MARQUETTE TOWNSHIP — The Northwoods Supper Club closed its doors in 2007, and just over ten years later, a new venture is opening in the same spot — Barrel and Beam Brewery.
Barrel and Beam is the newest brewery to come to the area, but what makes it stand out? Nick VanCourt said that he and his wife, Marina, wanted to focus on a certain population of beer enthusiasts.
“A lot of breweries make farmhouse and barrel-aged beer, but we’re just making farmhouse and barrel-aged beer, so saison, bière de garde, Belgian wit, all the fun stuff that comes out of the barrels, the fruit beers, that kind of thing,” he said.
Another difference is that all of the beer at Barrel and Beam is bottle-conditioned.
“That authenticity of these types of products from Belgium and France, being bottle-conditioned, all the Belgian-imported beer is bottle-conditioned beer, and we’re trying to be as true to these styles as we can be,” said VanCourt.
The conditioning allows for a more shelf-stable product and a champagne-level of carbonation that isn’t harsh. It also allows the brewery to make beer for the summer in the winter months. The brewery even owns and operates a special yeast strain and fermenter to brew the Belgian wit beer.
Barrel and Beam also has a large tasting room, dedicated to letting customers enjoy their products. Since the beer is bottle-conditioned, it will be served straight from the bottle.
“So, when you come in for a beer, we will open up a bottle and we will pour the beer for you. We’ll let you grab the bottle and check it out, we’re really excited about our labels and our bottle. Everything will be the same as what you’ll buy in the store,” said VanCourt.
Speaking of buying in the store, Barrel and Beam will begin distributing beer to stores in the Marquette area (think the Co-op, White’s Party Store, Steinhaus and Zephyr) and in the Green Bay area in the beginning of February. VanCourt said they are working on getting their products to other areas of the U.P. and to the northwest lower peninsula.
Barrel and Beam is also currently working to expand their beer selection.
“Right now, we just have three beers to offer. In the next month, we’ll have five and hopefully in the next few months, we’ll have seven or eight,” said VanCourt. “Four beers will be distributed, so a lot of those beers will only be available [in the tasting room].”
The tasting room is opening to the public next Saturday, January 27th from noon to 8:00 p.m. For right now, Barrel and Beam will only be open on Saturdays, but they are looking to open on Thursdays and Fridays in the future.