Ann Arbor-based Busch's Fresh Food Markets
have added another Michigan craft brew to their line of designer beer after collaborating with Dexter-based Northern United Brewing Co
The resulting beer, North Peak Newfangled Pale Ale, is the third in a series of Busch's exclusive beers made by Michigan brewers with Michigan ingredients. The new beer is a 5.5-percent alcohol-by-volume Midwestern pale ale featuring Michigan hops and grains, according to Marty Phelan, category manager for Busch's. The beer hit the shelves in early March and will be carried in all 16 Busch's locations in Michigan, including Ann Arbor.
Phelan says Busch's first beer collaboration happened about a year ago, when the chain worked with Short's Brewing Company
in Bellaire. That partnership was so successful that Busch's went on to make a second beer with Dark Horse Brewing Co
. in Marshall.
Phelan says Busch's input on the new beers varies from brewer to brewer. Busch's was able to give a lot of input on the recipe and the name of the beer that Dark Horse developed for Busch's, for instance.
Phelan says Busch's already had a "great relationship" with North Peak, which is one of several brands falling under NUBC's banner. After seeing the previous two collaborations, NUBC approached Busch's about releasing a beer developed by Ron Jeffries, who also is production manager for NUBC's Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
The new brews are going over well with customers, and Phelan said he is getting "a lot of feedback."
"Just on our Facebook page alone, we get hundreds of comments about these beers," Phelan said. "I love working on these projects. It's a lot of fun to do this with Michigan breweries."
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.