Timing is everything

Aside from the planned for visit today (I’ll let you in on this one later) I made a couple semi-unscheduled stops.  The first was at Jolly Pumpkin.  As always when you don’t prearrange meetings things can go awry.  And the visit to Jolly Pumpkin was no different.  First and foremost they had the closed sign showing, like this could stop me, intrepid explorer that I am (well the door was unlocked). 

Turned out they were incredibly short staffed today, having only 4 out of the 8 people that they normally need to accomplish everything they were doing today.  From my safety zone I managed to get a few pictures and spend a couple minutes talking to Drew Karl and Andrew Moss while they worked on tag teaming some bottling work. 

Drew gave me a semi penny tour by pointing out different things from the vantage point of the bottling line. As is always the case with brewing and breweries, they are in a state of perpetual project.  These next pics show the space of the original brewery that they are now currently expanding into more of the building.

Another great tidbit, if you didn’t know this one already.  They barrel age all but a couple of their beers.  The rare few that they don’t barrel age can only be found at their brew pub on draught. 

After I left Jolly Pumpkin I was back to heading west on I94 again.  Between Jackson and Marshall (Darkhorse brewing is in Marshall) I was seeing signs for a winery called Sleeping Bear.  At first not a big deal (I like wine but it is not enough to make me stop).  But then I notice under one of the billboards that they have a microbrewery as well, of course, now I must stop. 

So just off the highway in the outskirts of the town of Albion I pull into what used to be a St. Julian tasting room, that has been occupied for the past couple of years by Sleeping Bear Winery.  It turns out that back in October they put in a small brewing set up adding Bad Bear Brewing to their line up. 

As it is you would be more inclined to think of it as a nano brewery than a micro.  They had a decent selection of beer on tap while I was there and some unique tasting glasses (mini wheat glasses).  After the brew systems I was looking at earlier today, their set up could almost be tiny. 

Although it may not be huge, it is enough to get their name out there with some great beers on tap.  While I was there I sampled their Cascade WPA (a wheat pale ale) and their amber.  The caramel notes of the amber were pretty damn good.  Shannon, was the one behind the bar when I popped in today.  She told me that they had a fantastic Irish Red for St. Paddy’s day but it blew out quick.  Currently they have another batch conditioning that should be available shortly. 

Apparently they have food there as well.  Of course, that was the last thing on my mind.  Beer samples take precedence. 

I need to find a pint soon, I have far too much to get done today still…

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