Friday, June 1, 2012

White Flame Brewery

Although in 1933 Michigan was the first state to ratify the proposal to repeal prohibition (the 21st Amendment), Hudsonville, MI kept it going until November 2007. But, they are catching up!

The first Hudsonville brewery opened four months ago in late January 2012: White Flame nanobrewery and taproom. It followed the first Hudsonville winery (called Hudsonville Winery) which has since opened the second Hudsonville brewery.  Over the holiday weekend I visited White Flame. Owner and brewer Bill White – the White part of the name while his wife’s nickname is the Flame part – took some time from bartending to chat with me.

Bill had been a home brewer on and off for 20 years and became a serious home brewer five years ago. He said that he learned brewing by trial and error and online reading. He is clearly a fast learner, because his beers are great. The brewery caters mostly to the locals (who had not had a neighborhood bar in literally decades) with people from the Grand Rapids metro area often stopping by on weekends. When I was there the back room was filled with a bachelor party. They were being bussed around the area to different breweries.

Here is their current beer list:

Golden Boy: For those who enjoy ‘domestic’ beers. 4.5% ABV

White Shoes Pale Ale: One of the best-sellers; it has a balance of hops and malt. 5.2% ABV

Super G IPA: Another best-seller that showcases the bitterness of the high alpha-acid hops. 5.5% ABV

Pale Otter Porter: The name comes from the English Maris Otter pale malt. 5.0% ABV

Oatmeal Stout: The well-balanced sweetness brings out the chocolate characteristics. 5.5% ABV

Hooterville Wheat: (Hooterville is Hudsonville’s nickname.) I like an American-style wheat beer, and this one is topping the list. It has a unique hoppy flavor, because it is dry-hopped. Well done - and my personal favorite. 5.5% ABV

Stop by White Flame and help Hudsonville change its history. Growlers are sold on-site, and the only food available are pretzels and cheese. They allow other food to be brought into the brewery, and they encourage it by listing local take-out restaurants on the back of the beer menu. 

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