A Craft Beer Revival for Michigan’s Oldest Brewery, Petoskey Brewing

Petoskey Brewing launched where a moral brewery should: in a refurbished century-old brewhouse.

This story is featured in a Sep 2017 emanate of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.
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Petoskey Brewing

Petoskey Brewing

Step by a doorway and a space smells like beer. Bready leavening esters, burnt sugarine malt wafts and piney citrus flay bound perfumes shun like zephyrs from foaming spigots and roller a atmosphere currents around Petoskey Brewing’s taproom. Backlit by varnished industrial fixtures intense beside unprotected brick, a bar organisation hustles to fill pints for a throng of late summer cyclists and parched weekend drink geeks. A soaring chalkboard above a daub handles advertises a brewery’s buttress beers, and some-more than a dozen fleeting small-batch potions like Morning Fog Mochajava Stout or Love Grenade India Pale Lager. Platters of gargantuan cheeseburgers and sticky pretzel sticks land amidst a douse during a dilemma list of Mug Club members sipping Gym Selfie American Strong Ale from clay flagons incited in a internal pottery studio.

Petoskey Brewing

Petoskey Brewing

Past a bar and a discord of service, a potion wall peeks in on a courage of a brewery. A glossy crush tun fills with dejected pellet augured around trench from a indent behind a distant wall. Story-high immaculate steel splendid tanks and 40-barrel fermenters silently gurgle as they modify alchemies of grain, water, hops and leavening into pilsners and dark ales. Head brewer Brad Bergman and his lieutenants skip between switchboards and a twisted obstruction of hoses that safeguard optimal temperatures and chemistries for today’s collection of brew.

Launched in Sep of 2012, as Michigan’s qualification drink zeitgeist was attack a second surge, a new Petoskey Brewing has enjoyed a duration arise in a Michigan marketplace as both a end for qualification drink pilgrims and an increasingly entire bottle participation on daub in scarcely any dilemma of a Mitten. While a benefaction hum is a covenant to savvy entrepreneurship and learned brewing, Petoskey Brewing’s strange story starts in 1896 on a mud lane during a behind of Little Traverse Bay.

Petoskey BrewingPetoskey Brewing

Co-Founder Lou Gostinger

“We’re one of a oldest breweries still handling in a U.S.,” says co-founder Lou Gostinger, who sole his successful drink and booze distributorship in a Thumb to start Petoskey Brewing 5 years ago with associate businessman Patrick Dowd. “The brewery was built in 1896, and this site was selected since of a healthy artesian good and a vicinity to Mud Lake, that was a prepared source of ice to keep a drink cold. As there was no electricity during that time, a brewery was gravity-fed with a H2O vessel on a fourth floor, pellet on a third building and fire-brewed distillation tanks on a second floor.”

Operating from 1896 until a start of breach in 1919, a soaring section brewery topsy-turvy out in additional of 10,000 barrels a year, provision a tiny tourist, logging and industrial communities springing adult around Little Traverse Bay. “The brewery had a swift of horse-drawn carriages that would broach 35-bottle timber cases residence by residence to Petoskey’s neighborhoods,” says Lou. “Since we’ve opened, a village has come brazen with a garland of photos, artifacts and family stories, many of that are on arrangement during a chronological museum.”

It is substantially protected to predicate that while fishing for creek fish or revelation stories in Petoskey saloons, Ernest Hemingway found snack in a cold bottle of Sparkle, Petoskey Brewing’s strange signature lager, that is a cornerstone of a brewery’s stream line-up. Sparkle’s implications of virginity are during a heart of what drives Petoskey Brewing today.

“Our summary goes behind to a water,” Lou explains. “Petoskey Brewing’s tagline is ‘Pure water. Pure malt. Pure hops.’ And a artesian good underneath a brewery is a reason a beers have a season and peculiarity that they do. The rest we owe to a unequivocally gifted conduct brewer, Brad Bergman.”

Petoskey BrewingPetoskey Brewing

Head Brewer Brad Bergman

The pushing idea here is to make dainty beers that are offset in combination and magnificently drinkable, explains Bergman, while poring over his register of hops. “Regardless of either we’re brewing a fruit drink or an IPA, we essay to get something that showcases all of a elements,” he says.

