Craft beer is rapidly growing in popularity. And I am helping out my hop-growing friends at Michigan's Hop Head Farms, who are using their website to tell the stories of people who are engaged in the craft brewing revolution.
The first installment in the series featured Sam Sherwood, the 35-year-old head brewer at Walldorff Brewery and Bistro. Walldorf -- located on the modest main street of Hastings, the seat of mostly rural Barry County in southwestern Michigan -- recently won a readers' survey conducted by a Michigan travel magazine as the state's microbrewery of the year ... even though its competition includes some mighty big players in the craft beer world.
Sherwood learned the craft at other breweries around the state, and worked for Founders, the well-known Grand Rapids brewery, immediately before he took over the compact brewhouse located at the front of Walldorff.
Walldorff makes some lighter beers, such as its Bistro Blonde ale, which has just 17 International Bittering Units and is described as a “great entry level craft beer or crossover from domestic beers.” But the clout and hoppiness of Walldorff’s brews ranges all the way up to its Cobain’s Double Dark IPA (India Pale Ale), which has more than 100 IBUs.
The brewpub, pretty much smack in the middle of western Michigan's "beer tourism" trail, is less than an hour's drive from Grand Rapids, about an hour from Lansing, about two and a half hours from Detroit and a three and a half hour drive from Chicago.
The rest of the story, and a Q and A with Sherwood, can be found here on the Hop Head Farms site.