in Benzie County is a destination known for its unique and delicious meads, but they also brew so much more.
In this week’s Brewvine, Megan Viecelli and photojournalist Jeremy Erickson take you to St. Ambrose to find out more about their brand of beer and how you can get a couple of their most popular ones to-go.
“Once we got our canner, we started with our four most popular draft meads,” St. Ambrose Cellars owner Kirk Jones said . “We’re planning now on adding the rest of our flavors and our head brewer, Nate Ely’s, making some really awesome beer. So we’re going to start canning beer and have it in our tasting room, and a few local outlets on a small scale and get the beer out there and cans too.”
The first brew to make it into the can will be their traditional West Coast IPA.
“The first one is going to be our flagship IPA, which is our Punk Monk IPA,” Ely said. “It’s about 6.7%, and it’s real citrusy. It’s made with Citra hops and Mandarina Bavaria hops. It’s our best selling beer too, so we’ll probably have it run in the spring and have it ready, ready to go and cans by early summer for sure.”
Another beer that got a lot of buzz last year and will make its comeback in a can is the Empire Coconut porter.
“The Empire Chocolate Coconut porter it’s a double porter, it’s close to 8%,” Ely said. “We use local chocolate from Empire Grocer’s Daughter. Then it’s got coconut puree in it, and then I do an extract of vanilla and chocolate that also gets infused into it after it’s done. It’s just rich, creamy porter. Little sweet, too.”
If you can’t wait for the cans to come out, you can always pick up a pint of beer, mead, cyser or a glass of wine from the tasting room and enjoy it in one of their cozy igloos.
“We got a big expansion next door we’re building, we’re putting on, and we’ve got porches all the way wrapping around the buildings now, but we can’t use them, because of the COVID restrictions,” Jones said. “What’s turned out well for us as we have the igloos. And as it turns out, that’s about the only place people can sit in a warm environment.
“We’re preparing for next year and we plan on having 10 or 15 igloos and give people that experience of being under the snow in the sky, and the stars at night. It’s really fun.”