GTPulse: Earthen Ales Will Celebrate Three Years with Collaborative and Seasonal Beers

Jamie and Andrew Kidwell-Brix are cool, and not just because they brew beer. The couple had a relaxed and welcoming disposition while I hung out with them and asked them about their interests, relationship, love for northern Michigan, and for brewing beer. Jamie and Andrew combine their passion for what they love with who they love at Traverse City brewery Earthen Ales, and they’re celebrating the brewery’s third birthday with a party this Saturday.

Brewing beer isn’t a venture that Jamie and Andrew embarked on together. When they first met, they each already had a fair amount of knowledge and experience with home brewing beer.

“We had both gotten jobs for the city of Ann Arbor. We were in adjacent cubicles. It was about as close as you could be to another person,” Jamie said. “We were both already home brewing when we met each other, so we started creating beers pretty quickly and started brewing together, and I think we thought we might as well date each other,” she said with a laugh.

The budding romance and brew bonding between the two came at an inconvenient time for Andrew. Andrew and Jamie both graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in urban planning. Andrew’s roommate was moving up to Northport to start a small farm, and Andrew was interested in that lifestyle and was growing weary of office life. Just as Jamie began working for the city, Andrew was ready to quit.

“In my mind, it was like…I like you, but I’m moving to Northport in a few months, and I don’t know what to do about that, and Jamie just said, ‘who cares? Let’s see what happens.’”

Andrew began to live and work on the farm in Northport seasonally from April to mid-October and spend the rest of the year back with Jamie in Ann Arbor. While he was working on the farm, Jamie would work 10 hour days so she could take three day weekends to visit Andrew on the farm.

“I got decent enough at weeding carrots and feeding pigs so I could hang out with him,” Jamie said.

Beer has always been a big part of their relationship, and whenever they were together, they would brew beer on Sundays. Friends would come over and drink beer, and eventually, Jamie and Andrew started thinking about brewing beer full time.

Three years later, Earthen Ales is a beloved community gem and a place where beer lovers of all ages want to hang out and drink good beer. The third-anniversary party will release new seasonal beer as well as beers that the staff created.

“Everybody that works here gets to come up with a recipe. It’s really fun to conceptualize what somebody else wants and then try to realize it,” Jamie said.

In addition to the beer created by the Earthen Ales family, Jamie and Andrew have also collaborated with local businesses on making beers.

“Raduno, The Cheese Lady, the guys from Archie’s food truck, they all came in and brewed a beer with us.”

The seasonal beer released by Earthen Ales for every anniversary party is Dos Serranos, an IPA brewed with serrano peppers from Loma Farms. The beer is not spicy and uses local, centennial hops as well.

“It’s kind of a local celebration of the seasons,” Jamie said.

Dos Serranos is Jamie’s favorite out of the bunch, Andrews is the first beer recipe that he and Jamie came up with together.

“When we first brewed it, we were pretty early on in our relationship and were thinking about up north and what a local style beer would look like,” Andrew said.

The beer, Juniper Rye, is an IPA that has a slight pine taste to it. The beer is inspired by a Scandinavian style beer dating back to before the 18th century. They had the beer at their wedding, and Jamie referred to it as their first child.

The Juniper Rye may be an ode to their love for each other, but Earthen Ales is an ode to a passion for beer. Their third-anniversary party is from noon to 10 p.m. this Saturday and will feature a whole bunch of new beers and the Cheese Lady making grilled cheeses. Winter days call for winter beers, and Earthen Ales is providing beer that embodies northern Michigan.

“You don’t get beer without someone growing malt and someone growing hops, and we have all that here.”

Categories: GTPulse