Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Local Brewing Collaboration Celebrates Local Hop Growers and Maltsters

Written by  Paul Starr
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HBC Howebrew Conference article

A unique collaboration between local homebrewers, commercial brewers, hop growers and maltsters has taken shape for the 2014 National Homebrewers Conference (“NHC”) being held June 12 – 14 at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids. The effort, dubbed the MiIPA Series, involves a series of both homebrewed and commercially brewed India Pale Ale style beers, made especially for NHC, that use 100% Michigan grown malt and hops.
The MiIPA Series is the brainchild of Nick Rodammer and Phil Pierce, who are both board members of the Grand Rapids based Brewsquitos Homebrewing Club.

“NHC is the nation’s largest homebrewing event, and we felt there was no better way to celebrate it coming to Beer City USA than by collaborating with some fantastic local companies who offer high quality Michigan made ingredients” stated Rodammer.

The ingredients for the MiIPA Series were supplied by local maltster Pilot Malt House of Jenison, who provided Michigan grown and malted barley and wheat, and the Michigan Hop Alliance (“MHA”), a collective of hop growers in Northern Michigan, who provided seven different varieties of Michigan grown hops.

The MiIPA Series will coincide with “Farm to Glass: Brewing With Local Ingredients”, one of the more than fifty seminars being presented at the conference. The seminar will be led by Rodammer plus co-presenters Erik May, President of Pilot Malt House, and Brian Tennis, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the MHA. The seminar will focus on the growing trend of sourcing brewing ingredients locally, and will highlight its emergence not only in Michigan, but in several others states around the country.

The eight different homebrewed versions of MiIPA made by the Brewsquitos will be served at the NHC’s popular Club Night event, where homebrew clubs from around the country will serve their beer to the conference’s more than 3,000 attendees. For those not able to attend the conference, local Grand Rapids based brewpub Mitten Brewing Co., which also took part in the collaborative effort, will release its own commercially brewed version of MiIPA to the public during the week of NHC.

Rodammer stated that a nationwide survey of brewers conducted for the seminar at NHC showed that most of the responding breweries look to use locally sourced products as frequently as possible, and that their customers look for them to do so as well.

Michigan Hop Alliance

The Michigan Hop Alliance is a group of Michigan growers working together to produce high quality sustainably grown hops, as well as growing and selling hop plants. The MHA’s member growers share the benefits of knowledge sharing and equipment availability.

Pilot Malt House

Pilot Malt House, based in Jenison, MI, is West Michigan’s leading craft malt producer for local breweries, distilleries and homebrew shops.

Mitten Brewing Company

The Mitten Brewing Co. opened in October 2012 as a vintage baseball-themed microbrewery in Grand Rapids. The beer and pizza in the brewery’s historic firehouse taproom has been well-received by both media and customers. In the company’s first year, it raised more than $30,000 for West Michigan nonprofits.

Paul Starr

Paul Starr

Paul Starr is the creator of the I'm a Beer Hound and one of the organizer and the driving force behind Art & Craft Beerfest, Lansing Beer Fest, Beerfest at the Ballpark Spring & Fall. When he's not working on Beer Hound he's probably watching the Lions, Tigers or Red Wings. Being a recent new Dad of twins, he doesn't have much extra time these days for mischief.