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TONY HANSEN, Brewer at Short’s Brewing


When did you start brewing? I started brewing beer at home in 2004. Before that, I secretly experimented with fer- mentation using fruit juice aged in two-liter soda pop bottles. The results were effective, but not very tasty. After that, I matured into making decent wine using fruit from my dad’s garden. Soon, I realized a lot of my winemak- ing equipment could be used for making beer, so I decided to try it out. The beer I produced was far superior to the wine that I had made, so I converted from winemaker to brewer.

What is your favorite of the four ingredi- ents in beer and why? My favorite traditional ingredient in beer is hops. When you brew mass amounts of beer

all day every day for a long time, it’s easy to slip into an auto-pilot mode for most of the brew. When I’m handling hops, I always freeze for a second to really appreciate the smell. It’s one of the small things about brew- ing I truly enjoy. Even after brewing hundreds or thousands of times using the same ingre- dients, hops always grab my full attention.

What’s the last non-Short’s beer you drank? A Hitachino Nest Beer XH. It’s a strong ale aged in Sake casks from Japan. It definitely has a very unique flavor, and it’s worth a try, at least once.

What do you think of the West Michigan beer community? I think the West Michigan beer community is awesome now, and it seems to be getting better and better. I feel very lucky to live in a region that has such a wide range of breweries that have solid individual styles and portfolios. We certainly aren’t saturated with a bunch of cookie cutter chain breweries

Beer Events

Oct. 1 — Bridgman Weko Beach Brewers Fest 269-925-6301

Oct. 7 — Battle Creek

BontebOktoberfest 269-979-1351

Oct. 7 — Lansing

serving the same mediocre microbrew. Plus, we have a huge amount of beer festivals and events that offer different settings and experi- ences. —Ben Darcie / Photo: Joe Short

Old Town Oktoberfest 517-485-4283

Oct. 8 — Sparta Michigan Beer Cellar’s Meet the Entrepreneur

The Cup Runneth Over

When Olde Peninsula Brewpub’s head brewer Dan Kiplinger hoisted the Stanley Cup in August, the moment was sweet — and a bit hoppy. That’s because the Kalamazoo brewer sipped his own India Pale Ale from Lord Stanley’s chalice after meeting Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas through a mutual friend this summer. Thomas, a native of Davison, brought the cup to his hometown for a celebration and granted Kiplinger’s request for a celebratory drink of Olde IPA. Kiplinger poured half a growler in the Cup and quaffed; Thomas kept the other half.

MARK SELLERS Owner of Grand Rapids Brewing Company

In June Grand Rapids Brewing Company announced it was closing. In September, news broke that you purchased the assets. What went down? It was bought in 1993 by the Shelbys and they owned it for years, and, in my opinion, mismanaged it. They treated it as a restaurant instead of focusing on the beer. In that area of 28th street, you’ve got 100 restaurants in a one-mile radius … they should have focused more on creating a loyal beer follow- ing. They sold in 2009 to a partnership, one of whom immediately left the endeavor. It was left to someone who had never run a restaurant before and it was already losing money when purchased. They finally got repossessed by the landlord, Centerpoint

Mall — they basically kicked them out. So I bought the equipment from Centerpoint.

What’s the plan for new GRBC? I plan to completely reinvent the brand. I won’t be using the same recipes for the beers, I won’t have anything resembling the food menu. It’s not going to be the same at all, except the name and the brewing equipment. It’s go- ing to be in the Brass Works Building at the old Founders location. We’re tentatively planning for April 2012.

What’s your plan for the beer? The beers are being formu- lated right now. I think a good brewery will specialize in its own niche, rather than trying to please everyone. I

just haven’t figured out exactly what that has to be, I just want it to be different than other places in town. I see no reason to do anything half-assed. I’m going to make what I think is going to be a great brewery. —Ben Darcie / Photo: Michael Buck

Octoberfest Party 616-883-0777

Oct. 8 — Saugatuck

SBC Harvest Fest 269-857-7222

Oct. 15 — Grand Rapids

Hoptoberfest 616-451-4677

Oct. 15 — Grand Rapids Founder’s 9th Annual

Harvest Festival 616-776-1195

Oct. 22 — Grand Rapids Wood Aged Beer Festival 616-719-1604

Oct. 22 — Detroit

3rd Annual Detroit Fall Beer Festival




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