This past week, the single most important, triple-digit arbitrary number for our young brewery came and went – Our 100th batch!
To celebrate, we’re taking a moment to reflect on what brewing 100 different batches of beer means for Creston Brewery. (We’re also here to make a major announcement, but more on that later.)
Let’s go back to the start, back to Batch #1: Polar Bear.
Back in May of 2016, we needed to brew something light to get our house ale yeast growing and acclimated to its new forever-home at 1504 Plainfield. We also needed to brew something special to differentiate our brand-new brewery for that fateful Batch #1. In order to later brew business plan-tested, backyard-brewed beers like GRale, Clickety Clack, and Fox Deluxe, we needed something Creston-centric to appease any and all palates. We selected a recipe of all Michigan-grown citrusy hops, a multigrain malt base for a medium body, shot-for and nailed a 4.20% abv and named it Polar Bear, after the gone-but-not-forgotten Creston High School mascot.
From that very first Polar Bear, we have relied on and pushed the limits of that single house yeast strain in many different directions (as well as switched things up with a rotating seasonal yeast selection of hefes, lagers, and belgians). Brands like GRale, Fox Deluxe, Sweet Street, Braveheart 2, The Bloody Fifth, Bokonon, OPE, The Golden Glo, Harvest Ale, Lookout Hill, and many, many others can all be genetically traced back to that original Polar Bear. And Batch 100, wouldn’t you know it, is brewed with that same exact yeast that the original Batch #1 Polar Bear blessed upon Creston with its now billions upon billions of single-celled progyny.
So, what exactly did we brew to commemorate such an occasion at Batch 100? The Golden Glo, our Spring Seasonal, because, duh, it’s supposed to be Spring and we’ve got a production schedule to follow! Once the flowers finally decide to send up their shoots, a tart, light, hazy, and aromatic delight simply needs to coincide with the occasion.
What makes this batch of The Golden Glo so special beyond its same-yeast-as-always but new 3-digit brew code? Well, the answer is not that easy, friend! To properly explain, let’s go back to batch 98 from two weeks ago.
No, better yet, let’s go back to batch 44: Creston Lager.
Creston Lager was special because of its intent: brew something clean and amazing utilizing only Michigan-grown ingredients. In short, it worked. In fact, it worked really, really well. So we brewed batch 55 Creston Pilz with the same goal in mind, but a different recipe of ingredients. That worked out even better. Then we brewed batch 86 Copper IPL and dear LORD, the concept was fully proven. (That’s, like, my fav beer ever if you couldn’t tell).
By Batch 98, the concept became the passion that is now, at Batch 100, our guiding light: let’s just use all Michigan grown ingredients for the majority of every single brand and batch. Let’s get to know our suppliers and farmers as the friends and neighbors that they are. Let’s procure the best they have to offer and brew some damn fine, distinctive beer out of the products of their land. (And if you’re a Bokononist, it’s our land in the Michigander granfalloon.)
Batch 98, as luck would have it, was Polar Bear. For this special batch, we switched our malted 2 row barley supplier from a supplier I had never met, producing grain coming from fields unknown to me, grown and malted in parts of the world foreign to me, to the brand-new Emergent Malt out of Zeeland, MI – malting barley sown and grown by Hop Ridge Farms in Kent county and delivering fresh, local product free of all packaging, long distance-transportation, storage, and waste. (Our local friends Pilot Malthouse of Byron Center, MI will also be still getting the majority of our specialty grain business, along with our hops coming from West Michigan Hopyards, Hopyards of Kent, Big Mitten Hops, Michigan Hop Alliance, and others.)
That batch of Polar Bear with 100% Emergent base malt came out incredible. Batch 99 was Quimby; it also came out incredible with the switch to Michigan malt, alongside the specialty grains procured from Pilot Malthouse.
Both of these batches are still green, so they’re not quite on tap yet, but commemorating the surpassing of our 100th batch and all the beery goodness that awaits our Creston community, we think it prudent to announce:
FROM HERE ON OUT, ALL OF CRESTON BREWERY BEERS ARE MAJORITY MADE FROM MICHIGAN GROWN INGREDIENTS.
It’s not just a concept, an ethos, or even what we intended to do in the first place.
It’s just the best way that we can think of to make the best damn beer you’ve ever had in your life. And you simply cannot get it anywhere else. That’s what Creston Brewery terroir means to us: Community. Growers, suppliers, brewers, workers, and drinkers alike.
We hope you can get with that….
Cheers towards batch 1000!