Elements are Bergman’s energy zone. The Asheville, North Carolina, local warranted a chemistry grade focused on brewing scholarship from Appalachian State University; investigate from that module laid a substructure for a college’s successive distillation scholarship program. After a army operative as a chemist in a food industry, Brad supervised brewing operations for Sam Adams during a Cincinnati brewery before holding over as conduct brewer for Petoskey Brewing in 2014.

“Working during a large blurb brewery unequivocally taught me a significance of unchanging quality,” Brad says as we pass creatively canned pallets of Juicy, a New England–style IPA that is Petoskey Brewing’s newest blurb release. Having parsimonious controls on a peculiarity of tender products like malted grain, hops and leavening that go into his brews delivers a coherence that has helped propel Petoskey Brewing’s success, though Bergman is discerning to note that creativity and creation are usually as important. “We use a far-reaching accumulation of bound and leavening strains, so there’s not a lot of routine from one drink to a next, and we’re not fearful to examination with radical ingredients.”

Petoskey Brewing

Petoskey Brewing

One of Brad and his decoction team’s radical experiments that has morphed into a cult favorite is Super Trooper, a anniversary recover that starts by pouring a malty English brownish-red ale over coffee beans from Traverse City’s Higher Grounds. The reduction steeps to make a kind of cold-brew ale coffee, that Bergman afterwards infuses with donuts from Petoskey’s dear Johan’s Bakery.

Annual batches fast sell out, and a dollar of a deduction from any box advantage a Michigan cops account to support a families of depressed officers. “Last year we were means to write a check for $10,000,” co-owner Lou Gostinger says proudly.

Bergman’s decoction scholarship experiments, however, infrequently need artistic invention to broach tasty drink from astonishing results. “Our Boom Pow Surprise Mango Sour Ale, was ostensible to be an easy celebration blonde cream ale though an collision in measuring for a crush check got us 16 pounds of acidulated malt when a recipe usually called for a bruise and a half. The outcome was so unbelievably spicy we motionless we’d try to kettle green it. After distillation we combined pineapple juice, vanilla and tons of chopped mango, along with some lactose sugarine for body, and citra hops for a splendid citrus note. The outcome sole like crazy.”

Petoskey Brewing

Petoskey Brewing

Less crazy, however, is Petoskey Brewing’s innovative proceed to marketing. Before going to market, a brewery uses a taproom as a exam lab and amicable media accounts as a feedback forum to engage business in product pattern and refinement. Bergman says that this was instrumental in dialing in Juicy, Petoskey Brewing’s take on a explosively renouned New England IPA category. “We went by 4 iterations of Juicy in a taproom that employed opposite combinations of bound strains, leavening selections and malt bills and had a congregation opinion and leave feedback on any until we found a drink that we felt would work best in a markets.”

Part of Juicy’s success, and that of New England IPA’s in general, is drinkability, Brad explains. “Typical Midwest and West Coast IPA’s are drier and lighter in body, with a organisation assertive bound bitterness. The New England character uses English leavening strains that produce a softer mouthfeel and build in pink and apricot flavors. We use a late further of bound strains like mosaic, universe and el dorado that give off pleasant and honeyed citrus records and unequivocally tiny to no bitterness.”

Petoskey Brewing

Petoskey Brewing

When asked what’s on a setting for Petoskey Brewing, both Brad and Lou highlight solid regressive expansion in a business and continued creation in a brewery. “We’ve seen other tiny breweries go down underneath a weight of debt that comes from perplexing to grow too large too quickly,” Gostinger cautions. “We’re happy to grow 5 or 10 percent a year and stay focused on a peculiarity of a product.”

“I essay any day for a drink to be a tiny improved than it was a day before,” Brad says. “We’ll ceaselessly work to critically consider any decoction and make tiny tweaks to urge a recipe for a subsequent batch.”

As tables continue to fill and drink geeks smoke-stack 3 low during a bar, a subsequent batch, it seems, can’t come shortly enough.

Traverse food and drinks editor Tim Tebeau writes from Petoskey, [email protected] /Jon-Paul Allgaier photographs lifestyle, food, product and weddings from his bottom in Traverse City, greyscalegroup.net


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