Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

Here is to a great 2012!

Drink good beer with good people!

Twitter: @adammmills

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Toasting the New Year

I have spent some time thinking about what beer styles are most appropriate for most our NYE celebrations, and I have come to some conclusions. Let me first state that this is all my opinion, but please be aware that I agree with all of my opinions that are about to be voiced.

It seems that a lot of NYE partiers fancy spirits or champangne on this occasion. Fine play, but we are talking beer here. I prefer to go with the theme of champagne as it seems more New Year's Eve-ie to me.

 Some champagne?

I am sticking with the recommendation of pale and fizzy, no worries I will not utter the forbidden BMC words. Rather I would like to suggest the country of Belgium. Think Belgian Golden Strong: light in body, effervescent, slight pale fruit notes like pear. They also usually feature slight peppery or spicy notes. Very crisp and dry. In this style I love Duvel. Other options that can be available across the USA are Russian River's Damnation, Delirium Tremens, and North Coast's Pranqster. All are really great beers. Be sure that you decant these beers into some appropriate glassware, because you don't drink champagne out of the bottle (we hope). Another note on decanting: some of these beers may have dregs in the bottom of the bottle. Store them upright, and pour the bottle all at once into your guests glasses so as not to rouse the lees. One last note, when Golden Strong's are done right they mask their substantial alcohol well, they can be 'sneaky' in that regard for their drinker.

Another option is a saison. Saison is a wonderful style sometimes referred to as a farmhouse ale. Saison is not a style that sports a ton of availability. Some classics are Saison Dupont, Saison Silly, and some American versions: New Belgium Saison, and Ommegang Hennepin. These are crisp, occasionally strong fruity and spicy ales, that are again, pale and highly carbonated. The fruitiness of these beers can be described as lemony or orange-like. The spice character in these beers can be derived just from the yeast, or from the actual addition of spices like coriander, grains of paradise, star of anise, etc. Personally I was really impressed with New Belgium's Saison.

I would also like to suggest a few unique beers that are in the wild or sour category, but do not write off these beers by their classification. If you have a good bottle shop around you, also contemplate getting a Flanders Red (Rohdenbach Klassiek, Monk's Cafe Flanders Red, or Duchesse de Bourgogne), a Flanders Brown (Leifman's Goudenband - perhaps my desert island beer), or a Fruit Lambic (Boon Framboise, Leifman's Kriek, Cantillon Lou Pepe).

Pair your beer choices with a wide assortment of cheeses and mix and match your beers with them. Make 2012 they year you ring in the New Year with great beer.

Drink good beer with good people!

Twitter: @adammmills

Monday, December 26, 2011

Year in Review: 2011

This has been a pretty big year for me both professionally and personally. As 2011 winds down I would like to touch on some of the highlights.

Isaac Andrew is highlight number one. This is the first baby that I have been able to spend a lot of time with. As a teacher I always had summers off. Our first three kids were born in either January or February, making them four to five months old by the time the summer came around. We never did the daycare thing, but being able to be home with Isaac right from the start has been a special experience. Babies are amazing. They develop the same way, from the squirming to the squawking. It is fun to see our children's personalities form even as little ones. With Isaac, I feel that he was the first baby that I was really prepared to be a father to. With our other three children, I did a lot of grasping at straws. I don't know. Maybe I am still doing that, it just feels like parental acumen now due to repetition.

2011 was also the year that I began my sabbatical from teaching. Over the past several months I have immersed myself in helping to launch Cranker's Brewery. As part of that, I spent two days a week for three months at Arbor Brewing Company. I learned so much and made great friends. Bill, Mike, Dave, and Brian were all very good to me and made working there not just a great professional experience, but a tremendous personal one as well. Special thanks goes out to Bill, as he is the person that I will always think of as my guide into professional brewing.

The end of 2011 also brought about some great plans for 2012. Bill and I will be brewing our collaboration beer: End of the World IPA, hopefully in December of that year. We are gunning for a big, dry, red IPA that explodes with hoppy goodness. Kevin, Lou, and I will be knocking out #TGBBR in January. We are really excited about it and there will be lots of blogging that comes forth from it. It remains a secret for now, but I will not be lacking in content later. Of course there is Cranker's Brewery to look forward to in 2012. We are shooting for a March opening and things are really coming together. The second half of the brewhouse will be delivered in mid January and Jim and Co. just picked up the bottling line.

In closing, I would like to thank all of those who have supported us over the past year, and those that have been following my blog and twitter feed (@adammmills). In the coming year, if you get a chance to stop in to the brewery or get my beer in bottles, please contact me and let me know what you think! Until then...

Drink good beer with good people!

Twitter: @adammmills

Monday, December 19, 2011

Online Store: The Goods Are In!

I put up the online stores today. They are available both from the Cranker's Brewery website, and from the Cranker's Facebook page. We ended up using the Intuit website designer, which proved to be pretty user friendly. One of the features that I did not expect was the store being available on Facebook. I thought that was pretty cool. We put up: hoodies, men's and ladies t-shirts, Mug Club memberships, and gift certificates.  It is so exciting seeing everything come together.

I have been doing some tweaking and refining to the beers in our lineup. I have just started working with WLP090 as a potential yeast strain. I am brewing test batches of Torchlight and Bulldog Red with it. I am trying to test it's boundaries, by fermenting Torchlight at 60*F, and Bulldog Red at 68*F. I will be interested to note both it's attenuation and ester production. I will report back with my findings.

The brewery build is going quite well. All of the walls are now up, with the hope of getting the roof up very soon. It is so awesome driving by it and watching it come together. I am a bit of a stalker in that regard; I drive by it four to six times a day :) Other than that, I have been busy with the four kids and getting ready for Christmas. I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas season!

Drink good beer with good people!

Twitter: @adammmills

Monday, December 5, 2011

Shirts Are In!

Well here they are. As of right now, they are only available from the Cranker's in Big Rapids. The online store on will be up by the end of the week if all goes to plan. The logo is the creation of David M. Phelps. We are very excited with how the shirts came out.

Click here to check out our Facebook page that has pictures of the shirts, sizes, and prices. Like our page to get the latest updates on everything Cranker's.

More to come...

Drink good beer with good people!