Just about this time last year we began writing the blog post you see below, highlighting our very own Spruce Pilsner, a beer we lovingly craft from field to fermenter as well as other local craftsmen and artisans who eat, sleep, and breathe our Handmade by People who Care in Northern Michigan philosophy. Some things have changed since last summer, chiefly, our decision to share our handcrafted beers and Starcut Ciders with friends in other states, but many things have stayed the same. We still love what we do and where we live, we still partner with other local businesses, we’re still working to better our community, and we’re still making Spruce Pilsner! And so, we find this post to still be of utmost importance. Read on!
“Handmade by people who care in Northern Michigan” – it’s a simple statement, but it says everything about our mission. Here at SBC, we’re proud of who we are, what we do, and where we live. We live by our commitment to our community and we strive to exemplify this in our beers, at our pub, and through the organizations we support. Our latest specialty release might be one of the most spectacular examples of our motto to date (the ingredients of this beer are literally passed through the hands of many Short’s family members), and it’s available for your enjoyment right now!
Spruce Pilsner, released each summer, is truly a labor of love. A member of our original Imperial Beer Series, Spruce Pilsner is not just a Short’s specialty release, but a prime example of field to fermenter brewing. In late spring each year, Joe Short leads a group of SBC family members to a secret Rapid City location to pick only the freshest (and dare we say luckiest) of blue spruce tips. Suited up with gloves, boots, and clippers we hand pick spruce tips that are then used within 24 hours to brew this coveted beer.
Each year we’ve seen an increase in the number of hops we are able to source from within the mitten state. We’re thrilled to continue to source more and more of this pivotal ingredient from our home. And in doing so, this year we were able to brew Spruce Pilsner using all Michigan hops from our friends at Michigan Hop Alliance. Michigan spruce tips + Michigan hops + crystal clear Michigan water = a pretty amazing beer. And in the future, we’ll be looking to source malt made from barley grown right here in Northern Michigan. Stay tuned to our website and social media accounts for more info coming soon.
But our mission for true craftsmanship doesn’t end at the doors of our brewery – we are constantly looking for ways in which we can support other local craftsmen and artisans. This spring we visited Moomers Creamery and Boss Mouse Cheese in an effort to learn about the art of cheese making (and in order to eat our way through a mountain of delicious dairy products). Sue Kurta of Boss Mouse Cheese makes small batch, artisan cheeses by hand in Kingsley, Michigan from cream that comes from what must be the happiest cows we’ve ever seen (no seriously, California cows have nothing on these Northern Michigan beauties).
Utilizing inventive ingredients (even our beer, think Uber Goober Ice Cream and cheese made using Good Humans), both Moomers and Boss Mouse Cheese provide the highest quality cheeses and ice creams to the residents and visitors of Northern Michigan. Their products are not only the best of their kind, but exemplify the spirit of artisan craftsmanship we try to impart in every beer brewed.
Not only do we count ourselves lucky to be able to do what we do best (brewing craft beer in Northern Michigan), but we find ourselves to be incredibly fortunate to share our space and what we do with our Northern Michigan craftsmen and artisan friends. And that’s what we plan to do for many years to come in our beer, at our pub, and at Short’s Mart.
Want to learn more about the brewing of Spruce Pilsner or hear sounds straight from the cheese making process? Listen to Short’s Cast, specifically the episodes Short’s On Site at Boss Mouse Cheese and Behind the Brew . . . Spurce Pilsner. Short’s Cast episodes are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and at shortsbrewing.com/shortscast.
Some people might think a lot has changed in the last year, and they make a fair point. But we’re more optimistic than ever before about our future. In the 11 months since the original blog posted, we’ve documented more of our friends and Northern Michigan neighbors in blogs and on the podcast, doing what they do best, from harvesting maple syrup to running breweries, like Terra Firma and roasting coffee right here in our own backyard. We’ve brewed hundreds of beers at our pub, and released a select 50 or so for distribution. Our Festivals and Events team has hosted Anni Party and taken our beers far and wide. We even won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival for Melt My Brain. And we plan to keep it going! Our long term future is bright and our short term future is filled with pints of Strawberry Short’s Cake (released this week) and Spruce Pilsner and we hope yours is too!
P.S. This year’s batch of Spruce Pilsner almost didn’t happen *gasp*! But we just couldn’t imagine summertime without this piney brew and added it to our schedule just last month. Find our 2016 batch of Spruce Pilsner on Michigan store shelves next week.