For years after Prohibition, it was illegal to operate a brewpub in the state of Michigan. Breweries like Bell’s couldn’t serve their product in-house. That all changed in 1993 when it became legal to operate a brewpub.
“We applied for our license the day the law changed, but I think it took about a year and a half or two before we were built and in operation,” Hereford & Hops head brewer Mike Sattem said.
Thus, Hereford & Hops became the first operating brewpub in the U.P. and the fourth in the entire state. And the beer names pay homage to everything from the U.P. to the owner’s lineage.
“Our Cleary Red is one of our flagship beers, and that would be the owner’s maternal grandparents from Ireland, so it’s an Irish-style red,” Sattem said. “Other than that, we try to name them more around the area with White Tail Ale, Stumpsitter Stout. Some of the originals would have been things more in tune with the U.P. itself.”
Having brewed on a few other systems, Sattem believes his current seven barrel system is producing his best product yet. “This system’s a little older, but I like it,” he said. “I’ve brewed on some automated systems; it’s easier, but this is all hands-on. Seems as systems get bigger, your beer loses balance, seems to get more toward that mass brewed beer, a little thinner. That’s what I learned on them.”
Now in its 20th year of operation, Hereford & Hops has won World Beer Cup awards and expanded its food operation to include a Mongolian style grill. Who knows what it’ll produce in the next 20 years?