Aussies in Beer City, because the sign in the airport proclaims it to be so and goes on to explain “We make beer with friends and we make friends with beer. Who are we to argue with logic?
After a Holiday Inn breakfast of Biscuits and Gravy, with two over easy, a short walk had our Hawkers crew, standing outside New Holland, The Knickerbocker with a massive bag of Aussie hops from Ellerslie Hop Farms. New Holland’s brew pub situated on the westside of downtown.
“The place is locked up”
“Where’s bloody Dayton”
“Bang on the door”
Door opens, Dayton, bless him, had already milled and had the hot liquor up to temp. After a quick tour of the 700-seater brew pub, we found ourselves in the brewhouse. A heavily Australian hopped Wheat beer was on the brewing menu for the day.
Dayton, having worked in a previous life with Hamish at Malt Shovel, was pretty quick to point out that he’d only brewed once on the pub system. His day job as Technical director at New Holland has him usually overseeing bigger toys, and adults, as opposed to the three fully grown, thirsty children he was tasked with looking after for the day. With brewing, coffee, and lots of banter underway, we finally got a sample of the taps.
IPA’s with tangerine oil, Hazy IPA’s, Barrel aged old ales and the crown jewel of New Holland, Dragons Milk, Bourbon Barrel aged stout.
Confused by a white stout, Mik was pretty keen to try the White dragon. He’s still confused by white stouts but loved this tasty beer.
Lunch in the brewhouse, Hot Chicken Sandwich for one of the boys, a salmon BLT for the other. The boss was keen on a salad, and The Knickerbocker’s didn’t disappoint (steak salad it is).
Back to the brewhouse, knock out, and cleaning, always interesting to see a sales guy on the end of a hose. Another beer, then the suggestion was made, to see what else Beer City had on offer.
Founders, Local, Large, and also Tasty.
Hop Cat, the sign on the wall said third best bar in the world… sure, sounds plausible. Plenty of choices, super knowledgeable staff, and host Dayton telling us what to drink (Note: he’s a pretty good judge of what to pour down your throat).
The urge to eat was upon us, unsure how that works, because an appetizer in this country could feed a reasonable sized family for a day or two. When in Beer City, it seemed to make sense to skip the restaurants and head to a brewery for dinner.
Duck Nacho’s? Poutine? Kilogram steak? Yep it was all on the menu.
The company improved drastically, when Bells Brewery. Brewing Operations Manager Karli, who also happens to be Dayton’s partner joined us. Another Australian with huge experience at West End S.A. now leading the team at Bells.
Nerd talk started at the table, brewing trends, best practices, pounds per barrel (grams per liter) and more. Plenty of stories on brewing in Australia and in Michigan.
The take away from today, was Michigan is in the hands of two exceptionally talented Australian brewers, who also happen to be bloody lovely people.
Karli, Dayton, Thank you.