly turned into the realization that neither of them knew who this random guy was! Was he a friend? A foe? Some weirdo with a paint fetish?
Well, they asked him, and it turns out, he just wanted to get the brewery up and running as soon as possible because–hah–he and his wife wanted some good beer in the neighborhood! And he said, if he had to come in and the help them build it to get the beer that much sooner, so be it.
That lovely gentleman and his lovely wife are Fred and Mary Clinton, and they are our original regulars here at Beards.
This kind of freely-given support still shocks me, but in our up north community it’s how we operate. So when we have the opportunity to lend a hand, consider it lended.
This has applied to art since we opened back in 2012. Starting with pieces from Ben and Peter’s personal art collections, they then started reaching out to others. We’ve always been open to featuring local artists’ works, offering them a free and welcoming space to display their passions. This summer we are doing a monthly rotation of local artists’ portfolios. And since the summer season is marked by many tourists and travelers, we not only give them exposure, but also possible sales.
Our featured artist this month is Avery Bennett, but he goes by Ave and hails from our neighboring community of Boyne City. He features oil paintings in the pub right now—a series of hands in the act of planting and harvesting. The colors are bright, the shapes are geometric, and the subject matter reflects the beautiful land and produce Michigan provides.
He has been developing his passion for art since Kindergarten after an attentive teacher took note of his interest and talent. Since then he has blended his art with his creative inspirations—many of which involve his family and friends.
Beards is one of Ave’s regular beer spots (his favorite, probably) and he favors our pub for its comfortable atmosphere and friendly faces.
So when we say we are “passionate about beer,” what we really mean is we are “passionate about craft.”
Dearest Upper Peninsula, We Love You, Sincerely, Beards
I’m going to go ahead and admit something that I don’t think one is supposed to admit in front of people, much less in print where it can be recorded forever.
We looooooooove the UP. In fact, they may be our favorites. Well, today, they are our favorites. And in all truth, every restaurant, taproom, bottleshop and mom & pop store we are featured in, is totally special in their own way.
Corny, I know, but it’s true; and that is why Michigan is so fantastic.
To give you a little background on our relationship with the Upper Peninsula, we have to rewind the timeline a little. One of our dedicated owners, Ben Slocum, years ago, decided to attend Northern Michigan University. Marquette became not only his favorite place to buy pasties (Jean Kay’s for the win), but it was also the time he began coordinating with his partner and friend, Peter Manthei (who, coincidentally, was attending college in California at the time) on the idea of starting a brewery in their hometown of Petoskey. This turned into countless trips back and forth between Marquette and Petoskey for Ben, while he was juggling a full load of classes. And in 2012, after tons of undeniably hard work, we opened.
And three years later when we started distributing our beer, we knew we had to take it to Marquette. We are all fond of the UP for many reasons, and every time we venture up there, we are nicely surprised by our experiences and by how many new things we learn.
For example, the residents never fail to remind us that Petoskey is NOT “up north Michigan,” and hey, we get it. We respect it, because, dearest friends, you are indeed the REAL Up North. You win the award for northiest north. We are humbled in your gloriously north presence.
The drive through the UP can either be the most majestic experience ever, or the most terrifying. I have personally experienced both, and it reminds me just how vast of a wilderness exists up here. It makes me think of survival and determination, and oh gosh, I hope I remembered to put toilet paper in my emergency winter car kit.
The UP wants to be appreciated, and sometimes, that means you have to work for it. But that moment that you arrive at your destination, say downtown Marquette or the great town of Munising, it makes every trial, tribulation and challenge, all worth it. Because right after the UP beats you up a little, it hands you a beer and slaps you on the back in warmth and welcome.
Most recently, Beards Brewery went to Gwinn. And you know what? Gwinn was glorious! We made a sharp left turn on our way to Marquette and found ourselves happily lost down the windy backroads, surrounded by lots of blossoming green and absolutely no other human beings.
When we finally made it to our destination, The Up North Lodge, we found where everyone had been hiding. What a neat place! True to its name, it was just like a giant, up north Michigan lodge—a cozy, welcoming meeting place for both locals and visitors. Super-spacious inside, with tall ceilings and lots of wood accents. Outside was a huge green space featuring tables, a lawn for running around, and a sound stage for music.
Our afternoon/evening there was a quintessential summer day in Michigan. The sun was shining, people had cold beers in their hands (and it was our beer—bonus), and a great band was dishing out catchy tunes.
As I walked around introducing myself to everyone while shamelessly plugging Beards beer, I was progressively more and more pleased to experience such a kind response. I met many local Gwinn residents who jumped right in and talked to me about their beautiful town. They not only drank my beer, they invited me to sit and talk and laugh and enjoy the day with them.
And let me tell you, it’s a treat to have our beer welcomed into the community, but it is truly an honor to be welcomed as a person into the community. I will think fondly on Gwinn into the future, and it will be my pleasure to keep them in Beards beer as long as they want.
Cheers to the UP!
Hello and welcome!
Well, Hello there!
Welcome to the very distinguished yet totally casual Beards Brewery blog. We are currently trying to find something way cooler to call it, but for now we are all going to suffer the phonetically obnoxious “blog.”
The team here at Beards has been diligently working to bring you, our Beards enthusiasts, quality beer and service since 2012. And since the focus has been on THOSE things, we think we might be overdue in looking back at our humble beginnings (we are STILL humble, but we swagger occasionally now).
Anyways, now that we have dedicated minions to do our work for us (hah!), we can sit back and chat a bit—answer shameless questions about our pasts, create visually stunning descriptions of our origins, and entertain you with sordid and not-so-sordid tales of our present and future.
Here at Beards, we are passionate about craft, and our story started back in…well, it started when Ben Slocum and Peter Manthei were much younger and had thought about what they wanted to be when they grew up. Ben, in true Benjamin Slocum fashion, wanted to do everything—become a chef, a racecar driver, a fireman—and he did, by the way. He is all of those things PLUS a newly certified EMT AND the very active co-owner of the brewery. Peter, coming from a traditional, business-oriented family, knew he wanted to open something of his own. When he was younger, it was an intergalactic space company. Today, it’s Beards Brewery.
Both of our leaders are the heads of our family, and they play the roles of mum and dad quite swell (we debate who plays who, and it’s usually decided by who’s bickering more). Our team is small, but mighty, and we work hard to bring you the quality and balance you deserve in your beer-drinking experience.
We have steadily grown and evolved since opening back in 2012, but this year marks quite an exciting time in our Beardly lives. With our fancy new 15 bbl production facility, we can now start to spread the good beer of Beards across the state. Adding canning to the mix, you can also find us at local northern shops! Huzzah!
With all of these neat happenings happening, you should probably keep tabs on us. And because we care most about you, we want to know all about your Beards experience. So join us in our new campaign—Where do you Beards?—and join in on the adventure!